Paignton – a guide for visiting this Devon town in 2023


Devon is packed with lovely little towns and villages, and we've published guides about lots of them previously, such as Totnes. But we've got a real soft spot for Paignton - it's a small, compact place, but this is actually a real positive as everything in the town is so close to the beach. It's got a lot of character and it reminds us of an old school British seaside town.

We wanted to publish a guide about this town for anyone planning to visit in 2023, let's get into it:

Where is Paignton?

Paignton is located on the stunning English Riviera in Devon, South West England, between Brixham and Torquay. It's situated along the picturesque coastline of Tor Bay, and is part of the Torbay area, along with Torquay and Brixham, making it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding coastal gems.

What is there to see and do in Paignton?

As we mentioned in our introduction, despite the relatively small size of the town, you've got quite a lot to see and do in and around Paignton. Here are some of the highlights:

Broadsands Beach

You can't visit Paignton without visiting some excellent beaches, and we definitely think that Broadsands Beach is one of the best in the area. Located between Paignton and Brixham, this beautiful beach is long and sandy, making it perfect for long walks. A family could easily spend several hours here, especially when the sun is out. There are some rockpools to explore and also a nice grassy area behind the beach which is great for kicking a ball about on.

Paignton Zoo

If you love the idea of getting up close and personal with some impressive animals, then a trip to Paignton Zoo is absolutely recommended. Here you'll find more than 2000 animals to see, with everything from gorillas to giraffes. Once you've seen the animals, there are even more things to do here, including a really great outdoor play area and The Wobbly Bridge in Lemur Wood. It's a great day out for the whole family, and at around £20 for a ticket, we think it's very well-priced too. Learn more and plan your visit here-

Splashdown Quaywest

If you love interacting with water but don't fancy getting into the sea, then Splashdown Quaywest is a must-visit location during your time in Paignton. This is actually the UK's largest all outdoor waterpark, and not many people realise that this amazing attraction is located in Devon. This waterpark is great for all ages - you'll find rides which young children will really enjoy, but you'll also find 8 slides which you can really fly down, which any adrenaline junkie will love. Learn more here -

Paignton Pier

This award-winning pier is packed with family-friendly entertainment, and on a sunny day it's a great place to head to with the kids. You'll find a great variety of food stalls serving up everything from street-style food chips to funfair classics, and the amusement arcade is surprisingly big with lots of fun games to play. Originally opened in 1879 but refurbished in the late 90s, we think the pier has a real old school charm to it. Even if you're not interested in the games, the views from the pier to the north and south along the coast are very impressive. Learn more here -

Paignton Sands

Paignton Sands tends to be a bit busier than Broadsands Beach, particularly as it's the location of Paignton Pier, but for people who love an active day at the beach, this is all part of the appeal. It's a lovely beach and you can do lots here, from hiring a pedalo to taking a fishing trip at the nearby harbour. It's definitely one for families who want a beach that isn't all about sunbathing.

Palace Theatre

This small but charming theatre in Paignton is an excellent place to head to if you want to take in some culture during your time in the town. The Palace Theatre only seats a few hundred people, but you'll often find excellent shows on the bill here, with everything from fun plays for the family to more serious shows for adults only. Built in the late 19th century, this is actually the oldest working theatre in Torbay, and the building itself is very impressive and enjoyable to explore. Learn more and book your tickets here -

Babbacombe Theatre

Around 5 miles away from Paignton you'll find Babbacombe Theatre, where you can enjoy an unforgettable entertainment experience. Hosting a variety of captivating live performances, this theatre has something on for everyone througout the year. We'd recommend making the trip from Paignton if you're looking to catch a great show, learn more here -

Roundham Head

It's a short steep walk up a cliff to reach Roundham Head, but your reward is stunning views of the surrounding area and a lovely grassy area where you can sit and relax. The path is well marked out and isn't too treacherous, so don't be put off. If you want to get to Goodrington Bay you can walk down from here, but that's even steeper than the walk up. We'd recommend taking a picnic up with you and admiring the views.
Roundham head
Hopefully, this guide has inspired you to visit this brilliant Devon town. If you're interested in visiting other locations in Devon, we have a guide about Sidmouth and Bantham Beach.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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