At A Glance
⛵ Brixham’s rich maritime history and picturesque harbour.
🎣 Brixham’s thriving fishing industry.
🏰 Berry Pomeroy Castle nearby.
🌊 Beautiful coastal walks and beaches, such as Breakwater Beach.
🌅 Stunning views and sunsets over the harbour.
🐬 Opportunity to spot dolphins and other marine life in the area.
🍽️ Local seafood restaurants and dining options.
🌸 Beautiful gardens and parks, such as Coleton Fishacre.
🎭 Local arts scene, including the Brixham Theatre.
🥾 On the South West Coast Path
⚓ Deep-rooted maritime tradition and culture of Brixham.
Nestled in the stunning English Riviera, Brixham is a picturesque fishing town in Devon that promises visitors a rich blend of history, natural beauty, and coastal charm. Known for its bustling harbour, vibrant seafood scene, and breathtaking coastal walks, Brixham has something for everyone. In this article, we’ll delve into the town’s intriguing history, explore its top attractions, and uncover practical tips to help you make the most of your visit.
Brixham’s fascinating history dates back to the Saxon era, with its name originating from the Old English word “Brioc’s ham,” meaning “Brioc’s village.” It gained prominence in 1588 as the location where Sir Francis Drake witnessed the defeat of the Spanish Armada. The town’s maritime history is further highlighted by its vital role in the Napoleonic Wars, which earned it the nickname “The Mother of the Trawler Industry.”
During the tumultuous second world war, Brixham played a crucial role. Its hardy trawlers were commandeered to assist in the daring evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from France. In 1944, Brixham’s picturesque harbour joined several others along the southern coast as a departure point for the US Army on their fateful journey to Normandy.
Nestled in the heart of Brixham, the verdant Battery Gardens served as a vital component of the region’s coastal defences. Initially, the imposing guns within these gardens were operated by dedicated troops before being entrusted to the steadfast hands of the Home Guard. Of the 116 emergency sites established during the war, a mere seven stand today, with Brixham’s being the most significant and impeccably preserved. In March 2002, the Battery and its surroundings were honoured as a Class 1 scheduled monument.
A statue of William III, more commonly known as William of Orange, commemorates his landing at Brixham on 5 November 1688.
As a proud seaside town, Brixham boasts several beautiful beaches. Breakwater Beach, a short walk from the town centre, is a popular spot for families and offers stunning views of the harbour. Dogs are allowed on this beach from October to April, making it an excellent choice for pet owners. For a more secluded experience, consider visiting the sandy cove at Fishcombe, a hidden gem nestled between Brixham and Paignton.
One of the town’s most iconic landmarks is Brixham Breakwater, measuring approximately 150 meters in length. It’s a pier and offers fantastic fishing opportunities, and a leisurely stroll along its length provides stunning views of the surrounding coastline.
Brixham’s bustling harbour is the heart of the town and is home to one of the largest fishing fleets in the UK. The Golden Hind, a full-size replica of Sir Francis Drake’s famous ship, is moored in Brixham harbour, allowing visitors to step back in time and learn about life on the high seas.
If you’re a nature enthusiast, Brixham’s coastline offers unparalleled opportunities to spot dolphins, seals, and even the occasional basking shark. For the best chance of spotting these fascinating creatures, consider joining a wildlife-watching boat tour or visiting the nearby Berry Head National Nature Reserve.
History buffs will enjoy a visit to the Brixham Heritage Museum, which showcases the town’s rich heritage, including its maritime history and involvement in the fishing industry. For a touch of local culture, don’t miss Brixham’s annual Pirate Festival, which transforms the town into a lively celebration of its swashbuckling past.
Exploring Brixham’s Bustling Harbour and Thriving Fish Market
Brixham’s harbour, located in the heart of this enchanting South Devon coastal town, is an essential stop on any visit to the area. As one of the busiest fishing ports in the UK, Brixham Harbour teems with life and activity year-round. From the colourful fishing boats to the pleasure craft that dot the inner and outer harbour, it’s easy to see why this picturesque spot is so beloved by locals and visitors alike.
A walk along Brixham Breakwater offers stunning views of Tor Bay and the southern half of the English Riviera. As you stroll, you’ll catch sight of heritage trawlers and sailing trawlers returning from their fishing trips with the day’s catch destined for the famous Brixham Fish Market. Don’t forget to glance towards the entrance of the harbour, where Berry Head Lighthouse stands guard, guiding ships safely into port.
The thriving fish market is an integral part of Brixham’s bustling harbour scene. Renowned as one of the freshest fish markets in South Devon, it supplies local restaurants and shops with an array of seafood delicacies. If you’re an early riser, consider taking a tour to witness the morning auctions and experience the lively atmosphere first-hand.
As you meander through the narrow streets surrounding the harbour, you’ll find excellent local food, unique shops, and interesting exhibits that reflect Brixham’s rich maritime heritage.
For a truly immersive Brixham experience, why not embark on one of the many fishing excursions that depart from the harbour? With options ranging from leisurely mackerel fishing trips to more adventurous deep-sea expeditions, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about Brixham’s fishing fleet, the rare seagrass beds and the odd shipwreck.
