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    • More +
      01.11.2013 16:58
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      A unique town, so different from Paignton and Torquay - Love it!

      The Place:

      Brixham, Devon

      This is a Tourist Information Review



      HOW DO I QUALIFY TO WRITE THIS REVIEW?

      I have spent many holidays in Brixham both as a family and a couple, but always with dogs. Long weekends, short weekends, romantic getaways, family holidays, whole weeks, part weeks, high season and off seasons. Even day visits.

      So, I must like it to keep going back.


      THE CHARM OF BRIXHAM:

      Brixham is first and foremost a fishing port, one of the biggest in the British Isles. Which is surpising because the port is small and town seems cosy. Attached to Paignton and Torbay by land and the tag of "The English Riviera" Brixham is the least touristy of the three, yes there is a penny arcade, there are gift shops, but I feel much of Brixham's charm comes by not trying too hard. Yet it has so much to offer, only some of which I will explore here. When I can suggest them I will review some of the restaurants and attractions individually, so I won't go into much detail here. Suffice is to say, I find Brixham charming! With its higgledy pickledy houses and quaint steep walkways and roads, little boutique style shops and lovely people it is a magical unique place.


      ACCOMMODATION:

      We have stayed twice at the Landscove Holiday Park on the Dartmouth side of the town as you look on a map and situated out of the town on the road that goes to Berry Head. This is comparatively low cost family accommodation, ideal for families who want children's entertainment without the bustle of some of the bigger holiday parks. The park has a shop, launderette, bar and is right next to the South Coastal Path and an easy walk to Berry Head with its heathland, views and Neolithic fort ruin. The accommodation is small, basic, but clean.

      We have stayed 4 times in a holiday cottage and I love the cottage, there are many similar cottages within walking distance of the town centre, with its CoOp, fish and chip shops and pubs. Ideal for a flexible self catering holiday, especially useful with dogs, when it better to be able to please yourself. Ensure you get one with parking or at least the promise of a tip of where to park in the high season.

      We have stayed twice at the Caravan and Camping site, also on Gillard Road where Landscove is situated. This is a very basic site, but does have showers and toilets as well as hook-ups. The ground is flat and the whole sheltered by a tall hedge. An easy downhill walk to the town about a mile away, but an uphill hike to walk back.

      We also stayed once at the Berry Head Hotel, which is situated at the opposite end of Brixham to Torquay and boast wonderful sea views and stunning country paths upto Berry Head around the corner from the hotel. This is an old fashioned hotel, with comfortable traditional style furnishings, pleasant staff, a nice menu and stunning sea views from the restaurant and our room! The lovely things about this hotel is that dogs are welcome, yet it is clean and comfortable, some places you feel like you are in the worst room because you have a dog with you, not so there. The hotel features a luxurious indoor swimming pool and we have promised ourselves a longer stay there sometime.

      There are also other hotels, inns, B&B's holiday parks and caravan sites nearby.


      THE TOWN:

      Brixham Town is generally reached via New Road, which winds its way down towards the sea like a river. The actual town is quite big and is split into different areas. The main division being between "Fish Town" and "Cow Town" historically named because the lower part of the town was where the fishermen lived and worked and the upper part was the domain of the farming community. The division now is not so clear cut and many of the oldest fisherman's cottages are no longer inhabited by fishermen, but by incomers and holidaymakers.

      As mentioned there are lots of boutique style shops and you can find an array of goods in Brixham, the main shopping area is pedestrianised and contains amongst the independent stores two Coops, a Boots, a Superdrug, a Mccoys, several banks and a post office in one of the Coops. Other shops include bakers, coffee shops, cafes, gift shops, pound shops, shoe shops, a smattering of charity shops and some cloths shops. There are other shops around, as well as some very good fish and chip shops, a tourist information centre that was refurbished in 2012, the old fish market which is a covered area that frequently hosts brass bands and charity events as well as art exhibitions. Naturally, there are pubs, newsagents and cafes as well. There are little huts to book boat trips, both for fishing and a ferry to Torquay and Dartmouth, including one that takes you up the river dart for a river cruise that incorporates Greenways the home of Agatha Christie and where the current and last Poirot was filmed. The inner harbour boasts an old mast ship The Golden Hind and there are usually some fishing boats in there for repair.


      BRIXHAM NEW FISH MARKET

      The other harbour sports the in use fishing vessels and many fabulous yachts, some which are worth £100,000's as well as the Torbay Lifeboat. There is a lifeboat shop and the harbour master has an office there as well.

