Are you looking for the best things to do in Brixham? This guide lists them all!
Colourful boats bob on the harbour, the smell of seafood wafts in the air and the “clink” sound of tourists cheers-ing in al fresco restaurants is never too far away.
Brixham is well-known for having one of the most significant fishing fleets in the country.
While its locally sourced seafood is certainly a reason to go to Brixham, its beaches, wonderful harbour, museums and maritime heritage make it well worth sticking around in.
I live nearby in Exmouth, and I’ve visited Brixham many times; both as a child with my parents and more recently.
So, I know all about the best things to do in Brixham; and have put them together in this full guide.
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Best things to do in Brixham
The best things to do in Brixham include walking around the harbour, learning about its naval heritage at the museum and Golden Hind ship, hiking up to Berry Head, exploring unique beaches and – of course – eating fresh seafood.
1. Stroll around Brixham harbour
Brixham Harbour is the heart of the town and one of the busiest fishing ports in the UK.
A rectangle-shaped body of water where boats (including the Golden Hind Museum Ship) bob around, flanked on either side by waterfront restaurants and overlooked by colourful houses, this harbour is nothing short of idyllic.
The colourful houses, which are the focal point of any photo, were painted so to guide sailors back to their homes after time out at sea.
There’s a statue of William of Orange, who landed at the town in 1688.
If you want an easy, flat walk, head to the marina, where you’ll pass by the Man and Boy Monument, a sculpture that shows a Man and Boy duo steering a ship.
If you happen to be in the market for a yacht, you’ll also pass by a few boat sales offices – I loved yacht window shopping here!
2. Visit the Golden Hind Museum Ship
Step aboard the full-sized replica of Sir Francis Drake’s 16th-century ship.
The Golden Hind Museum Ship is one of only two replicas of this ship in the world (the other is in Greenwich) and it’s brimming with replicas of Tudor armoury, decorations and provisions, along with information boards detailing snippets of Tudor maritime history.
Discover the life and career of Drake on board (including arguments about why he could be considered a pirate!) in a sensory exhibit that transports you back 400 years.
It’s £7.95 for adult entry tickets.
3. Discover history in the Brixham Heritage Museum
Learn about Brixham’s history from the prehistoric era to the present day in the town’s museum.
The museum has a variety of interesting exhibits including ones on the fishing industry, the Napoleonic Wars, and World War II.
It’s free to enter the Brixham Heritage Museum, and it’s located just a five minute walk into the town from Brixham Harbour.
4. Explore the Berry Head National Nature Reserve
A 45-minute walk along the South West Coast Path takes you from Brixham to Berry Head Nature Reserve.
Believed to be 400 million years old, the cliffs at Berry Head have been shaped over millennia of the earth’s history.
It marks the southernmost point of Tor Bay, and is home to a Napoleonic fort built in response to the threat of French attacks. It was then used in World War II as a battery site.
Today, it’s home to Berry Head Lighthouse, dating back to 1906, which is an active lighthouse that still guides ships in the Devon waters to safety.
5. Take a dip in Shoalstone Pool
Fancy taking a dip in Brixham – but don’t want to brave the open water?
We have the perfect solution – Shoalstone Pool.
This seawater lido offers a unique spot to swim with beautiful views of the sea.
It’s fed by seawater, but it’s completely enclosed, which means that it’s safe and calm.
In an area that’s known as “Shoalstone Beach” (there isn’t really a beach here, but you can rent out a deckchair or sunlounger and sit by the pool), this lido is completely free to use, although donations are appreciated.
There’s also a cafe sitting above the pool with views of the coastline.
It’s an ideal place for a family day out in the summer!
6. Catch the views at Fishcombe Cove
Around a 20-minute walk from Brixham in the other direction from Berry Head, you’ll stumble across Fishcombe Cove.
Think of a tucked-away beach, with bright blue water and few amenities; Fishcombe Cove is stunning and is usually fairly quiet.
It’s also a good spot for snorkelling when the tide is right; the water can be quiet clear here and is full of a variety of fish and seahorses.
