Useful information for disabled holidaymakers visiting Brixham and Torbay

Brixham HarbourBrixham is a picturesque seaside town located on the south-west coast of the UK. Part of the Torbay district the two main industries here are tourism and commercial fishing. With well over 100 trawlers working out of Brixham, our locally caught fish is famous all around the world. During the summer time, Brixham is a favoured destination for holidaymakers from all around the world. In fact, only recently I was talking to a couple who were on holiday from New Zealand.

Anyone who uses a wheelchair will know that it's not always easy to find accessible venues such as restaurants and other places they want to visit in their wheelchair. I've put some useful information together that I hope will help wheelchair users and their families. All of the venues listed on this page are completely accessible to wheelchair users. Some of the venues, however, may be more accessible if you use a power wheelchair, i.e. steep slopes etc, but I've tried to compile a list of interesting places you can visit whatever wheelchair you may use.

Activities and places to visit in Brixham

If you've come down to Brixham with a young family then you're probably going to be looking for various places to visit and things today. Thankfully Brixham does have a fair amount of attractions that should keep you busy during your stay.

Moored up in the inner harbour at Brixham is a full-size replica of the Golden Hind. You can find out all the information about going aboard from the kiosk beside the ship. 

If you've come on holiday with the kids then I would highly recommend you to take them crabbing.  For less than five quid you can get yourself a couple of crabbing lines, a bucket and some bait  If you're here during the summer then you will no doubt see people crabbing. As far as I'm aware there's only one place in the harbour where crabbing is prohibited, there are signs so there shouldn't be any confusion where you can and cannot go crabbing. I can promise you that crabbing is great fun for the whole family.

The guardhouse cafeteria Berry headOn a nice warm sunny day you can't beat a trip to the Berry head nature reserve. There is ample car parking and there is a large area where you can picnic and maybe play football with the kids. Berry head is surprisingly wheelchair friendly, although you may have a hard time negotiating the whole area if you only use a manual chair. It's best explored if you have a good electric wheelchair. Berry Head is famous for its old Napoleonic fort. The majority of it is long gone, however, there are still some buildings that have been restored. The guardhouse cafe is completely wheelchair accessible and well-behaved dogs are more than welcome. 

Brixham is a fantastic place for sea angling, both shore and afloat. If you fancy going afloat to do a spot of fishing then there are quite a few angling boats which specialise in all different types of fishing. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any boats that can accommodate wheelchair anglers. Having said that, you may be able to get some strong friends to lift you aboard, that will be something you will have to look into yourself. If you want to introduce the kids to fishing then I would recommend finding one of the mackerel fishing boats that go out for a couple of hours. You are almost guaranteed to catch some mackerel and you can take them home for dinner if you wish. Alternatively, if you are a serious sea angler then there are a few baits that take anglers to fish over the wrecks. If you want to keep your feet on the shore then there are various locations around Brixham where you can enjoy a few hours sea fishing. The breakwater is probably the most well-known and easiest place to go fishing. Alternatively, you could track up to Berry Head and fish from the quarry. Unless you are staying fairly close to the area you will probably want to drive up to the car park. Disabled drivers can obtain a permit which will enable them to drive right down to the quarry. If you visit the countryside trust website you can contact the appropriate person and find out how you can obtain a permit. Before you go to the expense of obtaining a permit I must warn you that Berry Head quarry You could try the breakwater when the tide is high, alternatively go down to the freshwater 

 

The bird hide at Berry head

Berry head is famous for its seabird colonies that roost and breed on the cliffs. If you are a keen bird watcher then there is a new bird hide that has been installed a few yards from the guardhouse cafe. Even though the ground between the cafe and the slope/ramp going down to the bird hide is a little bit uneven, I didn't have any problems in my electric wheelchair.

 

Berry head bird hide Berry head bird hide Berry head bird hide Berry head bird hide

 

Places to eat in Brixham

Including wheelchair accessible restaurants & pubs

Claws seafood stalls Brixham  Brixham seafood restaurant  Market House Restaurant Brixham

 

If you are looking to eat outside around the harbour then there are various shops and stalls that sell food. There are three harbourside food huts that sell takeaway food. On the far side of the harbour you have The Captain's Cabin which sell your basic takeaway food such as burgers and chips.

If you are looking to eat seafood then the other two harbourside huts are "Claws" which is located near the fish market, and on the other side of the harbour you have a similar outlet selling basically the same seafood, cockles, mussels, crab etc. All of the takeaway food huts have seating where you can sit and enjoy your food if you wish.

