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Discover these Secret Bays and Coves of Torbay

3 November 2021

With more than 22 miles of coastline, Torbay is home to over 20 beaches and coves. Popular Torquay beaches such as the well-known Torre Abbey, Goodrington Sands & Babbacombe Beach are often publicised but there are a secret beaches, bays and coves that holiday makers and locals often don’t know about.

Everyone loves the bustling beach with deck chairs, buckets and spades and of course, ice-cream kiosks. However, there a few hidden beaches around the Bay that are just as enjoyable. Although some may lack the same great facilities and accessibility, they do offer tranquillity, unique scenery and quietness, ideal for a relaxing and peaceful day by the sea.

Institute Beach, Torquay

Backed by red sandstone cliffs, this quiet little cove is tucked away below Torquay’s seafront road. Access is via a set of steps off Cliff Road along Torquay’s seafront road and looks across to Abbey Sands. Type: Sand, shingle and rocks plus rock pools at low tide.

institute beach torquay

Hollicombe Beach, Paignton

Hollicombe Beach is located between Torquay and Paignton along the main coast road. Known locally as  ‘Gas Works Beach’ , it can’t be beaten for a quiet day on the beach. This sheltered beach is a real suntrap and keeps the sun well into the late afternoon. Above Hollicombe Beach is a lovely grassed park area where you can enjoy the last of the day’s sun. Set below high sandstone cliffs, this sheltered beach is a real suntrap. Type: Sandy with rocks and cliffs, with rock pools a low tide.

Fishcombe Cove, Brixham

Fishcombe Cove is ideal if you want to escape the crowds. Situated along the coast from Brixham, this small shingle beach is a quiet, peaceful little cove protected on all sides by tall red cliffs. The sheltered cove makes this a safe place for swimming, but you may have a few spectators as boats and yachts often moor up here, and sometimes there’s even the odd seal! Type: Shingle with rocks and cliffs.

maidencombe beach torquay

Maidencombe Beach, Torquay

Just a few miles north of Babbacombe, you’ll find Maidencombe with is small sandy beach in the shadow of some fantastic red sandstone cliffs. Situated along the South West Coast Path, why not take a walk and enjoy this lovely little cove? Many water-based activities start from this beach including Coasteering and sea kayaking... the perfect way to see more hidden coves of Torquay that are only accessible by water.  This beach is operated by Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust. Access is difficult via a narrow path and set of steep steps. Type: Sandy, rocky with cliffs.

fairy cove paignton

Fairy Cove, Paignton

This beach in Paignton is hidden in plain sight! Located just a few minutes from the centre of Paignton, you won’t find it on any tourist sites but it is well worth a visit. Being tucked around the corner of the harbour and surrounded by cliffs, there are a few steep steps down to the beach which has some lovely rock pools for exploring. Type: Stony with rock pools.


Elberry Cove, Paignton

Paignton is home to many sandy, family beaches but in a small inlet with a small pebble beach you’ll find Elberry Cove.  This is the designated beach for water skiing, so no swimming is allowed in the ski lane. The beach is only accessed on foot but you can park at Broadsands and take a walk along the coastal path. Elberry Cove has some beautiful scenery overlooked by wooded hillsides and crystal clear seas make it safe to swim in. The remains of a bathouse belonging to Lord Churston can been seen at the far end of the beach. Type: Rocky with shingle.

Torre Abbey Beach, Torquay

We certainly would recommend visiting one of the more ‘secret’ beaches, bays and coves that we’ve highlighted but if they don’t float your boat, there’s no better beach as close to our Torquay hotels Torre Abbey. Popular with our guests and only a few hundred yards away, it’s not difficult to see why plenty of summer days have been spent on this beach.

Whether you enjoy the sandy popular beaches with lots of facilities or the ‘secret’, quieter more peaceful ones, Torbay definitely has wide range to suit all preferences.

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