All Torbay’s beaches are tidal so it is worth checking tide times at BBC weather Tide Tables https://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/coast-and-sea/tide-tables/10/25
Our favourite local beach is within easy walking distance of about 1km. Postcode: TQ1 2LL
Meadfoot has won a coveted Blue Flag award for cleanliness. It can be found in front of Hesketh Crescent,. This is a graceful Georgian building where Charles Darwin wrote some of On The Origin of Species. The beach is a mix of shingle and sand with large rocks that disappear at high tide. It is great for paddle boarding and swimming. You can hire paddle boards and kayaks in the Summer and there are public toilets and a great cafe, Meadfoot Beach Cafe. If you would prefer to drive you can park for free on Meadfoot road but spaces go quickly during high season. There is a metered car park at the far end of the beach. However, if there are spaces, you can park for free on Ilsham Road.
This rock and pebble beach was one of Agatha Christie’s favourite bathing spots. It has lovely views of the bay and is at the bottom of the hill. There are seagrass beds here with a lots of wildlife including cuttlefish and blennies. Postcode: TQ1 2EP
Peaked Tor Cove
Walk down the hill to the Imperial Hotel and continue past to the hotel along the South West Coast Path. Postcode: TQ1 2DS
A high stone wall blocks your view of the sea on the right but you will come to a break in the wall. Steps lead down to a series of grassed terraces. It is worth walking down to the little rocky beach and jetty at the bottom. This is a secluded and popular sunbathing and swimming spot with clean, clear water. These steps are steep so not recommended for people with mobility problems. When the tide is out you can walk around the beach to the left where you will find a little cave. Be careful of falling rocks as the cliffs along this coastline are constantly eroding. Wear sturdy footwear.
Torre Abbey Sands
You can see Torre Abbey Sands in the distance from the tower if you look towards the harbour. Postcode TQ2 6NY. At low tide this golden sandy beach in the heart of Torquay is very popular with young families. The sea is shallow and dogs are banned from May to September. On the other side of the road behind the beach are a large selection of bars and restaurants. These have outdoor seats that are a sun trap even in the winter months.
This beautiful rocky little beach is tucked downhill from a picturesque section of the South West Coast Path. It is a nice walk from Vane Tower with the prospect of a refreshing swim or paddle at the end. Postcode: TQ1 2JB. You can find the circular walk to Anstey’s cove here: https://vanetower.co.uk/circular-walk-from-vane-tower-penthouse-to-ansteys-cove/
There is a car park at the top of the hill above the beach. However, the road leading to the car park is one way and can only be accessed from the Northern end. When you park make sure you remember to pay as car registration numbers are recorded by cameras. The path to the beach is opposite. Extensive quarrying has left Anstey’s Cove with a distinctive pointed rock sticking up like witch’s hat. There is a nice little café at the bottom of the hill and public toilets . These are open from Easter to early Autumn. It is possible to hire sun loungers, kayaks and paddleboards. Redgate beach, to the left, is now out of bounds because the cliffs are unstable.
Oddicombe Beach and Babbacombe Beach
Sandy Oddicombe Beach is situated at the base of the towering red Jurassic cliffs at the edge of Babbacombe village. Park your car at Walls Hill Car Park. Postcode TQ1 3LZ. You can reach the beach by a steep path and steps, which snake down the hill through woods.
At the top of Babbacombe Downs is the very popular Angel’s Tea Rooms famous for its delicious Devon Cream Teas. https://www.angelsatbabbacombe.co.uk/
An easier route down to the beach is the Babbacombe Cliff railway, a fun funicular built in 1926. https://www.babbacombecliffrailway.co.uk/
Keen hikers can walk from Vane Tower to Babbacombe along the South West Coast path. There are fabulous views of the sea but lots of hills. You will need sensible footwear and a reasonable level of fitness. It is worth spending a day and stopping for lunch. Three Degrees West Bar and Bistro can be found on Oddicombe Beach and the beautiful Cary Arms pub is at the neighbouring Babbacombe Beach. This can be reached by a footpath along the shore line.
There is a road down to the privately owned car park by the Cary Arms. Postcode TQ1 3LX. However, this is not for the fainthearted as it is very steep and narrow in places. During the Summer months, queues of cars can form as people try to get back up the hill. You will need change for the car park as it is checked regularly.
In the Summer you will often find seals being fed on the pier by The Cary Arms. This is dangerous as the seals bite (and carry nasty bacteria in their mouths which can infect people. They are also becoming too dependent on humans for food.