The English Riviera

Lovely beaches🏝️, Tourism, spectacular nature and scenery 🏔️may come to mind. A place enriched with wonderful sea views and Nature:The English Riviera – Devon. That’s right, England does have a Riviera😎. South-west of England, a place that will forever hold great meaning to me.

I got involved in the demolition of an old bridge and installation of a new one between Torquay & Paignton. But this blog isn’t about Engineering, it’s about traveling and adventure.

I must admit when I relocated for work, I first thought the name ‘Devon‘ was a town or city.I was embarrassed to discover it’s a county with picturesque towns and cities of its own. Funny how you could be from England and still not know a lot about England. To name a few cities within Devon:

  • Plymouth
  • Exeter
  • Dartmoor
  • Dartmouth
  • Paignton
  • Torquay
  • Torcross
  • Kingswear

After this discovery I hopped at the chance to explore these towns during the weekends. Where’d be the fun in staying in a beautiful destination without visiting some of its tourist attractions?I was only there for 4months starting from Janunary – April 2022. Ideally, not the best time of the year to enjoy the sun in England. I wished I was down there from May – July. Nevertheless, the experience was still one to remember.

1. Torquay & Paignton – Two small towns a stone’s throw away from each other and separated by the same bridge we was building. During my stay in Devon, Torquay was my temporary town of residence. It has great restaurants, bars, nature, clubs, etc. Paignton also has its beauty and the most memorable for me was the Paignton pier and the cinema. Who doesn’t yearn for the experience on a steam train🚂? Well, I do, as this was my first. I got onboard the steam train from Paignton to Kingswear and back. A leisure experience where you capture nature and interact with the community. As we cruised past the neighbourhood, parents and kids from the outside waved at old fashioned honk of the heritage train. It gave me a sense of realisation of the relationship between the community of Devon and the steam trains.

2.Plymouth (Hoe, Barbican, the box museum, aquarium) – A 50mins drive from Torquay lies a city that has more to offer. It gives you a juxtaposition of modern and traditional, art and history, Engineering and Architecture, nature and people.My main highlight was Smeaton’s Lighthouse, named after the first man to call himself a civil engineer: Sir John Smeaton.I paid £2.50 to climb the narrow stairs and be amazed by a 360° view of Plymouth. A £2.50 well spent!. I also visited the aquarium and the box museum.

  • Dartmoor (Haytor,Avon Dam, Dartmoorpark) – I wanted to drive and walk around nature and see if we could co-exist together. A 36mins drive from Torquay to Haytor and additional 36mins drive from Haytor to Avon Dam. A hybrid journey of driving and walking.

3.Haytor – Haytor has spectacular landscape views and commonly known for its gigantic rocks that make you feel insignificant. Tourists and locals often climb to the top (10mins) to see the wonders of these massive rocks. I didn’t appreciate its significance until I climbed it myself. A view to behold – Very windy, but with the right preparations you’d do just fine. Did I forget to say it also has ponies?

4.Avon Dam – After spending some time at Haytor I hopped back in the car and cruised down the country roads to my next adventure – Avon Dam. I arrived and parked, then went in search of the dam. To this day, I cannot justify which of the two was more wonderful: The walk to the dam or seeing the dam itself. My first Dam experience.

Unfortunately, my journey to Dartmoorpark was short-lived as I got lost so traced my steps back and opted to do it another time. A massive maze-like park that requires a guidebook that you could get from a shop nearby.

5.Kingswear -Dartmouth – Torcross – This journey was one of a kind. A mixed adventure of driving🚗, ferry ⛴️and walking🚶🏾‍♂️. I drove from Torquay to Kingswear and boarded a car ferry to cross over to Dartmouth (4mins). I stretched my legs around Dartmouth before commencing my journey to Torcross. The main highlight of this journey was the drive to Torcross. A naturistic drive of clear sky and sunlight.

Kingswear ferry

On approach to this town, within seconds I went from driving casually to all of a sudden sandwiched between the sea on both sides. It was like I got teleported from the highway to my car dropped on an Island surrounded by water on both sides. This wow moment stretched for a mile before reconnecting with the main town. I was so unsatisfied that I had to stop and park my car to appreciate what was around me. What a view to behold. You often don’t come across such wonderful view in England. I wished I had a drone to capture it from the top. However, I believe the best memories are those you put your phones and cameras aside and absorb what’s around you. I hopped back into the car to finish the rest of the adventure at Torcross.

The experience was superb! Joining a new community means a different lifestyle, food, and culture. I’d say 95% of my adventures in Devon came from speaking to locals – If you don’t ask you won’t know. I felt a bit uneasy as I approached the end of my 4months stay in devon as I felt I still needed more time to explore this beautiful place that has so much to offer. However, I was happy again to have had the opportunity to go this far and discover places I never would have thought existed. Believe me or not most people in England take such beauty for granted or never have and never will travel to such places. I intend to take a trip down southwest this summer to re-ignite these experiences. Afterall, it is these memorable experiences that help shape who we are.

To find out more see links to all the places I visited……


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