      The outer harbour homes a lot of smaller vessels, some more fishing vessels and as a divider for the inner and outer harbour is the fish market. The new fish market is a modern multi-million pound investment that seems to have divided the townsfolk and tourists alike, it seems to be a marmite building. But most importantly it serves its purpose and brings prosperity into the town. The general public can only visit the market at set times for tours and it is (I am told) well worth a visit, but I have not done so yet. I have however bought fish from the little hatch that opens up for the public to buy a couple of times a day. Times are posted on a board.


      PARKING:

      There is very little on-street parking and part of a car park has been lost to re-development, once you know the town a little it is easy to park a little way out and walk the rest of the way in, or park near the bus station which is central, but expensive. The other alternative is to drive through Brixham, past the fish market and park at the outskirts car park along Black Ball Lane. The walk into the town is shorter than the drive along the waterfront and is a pleasure whatever the weather.

      DOG WALKS:

      The dog walking may be partly we keep going back. It is certainly a contributory factor. At the Berry Head end of the town - Landscove, CCCS end there a few footpaths, but fabulous walking can be had by going up onto Berry Head, from the hotel too, out through the back of the car park leads through lovely wooded paths opening up onto the heath land of Berry Head and past the old quarry. From the Black Ball Lane end, there is the battery gardens and again easy access to the South Coastal Path, where it is lovely to walk to sweet little beach coves.


      ATTRACTIONS:

      There is a steam railway nearby that takes you down to Dartmouth or into Paington and they allow dogs as well, the National Trust's Greenways is close by and the historic town warp village of Cockington. On the outskirts at Churston there is go carting and golf putting and a golf course. Brixham is a unique place and sometimes it is nice just to sit and enjoy the view whilst soaking up the atmosphere. There is a ghost walk, which is actually great fun and an interesting way to learn a bit about the history of the town. Brixham also has a library and a Heritage Museum inland from the bus station car park.


      BEST FISH AND CHIPS:

      Nicks, opposite the Golden Hind
      (eat in or take out)


      PROBLEMS/NEGATIVES:

      It does get packed in the high season when the coaches arrive. But if you stay locally you can avoid that timing.

      Some of the teens that work in the holiday camps congregate in the town to smoke and compare their cars on their evenings off in the high season, but it's a free country and it would be churlish to complain about half a dozen teenagers enjoying themselves. After all, they have as much right to be there as anyone else.


      THE PEOPLE:

      Brixham people are lovely, some that you meet have been there all their lives, some are new, maybe from other parts of Devon or further afield. The fishermen lay their lives on the line to bring us in fish and they are lovely hard working people that deserve our respect. The lifeboat crew, will stop and chat on open days and are lovely people. Tourism is an important part of Brixham, but is secondary to the fishing, that is what gives it it's unique character.


      CONCLUSION:

      A wonderful atmospheric unique place. Go for a day, a week, a year! But do go, if anything I have written has sparked interest.

      WHO FOR:

      Especially ideal if you holiday with dogs, great walks, eats and pubs.

      The holiday parks are great if you are taking children.


      Stars:

      5/5

      Price and Availability:

      Its free to go there, especially if you find some on-street parking.

      Thank you for reading my review & I hope you found it interesting?

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      • More +
        02.09.2009 18:24

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        We stayed in Brixham for 8 days in august of this year. What a pity about the anti social behaviour displayed by gangs of local younger residents of Brixham. The town main car park seems to be a meeting place for such groups. Who like to congregate there, bad language and behaviour, and youngsters hanging around in cars with their stereos blasting out music. Also climbing onto the roofs of buildings, One of which I think was a public toilet. As Tourists, quite honestly we cant be bothered, we shall not be visiting or spending any more money at Brixham. The Police who turned up Once, didn't address the problem.

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        17.05.2005 19:06
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        On arriving in Brixham you will see that there’s lots of coloured house’s on top of the hill’s, it’s a bit like Ireland & it’s a bit hilly. Brixham is a working port with a marina, & it’s not too faraway from where you get dropped off. Brixham is alive with the sounds, scents and tastes of the fishing industry. Here you will discover all the trimmings of luxury boating - Ships Chandler, Marina-side Pub/Restaurant/open-air cafés, & of course the boats themselves, of all shapes &sizes, mega-yachts & sailing dinghies sharing their berthing spaces in apparent harmony. Fishing boats chug into the harbour in combination with the mega yachts & motor cruisers which live in stately grandeur, Fresh fish is sold early each morning from the boat to the fish market. Buy it. Try it. Or test fresh fish from one of the many restaurants. And don't forget that famous British creation - Fish & Chips. Hmmm. They taste twice as good here in Brixham.

