At the heart of the English Riviera, Torquay has a very mild climate, and this encourages exotic plants and even palm trees.
The town developed as a resort from the late 18th century, being originally colonised by wives of naval officers.
The Pavilion, on the harbour, was built in 1911, while the 1961 Princess Theatre, features concerts and Summer shows.
Torre Abbey dates back to the 14th century, and has a gatehouse of that period. The rest was converted into a house in the 18th century, and now houses a museum and art gallery. The Spanish Barn was so named because it housed Spanish prisoners captured from the Armada.
Kent's Cavern was the home of prehistoric man, whose bones have been discovered along those of animals now extinct.
St. John's Church was built by G. E. Street in 1871, and features windows and murals by Edward Burne-Jones.
Among those born at Torquay are Richard Burton, first European to discover Lake Tanganyika; Agatha Christie, crime novelist; Peter Cook, actor and satirist; and Percy Fawcett, the explorer who was lost in the Amazon rainforest.
Sean O'Casey died at a Torquay nusing home.
Torquay was the setting for the BBC TV series "Fawlty Towers", starring JOhn Cleese.