7. Walk along Brixham Breakwater
An extended sea wall that stretches half a mile into the water in Torbay, Brixham Breakwater is a popular Brixham attraction for anyone who wants to admire coastal views and learn a little about the marine town’s fortifications!
The breakwater was built to protect the bay from extreme weather and floods, and has a historic lighthouse at the end.
In calm weather, it’s possible to walk the whole way along the breakwater – from the end, you’ll see the towns of Paignton and Torquay (known collectively as “Tor Bay” or “The English Riviera”).
Also, take a look at the quirky “Brixham Walk of Fame”.
This is a metal covering put on one part of the breakwater. On it are engraved names of various people from the town.
You can even apply to have your name engraved on the Brixham Walk of Fame!
8. Discover WW2 history at Brixham Battery
Brixham Battery is a slice of WW2 history in Torbay.
Situated just uphill from Fishcombe Cove, the battery was built in 1940.
With two main guns, harbour defence guns and anti-aircraft weapons, this compound aimed to defend the South English coastline against invasion from occupied France.
Nowadays, it’s home to not only the historic weaponry but a small but immersive museum where you can learn about WWII in Devon.
It’s free to visit but is funded by donations, so do give generously.
9. Stay in town for the Brixham Pirate Festival
If your visit aligns with this annual event (set on the first bank holiday weekend in May), don’t miss the Brixham Pirate Festival.
The entire town participates in this celebration of its pirate history, with people dressing up, music, entertainment, and a generally jovial atmosphere.
Dating back to 2007, the Brixham Pirate Festival is a celebration of all things nautical.
Events include pirate-inspired performances and events, fancy dress performances and themed food and drink.
It’s often called “the annual gathering of the world’s most infamous pirates and lowly scallywags”, and it’s possibly the best time to be in this South Devon town!
10. Try some seafood
“Tomorrow’s fish are still in the sea!” Rockfish proudly proclaims.
This Brixham-based restaurant fishes exclusively in the area, bringing in fresh catch every morning and serving it in the restaurant that same day.
There are more Rockfish restaurants in other locations in Devon and Dorset, including Exmouth, where I live.
I’ve also been to the Exeter Quay branch – check out my full review here.
While Rockfish certainly has a claim to be king of the seafood restaurants in Brixham, it’s by far the only competitor.
11. Go shopping on Middle Street
Before I re-visited Brixham recently, I forgot how wonderfully quirky it can be.
Pirates are celebrated in full swing here, and Middle Street boasts a range of independent shops, including Fanciflair which sells platters and coasters and art gallery The Colours of Brixham.
If you want to pick up unique souvenirs or gifts, there’s nowhere better than Middle Street!
12. Take a fishing trip with Kelly’s Hero Charters
Sure, it’s lovely to look at all the fishing boats in the harbour… but if you’re a seafood lover, you might want to get out there and catch your own dinner!
Kelly’s Hero Charters offer fishing trips in the South Devon area, heading to local spots known for marine life.
Trips take place on board “Kelly’s Hero” boat, which is kitted out with its own WC and tea and coffee facilities.
13. Embark on a wildlife watching cruise
Don’t fancy a fishing trip? Have a more relaxed sojourn with the range of wildlife-watching trips on offer in Brixham’s waters!
Fun Fish Trips operate cream tea cruises and “pasty, pint and a packet of crisps” cruises; head out onto the seas, take a look at Brixham and Torquay from the water and look out for dolphins, seals and maybe even the odd basking shark!
You can book these cruises in their shop next to Prince William Waterfront Restaurant (Unit 5, Brixham Marina Vilage, TQ5 9BW) or by booking online.
14. Hike to Kingswear
Like all coastal towns in Devon, the South West Coast Path runs through Brixham.
The rugged 10-mile trail from Brixham to Kingswearfirst traverses past the Berry Head Nature Reserve.
From there, the trail takes you south, where you’ll encounter the serene St Mary’s Bay and Man Sands Beaches.
Next up is an impressive geological formation, aptly named Dragon’s Tail. Once you lay eyes on it, you’ll instantly see why it’s named so!
As you continue towards Kingswear, you’ll pass Brownstone Battery.
Dating back to 1940, this was a World War II coastal defence.
