Sunday: After a leisurely breakfast we enjoy a tour of Torbay. Our first visit is to the colourful and bustling fishing port of Brixham. Centred on the harbour area, which remains the life blood of this quaint historic town, you can wander around the many harbour-side shops and have a look at the ‘Golden Hind’, Sir Francis Drake’s ship. We then make our way back round the bay to the stylish resort of Torquay, with its continental atmosphere that combines modern facilities with the elegance of time gone by.
Monday: Today we enjoy a scenic day on Dartmoor, exploring one of the finest and largest National Parks in Britain and maybe enjoy a Devon cream tea or even a Cornish pasty. Our drive onto the moor takes us to the small picturesque village of Widdecombe-in-the-Moor, probably best known for the Widdecombe Fair, held annually and the folk song featuring ‘Old Uncle Tom Cobley and All’. From here we continue our scenic drive, making our way across the heart of the Dartmoor National Park, passing Princetown before arriving at the ancient stannary town of Tavistock. This thriving market town was founded on tin and copper mining and has such been awarded World Heritage Status. Much of the town we see today is thanks to the 7th Duke of Bedford who used the profits from his mines to remodel the town in the mid 19th century. Another part of the town’s history is that Sir Francis Drake was born close by and lived here. Today Tavistock is noted for its variety of unique shops and pannier market.
Tuesday: Our excursion today takes us along the South Devon coast to Teignmouth. With a classic crescent of Georgian buildings, promenade and a long sandy beach, Teignmouth is a real hidden gem on the South Devon coast and is both an historic port and classic seaside holiday resort. It’s this beautiful contrast and the fact that everything is within easy reach that makes the town so special. From here we continue onto the Regency resort of Sidmouth. ‘A town caught still in a timeless charm’ was how the Poet Laureate, John Betjeman described the town. Regency history and fine hotels, clean beaches and friendly shops, it’s all here in this lovely seaside town that nestles beneath majestic red cliffs and the green hills of the glorious Sid Valley. This evening after dinner there may be the opportunity to go to the famous Babbacomb
Wednesday: This morning we make our way to the city of Plymouth. Famed for its maritime history, most notably for its association with the Pilgrim Fathers and of course Sir Francis Drake and the Spanish Armada. As well as excellent shopping, there is much to explore in the city, including the cobbled streets along the quayside, the Merchants Houses, the National Aquarium and the famous Plymouth Hoe with its memorials and views across the Sound. We have included a 1 hour Plymouth Sound, Dockyard, Warships and Harbour Cruise.
Thursday: Enjoy a free day here in Paignton. Sit in the hotel’s conservatory, boasting a panoramic view of the Paignton sea front, and watch the world go by. The sea front is the focus of life in the town with the beaches the best in the Bay and Paignton Green is the perfect spot to sit and relax. Across the road from the Green are plenty of inns offering refreshments, with outside seating. Take a stroll along the pier or around the sheltered harbour. The town centre is just a short walk away from the hotel. If you want to go further afield why not catch the local bus and visit the famous Paignton Zoo.
Friday: Today we enjoy a trip on the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway and Dart River Cruise. We make the short walk from the hotel to the station and board the train for what is arguably one of the most beautiful train rides in England, with steam trains running for 7 miles in Great Western fashion from Paignton along the spectacular Torbay coast and through wooded slopes bordering the Dart estuary to Kingswear. From Kingswear we take the passenger ferry across the river to the historic town of Dartmouth, overlooked by the grand Britannia Naval College. With its narrow streets, overhanging medieval houses and old quays full of galleries, restaurants and shops Dartmouth is a beautiful place to explore and enjoy lunch. Early afternoon we board one of the Riverlink cruisers for a gentle cruise along the magnificent River Dart to Totnes. Ancient oak woodlands grace much of the route and sights include traditional cottages and waterside villages. Leaving the cruiser at Totnes we board a local bus for the return to Paignton and our hotel.
Saturday: Sadly we must leave the Marine Hotel and the English Riviera and return home. Once again using the motorways and with suitable stops along the way we aim to be back in Essex late afternoon.
Please read the itinerary carefully before deciding if this tour is suitable for you: 1) Due to the historic nature of some of the places we visit the may be slopes, cobbled surfaces and steps to contend with. 2) The day we use the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway and Dart River Cruise invloves some walking from the hotel to the station then along the platform at Kingswear to the ferry.
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