Buying a B&B, guest house or hotel on the English Riviera

Torquay on The English Riviera

Reasons to buy a B&B or hotel in Torquay and The English Riviera

The English Riviera towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham continue to offer potential entrepreneurs the opportunity to fulfill what for many might have been a long cherished ambition of running their own B&B or small hotel. The popularity of Channel 4's Four in A Bed TV programme has served as a constant source of inspiration for those who have felt they could do better.

Even in the era of big brands, there remains a strong market for individual Bed and Breakfasts and small hotels which are able to offer very indivdual service without costing the earth. Furthermore, these smaller businesses are able to focus upon a niche market and exploit it for all its worth. Torquay and The English Riviera has an amazing variety of establishements from the cheap and cheerful through to very high end boutique.

Reassuringly, for new entrants into the industry there is a fantastic support network of business owners who are always very keen to share their knowledge and expertize. Organisations such as the Bridge Group offer just this kind of support and also provide a great social network too.

So, the key reasons to choose Torquay and The English Riviera as a place to buy an accommodation business:

  • A superb natural environment offering a great quality of life.
  • A great range of business always for sale at reasonable prices.
  • A large number of visitors at all times of the year.
  • A large number of visitor attractions that stay open all year.
  • A great support network for businesses and business owners.

When should you start searching for hotels, guest houses and hotels to buy?

You can start looking at any time of the year but it is worth remembering that from Easter through to the end of October most businesses will be busy with guests and so opportunities to view the properties might be restricted. So, it might be worth thinking about looking properly from November through to March. It is also true, that many business owners will choose to place their property on the market at the end of a season and so once again there tends to be an increase in the number of properties coming onto the market in the autumn.


Should you avoid properties that have been on the market for a number of years?

Buying a business is not like buying a home. It can take several years for even the very best businesses to sell and so even if a property has been listed for a long time it doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with it. There are fewer potential buyers for businesses than there would be for a domestic home and financing demands from lenders are more rigorous. Having said that, it is equally true to say that sometimes properties fail to sell because of being over priced and occasionally because there maybe an issue that makes it less attractive to buyers.

The starting point for anyone interested in buying a small hotel or B&B is likely to be the specialist commercial estate agent. Even in the digital age these businesses have their place because at their very best they too can share a wealth of knowledge about the industry locally and guide potential buyers towards a business that would suit them. The English Riviera has a number of superb Commercial Estate Agents.


Commercial Estate Agents in Torquay and The English Riviera

Ware Commercial

At any one time, they tend to have one of the largest selections of businesses for sale ranging from some of the cheapest through to some of the most exclusive and covering all parts of the Torbay Area. Proprietor, Jasper Ware and his staff are able to give a very personal service and have huge experience of the industry. Aside from an online presence, Ware commercial have offices in the St Marychurch area of Torquay.

Ware Commercial, Torquay


Business Xchange.

Although this does have an office, it is primarily an online service run by Lyn Milligan. She has the great benefit of having recently run a B&B and so is able to offer insights that perhaps other Estate Agents are unable to give. The businesses she has for sale tend to be B&B's and are drawn from right across the Torbay area including Paignton and Brixham.

Business xchange -  Commercial Estate Agent and Business Transfer Agent - Torquay



Going back a few years this was one of the two businesses that dominated the transfer of businesses in the area. Today, it is up against stiff competition such as from the businesses listed above and has comparatively few hospitality businesses for sale. They do have retail, office and industrial listings too as well as a residential property arm  plus they offer a range of other services.



This was the second of the two formerly dominant businesses in the area and as with Waycotts, they now offer comparatively few accommodation businesses for sale. Having said that, they do tend to have listings for the bigger establishments some of which are in other parts of Devon. They also have retail listings plus quite a number of listings for pubs and catering. Like Waycotts, they also have a residential property arm.


Charles Darrow

This is the only agent not based in Torbay itself as they are just outside in Newton Abbot. Their website is a little tricky to navigate but does contain an interesting range of properties from the very large to small guest houses. Their geographic spread of businesses tends to be wider and features properties across Devon and sometimes into Cornwall too.


Anyone else?

There are some national business transfer agents who occasionally list businesses in the area but as they lack local knowledge their pricing can sometimes raise eyebrows and they are not always able to give the level of service that some of the businesses with boots on the ground are able to.


Online listings.

The main online listing sites tend to be used by the agents listed above (although not always so). However, it is also possible that some business owners choose to list their businesses themselves and so it is always worth keeping an eye out. The key sites are Businesses for Sale and Daltons.


Check availability and rates for accommodation during your property buying visits to Torquay and The English Riviera

Self catering apartments offer great value for money when visiting the area in search of a business to buy. They offer generous amounts of space as well as a high defgree of privacy. Check our rates and availability by clicking here. You can also book through our secure online booking software using sage pay.


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