At the journey’s end in Kingswear, you can take the number 18 bus back to Brixham.
Or, if you get there early enough (the last train is 5ish), you could take the Dart Valley heritage steam railway back to Paignton and then hop on the number 12 back to Brixham!
15. Hike to Paignton
This five-mile walk heads north from Brixham, through the laidback Fishcombe and Elberry Cove, before spanning past Broadsands Beach, where tree-capped cliffs tumble down onto the sands.
The hike then leads past Goodrington Sands, home to Splashdown Quaywest Waterpark, before ending at busy Paignton.
If you don’t fancy doing the walk both ways, take the number 12 bus back to Brixham.
16. Take a boat to Torquay
Running for 75 years, the Western Lady Ferry Service is the easiest connection between Brixham and Paignton.
The first boat departs Brixham at 10:30am and the last is at 5:15pm, with a return ticket costing £9.
The town centre incorporates a museum and seaside shops and cafes, and you can also take a bus, train or walk to attractions like Torre Abbey, Kent’s Cavern Prehistoric Caves or Bygones Museum.
Torquay Beach is a bit over-commercialised, but Antsey’s Cove and Oddicombe Cove look like they belong in the Med.
17. Explore the rest of the English Riviera
As Brixham sits at the western end of the English Riviera, it’s in a prime position to see the rest of the region – you can check out the best things to do in Torquay and Paignton easily from Brixham!
The best things to do in the Torbay region include:
- Kent’s Cavern Caves: A prehistoric intricate cave network with a rich history dating back to ancient times.
- Bygones: A nostalgia-driven exhibition offering glimpses into the Victorian era and World War I and II memorabilia.
- Torre Abbey: A historic abbey and art gallery situated amidst beautifully landscaped gardens in Torquay.
- Babbacombe Model Village: A miniature world filled with tiny versions of classic British scenes and buildings, making it a fun family attraction.
- Babbacombe Cliff Railway: A unique mode of transport providing scenic rides down to Oddicombe Beach.
18. Go paddleboarding at Breakwater Beach
Breakwater Beach is the closest beach to Brixham Harbour.
Sitting behind Brixham Breakwater, this pebbly beach is a popular spot for swimming in calm waters or paddleboarding.
Paddleboard hire is available from this beach, with paddleboards costing £15 for one hour or £25 for two hours.
Where is Brixham?
It’s at the southern/ western edge of Torbay – sitting just before it turns into the South Hams region.
How to get to Brixham
From Paignton station, walk over to the bus station and hop on the number 12 bus, which will take you to Brixham in about 20 minutes!
Places to visit near Brixham
Outside of the Torbay area, here are some of the best places to visit near Brixham!
Kingswear’s a picturesque maritime village where the famous Dartmouth Steam Railway connects with Paignton.
Here, you can stroll through vibrant streets lined with multi-coloured terraced houses.
Or, take in views over the River Dart on the South West Coast Path.
Don’t miss Brownstone Battery (a short walk from town) which is an atmospheric World War II coastal defence site.
Between Kingswear and Brixham you’ll find Coleton Fishacre, a National Trust property
You can also easily reach Dartmouth from here by climbing on board the Kingswear to Dartmouth ferry.
Dartmouth boasts a rich maritime heritage with its harbour and the imposing Dartmouth Castle guarding the Dart Estuary.
The town’s picturesque streets offer views of historical half-timbered buildings and are filled with local boutique shops and eateries.
Visit the Royal Naval College, a key naval training establishment for over a century.
Join the Dartmouth Steam Railway from Kingswear or take a boat from Dartmouth to Totnes.
For a slice of history, explore the Dartmouth Museum, a treasure trove of naval memorabilia, artefacts, and models that uncover Dartmouth’s history.
Totnes is a market town renowned for its alternative, eco-friendly vibe.
Every week, markets showcase local crafts, organic produce, and vintage gems.
Explore the High Street with its Elizabethan-era houses and unique, independent stores.
Visit the Totnes Castle, a classic Norman motte and bailey fort, for panoramic views over the town.
Also, stroll along the River Dart, where rowing boats gently glide, or head to Totnes Rare Breeds Farm for close encounters with a variety of creatures.
