Paignton, together with Torquay and Brixham which are equally popular with visitors, is part of the Torbay area. The town goes back to a Celtic settlement from 11th century and developed from a small fishing village to a vibrant harbour town over the centuries. Today, Paignton beach and other beaches around town such as Preston Sands are excellent locations to try your hand at all kinds of water sports, from surfing to jetski and tamer pastimes like kite surfing and sailing.

Culture & attractions in Paignton

The first thing you'll notice when you visit Paignton is the 780-foot long Paignton Pier which was opened in 1879 and has become the symbol of the town.

How important the seaside is for the area can be seen at Paignton's biggest theatre, the Festival Theatre that can house large audiences and has been transformed into a modern multiscreen cinema where you can while away the time on rainy days.

If you really want to experience what is means to travel in style, try the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway. The rail route was opened in the 19th century in order to connect Paignton with Kingswear and today operates as a luxurious heritage railway line. From Kingswear, a picturesque ferry ride takes you across the River Dart to Dartmouth.

To delve even deeper into the history of the area, visit Compton Castle. The home of the Gilbert family for almost 600 years, it is a rare sight as it's one of the few medieval castles in England that has remained mostly intact. Feed your imagination among it's high curtain walls, towers, the portcullis and breathe the scents of ages gone by in the lovely rose, herb and vegetable gardens.

During each summer, a number of festivals take place in Paignton. The biggest of these is Paignton Regatta week which takes place during early August. During this time, a lively funfair on Paignton Green as well as a magnificent fireworks display attracts visitors from near and far.

Must-do highlights in Paignton

There's no way you or your kids will get bored in Paignton ‐ regardless of the weather and your interests, there is a mind-boggling choice of activities, parks and events to discover at any time of the year.

Paignton Geopark is a new attraction at the seafront and is the place to go if you're looking for a place for your kids to go wild! In addition to exciting unusual play equipment, there are generous picnic areas where you can relax while the little ones are having fun.

Feel liking really getting in touch with nature? City kids, animal lovers and foodies alike will enjoy a visit to Occombe Farm. This organic farm is open to the public 7 days a week and has it's own café offering the finest local produce, a romantic 2 km nature trail, a kitchen garden and of course farm animals like cows, sheep, goats, chickens, pigs and even alpacas!

Eating & drinking in Paignton

The Shoreline Beach Bar & Restaurant for example offers wonderful seaviews of Torbay, while the Inn on the Quay is a pub right on the beach which also has a fun house and large outdoor water slide for kids.

If you're looking for something more exotic, Thai Garden is a small restaurant which offers sizzling food, excellent service and sometimes even traditional Thai music and dancing.

Accommodation in Paignton

If you are looking for all the luxury of a hotel but like your own space and privacy, there are plenty of gorgeous holiday apartments for a romantic getaway or fun family holidays to be found in Paignton.

For example the holiday apartments at Esplanade Court, which has it's own U-shaped swimming pool. The apartments just a 2 minute walk from the town centre as well as the beach and come with complete kitchens and dining areas perfect for self-caterers.

The one bedroom holiday apartment Lower Apricus is a great hideaway for a relaxing weekend with your loved one. You can easily get to town and all of Paignton's attractions from here, but the luxurious leather sofa and LCD TV with DVD player is also great for a romantic movie night!

If you're traveling with children, Mount Royal, a 2 bedroom apartment close to the zoo is an excellent choice. The apartment has gorgeous views over the sea and even space for parking your own boat.

So that's our round up of things to do on a weekend in Paignton. Have you ever been there? What would you recommend doing if someone went there for the weekend? Please share you experience with us…