Sitting adjacent to Torquay facing the waters of the English Channel is the resort of Paignton, with its long beach of red sand, iconic colorful beach huts and distinctive pier, one of only a handful of remaining Victorian piers in the South West. Paignton has certainly changed a lot since the early 19th century when it was best known for its cider, huge quantities of which was shipped to London, and its cabbages. As with many South West coastal communities, Paignton's transformation came with the arrival of mass tourism in the middle of the 19th century, which was accelerated by the arrival of the railway in 1859. So important was the railway to the fortunes of the town, its arrival was greeted by a crowd of 18,00 people from the town and the baking of a 1.5 ton Paignton pudding!
A critical part of the success of any Victorian seaside resort was the quality of its promenade and by the late 19th century Paignton had a fine pier, and a promenade with the broad stretch of Paignton Green behind, overlooked by a row of fine Victorian terraces. Much of its Victorian splendor remains and Paignton still attracts hoards of summer visitors to its fine sandy beach.