Paignton is part of the stunning English Riviera which also includes Torquay & Brixham. Paignton has plenty to offer including superb beaches of golden sand and a good selection of seafront restaurants, bars and marine activities. The beaches in Paignton stretch for miles and make for fantastic walks with breathtaking views or rockpool exploring!

Traditional family holiday destination

Paignton Pier and beach

Paignton was a small fishing village until the 19th century, when in 1837 the Paington Harbour Act saw the construction of a new harbour and the modern spelling, Paignton, first appeared. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book of AD 1086. Formerly spelt Peynton and Paington, the name derives from Paega's town which was the original Anglo-Saxon settlement. The town has had a market and fair since 1294.

Paignton is rightly famous for the wonderful soft and sandy beaches (with all important child friendly waters) and offers a bright and family fun atmosphere. There are traditional seaside activities with paddle boats and canoes or there are motor boats and cruise boats for hire. If you're feeling full of energy you could try water skiing, scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, fishing and that much admired pastime, crabbing. Don't forget, bacon is the best bait of all - ooh, and don't forget to throw the poor crabs back in the water when you're done. There are also waterslides and crazy golf to try your hand at too.

Paignton beach and the nearby Preston Sands are used for water sports including kite surfing and dinghy sailing. The reed beds found at Broadsands beach are a haunt of the rare cirl bunting. Hollicombe beach, situated at Paignton's northern boundary with Torquay, features a geological stratotype at its northern end, known as the "Corbyn's Head Member". Elberry Cove is used by jetski enthusiasts, while Saltern Cove is a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its distinctive geology. At Goodrington beach you can hire pedaloes, sun loungers, beach huts and deck chairs. There are also various water sports on offer, including water skiing and ‘ringo rides’. Younger visitors will be able to make the most of the QuayWest Water Park, which boasts eight water-slides and flumes, the Kamikaze ride and a supervised play area for toddlers.

Agatha Christie lived in nearby Torquay and often attended the Torbay Picture House in Paignton and based the theatres in her thrillers on that cinema

Our Trips From Paignton

All three of most popular trips detailed below can be taken from Paignton!

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What to do in Paignton

Grab yourself a bucket and spade, spend a few hours on the beach and enjoy a traditional family seaside experience!

The great attraction of Paignton is the long and beautiful sandy beach. Swimming and water sports like wind surfing and dinghy sailing are very popular and Elberry Cove is popular for jet skiing. Other smaller coves have rock pools inhabited by corals, starfish and other intriguing marine life.

The Paignton Regatta is held annually at the beginning of August and is the hub for many activities including a fantastic fireworks display which can be viewed from the beach or pier. The Torbay Airshow should be a fantastic weekend with both military and civilian air displays and loads of ground based activities too. Hopefully this will take place again in 2022!

You could try your hand at crazy golf on the green and there is a cinema complex right next door.

How to get here

Parking at Paignton

There are a number of local car parks to choose from. Just click on the car park links below for details.

All the above are operated by Torbay Council - weekly car park tickets can be obtained from local Tourist Information Centres.

What's on in Paignton

Marldon Apple Pie Fair

Marldon Apple Pie Fair

A long list of celebrities (local, national and international) have given freely of their time to officially open the Fair!

6th September 2024
To: 6th September 2024


Train of Lights departing Kingswear

Christmas Train of Lights

The Christmas Train of Lights is now the must-see event in the South West festive calendar!!

29th November 2024
To: 30th December 2024


English Riviera Airshow

English Riviera Airshow

The English Riviera Airshow is a spectacular event that will next take place 3rd & 4th June in 2023. The event features breath-taking air displays over the stunning natural amphitheatre of South Devon's beautiful Torbay.

1st June 2024
To: 2nd June 2024



  • Perfect day - We have done this several times over the years and is a fantastic day out. The steam train ride is great, but the cruise makes it. The commentary is very good and funny. Would definitely recommend this trip if in the area.
  • Absolutely fabulous experience - The whole day was fabulous with great weather and steam trains. The line is one of the most scenic you will ever experience and is a must visit if in the area. I will definitely be back again :-)
  • Fantastic visit - We chose to do the steam train and river cruise and it was fantastic. The staff were very helpful. After using the ferry to cross the river we went to find somewhere to have a snack before getting onto the cruise. The commentary was brilliant and we were pointed out different landmarks throughout the cruise. Thank you Dartmouth Steam Railway.

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