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The local area guide to living in Torquay

Torquay is a very popular seaside town situated on the coast of Devon. This part of the world is famously known as the English Riviera and with the iconic palm trees, busy harbour and beautiful marina, it’s easy to see why. Torquay is well known as being the lifelong home of famous writer Agatha Christie, and TV comedian and DJ Lauren Pope was also born here.

Due to its beautiful setting and relaxed environment, Torquay is a popular holiday destination, and much of local economy relies on tourism. It’s estimated that during the summer months the population of Torquay almost trebles, owing to the arrival of so many tourists to the area.

Information about the local residents

At the 2011 census, the local authority of Torbay has a population of almost 140,000, with around half of those people living in Torquay itself. It isn’t a very diverse area, ethnically speaking: 95% of the population identify as white British and any ethnic minority communities in the area are very small.

As might be expected within an area that attracts wealthy people to purchase second homes, there are large variations of wealth and education levels in the area. More than a quarter of over 16s have no qualifications (this is over the national average), but 20% of residents have degrees and postgraduate qualifications.

Due to the fine weather, seaside location and relaxed pace of life, Torquay attracts a large amount of retirees, who make up a fifth of the population. However, the town is still a lively place, with an unemployment rate of just 4.5%, which is impressive when compared to the national average of 7.7%.

Nearby schools

Torquay is well equipped when it comes to education, having fifteen primary schools and five main secondary schools. Torquay Academy was in special measures but received a £26m rebuild and when last assessed in 2014 was classed by Ofsted as ‘requiring improvement’. The Spires College and St Cuthbert Mayne School take students of all variations, whilst Torquay Boys’ Grammar School and Torquay Grammar School for Girls, which has been ranked as ‘outstanding’, are selective. Exeter University is a 40-minute drive away.

Getting around

Whilst you couldn’t call it remote, Torquay isn’t the easiest place to get to, as it doesn’t sit on any major roads. The M5 ends at Exeter and it’s a further 40-minute drive to reach Torquay.

The town does have a train station, where you will find good services to Paignton (10 minutes) and Exmouth (50 minutes). There are also a few direct trains to London Paddington, which takes around 3 hours to reach. There is also a good bus service in the area, with a number of services running within the town, as well as to the surrounding areas. For international travel, the nearest airport is located in Exeter.

Local shops

As you’d expect from a popular tourist destination, Torquay has plenty of shops to choose from, whether you’re looking for luxury boutiques, gift shops or high street favourites. The main shopping centre is Fleet Walk, where you’ll find an eclectic mix of independent shops and well-known brands. Or you could head to the area of Babbacombe and St Marychurch, which has a more relaxed pace and a nice selection of smaller, local shops.

Torquay has plenty to offer in terms of entertainment too, including the Princess Theatre, a cinema, an aquarium and, of course, the beach and seafront. It is particularly famed for having plenty of nightclubs, restaurants and bars. Many of these bars and restaurants are located on the seafront, giving spectacular views and a beautiful ambience to any occasion. The speciality dish of Torquay is Devonshire crab, and many of the seafood restaurants are renown for this in particular.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.

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