Our Top 10
Picking just our top 10 things to do in and around Brixham is very difficult, there are so many things to do – so by all means look through the list below, but don’t forget to check out Places To Visit, Places To Eat And Drink and Walking pages for other recommendations.
1. A Walk Around The Harbour and Along the Breakwater
The harbour is the centre of most things in Brixham – there is so much going on. A walk around the harbour can take anything from 30 minutes to a whole day if you take the time to stop in some of the wonderful restaurants, shops and pubs.
Over 100 fishing boats land and sell their catch at the local fish market. A visitor viewing platform is strategically placed so visitors can watch the busy comings and goings of the fishing fleet, made up of large beam trawlers and the smaller day boats. Some of the smaller day boats can actually been seen working at various vantage points around Torbay e.g. Berry Head, Fishcombe Cove and Hopes Nose.
Brixham with its many colourful houses cascading down on either side of the harbour is one of the prettiest views along the South Devon coast. Brixham personifies the classic English fishing port, mixing tradition with a modern vibrant industry. The harbour is also home to a fleet of heritage trawlers, all lovingly restored by passionate enthusiasts and now offering chartered voyages.
A walk along the breakwater is an experience not to be missed. It is half a mile long, and from the far end you gain a very different perspective of the harbour and town. The breakwater is a great spot for fishing – it is possible to fish both the seaward side and into the harbour, meaning you might catch wrasse, conger eels, mackerel, garfish, bass, pollack and mullet. If you chose to fish, do remember that boats have the right of way, and this is the main channel for all vessels to pass in and out of the harbour.
This video gives an aerial view of the breakwater and harbour, so is worth watching to help you get your bearings! If you look carefully you will see One Fisherman’s Loft in the video from about 2:35 to 2:45.
2. Berry Head Nature Reserve
Berry Head National Nature Reserve is an internationally-acclaimed heritage site, home to a fascinating variety of wildlife and history, with recently-restored Napoleonic War fortifications. Enjoy the stunning views and superb local food at the GuardHouse Cafe, visit the Visitor Centre, enjoy one of the many events, and walk the ramparts as the soldiers did 200 years ago.
It’s also a great site for some serious rock climbing and kayaking for the more adventurous.
The walk from the harbour to Berry Head takes about 25 minutes. A lovely way to spend a morning (or all day) is a walk up to Berry Head, breakfast in the GuardHouse Cafe followed by a walk around the old fort taking in the wonderful views across Torbay. On the way back into Brixham we recommend stopping off in the Berry Head Hotel for a drink and to take in the wonderful views!
Berry Head is free to visit and open all year.
3. Lunch (or dinner) At The Breakwater Bistro
We always take visiting family and friends here. Stunning views, stunning food, what more is there to say! Just walk around the harbour past the marina to the breakwater, the Bistro is by the beach.
4. Fishcombe Cove and Churston Cove
A walk to Fishcombe Cove and then on to Churston Cove is a lovely way to spend a few hours. The views are stunning and from there you could continue on the South West Path all the way to Paignton. Alternatively from Churston Cove you could walk through the woods to Churston Manor for lunch or an evening meal. Sammy the Seal can often be seen at Churston Cove.
The map above shows the routes for both Berry Head (black) and Fishcombe Cove and Churston Cove (red)
5. A Boat Trip or Ferry to Paignton or Torquay
There are many boat trips available and they can be booked directly in the harbour. It is also possible to get a ferry from Brixham harbour to Paignton or Torquay.
Ferry from Brixham to Paignton, £2 one way and £3 return.
Ferry from Brixham to Torquay, £2 one way and £3 return.
Fishing is obviously a popular pastime in Brixham and trips can be booked directly in the harbour, more information by clicking on the link above.
We can personally recommend this one – Fun Fish Trips
The ferries do not run during the winter months.
6. A Trip To Dartmouth
Dartmouth is a magical place with its own unique sense of style. It hosts many events and festivals such as the Dartmouth Royal Regatta and Food Festival (check the Annual Events page). More information can be found here – Dartmouth Information
The easiest way to get to Dartmouth is by the ferry from Kingswear, and the good news is there is an excellent bus service from Brixham to Kingswear. Bus 18 or 18A which leave from the back of Tesco (by the Strand Bakery) takes you to Kingswear where you can get the ferry to Dartmouth.
