Paignton is part of Torbay on what is known as the English Riviera. It is a family resort with a harbour, long beaches and parks. The town has grown considerably since becoming a Victorian resort. There is a new cinema complex on the Green next to the theatre on the sea front and lots of clubs and pubs, many with music. It offers a wealth of all sorts of accommodation, cafés and restaurants.Kirkham House may have been the home of a priest in the 14th century. Perhaps the most interesting building in the town is Oldway, an opulent mansion built in 1874 by Isaac Singer of the sewing machine family. Apparently some of the features were copied from Versailles! Goodrington Sands and Quaywest Water Park, on the coast road towards Brixham, or to Preston Sands in the Torquay direction.
Compton Castle, a National Trust property, lies just outside Paignton. It is a fortified manor house with a ghost. The house was originally the home of seafarer Sir Humphrey Gilbert (1539-1583) who colonised Newfoundland. Sir Humphrey was the half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh. Compton was occupied by his ancestors until it was given to the national Trust in 1951. Another interesting building is the ruin of Berry Pomeroy Castle, probably dating from the 14th century. This is an extremely atmospheric place, surrounded by lovely woods.
Perhaps one of the most popular attractions of the area is Paignton Zoo on the Totnes Road from Paignton. This is a much improved modern zoo worth visiting. In addition to the animals there are a lakeside train, displays and a shop.