        Brixham has numerous beaches - they are either shingle or rocks, or pebbles/sand. The main beach - Breakwater Beach is just around the harbour, the other side of the breakwater - this is a pebbly beach, best shallow paddling for the kids, going out to deeper water for scuba diving. A beachside restaurant which serves A La Carte seafood among other dishes (open evenings too, great views), and a beach cafe for takeaway snacks, etc. One of these is called The ‘Cabin’ which is closed on Sundays.

        A good beach is at SHOALSTONE - this is just beyond breakwater beach. Here, you will find a great salt-water outdoor swimming pool, right by the edge of the sea - & its FREE! It’s watched by lifeguards, & you can hire sun beds & deckchairs. The beach is has a snacks kiosk with outdoor tables & chairs. Kids love this beach - it has warm rock pools left by the tide, where you can take your fishing net. Ask your kids to be kind to the marine life they catch though - the collection-bucket needs water, pebbles & seaweed in it, so the creatures feel at home until they are returned to the sea when you leave the beach.

        Right at the far end of the Marina, close to the Breakwater Beach, is the home of the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) - the boathouse & the Inshore & Offshore Lifeboats are housed here. The tourist information is also on the quayside near the statue of King William of Orange. Big seagulls come in to land & there’s lot’s to see & do here in O’l Brixham. It's also full of ghost's; & I don't mean them spirit's which linger in them bottle's, ohar.

        Brixham is a very old & historic town. It is full of legends & ghosts. Visitors are warmly welcomed as are new inhabitants, but beware; you cannot call yourself a Brixhamite until you have at least three generations of your ancestors buried in the churchyard here, tomb it may concern or are you dying to get a look.

        Check out http://www.theenglishriviera.co.uk/home/home.asp?area=HOME for more information about this wonderful place. if you don't have the net at home, then you can ring 0870 70 70 010.

        0870 241 1535 is the brochure request line.

        tourist.board@torbay.gov.uk is the e-mail.





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        • More +
          07.01.2005 09:21
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          Fishing town in Devon

          Brixham is a delightful little fishing town, situated in the English Riviera, that is Torbay, Devon. It is a town that I visited often as a child while staying at one of the local holiday camps, and is where my parents now call home. The local name for us tourists is "Grockles", this is a term, not exactly of endearment seeing, but should be seeing as how much we put into their local economy :-).

          * * * * * * * * * * * * *
          How to get there
          * * * * * * * * * * * * *

          By Train
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          The nearest mainline train station to Brixham is at Paington, which is about 5 miles away. From there you would either have to take a bus or taxi.

          By Coach
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          National Express runs a coach service from various locations to the centre of Brixham.

          By Car
          - - - - - -

          The car route to Brixham is very scenic (from what I can remember), details of the particular route you would need to take can be found using the route planner service on such sites as www.theaa.com.

          * * * * * * * * * * *
          Where to Stay
          * * * * * * * * * * *

          There are a number of holiday camps and caravan sites, that cater for families, in the vicinity, including those run by big companies as well as smaller independent sites.
          There also a number of Bed and Breakfast's and hotels. For booking somewhere to stay I would suggest contacting Brixham Tourist Information on 0906 680 1268 (25p/min).

          * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
          The Town's Attractions
          * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

          There are a small number of attractions within the town itself. These include:

          The Harbour
          - - - - - - - - - -
          Brixham harbour boasts a working fishing fleet as well as being picturesque. There is a fishing museum within the harbour, and there are a number of daily boat rides available, including a ferry service to the nearby Torquay.
          There is also A statue of William of Orange, who landed in Brixham in 1688 to claim the throne of England.

          The Deep
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          A walkthrough nautical experience. Although many older children will be unimpressed, the younger child will be thrilled with this interactive attraction, I know mine were.

          Brixham Aquarium
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          This is a small and in my opinion somewhat dingy aquarium, a Sealife centre it certainly is not. But a reasonable way to spend half an hour.

          Amusements
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          There is (or was) only one amusement arcade in Brixham. This is makes a nice change, as it means the children aren't constantly clamouring for money for the machines.

          The Food
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          You cannot go to Brixham and not sample the fresh seafood. From the freshly dressed crabs sold on stalls at the harbour, to the restaurants and fish and chip shops. But that's not all, on the harbour you will find a shop that sells a wonderful variety of ice-creams, from rocky mountain (a rich chocolate flavour) to Lemon Meringue and many in-between, these ice-creams are absolutely delicious and a firm favourite with my family.
          Another little known food shop (among us grockles that is), is a bakery at the back of the high street, that sells the most delicious freshly cooked cakes and pies.