There are various fish and chip shops dotted around the harbour, I would recommend Simply Fish as they sell some of the best fish and chips you will ever taste. They do takeaway but you can also sit inside in their small restaurant if you wish. They have recently opened up another sit in house a little further along from their main shop on the corner.

Right opposite Simply Fish is a fantastic ice cream shop which sell from the best ice cream you will ever taste, I highly recommend this outlet. Obviously there are various other shops around the harbour that sell nice ice cream as well.

I'm going to list a few restaurants that are completely wheelchair accessible. There are lots of other restaurants that are not wheelchair accessible, they are easy to find so I'm not going to talk about them.

Rockfish - celebrity chef Mitch Tonks recently opened a new seafood restaurant which is located at Brixham fish market. As a name suggests they specialise in seafood only, although I think there is a cheeseburger on the menu. The restaurant is upstairs but there is a lift for the disabled and wheelchair users. If somebody in your party uses a wheelchair then I would strongly suggest you pre-book to make sure you get a seat as the restaurant is very busy most of the time. They have a superb menu which you can see here.

The Old Market House is situated right opposite the Golden Hind. This restaurant/pub offers some really nice food. They have a restaurant upstairs which is accessible via a lift for wheelchair users. You can walk in and eat downstairs, although during the holiday season I would recommend you ring and book a table in the restaurant upstairs. They have a nice balcony where you can eat in fine weather that overlooks the harbour.

The Prince William is located next to Brixham Marina and serves good food for reasonable prices. It's completely wheelchair accessible and even has a ramp in order for you to access the carvery area. During the summer time when the weather is good it's nice to sit outside and eat.

The Breakwater bistro offers some nice food. The downstairs area of the restaurant is wheelchair accessible, although I would recommend booking because there are only about two or three tables downstairs. This is also a nice place to get your lunchtime snack and maybe spend some time on the beach or breakwater

The Balti Nights Indian restaurant is located at the bottom of Fore Street and is wheelchair accessible. Due to the size of the restaurant I would probably urge you to pre-book a table just to make sure that you get in.

The Sprat and Mackerel pub is about 50 yards from the fish market and offers meals at lunchtimes. They sell fresh Brixham fish as well as all the other normal pub grub. The pub is on the level and wheelchair accessible.

We have a Wetherspoon's here in Brixham which is very popular. You can get a cheap paint and reasonably good food. Wetherspoon's do have disabled accessible toilets as well

 I've written to various restaurants listed asking about disabled toilets, unfortunately Wetherspoon's are the only ones who bothered to get back to me. So if you rely on disabled toilets I would suggest you ask before booking a table.

 

Other places to visit and eat at around Torbay

If you are coming on holiday to Brixham then you will obviously be wanting to look elsewhere around the bay to see what other attractions it has to offer. Both Paignton and Torquay can offer holidaymakers places to visit and have fun. I'd like to say that Torquay is only 30 minutes drive, but we all know what the traffic is like here in Torbay during the summer months. If you don't mind using Shanks's pony than an alternate mode of transport across to Torquay is by one of the pleasure boats that cross the Bay several times a day. 

Torquay has various attractions that are worth a visit. The Living Coast is located next to the harbour and is very popular with the kids as there are lots of penguins there, and we know that children love penguins (and also the chocolate covered ones). The Model Village is located at Babbacombe and is also extremely popular. From my understanding anyone using a wheelchair can gain access to the model Village completely free of charge, as can their carer. This is because the model Village has areas that are quite steep and may not be suitable for all wheelchair users. If you are a wheelchair user then I would advise you to visit their website before going, you'll find relevant information that will be helpful. 

If you do visit Torbay then you cannot go home without visiting Paignton Zoo. I've been to the zoo many times before in my wheelchair and I've never had a problem with access. If you use a manual wheelchair then you may struggle. Paignton zoo is massive, you're probably find your need more than one day to explore everything.. Paignton zoo belongs to the same company as The Living Coast and therefore carers who are looking after wheelchair users gain free access. Now I don't actually have a carer that I would take to the zoo with me, however you can nominate anyone as your carer, it will save you quite a lot of money.

You may also enjoy a trip to Cockington which is a small village located in between Paignton and Torquay. It's very picturesque and very much unchanged in history. There are some lovely gardens that you can walk around. You can visit the glassworks there and see them actually making their products. There is plenty of parking, it's good for wheelchairs, although you probably benefit from using an electric wheelchair or scooter. 

