Walk - Paignton and Preston Seafront

1.3 miles (2.0 km)

Roundham car park, Paignton - TQ4 6DH Hollicombe Beach

Easy - Wide, smooth tarmac paths throughout, with no gradients.

A short wheelchair-friendly route along Paignton's Victorian esplanade, where there are fossils in the sea wall, and the pier and the two seafront greens still provide an assortment of traditional seaside entertainments. 

There is disabled access to Hollicombe Beach by means of a slipway. Dogs are banned here in the summer but there is a dog exercise area in Hollicombe Gardens.

To download our Access guide, click here where you can find additional mapping and photographs showing gradients, path surfaces and other detailed information such as parking and toilet provision.

Checked by SWCPA Volunteer Tino Savvas - July 2018

There are a range of wonderful places to lay your head near the Coast Path for a well-earned sleep. From large and luxurious hotels, to small and personable B&B's, as well as self-catering options and campsites. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Earlston House Hotel

A 9 room dog friendly B&B with excellent reviews, super views, very close to the South West Coast Path and a large hot tub to relax in.

Mercure Paignton

Experience the true English Riviera at Mercure Paignton Hotel, a seaside haven on Paignton seafront, your gateway to Devon's stunning coast and countryside. Enjoy sea-view rooms and unforgettable experiences.

Roadtrip Tavern

I have a loft space that is divided into 4 separate pods and is open plan like a dormitory and is specifically for SWCP Walkers.

The 25 Boutique B&B

Funky 5-star adult-only boutique B&B, (twice named “Best B&B in the World”) located in easy walking distance of the coast path, restaurants, tourist attractions & harbour

Haytor Hotel

Elegant and welcoming Victorian villa, offering delicious breakfasts, a peaceful night's sleep. 4 mins walks from harbour and beach.

The Cimon

The Cimon, a gorgeous Victorian villa, a few minutes walk from the Coastal Path, restaurants and attractions. Muddy boots welcome. Seasonal outdoor heated pool & bar.

Garway Lodge Guest House

Enjoy a 4 Star Award-Winning guest house bed & breakfast. Situated in Torquay. Early Breakfasts are available upon request.

The Osborne Apartments

Luxury self catering apartments nestled in the heart of the English Riviera with stunning sea views.

Berry Head Hotel Ltd

AA 4 star Hotel & Apartments with stunning sea views at the waters edge. Bistro & Restaurant, Indoor Pool on the Coastal Path.

Coastguard Cottage

Small, cosy cottage accommodatioon with all rooms en-suite and with wifi. Close to many amenities. A substantial breakfast is provided.

Rooms At Babbacombe

Rooms At Babbacombe offers stylish room only and B&B accommodation, as well as a stunning self-contained, self-catering holiday cottage.

Castle Retreats

Castle Annexe offers super-king or twin beds in a cosy, one dog friendly setting, nestled within historic St Marychurch.

Sea Breeze Guest House

We are a Bed and Breakfast with views across Babbacombe Downs and the Jurassic coast. We offer large ensuite rooms, fabulous breakfasts and refreshments on our terrace.

South Bay Holiday Park

Set above the bustling town of Brixham, this lively holiday park has an action packed entertainment programme & childrens' adventure playground. Direct path to the delightful St Mary's Cove and the SW Coast Path. Range of chalets and caravans.

Parkdean Resorts Torquay Holiday Park

Just 15 minutes’ drive from the waterfront, Torquay Holiday Park has the perfect mix of on-park activities and accommodation choices .

You'll be spoilt for choice for where to eat and drink along the Path. With lots of local seasonal food on offer, fresh from the farm, field and waters. Try our local ales, ciders, wines and spirits, increasing in variety by the year, as you sit in a cosy pub, fine dining restaurant or chilled café on the beach. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Harbour Light

Light-filled, rustic tavern with a terrace offering bay views, plus a menu of pub classics.

The Guardhouse Cafe

Home-made seasonal food, cream teas and delicious coffee, all served with a smile and stunning views from our cliff-top Napoleonic Fortress. Open all year.

Three Degrees West

Three Degrees West is a daytime cafe & takeaway on the stunning Oddicombe Beach in Babbacombe on the outskirts of Torquay. Inside & outside dining right beside the sea.

What is on your list of things to do when you visit the Path? From walking companies, to help you tailor your visit, with itineraries and experts to enhance your visit, to baggage transfer companies and visitor attractions there are lots to people and places to help you decide what you'd like to do. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

English Riviera Tourist Information Centre

Find all the information you need about accommodation, things to do and places to go to enjoy your visit to the English Riviera.

