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Paignton, nestled along the coast of Tor Bay in Devon, England, forms a part of the borough of Torbay alongside Torquay and Brixham. Known collectively as the English Riviera, this area has become a cherished holiday destination. With roots tracing back to a Celtic settlement and first documented in 1086, Paignton evolved from a quaint fishing village. The town witnessed significant growth by constructing a new harbour in 1847 and introducing a railway link to Torquay and London in 1859, facilitating its connection to major cities and contributing to its population growth.

The discovery of a Roman burial between 230 and 390 CE in 1993 highlights the town's rich historical layers. Paignton's mention in the Domesday Book as Peintone within the ancient hundred of Kerswell signifies its long-standing significance. The evolution of its name over centuries reflects its deep historical roots and cultural shifts. Medieval times saw Paignton flourishing under ecclesiastical influence, with the establishment of a market town charter by Edward I in 1294, though this declined following the Reformation.

The 19th century marked a pivotal point for Paignton, with the Paignton Harbour Act facilitating harbour construction, ushering in a new era of development. Victorian architecture, represented by Kirkham House and the Coverdale Tower, narrates the town's architectural and social history. The railway's arrival in 1859 catalyzed further growth, making Paignton a hub for tourism and innovation, evidenced by the construction of Oldway Mansion by Isaac Merritt Singer.

Paignton's governance evolved over the centuries, transitioning from a parish governed by a vestry to being part of the unitary authority of Torbay, reflecting the administrative adaptations to its growing significance and population. The town's economy thrived on tourism, with attractions like Paignton Pier, the Dartmouth Steam Railway, and Paignton Zoo drawing visitors. The Torbay Air Show and Paignton Festival are contemporary celebrations that enrich the town's cultural landscape.

The town's beaches, including Paignton Beach and Preston Sands, are renowned for their accessibility and family-friendly nature, contributing to its appeal as a seaside resort. Sites like Saltern Cove highlight the area's geological significance, a testament to Paignton's diverse natural heritage.

Transportation developments, such as the establishment of Paignton railway station and connections to major cities, alongside the heritage Dartmouth Steam Railway, underline the town's continued relevance as a travel destination. The provision of bus, coach, and ferry services integrates Paignton within the broader transportation network of the South West, ensuring its accessibility and enduring appeal.

Paignton has produced some interesting figures, including television presenter and former professional tennis player Sue Barker, underscoring its contribution to England's broader cultural and sporting landscape. This seaside town, with its rich history, vibrant tourism economy, and comprehensive transport links, remains a testament to the enduring appeal of the English Riviera.

Paignton Beach

Paignton Beach is one of the bay's safest and most gently sloping beaches. At high spring tides and in stormy weather, it's worth watching the breakers roll in and wash against Paignton Pier, storming up to the beachhead.

However, it's mostly calm and collected, with plenty of soft sand at high tide. Low tide, especially spring tide, allows you to walk into Paignton Harbour. At these times and in the summer, you can see hundreds of people playing in the water or digging sandcastles. The beach running from Paignton Harbour, under the Pier, past the Redcliffe Hotel and onto Preston sands is well worth a walk and paddle!

Just behind the beach is the local Vue Cinema and several restaurants and shops down Torbay Road, which, in its heydey of the late 60’s and early 70’s, was one of the busiest streets in the UK.

Type – Sand
Access – Easy
Disabled – Easy access
Bus No – All services to Paignton Bus Station
Facilities—There is ample parking near Paignton beach. Dogs are banned in summer, swimming is safe with care, warning flags are in operation, life-saving equipment is available, a first aid post is available, a cafe/refreshments, a restaurant, a beach shop, deck chair/sunbed hire is available, a public telephone is available, and toilets are available near Paignton beach.

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