Things to do in Paignton
The town of Paignton is a coastal gem nestling around 30 miles from our Devon Cliffs Holiday Park on the English Riviera. Offering everything from giraffes to water slides, Paignton promises a busy and varied itinerary.
If you're shortlisting things to do in Paignton, we’ve picked out the highlights!
Top of the list for energetic families is Paignton’s epic waterpark Paignton – Splashdown Quaywest. It’s a large, outdoor facility open during the summer months with nine separate waterslides ranging in intensity from a 65ft near-vertical drop to a lazy, winding 130m inflatable tyre slide.
If adrenaline isn’t for you, there’s a 20-metre pool for more relaxed swimming and a beach and snack shop to browse. But we bet you’ll be tempted to try at least one fantastic flume!
A fantastic mid-sized zoo, Paignton houses over 2000 animals across an 80-acre site and it recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.
From slithering snakes to towering giraffes, this enchanting animal kingdom blends awe and conservation, as its fascinating exhibits explain. Animal highlights include their African lions, giant tortoise, meerkats, red panda, and unpredictable orangutans!
You can even book a junior zookeeper experience, or a chance to meet their rare and surprisingly gentle rhino.
No trip to an English seaside town is complete without checking out the beach and here, Paignton delivers! With its sandy bay with safe swimming facilities, fun-filled pier, plentiful parking, toilets and changing facilities, you have everything you need for a relaxing day on the sands.
There are nearby cafes and restaurants, plus places to hire paddleboards, or book a pleasure boat cruise. Carve out a day in your itinerary for this award-winning beach.
Pirates Bay Adventure Golf
Pirates Bay Adventure Golf have spared no expense in creating a wonderful, elaborate, and challenging course, with plenty of surprises.
With its pirate theme, submerged galleons, water features and twisty-turny holes, this is a firm family favourite. You’ll find it right by the beach and esplanade.
Dartmouth Steam Railway
All aboard! Embark on a nostalgic train ride that whistles through a 6.7-mile scenic route between Paignton and Kingswear on the River Dart, offering breathtaking views of the English Riviera. The company also offer a small ferry over the Dart to Dartmouth, another local town well worth a visit.
The engines include the 1924 Goliath and a 1943 American Omaha freight locomotive. The observation carriage is an elegant 1940s Pullman, offering something for both train and scenery enthusiasts.
If you want another opportunity to tire out the tots, Paignton’s Geoplay Park is a must.
This geologically themed park has rides, rocks to clamber, slides, spinners and more. Like many of the best child-friendly attractions in the town, you’ll find it on the seafront.
Also top of the list of things to do in Paignton is a trip to the historic pier, opened in 1879.
Featuring arcades, rides, and the soothing sound of the ocean all around, a stroll along the pier offers something for everyone. Grab some fish and chips and settle on a bench to watch the waves (just watch out for those chip-stealing seagulls!)
Alternatively, ride the helter-skelter or exercise the little ones at the play park. There’s a fantastic view from the end of the pier too.
If the weather gods are kind, here’s a perfect place to spend a day. This clifftop garden overlooking Goodrington Sands offers a tranquil respite from city hustle. Just a mile’s walk from Paignton’s North Quay, the park offers spectacular views, layered red cliffs and picturesque pines and sycamores.
If the skies are clear, you can see across Lyme Bay to Portland, or watch waves crashing dramatically against the cliffs.
Torbay Leisure Centre
British summertime can sometimes fail to deliver the sunshine, so when it pours, here’s a handy and entertaining refuge.
Dive into indoor pools or flex those muscles in the gym. Only a 10-minute drive south from the centre of Paignton, this indoor facility offers a gym, swimming pool, cycle park, badminton, basketball and much more.
The pool alone is worth a trip, at 25m with two fast lanes for those seeking to get the lengths in. There are aqua classes and swimming lessons too, for all ages. It's the ideal antidote to gloomy skies.
There aren’t many medieval houses as well-preserved as Kirkham, managed by English Heritage. It’s a fascinating place, full of rustic charm and surprise. Situated in the heart of town, the house was built over 500 years ago, when Paignton was little more than a tiny village.
Inside you’ll find Tudor style interiors, a decorous parlour, a spacious hall, and a comfy bedrooms upstairs. The house has been tastefully and accurately restored and gives a real insight into how medieval merchants might have lived.
Explore creatures closer to home in this fun petting zoo and working farm, which includes goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, Shetland ponies and donkeys. Make sure you check out their extensive schedule of grooming and pampering experiences.
As well as the animals, there are walking trails, an excellent farm deli and café and a range of scheduled events including their harvest weekend, in which you can pick apples and meet local growers.
Unearth marine marvels and engage in seaside activities in this facility dedicated to the coastal life. This aquatic hub is the perfect place to book a sunset kayak trip or a rockpooling or snorkelling session.
Learn more about coastal conservation while getting up close with seaside flora and fauna. The Centre is open between April and September, and you’ll find it right by Splashdown Waterpark.