Torbay Carnival time is always a good time to rent a holiday cottage on the English Riviera. The event takes place in Paignton over nine days, from the last weekend in July to the first weekend in August. With the summer holiday season well underway, the Carnival attracts thousands of visitors of all ages to enjoy a fun filled week or so of extraordinary entertainment on the beautiful South Devon coast.

Torbay Carnival has been running for over 100 years and began as a one day event with a procession. It now covers two weekends and offers a week of free entertainment for families while raising money for local charities and deserving organisations in the Torbay area.

Preparations for this fabulous event take a whole year, with a team of volunteers starting planning for the following year the day after the Carnival has been packed away. The main sponsors of the event are the Anderton and Rowlands Funfair and the Babbacombe Inn.

Parties and live bands entertain Paignton visitors

Held on Paignton Green, the Torbay Carnival starts with a bang with a Palm FM Party on the stage with some well-known live acts followed by a spectacular fireworks display at around 10pm.

Classic cars from the Torbay Old Wheels Club, a Parade of Town Criers, static displays of gymnastics and karate, party games, live bands, dance troupes, a singing nun and a group of belly dancers have all kept crowds entertained in past years and no doubt will again this year. Local dance troupes, baton twirlers and theatre groups all do performances during the event so there's never a dull moment for those staying in the Torbay area during Carnival Week.

Join in the Herald Big Bang party on the second Saturday and enjoy fireworks and live music until late as part of this lively summer celebration. There is also a fun fair and Musical Ruth with her mobile piano will be entertaining throughout the day in the marquee.

Torbay Carnival procession

On Wednesday, the Carnival procession takes place through the town with many local businesses joining in the fun by entering a decorated float. The parade starts to congregate at 3pm ready for judging at 6pm. The procession commences its tour of the town at 7:45pm from Paignton Green. It proceeds towards the Redcliffe Hotel, up Manor Corner then turns left and back towards Victoria Park via Hyde Road before finishing at the Green again.

Competitions include the Waiters and Waitresses Race which takes place at 11am to 12:30pm down on the beach on the day of the Carnival procession.
One of the most popular events as part of the Torbay Carnival is the attendance of Miss Torbay and her entourage who also take part in other carnivals all over the southwest of England. They officially open the Torbay Carnival event, followed by competitions, entertainment and live music on the promenade.

Programme of entertainment at the Torbay Carnival

The Craft Marquee and Refreshment Tent is always a popular draw and the huge undercover space is packed with local artisans and crafters who are keen to display and sell their wares. Unique handcrafted jewellery, pottery, woodwork, household items, ceramics and more can all be found here and the stalls are open daily for business from 11am. This is also the place to enter your baby in the Bonnie Baby photo contest by Pixifoto.

The Carnival Fun Fair is popular with children of all ages as they run off their energy and excitement on bouncy castles and fairground rides. It is open daily during the Torbay Carnival from 11am to 11pm. Clowns, a Teddy Bears' Picnic and Pennywell Farm animals (on Friday) all provide free entertainment for younger visitors.

Have you stayed in the Paignton area during Torbay Carnival Week? Would you recommend the event for families and would you attend again? We'd love to hear your feedback below on what this busy carnival event is really like.