Paignton in Torbay ©Solange Hando
Paignton is all you would expect from a traditional seaside resort, fine sands, a pier and a lovely little marina, at its best when the tide is in.
In the rolling hills of southern Devon, Paignton has plenty of flat land, appreciated by families and seniors, and a quaint Victorian shopping arcade with an old bus shelter to match and tall façades across the green.
Paignton for Families ©Solange Hando
Playground, amusements, lawns to run around, picnic tables and plenty of affordable eating venues, there's lots to keep the little ones happy besides the sea.
Torquay, Queen of the English Riviera ©Solange Hando
Just around the bay to the north,Torquay is different, hilly, slightly upmarket with its seafront promenade, its pier to breathe in the sea air and a vast beach which all but disappears at high tide.
There's a pleasant marina with a lifting pedestrian bridge, cliffside gardens and a waterfront park where you will find the Princess Theatre and the Big Wheel,offering superb views of the bay, all the way to the cliffs at the southern end glowing red and gold in the sunset.
Cockington near Torquay ©Solange Hando
A short drive up a hill above Torquay, this small thatched village is truly delightful, even though most of its colourful cottages are now tea rooms or craft shops. It's a picture postcard sort of place and probably at its best when the crowds have left.
You will find a watermill, a thatched forge and a mansion set in parklands twittering with birds. Next to the mansion are a rose garden and a craft centre where in the former stables, you can watch blacksmiths, glassblowers and other artisans at work.
Goodrington Sands ©Solange Hando
South of Paignton over a panoramic headland, you reach the colourful sands of Goodrington fringed by exotic cliff gardens and red rocks.
It's a great place to paddle, build castles or look for devil crab or pipe fish in the rock pools. Most commercial outlets are set well back from the beach and only the whistle of the steam train breaks the peace now and then on its way to Kingswear.
Beach Huts, Goodrington ©Solange Hando
Goodrington likes to be on the wild side but Goodrington loves colour, red sand and rocks, gardens in all shades of green and pristine beach huts in pastel colours neatly tucked below the cliff.
They lend Goodrington that special little touch which lingers in your mind long after you have left.
Brixham may come last on the English Riviera coast but you can't beat it for charm, scenery and character. See the fishing harbour packed with crab and lobster pots, the long breakwater sheltering a glistening marina, the picturesque lanes climbing up the hill and right by the quay the statue of William of Orange and the replica (above) of the Golden Hind.
Beyond Brixham harbour, a trail leads up through the woods to Berry Head, a windswept headland with superb views of Torbay and the red cliffs to the north and to the south the ever meandering limestone cliffs, the wild meadows and rocks and islands sprinkled into the sea.