If you have young children then you may like to take them on the Dartmouth steam railway. The train starts off from Paignton and travels through to Kingswear. The whole journey there and back takes just over an hour. There is access for wheelchairs via a ramp. However you will have to sit in what was probably the luggage carriage. I recently travelled on the steam train with my family and 3 1/2 year old nephew. The luggage carriage can seat about four people, but you'll probably find you will be standing up quite a lot looking out of the window, especially if you do have young children. So in fact we really enjoyed travelling in the luggage carriage because we had the whole carriage to ourselves and could chat and laugh without disturbing any of the other people on the train. And of course me being in the wheelchair meant I could move around and look out of both sides of the train. There are various different trips you can take, not only the train, but also the bus and river boat as well. Check their website out for more information on what trips they do and where they go. 

Dartmouth Stadium railway engine Sitting in the luggage carriage on the steam railway
Extra seats in the luggage carriage for your family
Goodrington Sands beach Paignton
Rocky beach close to Salton Cove
Broadsands in Paignton
Arriving at Kingswear on the steam railway

You may or may not know that Agatha Christie lived locally for many years. She lived at Greenway which is situated at Galmpton, just outside Brixham. Her house is now open to the public and is well worth a visit. I believe they have tried to cater as much as possible for disabled visitors, however you are probably best to visit their website and maybe contact them before visiting if you are disabled.

Churston traditional farm shop restaurant is located on the main road out of Brixham and is completely wheelchair accessible. 

The Beefeater Grill is located in Paignton and is wheelchair accessible. 

There are several Premier Inns around Torbay which all cater for disabled visitors. However I think you would need to take your own mobile hoist with you if you do use one.

The Inn on the Key at Paignton offers good access to their restaurant for wheelchair users.

The Waterside pub at Goodrington is well worth a visit. Wheelchair access couldn't be easier and there is plenty of space inside. Parking for the disabled is very good, I've managed to get right next to the front door on more than one occasion. I visited there recently and we all had a really nice meal. They now specialise in grilled food and are very good at it. I had the pork which consisted of a gammon, a loin chop, homemade sausage and a rack of ribs. It was absolutely delicious and very reasonably priced. If you are going for a meal in the evening then I would advise you to ring up and pre-book because they are very busy, even in the winter. I visited there recently and we all had a really nice meal. I had the pork which consisted of a gammon, a loin chop, homemade sausage and a rack of ribs. It was absolutely delicious and very reasonably priced. If you are going for a meal in the evening then I would advise you to ring up and pre-book because they are very busy, even in the winter.

Torre Abbey is located on the seafront at Torquay and has very good access for wheelchair users. It's recently been completely refurbished and offers visitors a really great day out. 

The South Devon Railway is very much the same as the Dartmouth steam railway but obviously uses a different route. The closest station is at Totnes which is approximately 14 miles from Brixham. Again they have wheelchair accessible carriages so you shouldn't have a problem if you are using a power wheelchair which you want to sit in whilst on the journey. I've travelled on this particular stretch of track myself while sitting in my power wheelchair so I can vouch for its accessibility.

Also located in Totnes next to the steam railway is the Totnes Rare Breeds Farm. If you combine a ticket with the steam railway then you get a discount on entry. Carers gain free entry to the farm.

 

Torbay beaches

A sandy beach is normally associated with the seaside and we have plenty of them here in Torbay. Unfortunately there are no sandy beaches here in Brixham, just a pebble beach beside the breakwater which is very popular in the summer, and St Mary's beach which is a little off the beaten track but well worth a visit. If you want a nice sandy beach then I would recommend the beaches at Paignton. You can hire kayaks and other paddleboat type craft on most of the beaches in Paignton. 

Access to a sandy beach is nigh on impossible in a wheelchair. Having said that, the beaches at Paignton have a promenade/path running alongside the beach so even if you are in a wheelchair you can still accompany your family. Sadly St Mary's beach in Brixham is absolutely out of the question for wheelchair users.

Looking towards Paignton Pier The promenade running along the beach Looking towards Paignton harbour Promenade running along the beach Paignton harbour in the distance Jean, Bex and Alex My 21-year-old niece Malikah

 

Holiday accommodation for wheelchair users

At the time of writing this article I am in the process of gathering together as much information as I can on suitable holiday accommodation for people who use wheelchairs. My family stayed at a rented holiday home three years ago and that was accessible to wheelchairs, but only if you had a decent ramp. You can visit this webpage and find information about this property.

I recently dropped in at Landscove holiday Park near Berry head to enquire about suitable wheelchair accessible chalets. As soon as I get some relevant information I will update this article.

If you know of any holiday bungalows in the Torbay and especially Brixham area that are completely accessible to wheelchairs then please drop me an email and I may miss them on this page if I think they are suitable.