Along with its famous beautiful Blue Flag beaches, Paignton is home to a superb choice of attractions including the UK’s largest outdoor waterpark, one of Britain’s top zoos and a scenic waterfront with 19th century pleasure pier. Perfect for both romantic breaks and family holidays, visitors can enjoy exploring the surrounding coastline on a unique paddle steamer or steam train ride before relaxing in one of Paignton’s many award-winning B&Bs, hotels and apartments.
Family fun at the seafront
First opened to the public in 1879, Paignton Pier is set close to one of Torbay’s best beaches and just a short level walk from the town centre. Attractions on the pier guaranteed to keep the family entertained include great amusements, crazy golf, mega slide, dodgems, ten pin bowling and a trampoline. Stop for ice cream or enjoy a snack at the cafe and takeaway. Afterwards visit Geopark Play, a free family attraction on Paignton seafront with a special play area for toddlers, giant climbing net for juniors and big sand and water play area. The largest area of the park is for the teens and has a zip wire, six way swing, climbing logs, stilts, towers and climbing trees.
End the afternoon with a round at Pirates Bay Adventure Golf which is a landscaped 18 hole course set on the seafront or relax at Victoria Park which has plenty of enclosed green spaces where the children can play.
If you are looking to cool off on a hot summer’s day, Paignton is home to Splashdown Quaywest – the UK’s largest outdoor water park – which overlooks Goodrington Beach. There are eight different flumes to try and for thrill seekers, there are rides including the Devil’s Drop, Wild Kamikaze and tumbling tyre rides. Alternatively, laze in the pool or or on one of the sun beds with views of the South Devon coastline. Younger children are very welcome and there is a Tiddler’s fun pool and submarine splash plus bumper boats, go karts and crazy golf. Other facilities onsite include a picnic site, fast food outlets, tea/ coffee shop, free car parking and toilets.
Explore the surrounding coastline
Travel seven miles along the Torbay coast line and take in the wooded slopes of the Dart Estuary and Kingswear. Trips starting from Paignton include The Round Robin trip which features travel by both steam train and river boat. Alternatively, take a trip on the Paddlesteamer ‘Kingswear Castle’ and explore the River Dart in vintage style. Stretching for one mile around the hub of Paignton’s 16th century fishing district, Roundham Walk on the South West Coast Path is a wheelchair friendly section of the trail. Take in the views over Tor Bay and Goodrington Sands or on a clear day, across Lyme Bay to Portland.
Outdoor attractions in Paignton
Home to more than 2000 animals, Paignton Zoo also has indoor and outdoor play areas, the Jungle Express train, animal feeding sessions and regular keeper talks. Explore at your own pace or book a place on one of the great events and activities including the Reptile Ramble with crocodile feeding, Ape and Cake which includes a guided tour of the primate enclosure plus refreshments, Tea with the Tigers and evening tours of the Zoo gardens. Children can also get a real ‘hands on’ experience at one of the Zoo Vet apprentice days. The Zoo is open each day except Christmas Day and there is free parking for 1000 cars, free secure bike storage and regular bus services.
Visit Goodrington Boating Lakes in Paignton and cruise around on our pedal power swan boats which seat five. Families or groups can also enjoy splashing around on our motorised bumper boats ideal for one or two people. Children are welcome but under 12s must be accompanied by an adult. Away from the bustling seafront and beaches, Occombe Farm is an award winning organic farm with 2km nature trail, weekend animal feeding at 10.30am plus an annual Beer Festival each June. The farm is fully accessible for both buggies and wheelchairs.
Favourites for rainy days
A National Trust property since 1951, Compton Castle is a medieval fortress which was home to the Gilbert family for nearly 600 years until it was sold in 1785. Once visited by Sir Walter Raleigh, half brother of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, the Castle’s Great Kitchen gives excellent insight into medieval domestic life and the building also has small formal gardens which are surrounded by a stone curtain wall. Great for a family day out with children’s activities available.
If you want to take in a show during your stay, The Palace Theatre is the ideal venue. The Bijou Theatre Company produces four productions per year for the Theatre which also hosts a range of other productions, live music shows and an annual pantomime. There is also a nine screen Vue Cinema on Paignton seafront where visitors can watch the latest Hollywood blockbusters.