I suppose the "Amusement Arcade" became a feature of English seaside resorts simply because the summer weather can often be so miserable and crafty entrepenurial types realised that if you provide a big space with a roof then people will gravitate towards it. Then if you put in a few slot machines and other amusements which seem to be cheap but with the promise of riches then these shelterers will put a few pennies in until such a time as the rain stops.
Nothing has changed since those early days - not the weather and not the Great British Amusement Arcade. This is Torquay's "Strip" at Cary Parade with, in order: "Golden Palms", "Bazaar"; "Palms Casino" and "The Jackpot Lounge" - all designed to divest the unwary of as much money as possible whilst offering shelter from the elements.
I do believe Torquay actually does have a proper casino but I haven't been and so can't comment on that.
Unique Suggestions: Don't play the machines but take advantage of cheap tea, coffee and snacks.
Fun Alternatives: For a much better place to shelter from the elements go to the pub! It'll still cost you money but at least that'll be money well spent ;-HIC!
Take a journey into the town's interesting past - find out more about local wildlife, famous people and Torquay through the ages. Don't miss the Agatha Christie Exhibition, including photographic material; look at life in the area during Christie's childhood; displays featuring films based on Christie novels; TV series Poirot and Miss Marple.
In the room is a dolls' house, with the toys of a Victorian childhood, long before computers & television became children's main amusement. It is a fine example, dating from the 1840s, still with its original floor & wall coverings. The items used to furnish the house span a long period, the first object being from 1843 & the latest from 1929. maybe one of the most outstanding items in the gallery is a blue silk embroidered coat, worn by a Chinese courtesan & given by Dr Charles Paget-Blake (a past President of the Torquay Natural History Society). Over 150 years old it still retains its beautiful embroidered patterns & striking colours. It sits alongside other objects from the Orient, which were obtained by Dr Paget-Blake when he served in China during the 1840s Opium Wars
Unique Suggestions: One of the largest features of the Gallery is the huge collection of photographs & images of Agatha, her family, friends & the Torquay she knew. They trace Agatha's life from her childhood at Ashfield, right up to her old age at Greenway. They show a Torquay where life was very different from what you see today, from concerts at the Pavilion Theatre & afternoon tea at the Marine Spa, to roller-skating on the Princess Pier, & they give an insight into Agatha's upbringing. The photographs also portray Agatha's later life, particularly her beloved home Greenway, where she lived for many years with her second husband Max Mallowan.
Fun Alternatives: The cases in the middle of the Gallery hold many bits & pieces & documents recounting to Agatha's books & plays. These contain some of her plays, written under the alias of Mary Westmacott. There is also a assortment of overseas adaptations of her novels (illustrating her worldwide appeal) and details on the adaptation of her novels for television. One of the cases has some poison bottles & a hypodermic. These were the type of objects Agatha would have come into contact with daily, when she was training as a dispensary assistant & which she used extensively in her mystery novels & plays as weapons of murder.
The personality of her most famous construction, Hercule Poirot, is examined in a case containing assorted pieces of Poirot ephemera, including one of the costumes worn by David Suchet in the acclaimed Granada television series, & there’s also on show a stiff collar & bow tie (typically Poirot) signed by Suchet.
Shopping as our grandparents used to shop. Recollections of journeys on the romantic steam trains our parents knew. Escape into the magic lands of fantasy where every generation loves to go. Stroll back in time & revive the nostalgia of over 20 life-size Victorian shops & shop windows filled with thousands of original items form candles to porcelain, dolls, dolls houses & Victorian dresses. Visit the Ironmongers, the Grocers, smell the sweet shop, visit the Forge and much much more. go up the stairs by the Pawnbrokers to the Victorian room settings together with a Nursery, Kitchen, Parlour & Bathroom. Many with authentic smells & sound effects. Descend the stairs & you will enter the Victorian Pub. Only the Pearly King and Queen can drink here. There’s also a man making a din on a clapped-out piano.
Unique Suggestions: The Trains
Go into the tunnel to see the twenty-eight feet working model railway with its spectacular mountain backdrop. There’s also a fairy tale set up called Fantasy land which when it gets dark light’s up with hundred’s of twinkling fairy lights. It has an erupting volcano; I’d call it Mount Newson after my teacher!
The Anderson Shelter
View set in an original Anderson Shelter filled with artefacts & sound effects. You can listen to the crackling radio remarks & stop a moment at the World War II room setting & the many wrapping items showing the financial system of war time Britain.
Fun Alternatives: It’s quite interesting because there’s the chemist with strong odours of the thing’s they used to use, there’s also a nasty pair of pliers at the dentist’s. During term time’s there’s guide’s which will show school parties around. The museum has a café upstairs & can be covered in a couple of hours. You can use the same ticket to get into the model village which is just down the road. St Marychurch has a church (hence the name), there’s are also some shop’s just up the road with a butcher’s, sewing/arts shop & a post office with a newsagent’s next door. The beach isn’t very far away, about 10 minute’s walk.