Dartmoor’s a wild landscape boasting open moorlands, granite tors, and dense woodlands.
Conquer Haytor Rocks, a popular climbing spot that rewards with panoramic moorland views.
Brentor Church is a hill with a church on top, offering impressive views of the western part of Dartmoor from the moorland.
Discover the semi-wild Dartmoor ponies roaming freely, a unique sight that has become a symbol of this area.
Explore ancient stone circles like Grimspound and the Postbridge Clapper Bridge.
Where to stay in Brixham
Do you want to stay in Brixham? These are the best hotels in town!
Berry Head Hotel is located close to the Berry Head Nature Reserve and offers elegant rooms, some with sea views.
It also features a heated indoor swimming pool, spa, and an excellent restaurant.
Ranscombe House is a historic sea captain’s house turned bed and breakfast in Brixham, with redesigned self-contained rooms and a communal kitchen.
Brixham House is an award-winning B&B in the centre of town with well-equipped rooms with en-suite bathrooms and modern amenities.
Where to eat in Brixham
Delicious seafood is usually on the menu in Brixham – you can guarantee that you’ll be served the freshest fish, as much of it comes right from Brixham Harbour.
But don’t worry if seafood isn’t to your taste – most of these restaurants have veggie options.
- Rockfish Brixham: A popular seafood restaurant right on the harbourfront. Known for its daily fresh fish menu, fish market with seafood straight from the harbour and fish and chip takeaway, Rockfish Brixham is all about sampling the freshest fish possible!
- Simply Fish: A must-visit for fish and chip lovers. This restaurant offers a modern take on the traditional British classic, using locally sourced fish. Their offerings range from conventional cod and chips to more adventurous seafood dishes.
- The Curious Kitchen: This is a highly-rated breakfast and brunch spot that’s also famous for its doughnuts!
- Claws Restaurant: It’s only a small place, but this seafood shack reportedly has the best crab sandwiches in town!
- Beamers Restaurant: Beamers is a high-end restaurant with a contemporary British menu.
Visiting Brixham FAQs
Is Brixham worth a visit?
Absolutely! Brixham, with its colourful houses, working fishing port, and rich maritime history, has plenty on offer for tourists of any tastes.
It’s an ideal destination for lovers of seafood, coastal walks, and heritage.
I hadn’t been to Brixham in a few years and forgot how pleasant it was, especially compared to Paignton and Torquay (which, while popular, are certainly not among my favourite Devon beach towns!).
What is Brixham Devon known for?
Brixham is renowned as one of the UK’s principal fishing ports, which is still very active.
It’s also famous for its historic harbour and having a replica of Sir Francis Drake’s ship, the Golden Hind.
Plus, it’s picturesque coastal scenery and locally-owned seafood restaurants attract visitors from across the globe!
Is Brixham or Dartmouth nicer?
Both Brixham and Dartmouth offer unique charms.
Brixham’s a lively fishing town known for its seafood and maritime heritage, while Dartmouth’s appeal lies in its historical architecture, naval traditions, and a picturesque waterfront.
The general consensus is that Dartmouth is nicer, but I’d argue that there’s lots more to do in Brixham!
What is the beach like at Brixham?
Brixham has several beaches, with Breakwater Beach being one of the most popular.
This clean pebble beach offers calm waters that are perfect for swimming. There’s a cafe and you can hike up the coastal path for views from above.
The views of the harbour and lighthouse further enhance the beach’s appeal.
Are you ready to visit Brixham?
The seaside town of Brixham is an absolute delight.
The harbour is reminiscent of a traditional English fishing town, but surrounding beaches, tucked away in lush coves, wouldn’t be out of place in Southern Europe.
With the Golden Hind Museum, Brixham Battery and the town museum, there’s plenty to learn about; or if nature’s more your thing, the South West Coast Path walks beckon.
Or, would you rather sit in the sunshine, enjoy some fresh seafood (it’s a cultural experience in itself!) and a local Devon ale? That’s certainly possible in gorgeous Brixham!
Check out the rest of my Devon posts for more information about my beautiful county, and feel free to drop me a message on Instagram if you have any questions.
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