7. The Golden Hind
The Golden Hind at Brixham is a replica of one of the most iconic ships from the age of exploration. Best known for her circumnavigation of the globe between 1577 and 1580, captained by Sir Francis Drake. The Ship has been a feature of picturesque Brixham harbour for over fifty years, entertaining and educating thousands of visitors during this time – as well as being featured on many tv programmes and films. The Ship is open come rain or shine and is an all-weather attraction with many indoor displays as well as wide open decks.
8. Paignton Zoo
Paignton Zoo has a collection of about 2,000 animals representing nearly 300 species. Paignton Zoo is committed to the breeding and conservation of rare and endangered animal and plant species.
Paignton Zoo’s collection of animals are categorised by the habitat they live in, and those habitats are represented by themed buildings and areas across the zoo.
The Desert House is a walk-through glasshouse containing authentic desert plants such as cacti of various species. The animals kept in the Desert House include red-billed quelea, gila monsters, superb starlings, pancake tortoises, Guinea pigs and free-flying Princess of Wales parakeets, as well as a real termite mound.
Tropical Forest House
The Tropical Forest House displays reptiles and amphibians from tropical rain-forests. These include Burmese pythons, Cuban crocodiles, saltwater crocodiles, boa constrictors, matamata turtles, dwarf caimans, green anacondas, tokay geckos and several species of poison dart frog.
This area is wooded with naturally occurring plants and trees. Animals on display include Asian lions, Sumatran tigers, red ruffed lemurs, ring-tailed lemurs, Bornean orangutans, great grey owls, wreathed hornbills, golden pheasants, western lowland gorillas, white-faced saki monkeys, Socorro doves, southern cassowary, bongo and lar gibbons.
Several species of waterfowl live around the moats surrounding the zoo’s monkey islands, including dalmatian pelicans, Marabou storks and several different species of ducks and geese such as Mandarin ducks, common shelducks and barnacle geese. Other waterfowl in the zoo’s collection include Chilean flamingos, scarlet ibis and little egrets.
This area mostly displays animals from the African savannah, but also features some animals from other continents that live in a similar dry grassland habitat. The African animals include ostriches, Hartmann’s mountain zebras, cheetahs, red river hogs, Rothschild’s giraffes, African elephants, Barbary sheep and black rhinoceros. Animals from other continents include maned wolves, Bactrian camels, mishmi takin and collared peccaries.
9. Dartmouth Steam Railway And River Boat
The Dartmouth Steam Railway from Paignton runs for seven miles in Great Western tradition along the spectacular Torbay coast to Churston and through the wooded slopes bordering the Dart estuary to Kingswear. The scenery is superb, with seascapes right across Lyme Bay to Portland Bill on clear days. Approaching Kingswear is the beautiful River Dart, with its fascinating craft, and on the far side, the olde worlde town of Dartmouth and the famous Britannia Royal Naval College, Butterwalk, Bayards Cove and Dartmouth Castle.
As well as taking the steam train between Paignton and Kingwear, the following days out are available :
The Sea Train
This journey involves a boat trip across Torbay and around Berry Head to Dartmouth, allowing for some time ashore in Dartmouth. The journey continues with a short ferry crossing to Kingswear and then a 30 minute steam train to Paignton, followed by the Stagecoach no. 12 back to Torquay or Brixham.
Round Robin Torquay
Round Robin Torquay is your combined ticket, entitling you to make a circular journey firstly by bus to Paignton, a steam train to Kingswear, by ferry to Dartmouth, then a river cruise to Totnes and return by bus to Torquay. This journey is timed in relation to the tide of the river, and thus on certain days the journey is better suited in reverse.
Steam and Cruise
This is a perfect day out for all the family. Firstly travel by bus to Paignton and board the steam train to Kingswear. This is followed by a short crossing to Dartmouth. Once in Dartmouth board a boat for a circular river cruise (approx 1 hour). Return via steam train from Kingswear and a bus back to Torquay.
10. Babbacombe Model Village
Babbacombe Model Village is famous for its miniature landscaped gardens, leading it to be branded as one of Europe’s Premier Model Villages and one of Torquay’s most beautiful gardens.
The gardens cover nearly four acres and require on-going attention throughout the year by the team of professional gardeners. This ensures that they are kept in an immaculate condition and the scenes are kept to scale.
Adults love the humorous representation of British life over the last six decades and the award-winning gardens.
From April to October they also feature “Evening Illuminations” on a Thursday. At night thousands of miniature lights enable you to see what goes on inside many of the models and, as dusk develops into darkness, the illuminations beautifully light up the gardens and models creating an enchanting atmosphere.