Tourist Information

History of Paignton

Paignton was described only a century and a half ago as a "neat and improving village and bathing place". This understates its story as it has ecclesiastical origins going back to medieval times and in the 17th century was referred to as "the manor and borough of Peynton". Although at the centre of the Bay, Paignton was less attractive for the merchant and fishing fleets which preferred the more sheltered quays of Brixham and Torquay, however, there are references to Paignton's harbour as early as 1567. Always an attractive sandy beach the sands and dunes at Paignton needed a sea wall and promenade to stop erosion. There were constructed in the 1860s and the town bought the foreshore from the Duchy of Cornwall for £256.

Paignton Today

Its long sandy beaches, colourful atmosphere, paddler-friendly waters and first class attractions are the essential ingredients for a magical family holiday. During the summer months life seems to revolve around the seafront which comes alive to the sound of laughter and holiday fun. But there is also another side to this distinctive seaside town, which can be found in the elegance of Oldway Mansion, the stories of old Paignton told at 500 year old Kirkham House and the green coastline around Elberry Cove. By day there are attractions galore - Paignton Zoo, Quaywest Waterpark and the Paignton to Dartmouth Steam Railway. By night Paignton's seafront comes alive with illuminations and is perfect for an evening stroll.

Along the 22 miles of the English Riviera coastline there are 20 beaches from wide sandy stretches to hidden rocky coves. So whether you’re after a place to lay out your towel, build sandcastles, have a gentle paddle, ramble through a rockpool or just a quiet place to sit and watch the surf, you’re sure to find a beach to suit. Although our beaches are regarded as safe, care should always be taken when swimming. Warning flags are sometimes in operation.

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