With its sweeping views across the bay, the impressive half-moon curve of Torquay’s most iconic terrace attracted the rich and famous during the resort’s Victorian heyday, writes Rosanna Rothery
Victorian visitors to Torquay didn’t just stay for a fortnight in the summer or bag a bargain break in winter. They arrived with servants and coachmen (sometimes even their own furniture) and bedded in for a season of bathing and socialising on the English Riviera.
No doubt the most well-to-do of these families would have rented villas in Torbay’s elegant Hesketh Crescent which houses the Osborne Hotel. Two such notable visitors drawn by the terrace’s arresting Regency architecture were Darwin and Brunel.
VISIT for the building’s majestic clifftop facade. Close your eyes and you can imagine the rumble of carriages drawing up as Victorian families entertained each other at soirees, dinner parties and dances.
Step inside and you’ll discover The Crescent restaurant offering a crowd-pleasing menu of traditional seaside fare like fish and chips and sausage and mash alongside luxuries such as chateaubriand steak.
This something-for-all-the-family approach extends to the grill where steaks, chops, chicken breast and lamb rump can be customised with your choice of potatoes, veg and sauce. Burgers, too, are DIY: pimp them with cheese, sauces and extras.
DON’T VISIT visit for a funky vibe. Expect classic seaside sustenance served in pleasant traditional surroundings at Osborne Hotel, including a small bar area for a cosy pre-dinner cocktail.
WE LIKED the beautiful six acres of landscaped gardens which stretch down (amid the bay’s signature palm trees of course) to Meadfoot Beach. Go for a wander to make the most of panoramic sea vistas which take in Thatcher’s and East Shag rocks.