At the end of the day, find a pleasant spot near the harbour to enjoy a meal featuring the freshest fish from Brixham’s thriving market. As you dine, watch the sun set over this traditional Devon fishing village, and soak in the charm and beauty that make Brixham a must-visit destination on England’s seafood coast.
The Annual Brixham Pirate Festival: A Spectacular Sight for All Ages
Every year Brixham transforms into a haven for swashbucklers and buccaneers during the much-anticipated Brixham Pirate Festival. This annual event brings together pirate enthusiasts from all corners of the country, making it a spectacle not to be missed.
As you wander through Brixham’s cobbled streets, you’ll be transported back in time to the golden age of piracy, where the town’s narrow streets and charming alleyways come alive with colourful characters in their finest pirate fashions. Be prepared to encounter seafaring rogues, dashing captains, and even the occasional parrot as the entire town embraces the spirit of the high seas.
The Brixham Pirate Festival is a family-friendly event that offers fun and excitement for all ages. Children will be enthralled by the thrilling live-action shows featuring sword fights, cannon fire, and daring acrobatics, while adults can enjoy a lively selection of shanty bands and folk music. The festival’s program also includes engaging workshops and hands-on activities, ensuring there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
No pirate festival would be complete without a grand parade, and Brixham’s event is no exception. Be sure to secure a prime vantage point along the parade route, as you won’t want to miss the sight of hundreds of costumed pirates marching through the streets. The parade culminates at the town’s picturesque harbour, where visitors can witness a dramatic reenactment of a thrilling naval battle, complete with booming cannons and heroic displays of swordsmanship.
Of course, one of the highlights of the Brixham Pirate Festival is the opportunity to indulge in some delicious local fare. With fresh fish straight from Brixham’s thriving fish market, you’ll find an array of mouthwatering dishes to enjoy. From traditional fish and chips to more exotic seafood delights, there’s no better place to savour the bounty of England’s seafood coast.
Whether you’re a seasoned pirate enthusiast or simply looking for a unique and unforgettable experience, the annual Brixham Pirate Festival is a must-visit event. So hoist the Jolly Roger, don your finest tricorn hat, and sail on the beautiful South Devon coast for a swashbuckling adventure!
Practical Information for Visitors
Brixham is easily accessible by car, and the town is well-served by local buses. Although there’s no railway station in Brixham, the nearby stations at Paignton and Torquay provide regular services to the rest of the UK. To get between Brixham and Torquay, consider taking the picturesque ferry ride, which lasts around 30 minutes and offers beautiful views of the English Riviera. The ferry costs £5 for a single or £9 for an adult return. You should check their Twitter feed for up-to-date information.
For those who prefer to travel on foot, the South West Coast Path provides a scenic route between Brixham, Paignton, and Torquay. The walk along the South West Coast Path from Brixham to Torquay covers approximately 7.5 miles, while the coastal path from Paignton to Brixham is around 6 miles long.
One of the best ways to experience Brixham is by taking advantage of its thriving seafood scene. Visit the local fish market, where you can purchase the freshest catch of the day, or dine at one of the town’s many renowned seafood restaurants. Try the famous Brixham scallops or indulge in traditional fish and chips while enjoying the harbour’s vibrant atmosphere for a truly memorable meal.
If you’re keen on exploring the local arts scene, Brixham’s thriving community of artists and craftsmen is sure to impress. Take a stroll through the charming streets lined with galleries, studios, and boutique shops, where you can find unique, handcrafted treasures to take home as a souvenir.
For a taste of Brixham’s storied past, visit the picturesque St. Mary’s Church, which dates back to the 14th century. The church’s stunning stained-glass windows, intricately carved wooden pews, and peaceful atmosphere make it a must-see attraction for history lovers and those seeking a moment of quiet reflection.
While Brixham doesn’t have a container port, its thriving harbour is a hub of activity that encapsulates the town’s maritime spirit. To experience the daily life of a fisherman, consider joining a local trawler for a day trip out to sea. Not only will you gain a deeper appreciation for the hard work that goes into bringing fresh seafood to your plate, but you might even catch a glimpse of the local marine wildlife, such as seals basking on the rocks or pods of playful dolphins.
For film enthusiasts, Brixham has also made a name for itself as a filming location. The town’s picturesque harbour and historic streets have provided the backdrop for several TV shows and movies.
Brixham’s sandy beaches and stunning coastal vistas have earned it a reputation as one of the most beautiful seaside towns in the UK. While there’s no definitive answer to which beach is the most beautiful in the country, Brixham’s Breakwater Beach and the more secluded Fishcombe Cove are both strong contenders.
When planning your visit to Brixham, it’s essential to consider the local weather.
Accommodation we recommend in Brixham
Brixham has many excellent Bed and Breakfasts as well as holiday homes and hotels. Here are a few we recommend:
- Beacon House B&B, no pets
- Anchor Cottage (sleeps 3, pets allowed)
- Driftwood B&B
- Lobster Pot Apartment (Sleeps 4, pets allowed)
Brixham is a captivating coastal town that offers a wealth of experiences for visitors. From its rich history and bustling harbour to its stunning beaches and thriving arts scene, there’s no shortage of reasons to visit this charming corner of Devon. So pack your bags, and get ready to embark on a journey filled with unforgettable memories as you discover the magic of Brixham for yourself.
Check out these other things to do in South Devon
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