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The traditional fishing town of Brixham is tucked away in the green hills of South Devon, along the spectacular coast of the English Riviera. Proudly one of the busiest fishing ports in the UK, Brixham is alive with character, rich in beautiful scenery and steeped in historic charm. A visit to this charming waterside town is sure to entail quaint shops, rustic tea rooms and eateries, fresh local produce and diverse walking routes.
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The famous Brixham harbour is dotted with heritage trawlers jostling for space as they head out to sea for the day’s catch, bringing it home daily to the famous Brixham Fish Market. While Brixham’s main focus is around its thriving fishing industry, it is also home to a community spirit with individual flavour, passion and hospitality. It’s the kind of town where you can discover a range of arts and culture, experience unique attractions, explore the magnificent outdoors, as well as be treated to excellent local food and drink.
Salcombe/Kingsbridge – Brixham (TQ5 8DY)
Brixham is a straightforward drive from Dartmouth, across the Dart River via ferry and through Kingswear (two regular car ferries operate from Dartmouth).
The Higher Ferry runs from Dartmouth’s north embankment opposite the Floating Bridge pub, across the Dart River to Kingswear.
Times: Monday – Saturday: 06:30 – 22:50 and Sundays: 08:00 – 22:50.
Price: Car: £6.70 single, £11.50 return.
Operated using a floating platform pushed along by a tug, this crossing offers lovely views of Dartmouth and Kingswear.
Times: Monday – Saturday: 07:10 – 22:55 and Sundays: 08:10 – 22:55
Price: Car: £6.50, return £11.00
Brixham has plenty of parking available in the centre of town as well as further along towards the harbour.
Abundant in rich heritage and tales of the past, Brixham boasts a bright and vivid historical time line. Originally a Saxon settlement, Brixham was the landing place of William of Orange during the ‘Glorious Revolution’. Many of the street names in Brixham reflect the Dutch influence and towns history.
Brixham Harbour is famous for its development of large sailing trawlers in the early 19th century. These ‘Brixham trawlers’ had large powerful rigs which allowed them to sail as quickly as possible to the best fishing sites ahead of their competitors and were powerful enough to drag their heavily laden nets back to port. The Provident is a modern-day example of a fully functional Brixham Trawler, based on the original design built in Devon in 1924, and was one of the last sailing trawlers to be commissioned. If you are lucky, you may see her in the harbour or in full sail in the bay.
Brixham has a long history with smugglers and seafaring pirates, dating back to the early 17th century. Incoming ships, often carrying goods from overseas to major ports in England, provided a lucrative haul for local pirates and smugglers. Ships would be plundered, and the goods stashed in hidden coves along the coast. This way of life was more profitable than fishing, so not even the threat of ‘facing the noose’ if captured seemed to deter these intrepid soldiers of fortune.
Snippets of history are visible as you walk through the cobbled streets of the town. The ‘Coffin House’ has a wonderful story which epitomises the sense of Brixham humour. The legend has it that when a local fisherman asked a father for his daughter’s hand-in-marriage, the father declared that he would ‘see her in a coffin, before she wed’. The crafty future son-in-law built a coffin-shaped property, called the Coffin House, and triumphantly told the father that his wishes were met and he would indeed see his daughter in a coffin! Quietly impressed by this, the father gave his blessing.
The choice of where to eat and drink is as plentiful as the fish in the sea. You will be hard pressed to find a better selection of restaurants and pubs, that boast the most amazing wide range of locally sourced mouth-watering fish and seafood dishes. Straight out of the sea and onto your plate, you couldn’t get fresher unless you caught them yourself.
Contrary to its name, the New Quay Inn is one of Brixham’s oldest pubs, dating back to the 1700’s. Enjoy its cosy and comfortable traditional surroundings accompanied by great local beers, fine wines and really good homemade food.
Enjoy a touch of decadence at The Liberty Cocktail Bar and Tea Parlour. Whether you choose to indulge on scrumptious cakes and patisseries, or a beverage from their extensive selection of cocktails and drinks, there is definitely something for everyone’s taste.
Churston Manor is a celebration of luxury, style and service. This Grade 1 listed, 12th century manor house is set in 2 acres of beautiful countryside. Whether in front of one of their log fires or sitting in the beautiful gardens, enjoy the idyllic setting, brimming with history and character. But be sure to keep an eye out for their ghostly monk who is said to wander the halls.
