This year (2023) we've decided to open in December for the first time in a few years. Last year we felt out guests were missing out on all the amazing things happening for Christmas in Torbay as we were shut for our usual winter break. We usually close from the start of November and re-open for Valentines. From light shows to craft fayres, pantos to carol concerts, Christmas events and reindeer, we had it all here on the English Riviera.
We asked our guests if they’d be interested in coming to stay with us in December as a pre-Christmas treat. There was lots of interest, so we decided to go ahead and open for part of December.
We’re open from Friday 1st to Sunday 10th December 2023.
These dates are now live on our website to book. We will accept a one night booking mid-week but two nights minimum stay on a Saturday. For one night bookings a 50% deposit will be taken, for two or more nights, the first night will be taken.
If you're thinking of joining us, book soon as the limited number of rooms available are filling fast. Here's a few things you can look forward to:
Bay of Lights
This amazing spectacle was started last year as a joint venture between the local council and the English Riviera BID company who are responsible for promoting the English Riviera to the world (I'm a non-exec member of their board).
The walking trail starts at the historic Torre Abbey just a five minute walk from our door, and runs for over a mile and a half along the seafront, round the harbour and up the High Street. On route there are lit trees, lighting effects, a massive Christmas tree, light tunnels, music, stalls and much more.
After the success of last year, this year is planned to be bigger and better with twice as many lights! This is one not to be missed.
Why not enjoy a hot chocolate or winter cocktail in one of the bars overlooking the sea? Many bars serve mulled wine at Christmas time too. For Christmas in the country, walk a mile down the road to the thatched village of Cockington and sit by their roaring log fire to warm up. You could have festive afternoon tea at The Grand, The Imperial, Pierre Bistrot or Lincombe Hall (where you can also combine it with a spa visit). A lazy day with delicious food and lots of hot tea to keep you warm as you watch the world go by sounds like bliss and a nice relaxing time before the hectic Christmas period really kicks in. Catch the train (the station is only an 8 min walk from us) to Exeter, do some Christmas shopping in the town, explore their massive Christmas market, then finish with a tour of the stunning cathedral. Alternately Plymouth is good for shopping too. For something a little different (no chain shops) try Totnes or Cockington.
Exclusive to Devon, you can take the Train of Lights (a steam train covered in fairy lights with festive lighting along the route). This is not to be missed and it's essential you book ahead. It's the Dartmouth Steam Railway which runs from Paignton (a ten minute drive or one stop on the main line train from Torquay) over to Kingswear (which is across the water from Dartmouth). We will decorate The 25 beautifully for Christmas – as you would expect. I have colour themed Christmas trees - those that know me and have visited before will not be surprised - after all, we colour co-ordinate our pens and even our coffee makers to the room colours! I'll also bake some delicious Christmas themed daily treats for the bedrooms. I think Julian is looking forward to being chief taste tester. Brixham, the nearby fishing village has a lantern parade every year (date to be confirmed) so there's another thing to do - are you wondering if you should be staying for a whole week to fit everything in? Torre Abbey is our closest tourist attraction and well worth a visit at any time of the year (just a 5 min walk from The 25 Boutique B&B). They usually run Christmas themed courses such as wreath making, as do Cockington Court Craft Centre. Torre Abbey also had a Winter Fest in the Spanish Barn in 2022 with local crafts people and a whole variety of lovely presents and decorations to purchase. No doubt they will do something similar again this year.
Cockington (the local thatched village a mile away) is a great place for a wintery walk as there are several paths, ponds, a woodland and an interesting church to pop into. Pick up unique handmade presents at their craft centre or just watch the glass blower or blacksmith at work. As already mentioned, you can enjoy a mulled wine by the fire at The Drum Inn afterwards - you deserve it after a morning of shopping!
There will be no leaves on the trees at that time of the year, so if you walk part of the South West Coast Path, you’ll find the views out to sea are clearer than in the summer. Get onto the path in Torquay harbour, or walk towards Paignton to join the path in the opposite direction. Why not catch a bus or train further out then walk back along the path to Torquay? I have previous blogs on the South West Coastal Path walks and walks we've enjoyed.
It’s an ideal time of the year to cozy up in an evening in your luxury bedroom with a bottle of wine from the honesty bar (or a drink from your complimentary minibar in the room if you've joined our VIP Guest Scheme) and watch a film on Netflix on your Smart TV.
We have several thriving local theatres, so there’s bound to be something to watch, like a Christmas variety show at Babbacombe Theatre, or a pantomime at the Princess Theatre in Torquay or the Palace Theatre in Paignton. There were plenty of shows to choose from last December.
Carols in the caves at Kents Cavern is fairly unique. These historic caves make a very special backdrop for a Christmas carol concert.
Babbacombe Model Village have evening illuminations to visit. They celebrate their 60th anniversary of opening this year and are well worth visiting even in the daytime.
So there you have it, absolutely loads of things to do in Torquay in the run up to Christmas. A great start to your celebrations and an opportunity to buy lots of Christmas presents. Book up a room at The 25 now between 1st and 10th December 2023.
(All the above are subject to availability in December, we can’t guarantee every attraction will offer the same in 2023 as they did in 2022 - please check individual websites for details as they become available).