Sporting a mini-corniche and promenades landscaped with flowerbeds, TORQUAY comes closest to living up to the self-styled "English Riviera" sobriquet. The much-vaunted palm trees and the coloured lights that festoon the harbour by night contribute to the town's unique flavour, a blend of the mildly exotic with classic English provincialism.
The town is focused on the small harbour and marina, separated by limestone cliffs from Torquay's main beach, Abbey Sands. North of the harbour, the coast path leads round a promontory to some good sand beaches: Meadfoot Beach, one of the busiest, is reached by crossing Daddyhole Plain, named after a large chasm in the adjacent cliff caused by a landslide, but locally attributed to the devil ("Daddy"). North of the Hope's Nose promontory, the coast path leads to a string of less-crowded beaches, including Babbacombe Beach and, beyond, Watcombe and Maidencombe.