Shoalstone Seawater Pool

Shoalstone Seawater Pool is a great place to swim and paddle, and picnic on the green looking across the Bay. Shoals Café serves breakfasts, lunches and evening meals.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From Roundham car park return to Cliff Road and turn right to walk to Roundham Road. Turn right here and carry on past the harbour to the roundabout.

Paignton's early origins were Celtic, and the Anglo-Saxon settlement that followed was known as Paega's Town. It was first documented in the 1086 Domesday Book and in 1294 it was granted a fair and market charter, giving it borough status. After the 1837 Harbour Act the small fishing village became known as Paignton, and the harbour was duly built the following year.

The railway arrived in 1859, linking Paignton with Torquay and London and bringing it a new popularity as a tourist resort. The opening of the railway was celebrated with a 'Paignton Pudding', a traditional festive fare first made in the thirteenth century, and the origin of the nickname for Paignton's population - 'Pudden Eaters'. These enormous puddings were so rarely made that a huge crowd turned up to eat it, triggering minor riots.

In 1911 Torquay's electric street trams were extended into Paignton, but they closed in 1934.

  1. Turn immediately right again by the Paignton Club to walk straight ahead to the seafront, turning left onto the South West Coast Path to follow it along beside the sea wall.

The Paignton Club opened in 1885 as a Gentlemens' Club. In its early days, the nearby Torbay Inn provided refreshment for the sailors who moored up on the beach. The inn was linked with the town by means of a causeway running across the marsh where Torbay Road was later constructed. It later became a gentleman's residence known as Torbay House, but it was demolished when the green was created.

The seawall was built in 1866, using blocks of local 'breccia' stone. 'Breccia' means 'rubble', and this red sandstone was formed from gravels and sands eroded from high mountains in a desert landscape in the Permian period, some 250-300 million years ago. Flash flooding swept chunks of limestone through, and as the sandstone was compressed into rocks, angular chunks, or 'clasts', of limestone were embedded in it. In some of the breccia blocks in the sea wall, you can pick out fossils in the limestone.

The promenade and the green were created after the sea wall. Locals were encouraged to help with the construction by being given sand in exchange for barrowloads of soil from their gardens.

Paignton Pier was built between 1878 and 1879, having been commissioned by local barrister Arthur Hyde Denby. He had originally bought Teignmouth Pier to relocate it here, but when that proved impossible he commissioned a new pier, constructed of cast iron girders and columns, with a grand pavilion at the seaward end. Entertainment in the pavilion included the famous 'HMS Pinafore on the Water' adaptation of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera. The pier-head and pavilion were burnt down in 1919, and restoration work was carried out in 1980-1 and again in 1995. In November 2013 the pier was advertised for sale with a price tag of £2m.

  1. When the path curves left at the end of Paignton Green, bear right on Marine Drive, following the Coast Path to the right again in front of Preston Green, by the zebra crossing. At the seafront, turn left on the Coast Path to continue along the Promenade.

Beside Preston Green, the Redcliffe Hotel was a private mansion, built in 1956 by Colonel Robert Smith, a field engineer in the Bengal Division of the Indian Army. He designed it himself in a style that would remind him of his days in the Punjab, and the house became known as 'Smith's Folly'. It was later bought by Oldham's Singer estate, who built Preston's sea wall in 1876.

  1. Reaching Marine Parade, follow the Coast Path behind the beach huts (beach huts are in situ April-October) along Marine Parade and turn left up the steps and across the grass towards Hollicombe Beach. For wheelchair access, a path is situated a little further along the pavement on the left.
As Paignton's popularity grew following the arrival of the railway, it expanded to merge with Preston to the north and Goodrington to the south. For three years Preston had its own railway station, Preston Platform - the only halt ever built between the Torquay and Paignton railway stations. Like the trams, it arrived in 1911, but it had closed again by 1914.
  1. At Hollicombe the Coast Path crosses the railway bridge and goes on its way towards Torquay. Turn back here and retrace your steps to Cliff Road car park or follow the road round to Paignton Harbour.

For disabled access to Hollicombe Beach follow the Coast Path over the railway bridge turning right into Hollicombe Park and then bear right in the park through the tunnel under the railway to the beach via the slipway. Non-wheelchair access to the beach is straight ahead down the incline, keeping the railway to your left.

Public transport

There are frequent buses to Paignton, stopping at the seafront. For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.



Paignton Harbour (Postcode for Sat Navs: TQ4 6DH).


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