English Riviera – A guide to the best local beaches

The English Riviera is one of the most popular seaside resorts in the UK. The towns of Brixham, Paignton and Torquay on Torbay are at the centre of the English Riviera. The English Riviera also an Unesco World Geopark. Therefore it is recognised as one of the most beautiful coastlines in the World.

English Riviera - Torbay
Colourful sunset over Torbay, Torquay, English Riviera

The English Riviera is the ideal base for exploring the beautiful coast of South Devon and beyond. So dive in and plan your next holiday here.

Unesco Global Geopark

A Geopark is an area of globally recognised, unique geological interest designated by UNESCO. A place where you can see the special nature of the Earth’s story. The amazing landscapes, coastlines, places and people in this Geopark will amaze you.

The English Riviera Geopark covers the entire area of Torbay and so it naturally inspires those who visit. 

Click here to find out more about the Geopark and its meaning. www.unesco.org


The coastline of Torbay and the English Riviera is simply stunning. Firstly there are many beaches in the area which have attained Blue Flag status. Allowing you to choose from a selection of different locations and types of beach to enjoy while on holiday. All the time safe in the knowledge that they are clean and free from pollutants.

South Devon Coastline

2019 was an amazing year for the beaches of Torbay. With 22 miles of coastline and 20 beaches on offer Torbay has a variety of choices when it come to beaches. Also 10 were recognised for their outstanding quality and beauty by the seaside awards. The beaches of the English Riviera really do have everything to offer. From long sandy beach walks to idyllic picnic spots and charming hidden coves there’s a beach for all.

Check out our guide to the best beaches on the English Riviera below.

Oddicombe Beach

Oddicombe Beach won blue flag status and is a seaside award winning beach for 2019. Therefore you can be sure that it is a remarkable place to spend time. It won blue flag status 32 years ago when it was first introduced and has held it ever since.

Take a fun ride down to this beautiful beach on The Babbacombe Cliff Railway, and discover a simply stunning cove with red sand, colourful beach huts and a traditional beach shop. Definitely one of the English Riviera’s best beaches and a perfect year round destination.

Oddicombe Beach

Meadfoot Beach

Another English Riviera Blue Flag & Seaside Award winning beach for 2019. Meadfoot beach is also a great place to spend time with the family. It’s much smaller and more intimate than Oddicombe Beach and is great for rock pooling with the kids at low tide. Meadfoot is a shingle beach sitting below an array of spectacular cliffs. This beach provides a perfect setting for those who prefer a quieter environment to spend time. Scuba Divers love this beach for its calm waters and variety of marine life.

Meadfoot Beach English Riviera
Photo Credit – Meadfoot Beach Cafe

Preston Sands

Yet another Good Beach Guide, Blue Flag & Seaside Award winner for 2019 Preston sands is situated a short walk from Paignton Sands in Paignton. This English Riviera Beach is the quintessential seaside bucket and spade beach.

 English Riviera

At the Northern end of the beach you can try your hand at rock pooling at low tide or grab yourself a crab line and hook some crabs, if you can. You can hire one of the brightly coloured beach huts at the northern end of the beach and stash your personal belongings away or get out of the sun on those hotter days. This is one of the English Riviera’s most family friendly beaches so get down there with the kids and enjoy a day by the beach.

Paignton Sands

Paignton Sands offers the ultimate family day out at the seaside. With a sandy beach, safe swimming and a whole host of activities to enjoy, this promises to be a fun day out for all the family. Also there’s lots to do; you can hire a pedalo, take a fishing trip from the nearby harbour or simply sit back and relax in a deckchair.

Paignton Beach English Riviera
Photo Credit – Paignton Beach

In addition in the middle of the beach sits the famous Paignton Pier, so if you’ve had enough sunbathing or you’ve built enough sandcastles, why not head here to see what all the fuss is about? You’ll find kiosks, cafés and an abundance of amusement arcades to keep kids of all ages happy. This is what seaside holidays are made of so why not give this beach a try.

These are just a few of the best beaches in The English Riviera so should you decide to visit Torbay we hope you can make use of our guide. Thanks for reading!