Walk - Paignton and Preston Seafront

1.2 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.

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.

Bay Esplanade Hotel

Overlooking Paignton Beach, close to the Pier. Traditional seaside stay on the English Riviera, a few minutes from the town centre with fabulous views of the bay from the hotel’s informal lounge and bar areas.

The Clifton at Paignton

Steve and Freda look forward to welcoming you to the Clifton, which is ideally located, just off the sea front. Around the corner from shops and stations. Within easy reach of Dartmoor.

The Haldon Guest House, Paignton

Situated 3 minutes walk from Paignton beach, pier and town centre, we are ideally located for exploring the beautiful English Riviera and beyond. Tasty breakfast and a sunny garden to enjoy a cream tea in.

Bay Torbay Hotel

Superb location close to marina, opposite the promenade where you can join the Coast Path. indoor swimming pool, two bars, cafe & snack bar, and lovely sun terrace.

Elberry Farm B&B, Broadsands

Uniquely situated just a few minutes from the Coast Path, this working farm offers you a home from home stay. Comfortable rooms with hospitality trays, TV all en suite. A hearty breakfast.  Our garden offers a peaceful haven.

Millbrook Guest House, Torquay

All rooms ensuite, wi-fi & on-site parking. Garden. Guest lounge with TV & conservatory. 800m flat level walk to the sea front.

Garway Lodge Guest House, Torquay

Adults Only,4 Star Silver Award Licenced Guest House. Single, Double and Twin rooms. Award winning breakfast available, including special diets.

Beacon House B&B,Brixham

Nestled in the harbour bowl of this historic fishing town, Beacon House commands breathtaking views of the inner harbour, marina and beyond the breakwater. A warm welcome awaits all walkers.

Driftwood B&B, Brixham

Welcome to the new contemporary-classic boutique B&B in the heart of Brixham harbour. In an elevated position, 250 yards from the South West Coast Path, Driftwood combines peace & quiet with stunning views.

Westbury Guest House, Brixham

A 14th century Georgian Guest House with great charm and character. Short level walk from the harbour, pubs and restaurants.

The Smugglers Haunt Hotel

This property is a 11-minute walk from the beach. Smugglers Haunt Hotel is a 300-year old building in the charming fishing town of Brixham.

Brixham House, Brixham

Friendly, licensed B&B. Renowned for fabulous breakfast choice. 10 minutes from Brixham Harbour.

Sea Tang Guesthouse, Brixham

Friendly, family run guest house located a few steps form the sea with beautiful views across Torbay.

Aveland House

Close to the Coast Path. All en-suite rooms,Free Wi Fi. See our website www.avelandhouse.co.uk for more details

Coastguard Cottage, Babbacombe

Small, cosy cottage accommodatioon with all rooms en-suite and with wifi.  Close to many amenities. A substantial breakfast is provided.07780661381 [email protected]

The Cary Arms & Spa

The Cary Arms & Spa “Inn on the Beach” exudes charm, style and comfort of a boutique hotel. Seaside English Heritage dining with chic rooms include dog-friendly accommodation.

Caravan at South Bay Holiday Park, Brixham

One spacious caravan @South Bay Holiday Park Brixham. Contact 01626 821221. Open 1 March →30 Nov.  Sleeps up to 8. All amenities on site. 5 mins from South West Coast Path.

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.

Terrace Cafe Bar at Living Coasts

Free entry for non-visitors. Come in anytime for family friendly, freshly prepared local food & drink with panoramic views over the Bay.

The Guardhouse Café, Berry Head

Stunning views, Napoleonic forts, rare wildlife and superb coastal walks – a visit to Berry Head has something for everyone (even before trying our fabulous food)

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.

Paignton Zoo

Over 2000 animals spread across 80 acres, you're in for a really wild time. Rain or shine, enjoy a fun-filled day out.

Living Coasts

Playful Penguins, Otters, Octopus, Seals and much more. Cafe with panoramic sea views- free for non-visitors

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 right 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 sea wall 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. 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 along Marine Parade and on across the grass towards Hollicombe Beach.

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.

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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