Although it’s always been one of the country’s most popular places to come on holiday, it’s changed massively through the years. Luckily, there’s an amazing Facebook page called Torquay in Pictures that has a huge amount of historic photos of this town we love. We definitely recommend following their page to get regular updates of amazing Torquay history.

Here’s a selection of 20 beautiful images from Torquay’s past.

Vane Hill and Environs Torquay

The above photo is of Vane Hill & environs, 1900’s. Here is a beautiful turn-of-the-century coloured picture looking towards Vane Hill when adorned with Victorian villas and an inner harbour full of small boats. A charming and characterful town.

The Regal Cinema in the late 30’s. This night time picture captured from Castle Circus 80 years ago shows one of the town’s most beautiful art deco buildings, the Regal, opened in 1933 and later taken over by ABC. It’s since been replaced by the Job Centre.

Fleet Street Torquay 1980s

A snapshot of Fleet Street, 1980’s. Here is a colourful picture of lower Fleet Street in the pre-Fleet Walk era.

Torquay Union Street 1900s

Union Street in the 1900’s.

Rock Walk Torquay 60's

This idyllic paradise could be a Caribbean Island, but instead it’s Torquay’s Rock Walk in the 1960’s.

Hole in Wall Torquay

Torquay’s oldest pub, the Hole in Wall, then and now.

1961 Austin in Torquay

A60 Austin in Torquay in 1961. Both the car and the resort were the heigh of style and chic in the 60’s. Some would say they still are! 

Torquay Advertisement 1927

Advertising Torquay, 1927. Here is the front cover of the official guide for our town 90 years ago. The twenties were quite a glorious time for Torquay, an era which saw the town transformed into a summer seaside resort. Numerous hotels like the Palm Court were created this decade, as were new public attractions like Abbey Park and new entertainment facilities like the Marine Spa Ballroom. This cover by William Sennet captures the glamour and sophistication for which Torquay was renowned at that time.

Beacon Cove Spa 1920s

Beacon Cove from the Spa, 1920’s. This charming coloured photograph of beautiful Beacon Cove as seen from the Marine Spa was taken shortly after the Cove’s café opened.

Beacon Hill torquay 1850s

The view from Beacon Hill in the 1850’s. 

Torquay Arcade 80s

Inside Torquay arcades in the 1980’s. The arcades are still there but most of the machines aren’t.

Outside Torquay Arcades 80s

And this is a photo of outside the arcades in the 80’s. Piggy’s Take Away has now been replaced with more arcades!

Cockington Torquay in the 1950s

An amazing photo of a very green Cockington in the 1950’s. Luckily it hasn’t changed too much since.

Palk Arms, Torquay

The Palk Arms, Fore Street in the 1950’s. Sadly, like many pubs that were staples of the community, the Palk Arms has since been converted into residential property.

An amazing Summer night on Torquay Harbour in 1967. A beautiful evening is lit up by fairy lights.

Abbey Crescent 1920's

Abbey Crescent from Rock Walk in the 1920’s. Charming colour image from Torquay before World War 2.

Waldon Hill 1960's Torquay

Looking across Waldon Hill in the 1960’s.


The Imperial Hotel, 1910’s. Here is an early 20th century attempt to capture our town’s greatest hotel in colour, soon to become the first five-star hotel in the country outside London. Those who never saw the building before massive exterior alterations in the 1960’s may be interested to see the original facade as it appears here.


The glamorous Pavilion Theatre in the 60’s. 


Meadfoot Beach and The Osborne Hotel, 1960’s. This gorgeous picture is another recent find, and captures a busy meadfoot on a scorching sixties’ summer day. Hesketh Crescent which includes the Osborne still looks much the same to this day, and is one of the finest examples of regency architecture in the country.

We’re sure you’ll love these photos as much as we did. Head over to the amazing Torquay in Pictures on Facebook for many, many more plus some really interesting commentary around each image.

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