Home to one of the largest fishing fleets in the country, life in the historic harbour town of Brixham revolves around the sea. Pretty, pastel coloured fishermen’s cottages line narrow streets that lead down to a busy working harbour, where hundreds of fishing boats head out to sea, bringing back their daily catch to Brixham’s famous fish market.
It’s no surprise that fresh fish and seafood fill the menus of the restaurants dotted around the harbour. Tuck into a delicious plate of fresh seafood after watching it arrive on the day boats at Rockfish Seafood Restaurant. Owned by celebrity chef Mitch Tonks, this popular seafood restaurant is set right in the heart of the fish market with a large terrace overlooking the harbour, as well as a takeaway, so you can grab some fish ‘n’ chips and eat them on the quayside.
Kids and adults alike fall in love with Brixham’s maritime history. Climb aboard the Golden Hind Museum Ship, a magnificent replica of Sir Francis Drake’s flagship docked in the harbour, and experience the sights, sounds and smells of life onboard the Tudor ship. Take part in Brixham’s annual swashbuckling Pirate Festival, and learn about the people and events that shaped the town’s history at the Brixham Heritage Museum.
With the South West Coast Path running through the town, Brixham is a great place for walkers and dog-friendly holidays. A holiday in Brixham isn’t complete without following the coast path to Berry Head Nature Reserve, a stunning headland famed for its geological significance, Napoleonic War fortifications, diverse wildlife and popular Guardhouse Café.
If you’re looking for a day on the beach, the coast path will lead you to lots of idyllic coves with crystal clear water perfect for swimming. Breakwater Beach, right in the centre of town, is a popular choice for families, thanks to its Blue Flag award, easy access, toilet facilities and beachside café. Or why not take the plunge in Shoalstone Outdoor Pool, an art deco seawater lido set in a stunning position on the seafront.
Brixham is a brilliant base for exploring the English Riviera. Climb aboard the Dartmouth Steam Railway and head to Paignton or set sail on one of the many boat trips to Torquay. Make sure to keep an eye out for wildlife on the way as you might be lucky enough to spot seals and dolphins!
If you haven’t found your sea legs, there’s plenty to keep you occupied on dry land. If you’re an art lover, head to the Strand Art Gallery where you can watch the local artists as they work. For Agatha Christie fans, a trip to Greenway is essential. This magnificent National Trust property, her former holiday home, was the inspiration for many of her crime thrillers and offers a glimpse through the eyes of her spectacular mind.
A holiday cottage in Brixham offers an ideal base for couples and families to enjoy a relaxed seaside holiday with a fantastic selection of things to do and places to eat on your doorstep.
Climb aboad the magnificent replica of Sir Francis Drake’s flagship, the Golden Hind, the first ship to circumnavigate the globe. Docked in Brixham Harbour, kids will love exploring the five decks filled with hands-on exhibits, displays and things to do. The full size replica is open from spring to autumn, come rain or shine. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of life aboad the tudor ship, with its replica cabins, weapons, canons and treasures.
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The only way to approach Agatha Christie's house!
A great all-weather activity for the whole family, discover the stories of the people and events that shaped Brixham’s history. This free museum is packed full of exhibits relating to Brixham’s fishing industry, maritime models, and archaeological finds from the Napoleonic for at Berry Head. Kids will love the reconstructed Victorian parlour and nursery, and model railway station. From March 2018, the museum will be open from 10am – 4pm Tuesday to Friday, and 10am – 1pm on Saturdays.
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Set in a stunning position on Brixham’s seafront, this outdoor sea water swimming pool is a great place to spend the day. Built into a natural rock pool, Shoalstone has been a popular swimming spot since Victorian times. The pool is easily accessible, has parking, a bus service nearby and is supervised by lifeguards during the summer season (May – September), making it a popular place for families. Surrounding the pool is a large open area where you can relax and sunbathe, with the option of hiring deckchairs. For refreshments, there's a cafe with spectacular views across Tor Bay, as well as toilet facilities. One of only a few left in the country, this sea water swimming pool is free to enter, but they do ask for a volutary donation of £2 per swim, or £5 per family.
Discover 400 million years of history at Berry Head Nature Reserve. This stunning headland is an internationally acclaimed heritage site, recognised for its geological significance, as well as its Napoleonic War fortifications. Walk the ramparts of the fortress as the soldiers did over 200 years ago whilst taking in the stunning panoramic views of Torbay and beyond. Berry Head is a must-visit day out, which is open all year and is free to visit. Enjoy superb coastal walks and spot a variety of wildlife on land and at sea, including porpoises and dolphins! There’s a great visitor centre with lots of information about the headland, its wildlife and history, children’s activities, films and trails for you to follow. Dogs are very welcome at Berry Head Nature Reserve, making it a great doggy day out – although leads may be required in certain areas. A trip to Berry Head wouldn’t be complete without a bite to eat at the Guardhouse Café, a popular, dog-friendly café serving fresh, locally produced breakfasts, lunches and Devon cream teas. There is a car park at Berry Head, but you can also walk up from Brixham along the South West Coast Path.
