On my jaunt to Torquay, I stumbled across Torre Abbey, an ancient abbey founded in 1196 that was transferred into private hands when it was dissolved in 1539 on Henry VIII’s orders during the reformation. Split across multiple levels, the Abbey is now a museum that charts the history of the Abbey and its former owners. It’s also home to numerous works of art. One of the highlights of the Abbey is the interactive top floor gallery that takes visitors on a journey through the ages to discover how the Abbey has changed hands over the centuries and the various roles the Abbey has played in local history. There’s lots to see and do, and the touchscreen displays are excellent. I was really impressed, it’s by far one of the best interactive museum displays I’ve come across recently.
Outside you can amble around the cloisters and the ruined parts of the Abbey, and enjoy some beautiful gardens.The Agatha Christie poison garden is particularly good fun as it’s home to a variety of plants that were used as murder weapons in the great crime novelist’s books. It’s an interesting and playful tribute to the grand dame of crime, who was born in Torquay in 1890 and set many of her novels in Devon, and I never would have guessed that these seemingly innocuous looking plants could have such deadly results. Torre Abbey also has a small cafe, which sells the usual fare such as soups, sandwiches, quiches and cakes.
Torre Abbey Historic House and Gallery, The King’s Drive, Torquay, TQ2 5JE
Open 10am-5pm, seven days a week
Adults £7.50, Seniors £6.25, Children (3-15yrs) £3