Princess Gardens, situated on the central sea front, is an exotic place of palms, wonderful flower beds, an ornate water fountain and lawns. This open expanse of gardens is a great favourite, offering wonderful views of the sea and harbour. The fountain has recently been restored and there are sunken gardens along the promenade.
Throughout the year, Princess Gardens hosts numerous events and festivals, including continental markets and the world-famous Agatha Christie Festival fete. The gardens are a feature of both the Agatha Christie Mile and the Agatha Christie Literary Trail through the English Riviera and South Devon: they appear in Christie’s novel the ABC Murders.
The foundation stone for Princess Gardens was laid in May 1890 by Princess Louise, the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. The Princess Gardens had been completed first and opened by the Mayoress on 1st June 1894. The gardens were designed and laid out by Mr John Batt Dyer in 1893. The original gardens had tennis courts that were laid out later on the site of present Pavilion - the courts opened in May 1878. In June of the same year, a bowling green opened nearby. The jetty adjacent to the Pavilion was constructed in 1906, but was taken down before World War II when the widening of the gardens started. The land on which Princess Gardens is located was reclaimed from the sea, a project which permitted a road (Torbay Road) to go beneath the cliff towards Paignton. Before this, all traffic had an inland detour to bypass the towering hills.