For a far more extensive look into Brixham’s array of eateries, take a look at our blog where we’ve selected 8 of the best restaurants in Brixham.
Nestled along the edge of the breakwater and a short distance from the harbour mouth, is the gorgeous Breakwater Beach. One of the cleanest shale and sand beaches, boasting the Blue Flag award, it’s easy to see why this is a great place to visit. With calm, warm sheltered water, it is an ideal location for scuba diving. Look forward to the prospect of seeing plenty of fish, the possibility of seahorses in the seagrass beds and seals frolicking in the water, take an easy stroll down the breakwater which has views back across the harbour or pop into the bistro for a treat.
Looking for some peace and quiet on your coastal holiday? Fishcombe is one of Brixham’s best beaches and an ideal spot if you want to escape the crowds. Situated just a 15-minute walk from the harbour and sheltered by tall cliffs on either side, the calm, clear waters make this beach a safe place for swimming.
On the opposite side of the bay to Fishcombe, is Churston Cove – a beach where you can leave behind the stress of everyday life and relax in unspoilt natural beauty. With rocks to climb, seals to see and enticing waters to have a swim, it’s a wonderful spot within a stone’s throw of Brixham.
With its sweeping sandy beach and colourful beach huts, Broadsands is a favourite of the area for locals and visitors to enjoy. Long summer days are perfect for swimming in the tranquil sea, building sandcastles and eating ice cream from the café.
Goodrington has everything your family needs for a traditional seaside holiday. With safe swimming conditions and loads of great activities, this family friendly beach promises to keep the kids happy whatever the weather.
Even a 6am start is a small trade off for a chance to see behind the scenes and experience the hustle and bustle of the world famous Brixham Fish Market. This unique tour reveals a real insight into the workings of the town. Rockfish, who sponsor the tour, provide a hearty fish-themed breakfast at the end, but be sure to book in advance as places are limited.
One of the striking landmarks in Brixham’s harbour is the glorious recreation of 16th century explorer Sir Frances Drake’s flagship, the Golden Hind. Adventure and history are brought to life on the decks of this magnificent galleon. With many hands-on exhibits, giving a genuine insight into life aboard this Tudor vessel, there is plenty for the family to see and explore.
With its towering cliffs, panoramic views and iconic lighthouse, this spectacular headland jots out on the southern edge of Devon’s coast. Berry Head Nature Reserve is a designated UNESCO Global Geopark, with a timeline that stretches back over 400 million years with rocks, fossils and shells that have been around since before the dinosaurs!
Home to a fascinating variety of creatures, you’ll find guillemots and peregrine falcons, and you may even be lucky enough to spot harbour porpoises frolicking in the waves.
The Guardhouse Café, situated in part of an old Napoleonic fort, is a popular spot which offers superb locally sourced food and drink, with panoramic views over the South Devon Coastline.
With free-entry all year, this is a must-visit day out, and is either a pleasant walk from up from Brixham, or short drive to the visitor car park. Dogs are very welcome, although leads are required in certain areas.
Housed in the old Brixham police station is the Brixham Heritage Museum. This historical treasure trove provides an intriguing place to visit for all the family, with a rich collection of exhibits relating to Brixham’s heritage. Take a step back in time by visiting the reconstructed Victorian parlour, nursery and model of the railway station.
Explore this magnificent 1920’s country retreat, complete with luxuriant gardens overlooking the sea. There’s plenty of things to do for all ages, come rain or shine at Coleton Fishacre.
Read our blog on 4 must-see National Trust properties in South Devon.
Get up close to some of the animal wonders of the world across their specially designed habitats – from the savannah to the wetlands and the tropical forest. With over 2,500 animals across 80 acres – you’re in for a really wild time at Paignton Zoo.
Run wild in the play areas or hop aboard the Jungle Express train to get even closer to the action.
It’s a place to roam, discover and get in touch with your inner animal. Come rain or shine, Paignton Zoo is a fun filled day out for all the family, and you’ll need all day to see it all!
Churston Golf club is an idyllic 18-hole course with stunning views of Torbay’s coast. The English Riviera’s warm climate allows you to play golf all year-round. You’ll also find a lovely pitch and putt as well as an adventure golf course for the rest of the family to enjoy.
Operating a ferry service between Brixham and Torquay for over 70 years, the Western Lady Ferry runs a 30-minute ferry ride across the bay. It is a stress free and delightful way to view Brixham and Torbay from the sea. Proudly part of the Dartmouth Steam Railway & River Boat company, you can be assured of receiving the best service and at the reasonable cost of £4.00 single or £7.50 return.
