Kings Gardens, Abbey Gardens & Torre Abbey 4360

Torquay, England

Brief Description

Torquay has a large number of ornamental public parks, but those along the sea-front, between Torre Abbey and the Pavilion at the harbour, form an attractive ribbon group. From west to east, they comprise The King's Gardens, Torre Abbey, Abbey Park, Royal Terrace Gardens and Princess Gardens. The latter two are on the English Heritage Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

History

Several areas were bought by the Council and opened to the public throughout the first part of the 20th century.

Visitor Facilities

The site is open daily throughout the year. Please see: http://www.torre-abbey.org.uk/visit.php More information
Features
  • Torre Abbey (featured building)
  • Description: Torre Abbey, the dominant building and landscape in the group, was founded in 1196 by William de Brewer, but the buildings were allowed to collapse and decay after the Dissolution until Thomas Ridgeway converted some of the domestic ranges to a residence after 1598.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Gate
  • Description: Highly decorative gates.
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: The old kitchen garden, at the rear of the Abbey, was developed as an experimental and demonstration garden with a tropical plant house.
  • Gate
  • Description: The main entrance drive to the Abbey, from Falkland Road at the north-west corner, is through impressive ornamental gates, with great swans surmounting their stone piers and a picturesque Victorian lodge nearby.
Bowling Green, Pool
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

The site is open daily throughout the year. Please see: http://www.torre-abbey.org.uk/visit.php
History

Detailed History

Torquay has a large number of ornamental public parks, but those along the sea-front, between Torre Abbey and the Pavilion at the harbour, form an attractive ribbon group. From west to east, they comprise The King's Gardens, Torre Abbey, Abbey Park, Royal Terrace Gardens and Princess Gardens. The latter two are on the English Heritage Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

Torre Abbey, the dominant building and landscape in the group, was founded in 1196 by William de Brewer, but the buildings were allowed to collapse and decay after the Dissolution until Thomas Ridgeway converted some of the domestic ranges to a residence after 1598. From 1662 to 1930, the Cary family were the owners and enlarged and altered the house from the late-17th century onwards.

In 1924, the Council was able to buy the eastern half of the park, stretching from Belgrave Road, and ground levels were raised by the disposal of surplus soil from nearby developments. This area, formerly known as Belgrave Gardens, provides bowls and tennis facilities, fronted by planting areas and sculptures, with an ornamental pool and highly decorative gates.

In 1930, the Council purchased the remainder of the Torre Abbey grounds. The old kitchen garden, at the rear of the Abbey, was developed as an experimental and demonstration garden with a tropical plant house. Between the mansion and the sea the parkland has been subject to little alteration and is now used as a miniature golf course, its setting enhanced by the mediaeval ‘Spanish Barn'.

The main entrance drive to the Abbey, from Falkland Road at the north-west corner, is through impressive ornamental gates, with great swans surmounting their stone piers and a picturesque Victorian lodge nearby. King's Drive, named after Edward VII, dates from 1877 when the Local Board made the road to replace Rotten Row. Changes in levels in an area considered to have once been an estuary, resulted in a small park, dominated by two lakes fed by a spring rising in the Sherwell Valley. The park was opened by the Mayor on 19 April 1904 but, the next month, the name was changed from Alexandra Gardens to The King's Gardens.

Period

  • Early 20th Century (1901-1932)
Contact

Telephone

01793 445050

Official Website

Other websites

Owners

  • Torbay Council

References

References