Enjoying Torquay without hitting the beach, by Lauren Heath
It was my birthday recently, and when asked ‘what would I like to do’, I thought the best option was something my 8-year-old son would really enjoy; after all, if the child is happy, it makes an easier life for us all doesn’t it?
Thankfully, the choice was fun for us adults too. During the summer, on a day off together, my son and husband had experienced the fun that Torquay beholds, without even stepping foot on the beach. It was a combination of the swimming pool at Riviera International Centre, and then a round of crazy golf next door.
So, birthday breakfast in bed out of the way (I know, lucky me!) off we went to Torquay. Tucked just behind Abbey Park, overlooking the seafront is the Riviera International Centre which houses a conference centre, health and fitness suite, Waves leisure pool and Aqua Lounge restaurant. There is a good amount of parking (cash only, £1 per hour), and what’s even nicer, is that thanks to the walking distance to the beach – you don’t have to move your car if you want to venture out after your visit.
Waves leisure pool
The pool is a great size, with a sloping floor, a corner of water toys with toddler slide and is heated to 30 degrees. I was dubious about how warm it would be, as in my experience (and I’m sure many would agree) the pools are never warm enough, but I was proved wrong, much to my delight. There is also a great water slide/flume and for 5 minutes every half an hour, there are waves! You may think 5 minutes doesn’t sound very long, but it’s plenty. Waves start from the deepest corner (1.8m) and roll their way forward to the front of the pool. You can lie back at the shallow end and enjoy the ebb and flow, or swim or sit on your float right at the deep end and enjoy the ride!
You are issued with wristbands in case of the need for a timed session at peak times, but it wasn’t too busy when we went so we chose to give in at around 2 hours (£13 for the 3 of us). It was time for lunch! After getting changed in the slightly dated, but sufficient changing rooms, we headed into the café bar called Aqua Lounge.
I was really surprised at how fresh looking it was, and my hubby and son had commented about the great food and portions from their last visit. There is a pirate-themed soft play in the corner for under 8’s, and even though I don’t have the need for it, I noticed the warming facilities for baby food and thought this was great. The seating is well spaced out and comfortable and there is even a terrace to sit out on and enjoy the views.
There was a great selection of kid’s meals, snacks, sharers, mains, cakes and Starbucks coffee to choose from. It all seemed very reasonably priced; we ordered my son some chicken nuggets from the children’s menu and hubby and I shared the spicy crab cakes and chilli cheese fries from the snacks menu. At £16 for all our food, I thought this was excellent value!
Jungle journey adventure golf
With content tummies, we dropped our swimming gear in the car and walked the 200 yards to our next activity, at Jungle Journey Adventure Golf.
A really fun, bright and well-designed 18 holes with a jungle theme kept us occupied for around an hour (£16 for the 3 of us). We then still had an hour left on our parking so we crossed the road and had a walk along the seafront.
All in all, we had a great 5 hours out including lunch for £50 for the 3 of us which I thought was great value (of course, I know that’s all relative as everyone’s budget differs). We tend to do a lot of free adventures like walking, cycling and so on, but this was a really nice day out, and one I certainly plan to do again!
About the Author: Lauren Heath
Lauren moved to Devon in 2012 with her husband and their son. She is an admin professional by day and food blogger by night – being co-editor for Dining Devon as well as a guest writer for Crumbs Magazine. She was delighted to have been one of Exeter’s 100 Most Influential Women in early 2018 and prides herself on her excellent ability to network and connect people.
Lauren loves Devon for the local food scene of course, but also the fact you can literally venture anywhere, coast or land, and as a family they enjoy bike rides and beach walks, even in the winter! She especially loves the water, as it is reminiscent of her childhood in Cape Town, South Africa.
Tags: crazy gold, Devon, devon days out, jungle journey adventure golf, Riviera International Centre, torquay, waves leisure pool