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A sign of the times

Somerset UK
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A sign of the times

I've just been to Living Coasts at Torquay and afterwards walked up through Fleet Walk and Union Street to see how the town was looking. I once lived in Paignton and my wife was born and brought up in Torquay (our dentist is still there) so know the area well.

Is it me or is the town either going rapidly downhill or not keeping up with the times? I have never seen so many empty shops in a towns main street, why does is still not have a large multi screen cinema complex and a "proper" swimming pool and will Kingkerswell ever be by-passed?

I noticed both Travelodge and Premier Inn are building - is that a sign that the days of the traditional seaside hotel are over?

Devon
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1. Re: A sign of the times

Waltr I too was born in Torquay and grew up here until I was 17. I returned to live in Paignton in 1999, and in the last eight years, this place is like a ghost town.

Jobs are going, pay is poor and shops are closing. The rates are way too high for people to keep them going. Unless you're into Charity shops and arcades and pubbing and clubbing this place has really become the pits, hence my property is on the market.

scarborough
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2. Re: A sign of the times

Agreed, we visited Paignton in late 2007 with our daughter, prompted by lovely memories of the place in 1993, however it just did not seem to be the same. Like all seaside resorts businesses however large or small need to invest, money needs to be put aside in the good times so in poor trading times they can ride the storm and their properties do not look dilapidated which often adds to the overall impression of neglect which is something decent visitors always notice and then vote with their feet.

UK
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3. Re: A sign of the times

I am sorry to hear Torquay may be going through a change and possibly not one for the better. I've holidayed there numerous times with my parents, growing up as a kid in the 80s and going a few times in the 90s and a few times with my father in the last few years ago. Torquay has always been out 'holiday place in the West Country' and it stems from my father having gone there in his younger days (he also spent many years at a school in Exeter. He's in his late 60s now).

We use to stay regularly at guest house on Avenue Road, make our walk through the Abbey (?) and past the recreation grounds, through the gardens and up to town, through that little path at the bottom of the cliff which was always lit up at night... of course, time goes on and perhaps we don't enjoy it as much as before, but that's life.

If we were to go back and visit, which I'm sure will happen again, we're likey to stay at another B&B and retrace the same steps - for instance, we do like to walk from Torquay to Paignton and back again, check out the arcades and buy plenty of fudge and marzipan, but maybe it won't be the same...

My folks still do coach tours down there now and then, I will ask of their opinion of the place next time they go, as it will be interesting to hear.

Sorry, I've gone off topic a bit but it's bringing back memmories and I couldn't resist posting a reply!

Somerset UK
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4. Re: A sign of the times

I think the problem with Torquay is that it tries too hard to be all things to all people.

Sidmouth for example is in a time warp and appears to make minimal efforts to appeal to younger visitors. I have no problem with that nor do I have a problem with a resort that goes out of its way to primarily attract a younger crowd.

The stretch of road alongside the harbour towards Living Coast is tatty and the smoking laws mean you have to walk in the road, or cross to the other side, to avoid all the people milling around outside.

Hoopers is a nice store with quality goods on sale but very close by are shops selling naff souvenirs.

Devon
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5. Re: A sign of the times

Torbay has a large screen cinema and there is a 'proper' swimming pool both in Paignton!!

Somerset UK
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6. Re: A sign of the times

Yes I know Paignton has a multi screen cinema and a swimming pool (presumably the old one at Goodrington?)but why hasn't Torquay?

So much more could have been done with the Marine Spa/Coral Island/Living Coast complex.

East Of England
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7. Re: A sign of the times

I've just come back from a three night stay in Torquay and have to say that it let me down a bit. We had visited on a day trip about three years ago and vowed to come back on a short break.

On the Saturday night the town was full of drunks and there seemed to be stag and hen parties everywhere.

People driving around the town drove like maniacs and all the pavements (especially outside Debenhams) were covered with old chewing gum.

The week we were there also seemed to be foreign exchange week as well. Everytime we walked into the town we had to walk in the road to get past the Spanish students milling around at the bus stops.

They seem to hard sell the boat trips a bit much as well. I've seen people pretending to be on their mobile phones to avoid being apprehended by 'The Captain' at his booth along the front.

We avoid Brixham. We went into a pub there some years ago to get a drink and I've never been greeted with such a frosty reception... The place was full of chavs! Give me Dorset any time.

Some nice buildings and scenery in Torquay though (thought I better finish on a good point!)

Devonport, United...
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8. Re: A sign of the times

I think some Towns get a facelift and some don't, also depends on which celebrity has a restaurant there or where the next TV series is to be filmed!! Some places are hip and cool and some are just plain run down. I agree WaltR that the traditional seaside town seems to be lost.

We like to go off now and then for B & B but we are finding that our favourite places are now becoming VERY expensive - just look at Padstow and Dartmouth.

We started to venture down towards Western Cornwall because we like the coastline but the farmhouse we usually go to now want £40 EACH for Bed and Breakfast - £80 per night - I don't think so!!

Last year we bought a tent (didn't think I would ever go camping - LOL) but we've only used it once because the weather has been poor for two Summers (until now) but rang a few this week and they only take 7 night bookings in July and August.

The whole Tourist Industry needs a shake up down here!

Somerset UK
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9. Re: A sign of the times

You're so right hollyfairy. I think that's why the likes of Travelodge and Premier Inn seem to be expanding so much and why they're opening in Torquay. By and large they are of a uniform standard and good value for money, and if you don't want breakfast then you don't have to pay for it.

One of my daughters was a bridesmaid at a wedding in Torquay four or five years ago and stayed the night at the seafront hotel which was holding the reception at a "special wedding price" of £120 per room. Yes the toiletries were nicer and the television had more channels but other than that the room was smaller and older than a Travelodge or Premier Inn.

Stafford, United...
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10. Re: A sign of the times

We have just returned from a holiday in Paignton & then Torquay.

We have had holidays in Torquay for many years,but the last couple we have noticed how it is going down-hill.

Whenever we have gone lately there have been lots of large groups of foreign students and the area seems to have been taken over by them!

There was fencing along the promenade last year when we went and it was still there last week!

We stayed for 2 nights in the Premier Inn and were woken by a stag party causing mayhem in the corridors outside our room at 4 am for 40 minutes.

The area now seems to be the hot spot for hen & stag parties.

We would much rather stay in Paignton now for our holidays.It feels much safer.