          The Shops
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          There are few major shops in Brixham, a supermarket being the closest to a chain store. However, there are a number of small independent retailers, all selling excellent quality produce. There are, of course, the customary souvenir shops, many selling items made of shells.

          * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
          Attractions within easy travelling distance
          * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

          Although there are limited attractions within Brixham, there are many within easy travelling distance, either by car, bus or foot. These include:

          Paington Zoo
          - - - - - - - - - -
          A fantastic Zoo that has recently been modernised and improved. The zoo was featured in the BBC programme "The Keepers". Animals include favourites such as elephants, kangaroos, rhinos and Lions. The zoo will easily take a whole day to visit.

          Zoo website : http://www.paigntonzoo.org.uk/

          Babbacombe Model Village
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          This is a fantastic model village with moving exhibits. My favourites have to be the wedding and the fire scenes. Set over 4 acres with over 400 models, this will take the good part of the day to appreciate fully.

          Village Website : http://www.aplacetostayuk.homestead.com/modelvillage.html

          Kents Cavern
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          A spectacular series of underground caves, dating from 500 000 years ago. Although this is a great day out it is not suitable for the disabled.

          The Paington & Dartmouth Steam Railway
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          A seven mile steam railway, running from Churston (near Brixham) to Kingswear. A great trip on its own, but when combined with a ferry to Dartmouth (a round robin) it adds up to a great day out.

          The Beaches
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          Although there is no actual beach at Brixham, there are many secluded beaches within a short, often walking distance. Be warned though, most are at the end of steep roads.

          * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
          For those willing to travel a little further
          * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

          For those willing to travel a little further from Brixham there is a plenitude of other attractions, in fact far to many too list here. But as examples, there is Dartmoor (where the ponies roam wild), Buckfast Abbey, Buckfastleigh butterfly farm, and many others.

          * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
          So What do I think of Brixham
          * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

          Brixham is a charming little town, that is excellent as a base for a family holiday.
          I would also imagine, it would make a great base, for any age group. It is certainly not a heaving night-spot, but there are other towns close by that do have a nightlife.
          A word of warning though, they have real seagulls in Brixham. They are about twice the size of the ones I have seen anywhere else, and they can be very aggressive if they feel their young are threatened, so leave them be and do not feed them.

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            09.10.2004 14:12
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            Brixham is one of the seaside resorts that forms the English Riviera of Torbay, Devon. Easily accessible via the M5 which takes you as far as Exeter, Brixham combines a small essentially English harbour town with the facilities and amenities that make it appealing to all types of visitors. The seafront is a mixture of tourist shops, pubs and restaurants set around the picturesque harbour, overlooked by a patchwork of pastel coloured terraced houses on the surrounding cliffs. The harbour itself combines the tourist attractions of the replica of Drakes Golden Hinde and the working trappings of a fishing community. Beyond the inner harbour is a large marina and a sea wall that is worth the walk to experience the seascape beyond and an all round view of the Tor Bay coast.

            Eating out is never a problem, from cheap and cheerful pub grub to more flamboyant, "catch of the day" fish restaurants all reasonably priced. Many of the eating establishments cater for families and I can recommend Shores for good food and a friendly family enviroment. All of the expected attractions of an English seaside resort are to be found here, from eating, drinking, boat trips and penny arcades to antique shops and all manner of small backstreet gems can be found in the winding cliff hanging lanes and hidden corners of the town.

            The town is dotted with small hotels which can provide reasonably priced facilities near the seafront, and if you have any trouble finding somewhere at short notice, the Tourist Information center on the harbour front will be able to sort out any problems.

            Regular bus services run from here to the other Tor Bay towns of Paignton, Torquay and Newton Abbott, all worth a visit and all with qualities of their own. Whether you have your own transport or have to rely on the very good bus and rail transport in the region, there are a lot of attractions easily found. Buckfast Abbey for lovers of history, is a restored working abbey on the site of a Saxon establishment. For the family group there are all matter of farms and wildlife centers and if you just want to poke about in shops, then nearby Totnes is great for weird and wonderful antique shops and second hand clothes boutiques.

            The main attraction of the area is the landscape itself, the beauty of the rolling Devon landscape and the contrasts of the coastal areas make for feast of natural creations for those who just want to take in the essential qualities of the English South West. Of particular interest is Dartmouth a few miles down the coast from Brixham. This town sprawls around the Dart estuary and reminds you of the setting for a BBC period drama such as Poldark, with its historical buildings and its timeless feel.

            Returning to Brixham itself, its a wonderful town that sums up all that you want in a seaside resort, whether for the family, couple or individual. Its also the town where I fell in love, but thats another story. I can`t promise you love but I can promise a lovely time in a typically English setting. For a few days away or even a longer family break, Brixham is a great choice of location and will meet even the most demanding requirements of the holiday maker.


