There is one thing that Brixham does extremely well; host a weekend for pirates! This is one of the highlights of the year for many, including me. In this post, I show you some of the photos from the 2023 pirate festival, but also some tips on how to get there, and what you should know once there. Let’s dive into it!
The Brixham Pirate Festival started back in 2007 as a way to liven up one of the quietest bank holidays of the year. I don’t think they had any idea just how massive this would become!
Let’s look at some of the photos I took and below them I’ll offer up some tips and tricks to making your visit in 2024 an even better one!
This is not a quiet or peaceful event, not suitable for some people and animals
The cannons and muskets are really, really loud. I seriously mean they are REALLY loud! This is not the place for nervous animals or people who don’t like loud noises. I saw children with ear defenders having absolute meltdowns and panic attacks because their carer underestimated just how deafening the guns and cannons would be. Outside of the main event, the battle on the Golden Hind, there is no warning that the cannons will be firing. You’ll just find yourself jumping out of your skin as one fires 🙂
Is the pirate festival wheelchair and buggy friendly?
The answer to this is; yes and no. I saw people in wheelchairs and they could move around but it was very slow. The crowds instantly moved when they saw a wheelchair, but patience is key. It is maybe easier to avoid the quay area where the live music is. This part of Brixham is the most difficult to navigate through. Even I struggled to move through a crowd like this:
I saw a poor chap trying to push a double buggy through the above, again, expect to go really slow through a crowd that’s stationary listening to the awesome sea shanties.
The easiest and best ways to get to the Brixham Pirate Festival
Brixham is a small fishing town with only around 17,000 residents. During the Pirate weekend, that probably swells to more than 30,000.
Brixham has small-town limitations but the efforts are WELL worth it. Let’s look at the options for you.
Parking at the Pirate Festival
The car parks closest to the town are packed out from the start of the day. Although you may get lucky, parking in a car park can be a real challenge. Another option is the park and ride which is located here:
Something to be aware of: Most of the buses heading to Brixham will already be full. When I went there on Saturday the No. 12 I was on didn’t stop from Goodrington to Brixham Town as it was already full. There were a lot of people waiting at these stops, including the park and ride, which it also skipped.
This is the easiest option. A ‘Day Rider’ gives you the ability to go anywhere for the day. I would suggest getting on the Bus at Paignton Bus station or before. As I mentioned above, the 12 I was on couldn’t stop at any stop after Goodrington because it was already full.
From about 4pm onwards the queues for the bus stops are long so kept that in mind. We got the bus back to Goodrington at around 5pm. There were probably 50 people before us but we only waited about 25 minutes.
Other travel options
Some ferries offer a boat ride from Torquay (or Paignton if high tide). Check on the local companies closer to the day. The two I can think of are: WeFerry and Western Lady.
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