For lovers of fine things, Torquay's chief attraction is Torre Abbey, surrounded by parkland but close to the seafront. The abbey itself, founded in 1196, was razed in 1539, though you can still see traces of the old construction. The mansion that now occupies the site was the home of the Cary family for nearly 300 years, and it was later converted into a museum and art gallery. Artistic riches lie within the main building: marine paintings, Victorian sculptures, Pre-Raphaelite window designs, and drawings by William Blake. There are plenty of family-friendly activities, including brass-rubbing.