Torquay lies at the northern end of the Tor Bay coastline and therefore benefits from being a south facing resort. When, due to the wars with France, the wealthy were unable to holiday on the French Riviera, they chose Torquay as their resort. Today, the elegant Victorian terraces, white villas, and famous seven hills, provide a backdrop to the palm lined promenades, harbour, and marina that are part of the town centre. The harbourside, backed by restaurants and bistros, many with al-fresco facilities, night-clubs, pubs, and unique shops, offers endless hours of entertainment. Torre Abbey is Torquay's oldest (1196) building and was founded by Premonstratensian monks. Today Torre Abbey comprises two Grade 1 listed buildings, and been designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument of national importance. The splendid gatehouse dates from 1380. Torre Abbey houses Torbay's municipal art gallery with many works of national importance, and the visitor can join in an «Antiques Hunt» to identify originals and fakes. The neighbouring «Spanish Barn», one of Britain's most complete early medieval barns, was given it's name in 1588 when it was used to house 397 prisoners from the Spanish Armada. Should you wish to spend time away from the beach, the possibilities include:The Riviera Centre, only two minutes walk from the seafront, offers all-weather facilities: «Waves» leisure pool; «Oasis» life-style suite; «Garden Room Restuarant» with panoramic views across the bay; theatre with entertainment and dining. The Rainbow Fun House is 13,000 sq ft of action packed, indoor adventure. Adults can join the children on the slides, climbing frames, and ball pools, or relax in the licensed cafe. Ideal entertainment when it is not beach-weather. Torquay has the usual high street shops, but also offers many unique shops and centres. The Pavillion, built as an Edwardian theatre, now houses specialist boutiques, gift and bookshop and cafe/restaurant/bar with a terrace offering views on the marina and over the Bay to Brixham. Fleet Walk is a modern shopping complex, leading away from the harbour and is the start of the retail centre which includes every type of shop you could require, and after a busy session of retail therapy, you can unwind with a Devon cream tea.