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Living in Torquay – The Pros and Cons

Living in Torquay – The Pros and Cons
  • PublishedOctober 15, 2023

Torquay, fondly known as the “Queen of the English Riviera,” is a beautiful coastal town in Devon, South West England. With its picturesque setting, stunning beaches, and vibrant atmosphere, Torquay has long been a popular holiday destination and has now become an attractive destination for people yearning to live a serene life by the sea.

And while Torquay has often been seen as either a retirement location or somewhere to go on holiday, the area is now viewed as an affordable place to relocate in Devon for those seeking a Westcountry lifestyle.

Of course there are good and bad things about moving to Torquay, like pretty much anywhere. And despite some negative coverage online, we think overall that Torquay and the Torbay area is a good place to move.

We’re going to dig into the pros and cons of living in Torquay to help you make an informed decision about whether to call it your new home, or pass and search elsewhere.

The Pros of Living in Torquay

1. Access to stunning beaches

Torquay is surrounded by a beautiful collection of award-winning beaches along the South Devon Coast, such as Meadfoot Beach, Oddicombe Beach, and Corbyn Beach. You also have easy access to much more of the Devon south coast, with towns such as Dartmouth and Bigbury a short drive away.

As a Torquay resident, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in endless sandy shores, spectacular cliffs, and crystal-clear waters. And yes, this really is a stunning location in terms of scenery. These beaches are an excellent sanctuary for relaxation, sunbathing, picnics, and water sports activities, making them a prime attraction for residents and tourists alike.

And in the summer months, what can be better than having access to top quality beaches right there on your doorstep?

2. Lively Town Centre

The town centre of Torquay possesses a distinctive charm and vitality, with all the ameneties of a modern British town. Yes, there is a bit of that faded seaside town grandeur, with the Princess Theatre being a focal point, and the lovely Torquay harbour a good spot for a brunch bite to eat.

Truthfully, Torquay is not a particularly cultural hotspot, with a lack of quality art, music or theatre. But you’ll find everything you need and more to keep you busy over the course of the average year.

In fact, Torquay’s bustling streets and vibrant atmosphere provide an enjoyable shopping, dining, and entertainment experience. With a plethora of shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars, you’ll find venues catering to various tastes and budgets.

3. Access to Devon’s South Hams and Dartmoor

Living in Torquay offers easy access to the stunning South Hams district, which boasts picturesque scenery, charming villages, and an unspoiled coastline. You’re just a short drive from Totnes, Dartmouth and Brixham, some of the loveliest towns in the region.

Dartmoor National Park, with its awe-inspiring landscapes and abundant outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding, and wildlife watching, can also be reached in under a half hour.

Fans of country walks, hiking and generally enjoyig the outside lifestyle will be spoiled for choice in Torquay.

4. Direct Train Links to London

Torquay’s convenient rail links make it an attractive choice for those who want to remain connected to the capital. The direct train services from Torquay to London Paddington Station take around 2 hours and 45 minutes, making it feasible, albeit not ideal, for daily commuters.

For those with occasional business meetings or weekend trips to the city, this direct train service can be extremely beneficial.

Another benefit is the access to Exeter airport for those quick flights to different parts of the UK or even overseas. Exeter is connected by air to several UK cities, as well as holiday hubs such as Malaga, Faro and Corfu.

5. Proximity to Exeter

Torquay’s close proximity to the city of Exeter, just about a half hour drive away, presents residents with additional opportunities for work, shopping, and entertainment.

Exeter is home to a significant number of multinational companies and startups, making it an economic hotspot and increasing the potential job market for Torquay dwellers.

6. Affordable Housing Options

While property prices have increased across the country, Torquay still offers competitive prices compared to more prominent cities across the UK. In fact, compared to Exeter or even Plymouth, you can find great value on a suburban house in Torquay.

The town offers various housing options ranging from modest apartments to large Victorian style homes. First-time buyers can still find reasonably priced properties, and there are also plenty of choices for those looking to upsize or downsize.

7. An Up and Coming Area

In recent years, Torquay has been going through a gradual transformation, with new developments and refurbishments taking place throughout the town.

The ongoing resurgence of the area is resulting in improved facilities, increased investment, and a blossoming art and cultural scene.

And while Torquay could definitely benefit from some additional investments, as we’ll see below, the town is mostly looking on the up.

The Cons of Living in Torquay

1. Slight Deprivation in the Area

Despite the ongoing improvements, Torquay still faces challenges related to deprivation. Certain areas of the town struggle with poverty, unemployment, and low education attainment. While this might not directly impact everyone living in Torquay, it’s a factor to consider when looking at the overall quality of life in the area.

Not everyone will consider this an issue though, depending where they are moving from. And while there is definitely some high street decline, it is, for the most part, better than several other major UK cities.

If you are considering a move to Torquay, make sure to spend time in the town and chat to the locals.

2. Poor Traffic in the Town

Traffic congestion can be a significant issue in Torquay, particularly during summer when tourists flock to the area. The town’s narrow streets, circuitous routes and limited parking availability can result in lengthy delays and parking difficulties, which can be frustrating for residents and visitors alike.

The main routes through town are mostly single carriageway roads, some weave through residential areas and there are some awkward roads which can easily become bottlenecks, especially in neighbouring Paignton.

3. Slightly Run-down Nature of the Town

Torquay’s ongoing investment and revitalization efforts are still in progress, and some pockets of the town have a slightly run-down appearance. Although this is expected to change in time, it does currently detract from the overall charm and appeal of the area.

The town centre of Torquay is mostly well presented, but there are definitely some parts of Paignton and Torquay that are very much past their best. Again, this is a UK wide problem and some might not see the urban decay as a major negative compared to some parts of the country.

But with that said, this does present significant opportunity for those looking to invest in businesses in the area. If you’re looking to redevelop a property then you’ll find a lot of opportunity here.

4. Lack of Employment Options

While Torquay provides proximity to Exeter and its growing job market, local employment opportunities are limited. The economy is predominantly focused on tourism, retail, and hospitality industries, which tend to offer mostly part-time or seasonal work, and limited career progression.

This important factor may be a deal-breaker for those seeking a thriving job market within the town itself. However, those who work remotely or have their own business plans might see a different opportunity when moving to Torquay and Torbay.

In Summary

Torquay’s picturesque coastlines, desirable location, and emerging cultural scene, combined with its affordable housing and ongoing investment, make it an attractive choice for many people looking for a beautiful place to live.

However, one must carefully weigh the cons, such as traffic congestion, the run-down nature of some areas, and limited local employment opportunities before committing to living in Torquay.

We hope that this balanced overview will help you decide whether Torquay is the perfect location for your new home.

Check out our guides to living in Exeter, or best places to live in Plymouth.

Written By
DH Writers

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