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Located on a pretty side street just off Brixham’s harbour, The Cow Shed bar and restaurant specialises in exotic steaks, burgers and venison. The extensive menu consists of fresh, locally sourced ingredients wherever possible, with lots of choices for vegetarians, as well as a gluten free menu. Open Tuesday – Sunday from 6 – 9pm.
The Cow Shed, 1-4 Beach Approach, Pump Street, Brixham TQ5 8JL (T: 01803 859679)
The Old Market House is a busy restaurant and bar overlooking Brixham's busy harbour. Order from the bar menu in the laidback, dog-friendly downstairs bar area, or upstairs in the friendly, table service restaurant. The Old Market House serves fresh, locally sourced food from the South West, and has an extensive outdoor seating area with lovely views over the harbour – the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon.
Old Market House, The Quay, Brixham TQ5 8AW (T: 01803 856891)
A popular restaurant with a laidback atmosphere specialising in fresh, local produce packed with smokey flavour. Their locally sourced free range meats and fresh Brixham seafood are smoked and slow cooked in an American style wood fired smoker, then cooked over open flames on a woodburning barbecue pit. Open all year for lunch and dinner.
On The Rocks, King Street, Brixham TQ5 9TF (T: 01803 857921)
A friendly, traditional pub in the peaceful backstreets of Brixham, passionate about serving a great range of high quality real ale. As well as an ever change selection of great beers, The Queen’s Arms hosts live music every Saturday evening, and great value, tasty Sunday lunches.
The Queen’s Arms, 31 Station Hill, Brixham TQ5 8BN (T: 01803 852074)
Set on the edge of Brixham’s historic harbour, Beamers is a relaxed restaurant with stylish nautical interiors. Reservations at this popular restaurant are strongly recommended, especially for the chance to sit in a window table to make the most of the brilliant views of the bustling harbour. The restaurant serves a contemporary English menu, specialising in fresh seafood, hand selected from Brixham Fish Market, just a short walk down the road. Beamers is also renowned for its delicious Westcountry steaks, local meats and vegetarian dishes. Open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6.30pm, closed on Tuesdays.
Beamers, 19-20 The Quay, Brixham TQ5 8AW (T: 01803 854777)
One of the cleanest beaches on the English Riviera, Breakwater beach is a Blue Flag, shingle beach right next to Brixham’s bustling harbour. With disabled ramps to the promenade and beach, as well as toilet facilities, adjoining parking and a café, this lovely, family-friendly beach is accessible for everyone. Hire out a deckchair and spend the day watching the kids splash about in the safe, clean water, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, learn to scuba dive! Breakwater beach is a great place to learn how to scuba dive, thanks to some of the warmest and calmest waters in the country. Whilst dogs are welcome out of season, there is a dog ban in place from May to September.
Take the coast path from Brixham and escape the crowds at Fishcombe Cove, a peaceful shingle cove, protected on all sides by tall red cliffs. Access to this little cove isn’t easy, via a steep path from Freshwater carpark, but it is definitely worth the effort. The clear, blue sea is sheltered and calm, making it a favourite with swimmers and kayakers. Fishcombe Cove is also a popular place for boats and yachts to moor up and make the most of the beautiful water. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a seal popping its head up to say hello. There is a café and toilets here, but both are only open during the summer months. Fishcombe Cove is dog-friendly all year round.
If you’re willing to venture off the beaten track, you’ll discover one of Brixham’s hidden gems, Churston Cove. Surrounded by sloping wooded hillsides, this beautiful little cove isn’t the easiest to get to, which makes it an idyllic, peaceful place to while away the day. The crystal clear water is safe for kids to paddle and play in, and is a popular swimming spot. Parking is available at Freshwater carpark, a 15-minute walk away. There are no toilet facilities or cafes, and the beach is accessed via a long, steep path, which is uneven in places, but this beautiful little cove is worth the effort. Churston Cove is dog-friendly all year round.
The decent to St Mary’s Bay is one of the bet views in Brixham, with panoramic views of the English Riviera. This beautiful, unspoilt beach has a carpark nearby, but we recommend walking there to make the most of the stunning surroundings. The sandy and shingle beach is sheltered by steep cliffs on either side, which means the decent to the beach isn’t easy, especially for those with mobility disabilities. There are no facilities at the beach, but visitors can take the coast path north to Berry Head Nature Reserve, where there is a great café and toilets, as well as stunning coastal views. Dogs are welcome all year, making St Mary’s Bay a great place to take a well-earned rest on your dog walk.
Far from the bustling crowds of Paignton and Brixham’s bigger beaches, this small pebbly cove is a truly relaxing spot. The calm waters are great for swimming and are said to have been one of Agatha Christie’s favourite bathing spots. Elberry Cove even features in one of her crime thriller novels, The ABC Murders. This picture-perfect cove, surrounded by sloping wooded hillsides and crystal clear water, can only be accessed by the coast path, with the nearest carpark at Broadsands Beach. From here, it is only a 10 - 15 minute walk, but make sure to pack a picnic or grab a bite to eat at Broadsands Beach before you set off, as there aren’t any facilities at here. Dogs are welcome on the beach throughout the year.