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As a major hub on the English Riviera, where palm trees and yachts rock gently at the edge of the Channel, Torquay is enjoyed by holidaymakers from all over who come for sun, sea, sand, and a slap-up fish and chip supper.

The main focal point for visitors to this Devon town is the harbour. Nudging up to the harbour walls, where working fishing boats float alongside gleaming yachts, are shops, cafes, gardens and the Torquay Pavilion. The pavilion is showing its age (it is more than 100 years old), but there are plans in place for a facelift.

Elsewhere, the makeover has been underway for years. In the 1970s, the reputation of cheap seafront hotels in Torquay suffered somewhat, thanks to John Cleese and his fictional Fawlty Towers, but those days of inept staff and crumbling buildings have long gone. However, you can still find hotels and B&Bs that offer a certain retro charm.

Other town hotels exude modern style amid Victorian grandeur, and some boast glorious sea views, swimming pools and spas. If you demand four or five stars, comfortable rooms and excellent service, you’ll find plenty of available options.

There are few hotels right on the harbour, but if you venture towards the steep streets to the north-east, on the hilly headland, there are some excellent hotels in a quiet location which is still handy for the town. These hotels are also close to the coastal zoo, Living Coasts, which makes them a great base for family visitors.

You can find some of Torquay’s cheap hotels behind Abbey Park, to the north-west of the harbour, alongside some guesthouses and luxury accommodation options. The streets here do rise sharply and while they can offer divine sea views, anyone with mobility issues might need to check the location carefully.

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