Having not been able to find a space at Paignton sea front due to a motorcycle festival, we decided to drive to whatever the next big town was along the coast on a Sunday afternoon. We must have just about the most awesome luck ever because that next town was Brixham and Brixham was having its annual Pirate Festival! Starting to get curious as to why most of the other people leaving the car park and heading to the quay were in full pirate regalia, we soon realised we needed to get to a shop and purchase stupid pirate accessories asap or risk looking like a land lubber. Suitably crappy hats and swords purchased, we got to enjoy the rest of the day eating ice creams with pirates, going on the Golden Hind with pirates, watching grown pirates go crabbing; although sadly we did miss the world record attempt for a ‘Mile o’ Pirates’.
The most piratey looking of pirate ships, a replica of Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind, sits right next to the quay and is definitely worth a run round. It’s not huge, but worth getting to pretend we’re all piratical and getting to quiz Weasel on her boat parts with a real live ship. There will be some lifts up ladders and trips over random boat bits, but that adds to the fun, right?
Getting there: We went twice; parking once in the Freshwater Quarry car park, a short pram-friendly walk away with spaces even on this special day and taking the ferry over from Torquay the other. The boat trip is definitely well worth it – for £2 return (in low/mid season) you get two 45 minute boat trips across the harbour.
Changing: The public loos (the weird blue thing on the quay with a harbour viewing deck intriguingly on top) had surprisingly good facilities, with a large changing room in both the mens’ and womens’ loos.
Food: Around the harbour there are plenty of fish stands selling sea-side fare with seats with awesome views, plus some pubs that looked like a little too much piratey fun might be going on in for a toddler. We stopped at the amazing I Scream for a few cones.
Pram access: Don’t even think about it on the Golden Hind, accessibility wasn’t exactly a key target in the 16th century. We managed to park ours by the kiosk at the entrance. The rest of the place was mostly ok, barring the odd step into the shops (it’s in a valley, so not surprisingly things aren’t always level).
Johnny Depp Fix: Not often I get to include this measure in to practicalities, but they have a look-a-like here in Captain Sparrow gear every Thursday.
Verdict: Go! It rocks and I now want to go to Devon next year, in full costume, just for this festival. Oh yes, and I’m sure the kids will love it too.
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