Home / Paignton


Paignton is the traditional bucket-and-spade resort complete with whelk stalls, deck chairs for hire and wooden changing huts. Its highly accessible Paignton Sands , backed by a grand swathe of lawn is ideal for families .During the summer months life revolves around the seafront, which comes alive with all the holiday fun.


Paignton occupies the central third of Torbay. It offers unrivalled stretches of golden sandy beaches and secluded coves making it the perfect holiday destination.
Most of the town is level with the seafront and its sandy beaches, pier, harbour and theatres all within easy reach.
During the summer months Paignton Green hosts endless festivals and fairs, regattas and family days, including the hugely popular Chidren`s Festival in August.


Paignton and its marine heritage go back a long way. Further back than the Domesday book in fact. Entered into the famous book in 1086 as Peinton, it confers an ancient heritage on the then village which was believed to have been established around 700AD.


The town’s name has also been spelled as Peynton and Paington and is derived from Paega’s town, the name of the original Celtic settlement. Paignton continued as a small fishing village until the 19th century, which is when its modern name was adopted.




A naval Hospital was built at Goodrington to care for casualties of the Napoleonic Wars. The memorial stone of Major Thomas Hill, killed in 1815, is a reminder of the 300 war dead said to be buried nearby.


At the beginning of the 19th century Paignton was famed for growing cabbages and the inhabitants were cruelly nicknamed `flat-polls`, after a well known local variety of cabbage. The population of the town numbered 1,575, almost double that of Torquay, but whilst their neighbour quickly provided amenties to change from a fishing hamlet into a popular seaside resort, Paignton did not follow suit until after the arrival of the railroad in 1859.


The Paignton Pudding


In order to mark the arrival of the railway into Paignton in 1859, the bakers of Paignton created a pudding to mark the occasion. Using 573 lbs of flour, 191 lbs of bread, 382 lbs of sugar, 382 lbs of raisins, 191 lbs of currants, 382 lbs of suet, 320 lemons, 144 nutmegs, 95 lbs of sugar, 720 pints of milk and innumerable eggs, these ingredients were mixed together to make a pudding which weighed a tonne and a half.
On the day it was intended to be eaten, it was paraded through the town before the celebratory dinner to which only special guests had been invited. When it was time to cut the pudding the local people broke through and started to help themselves. Five policemen had to be called in to restore order, and by the time the air had cleared, the pudding had been entirely consumed
A new Paignton pudding was baked in 1968 to celebrate the town`s charter and another was baked in 2006 to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.




The Wigwam’ was built at Oldway for Isaac Merritt Singer (of sewing machine fame). By 1907 the mansion had been transformed by Isaac’s son, Paris, who made major structural alterations and incorporated French and Italian designs into the building. Oldway Mansion was bought by Paignton UDC in 1946 and now houses offices of Torbay Council and is also a popular marriage venue.


The development of the seafront got underway in 1867 when landowner Mr Maclean made a gift of Polsham Green to the town. In return, he was assured that sea-defences would be put in place to prevent high tides from flooding the area.


Local architect George Soudon Bridgman was engaged to design the sea wall along Paignton Beach.


The grounds of the green were then laid out for holidaymakers, mingling with the sheep, who enjoyed grazing rights until 1908.


Mr McLean sold other land for dvelopment. Soon handsome villas and terraces of houses sprang up as more and more people wanted to make their home in the town.


George Soudon Bridgman continued to play an important role and among his achievements was the building of Oldway Mansion and Paignton Pier. For his contribution to the development of the town he became known as `The Father of Paignton`.


By 1891 the population topped 6,000. Marshland at Preston and Goodrington had been tranformed into pleasure grounds and beaches which were the envy of many other seaside towns. Cabbage patches were a thing of the past as Paignton emerged as a holiday resort and was now labelled `The Town of Golden Sands`. 

Herbert Whitley – the founder of Paignton Zoo – opened his own Zoological Gardens at Primley. During the Second World War ‘evacuees’ arrived from Chessington Zoo!

Paignton Pier

The pier epitomises the traditional seaside holiday. It is set in the popular long sandy beach of Paignton Sands. The historic iron structure boasts some of the best views of Torbay, and houses numerous amusement arcades, childrens rides, prize bingo and much more.

The pier was orignally opened to the public in 1879 and has seen many improvements over the years. It was once the home to many forms of entertainment, including singing, dancing, recitals, music hall and Gilbert and Sullivan`s famous comic opera, HMS Pinafore. Today there is fun to be had for all the family, all year round what ever the weather. 

Paignton pier is the third longest in the uk

The Seashore Centre ( Tanners Road, Goodrington, Paignton)

The seashore Centre is the focus for marina biodiversity and education work by Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust. Situated adjacent to Goodrington Sands, the building houses a mine of information about the English Riviera`s coastal delights. The centre offers a great way for children to learn about the natural wonders of the area, rock pools, plankton and dolphin sightings with interactive technology bringing the underwater world to life