Enjoy a 360 virtual tour of Brixham Pirate Festival, a swashbuckling mix of piratical fun and entertainment! There are LOTS of pirates, military and period re-enactors with guns and cannons making plenty of noise! The place really goes to town with the pirate decorations, everything from the lamp posts to people’s own house windows have flags, parrots or skeletons and you may even see a ship on wheels, derived from an electric wheelchair.
Updated: 5th May 2023
- added 360 images aboard the galleon and more around Brixham.
I’ve come along to the Pirate festival a few years now and it’s always great fun and an electric atmosphere. The majority of the festival is based around the main stage and Golden hind, but there are a few stalls around the other side of the harbour toward the King William pub. The place really goes to town with the pirate decorations, everything from the lamp posts to people’s own house windows have flags, parrots or skeletons and you may even see a ship on wheels, derived from an electric wheelchair. The atmosphere is friendly and buzzing especially toward the end of the day when everyone surrounds the main stage. 2019, I went into the Crown & Anchor for a pint on the Monday and they had no ales left 😲 They had been drunk dry the day before. Not the best forward planning by them.
2023 the Spanish galleon returned so we decided this time we would check it out. £10 entry is probably on the limit for some, but we thought it was worth it and enjoyed walking around the ship. There were 3 or 4 levels with fact plaques dotted around with information. It’s one of those you’ve done it once, probably wouldn’t again. I managed to get a friend on for free and she was glad she didn’t pay she didn’t think much of it. Each to there own I guess.
If you want to escape all the hustle and bustle then I can recommend heading up to the Manor pub, it’s somewhat hidden and out of the way, but has a great selection of beer, gins, rum & whisky.
I have travelled over via ferry and also driven and I think arriving via ferry is the best option as parking is very limited. It’s £6 (2023) from Paignton and as long as the weather is good it beats sitting on the bus. You might be lucky and spot some dolphins, porpoise and birds, this year 2023 we saw a gannet. Also if the galleon is in you get a great view as you come into the harbour, the ferry usually slows down and does a close pass to allow everyone to get a good look. As the last ferry is quite early at around 5pm we always catch the bus back later in the evening.
The Pirate festival is located in Brixham a small fishing town on the South West coast of Devon, UK. The three-day event is usually on the first May bank holiday weekend and is suitable for everyone and all ages. The festival takes place throughout the town with main stage right next to the Golden Hind boat in the inner harbour with the majority of shenanigans are held around the Old Fish Market on Brixham harbour side. Buskers, jugglers and other entertainers will perform around the streets and harbour of Brixham. There are other shows, re-enactments and events around the town through the weekend.
The Pirate Festival began back in 2002 when the community decided to create an event to liven up one of the quietest bank holidays of the year. Since then the festival has grown into one of the biggest pirate gatherings in the world.
- Saturday, Starting at 10:15am with a Pirate Parade. Then it’s a day of live music and entertainment running from 11am to 6pm.
- Sunday, 11am to 6pm, live music and entertainment.
- Monday, 11am to 6pm, live music and entertainment.
Free, yes that’s right there is no fee for the festival just turn up and have fun.
Bays usually provide the festival beer tent with all there ales on tap with Bays’ Devon Rock craft lager, Devon IPA and Hunts Andsome Bay lightly sparkling cider. Devon rum provide all there selection of different rums. Usually located next to the main stage.
- Tip: Buy your beer in the local pubs as it’s cheaper than the festival tent.
Bays brewery usually provide the festival drinks tent for ales, ciders and lager on one side of the stage. On the other side of the stage you’ll also find a rum bar, so you can have a proper traditional pirate drink. There is street food available also usually near the main stage and of coarse many a restaurant/bars & pubs to choose from in town.
- Albero (I had some great mussels here while friends enjoyed pizza)
- Curios Kitchen
- i Scream (I can recommend, but pricey at £2.50 for one scoop in a tub!)
- Simply Fish (I can recommend)
There are events for the kids to watch and take part in like puppet shows and street acts. Historical re-enactments and plays during the day. Fancy dress competition for age groups from little to ancient! Music to suit all tastes and more music in the (pirate filled) pubs in the evening. There will be cannons, guns and music so it might be loud!
Getting around is easy as all the harbour side is on the level and wheelchair friendly. If the galleon is in, then getting around that isn’t so easy as there are some steep steps to get between the levels.
There are numerous ways, grab a lift, taxi or catch a bus. Personally I usually catch the ferry from Paignton £6 (2023) and then return via the bus later that evening.
- Car, The Quay Road itself is closed during the event. Brixham central car park (Pay & Display) is the easiest place within easy walking distance. For free parking you could try Overgang (2 hour max) or around Furzeham. (Most become free after 6pm, always check the sign)
- Bus, No. 12 stops between the Baptist Church and the central car park.
- Ferry, you can jump on the ferry from Torquay or Paignton. The last ferry to return is early though at around 5pm.
- Torbay Taxis: 01803 211611
- Price First Taxis: 01803 322322
- Torbay Cab Company: 01803 292292
- Riviera Taxis: 01803 212600
- Ace Taxis (Brixham): 01803 882121
- South Hams Cabs: 01803 840404
- Walk, on the South West Coastal Path, you can get to it from either direction. Just bear in mind Brixham is surrounded with hills.
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