Brixham Holiday Cottages
Situated just across the bay from Torquay, Brixham is the hidden gem in South Devon’s crown. With its spectacular coastline, windswept beaches and exotic palm trees, it’s a key part of the English Riviera and home to a UNESCO-recognised Global Geopark (one of only seven in the UK).
Brixham’s maritime history is deep-rooted, and in Napoleonic times the Royal Navy used the area as anchorage. You can soak up its nautical heritage at one of its forts, which date back to 1803. Its historic harbour is also the place to see the UK’s once-largest fishing port still at work.
What to see and do
The Brixham Heritage Museum has been open to the public since 1958. You can hark back to days gone by and explore the area’s rich naval and archaeological history through its exhibits, as well as explore its fun vintage shopping arcade. Sea-faring enthusiasts can climb aboard the Golden Hind Museum Ship, a full size replica of the ship in which Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe. Stealing the limelight in Brixham is the 400-million-year-old Berry Head National Nature Reserve. It marks the entrance to the UNESCO Global Geopark and its abundant wildlife includes 600 species of birds (from black and white guillemots to peregrine falcons), rare breed Soay sheep and the harbour porpoise. Keep your eyes peeled for whales and dolphins.
The Berry Head Trail winds from Brixham Harbour along the coastal path and is awash with colourful purple wild thyme, yellow gorse and white rock roses. Brixham is not short of its share of blue flag beaches either. Open all year round, and known for its warm, calm waters and excellent scuba diving (during which you can spot seahorses and shipwrecks),
Breakwater Beach is a firm favourite. Shoalstone Beach is also a popular choice, offering incredible views and its own seawater swimming pool.
Where to eat and drink
With its coastal location and rich farming history, Brixham serves up the freshest fish and seafood, hand-reared meat and organic fruit and vegetables. The village’s fishing community dates back to the 15th century and you can delve into its history with a tour of Brixham Fish Market tour (from March to September), where you’ll see over 40 different types of fish being sold at auction.
If you don’t want to cook your own dinner, make a beeline for popular local takeaway Simply Fish, where you can take your catch of the day down to the beach with a pot of mushy peas and chips.
Scoring highly on the cosy front, the Grade II listed New Quay Inn serves plenty of locally-made ales. Perched atop a cliff in a Napoleonic-era fortress is the award-winning Guardhouse Café, which dishes up it famous Devonshire cream tea every day.
Even more epic sea views can be found at Breakwater Bistro, where you can tuck into delicious South Devon mussels steamed in white wine or panko-coated calamari.
For an extensive wine list and a tapas menu that changes with the seasons, try Lytehouse; or for a good-old fashioned British seaside refreshment, I.scream should do the trick.
How to get in and around
Paignton is Brixham’s most accessible railway station; from there it’s just a short hop on the number 12 bus into Brixham. By car, follow the M5 to Exeter, then join the A380 to Brixham, or if you’re flying in, Exeter airport is a 50-minute drive away. Once you are in town, a ferry service runs regular trips across the bay from Brixham to Torquay and Paignton (from Easter to September).
Why not make your trip to Brixham really special by booking your accommodation with Discovery Holiday Homes.