Torre AbbeyTorquay 
Historic House & Gallery
The King’s Drive
Devon TQ2 5IE 
 
 
 
Medieval Torre Abbey is the oldest building in Torquay. In 1196 six Norbertine Catholic Canons arrived from Nottingham and set up a foundation to look after the Christian needs of the community.  Torre grew into the largest and wealthiest monastery in Devon and Cornwall.
 
As visitors explore the refectory, cloisters and other monastic buildings exposed during the recent restoration, they get a good idea of what 12th century life was like for the Cannons following the austere and strict rule of St Augustine.
 
Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII, the Tithe Barn was used to house prisoners captured during the defeat of The Spanish Armada.  It is reputedly haunted by an unhappy Spanish spirit. See article titled The Spanish Lady in this website.
 
Cary Family purchase in 1662
In 1662 the wealthy Cary Family bought the property and turned one of the monastic buildings in to a family home.  The house has a Georgian façade and Georgian interiors but the internal fabric of the building is medieval.  The Carys turned the monastic vegetable and herb gardens into floral beds to provide flowers for decorating their home.  The family was renowned for its hospitality and for 300 years the house was the social centre of Torquay.
 
Local Government purchased the Abbey in 1930
The local government purchased Torre Abbey in 1930 and turned the Georgian house into a public art gallery.  The complex has remained a favourite visitor attraction since.
 
Centrepiece of the art collection is works by Victorian sculptor Frederick Thrupp.  The Pre-Raphaelite painters Holman Hunt and Burne-Jones are well represented. Crime novelist Agatha Christie was a frequent visitor and there is a room in the Gallery devoted to her, furnished with memorabilia loaned by the family.
 
For the modern visitor, Torre Abbey provides a fascinating tour through 800 years of history.
 
Plan Your Visit
Accommodation - Search & Book through Booking.com here:   External Link

 

 
Opening Times & Admission Costs
Open all year – go to Abbey website for exact details  Web:  Visiting Torre Abbey    External Link
Admission Costs include guided tours (subject to availability).
 
Disabled Access
There is level access to the undercrofts, visitor entrance and cafe and ample disabled toilets. A new glass lift takes visitors to most other areas of the attraction including the galleries. Again go to official website for details  Web:  Torre Abbey Disabled Access    External Link
 
Facilities
Café and Gift Shop
The café is located in the old Cary house kitchen.  It can be visited without being admitted to Torre abbey itself. For details refer 'Visiting Torre Abbey' link above.
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone   +44 (0)1803 293 593
Mail   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website   Torre Abbey    External Link
 
Getting There
- By Car
Torre Abbey is 10 minutes drive from most areas of Torquay, 20 minutes from Paignton and 50 minutes from Plymouth and Exeter, depending on the season of the year.
 
- By Car From Exeter and the east
From Exeter and the east, follow signs for Torquay A380, then Torquay Seafront A3022. You will arrive at a 5 roads junction with the gates to the Abbey ahead of you. There is no parking in the grounds but you can take 2nd exit, Chestnut Avenue for parking at the front of the Riviera International Centre OR sharp right, Walnut Road for Torre Valley car park. Both are just 2 minutes walk from the Abbey and are 'Pay and Display'.
 
- By Car From Babbacombe, Paignton and other areas of Torbay
Follow the seafront and turn into Rathmore Road, immediately next to the Grand Hotel. Follow this road with the station on you left and you will reach the five roads junction – sharp left for Walnut Road, Torre Valley car park and straight across for Chestnut Avenue, Riviera Centre car park.
 
- By Mainline Rail
Torre Abbey is 10 minutes walk from Torquay Rail Station (not Torre Rail Station). From the station head NE along the seafront then approach the Abbey along The King’s Drive.
 
- By Bus
The Abbey is 5 minutes walk from all seafront bus routes.
 
Google Maps - Torre Abbey Historic House and Gallery