Brixham is all about fresh fish straight from the sea, so what better way to experience this than out on the open water. Funfish Trips have an array of excursions which explore the beauty of the bay and will have you fishing like an old hand before long. Join them for their ‘Evening Catch and Cook’ trip, where you catch, prepare and cook your supper on their on-board barbeque. You can’t eat fresher than that!
Choose from 8 adrenalin-pumping, tumbling, twisting slides and rides at Splashdown Quaywest. Get all ‘tyred’ out on the fantastic Surf Lagoon flume and Raging Rapids and if you like your white knuckle thrills you could, if you dare, give the Devil’s Drop a go – but be warned, it lives up to its name!
Savour your surroundings and experience the beauty of the region by exploring Brixham on foot. Here are a few of the best walking routes in and around the area.
This walk begins at the harbourside and takes you alongside the marina, through Breakwater Beach and past Shoalstone outdoor lido. The route leads uphill to the spectacular Berry Head Nature Reserve where there are dramatic panoramic views across the English Riviera and beyond. Most of the route is level with good footpaths along the way.
This section of the South West Coast Path is a popular destination for visitors who enjoy exploring the outdoors, taking in the fresh sea air and meeting other keen ramblers and walkers along the route. May of the areas are dog-friendly and wheelchair accessible too.
The walk follows an undulating section of the South West Coast Path with some splendid cliff top views. It’s about a 9.5 mile walk so perfect for a day’s hike. Starting at the marina in Brixham, the meandering route will take you through Coleton Fishacre, past the 15th century Kingswear castle and eventually down to Kingswear village, where you can catch the ferry across the river to Dartmouth.
Brixfest: Brixfest brings hundreds of artists, charities, chefs and locals together along with thousands of visitors. This is a celebration of the charming fishing town, which often takes place over the Whitsun Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May. Highlights from previous years include live music, cooking demonstrations, an arts and craft market, a vintage car rally, crabbing competitions, heritage craft exhibitions, a children’s day, dragon boat racing and huge firework display
Brixham Pirate Festival: Ahoy me maties! ‘Brixham Pirate Fest’ is a fun-filled annual event for families that provides ample entertainment from swashbuckling pirates.
With Captain Sparrows a plenty, join in a shanty while watching amazing live music and street entertainment. Experience the ‘golden age of piracy’ with living history exhibits, skirmishes and very noisy cannon fire. Not for the faint hearted, this mass gathering of pirates from all walks of life will be sure to ‘shiver your timbers’. This is a bank holiday event like no other and definitely not one to be missed!
Brixham Heritage sailing regatta and rally (Sept 2021): The Brixham regatta has its roots in the sailing trawler races, that have been held in Torbay since the early 1800’s. In 1914, King George V presented the Perpetual Challenge Cup also popularly known as the ‘King George V Cup’ or the ‘Kings Cup’, to be raced for by Brixham registered sailing trawlers. This was competed for annually from 1919 until 1939 when the war ended racing and was only revived almost 60 years later.
The South Hams has a plenty of events and regattas during the summers. To find out more, visit our blog about What’s on in South Devon?
Positioned in an enviable location within Brixham, Blue Buoy Cottage is the ideal property for an escape to the English Riviera. Enjoying sea views from each of its four floors, this period property boats French doors to a terrace overlooking Brixham’s fish market, marina and breakwater.
In the winter months, make the most of the woodburning stove before setting out on foot to explore the Torbay coastline or Berry Head Nature Reserve.
Lying in the quaint fishing town of Brixham, along one of the many characterful winding streets, sits Pilchard Cottage. This stylish abode boasts one bedroom for the ultimate romantic retreat.
After undergoing a fantastic renovation, this old fisherman’s cottage offers a luxury bolthole for two, right in the heart of Brixham.
Enjoy quality time with your loved one in the open-plan living space, where you can unwind on the sofa and watch your favourite film, plan the next day’s activities in front of the electric fire, or celebrate your getaway with a local tipple in the sociable kitchen.
Be sure to visit Brixham and make precious memories with your loved ones, taking in the sights and sounds that this unique town on the English Riviera has to offer. Explore our selection of holiday cottages in Brixham or our extensive ranges of properties in and around South Devon and plan your perfect getaway.