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              28.07.2004 22:23
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              At present I live in Paignton, part of Torbay other wise known at the English Riviera. Although I have lived in other places in England I am only a stones though away from the very place I was born namely Brixham, which is also part of Torbay. I love to take a walk around there remembering how it was when I was a child and seeing how much has changed. Brixham is spread over a valley at the bottom of which is the town leading down to the harbour, it now has three inner harbour piers where the fishing boats tie up along side. The third one was only added about thirty years ago, I can remember as a child my friends and I used to love playing leap frog over the captains where the trawlers would tie up. Brixham has always been a very busy fishing port way down through the ages and is the place where William of Orange is said to have first stepped ashore when he came to England in 1688. There is a big statue of him on the quay which has been there since way before my time. The harbour hasn?t really changed much since I was a child, apart from the new pier the only other real change is they have knocked down the shelter that once covered the fish market. There is an aquarium on the harbour, its not very big but gives a good taste of what sea life there is, there are also gift shops, cafes, ice cream parlours and pubs, right at the end of the harbour there?s a small sweet shop that was there when I was a small child and its still run by the same family, I can remember my gran used to take me for a walk along the harbour and buy me and ice cream from them. There are loads of little kiosks dotted along the quay where you can book a mackerel fishing or deep sea wreck fishing trips and if fishing isn?t your cup of tea you can choose to go on one of the many little cruises around the bay or even down to near by Kingswear
              and sail past the late Agatha Christie?s home and then on down to Dartmouth. Just backing off from the harbour is Brixham town centre with Fore street running up the middle, this is where I was born to be exact about a quarter of the way up in a pub called the London inn, which was run by my parents, These days it is a tea room and very different. There are all the usual shops in the town, Woollies, Summerfield and many local shops and of course an abundance of gift shops as there always is in a resort. There is one very odd little shop though, when I was a child it was a tea room but now days it sells clocks. The odd thing about this shop is it is called ?The Coffin House? because it is built in the exact shape of a coffin. There are a couple of stories as to why it is that shape the most popular being that the father of a young woman who fell in love with a man he could not stand, told his daughter ?I would rather see you in your coffin than wed to him? but the girl married him anyway so her father built them this house, weather its true or not I?m not sure. If you leave the main town and go the top of the left side of the valley you will find Furzham Where I went to primary school, there is a large park and many houses around but also a place now called ?Battery Gardens? so-called because it was where the gunning placements were, to help protect England from invasion during the war, the gunning placements are now turned into shelters where you can sit and look out to sea. If you take the right hill side from the town this will bring you firstly to the breakwater pier where there is now a large marina and a marine centre which when I was a child was the seamen?s mission home for boys where young boys were sent while there fathers were away at sea if their mothers could not cope with them. Discipline was
              very strict there and the boys had to march to church every Sunday dressed in naval uniform lead by their own marching band made up of some very talented boys from the home, This was quite a sight, the police would stop the traffic and the town centre would come to a halt, people would even line the street to watch them. It was a sad loss to Brixham when this stopped; they were so good they even appeared on TV once. Just past that is Breakwater pier which is the main pier that shelters the harbour from rough seas. There is a great place to fish at the end. Next to that is a small pebble beach and then an out door swimming pool where I used to love to go swimming with my two brothers, the only problem with the pool is, it is right on the edge of the land and the sea over flows into the pool at high tide bringing with it small fish and jelly fish at times but if that puts you off, don?t worry there is a indoor swimming pool as well now. A little further up the coastline is Berry Head, a place with many claims to fame, Firstly it was once a Roman settlement and the walls of the fort are still standing there to-day. A little later the Reverend Henry Light, who was at the time the vicar at All Saints church in Brixham sat on Berry Head and wrote the famous hymn ?Abide with me? this is still played out by the bells at the church to-day in memory of him. Another claim to fame it has, is that the lighthouse there is the highest and the shortest lighthouse in England because it is only the light section of the light house perched on the top of the cliff top. I love Brixham and often take my self off there for a couple of hours. To be honest it is not really the kind of place children would want to holiday as unless they like fishing there are a few amusement arcades but little in way of fun, it is little more than history and
              sightseeing for them but for a rest or a little break for someone just wanting to walk and sit by the sea it?s a great place, it was also a great place to grow up in to. Thanks for reading. Kim.

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                11.03.2001 01:19
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                I wouldn't! I visited a couple of weekends ago - a lovely sunny spring day when most places should have looked their best. Not Brixham! It looked seedy, depressed and past it's sell-by date. Dog pooh, litter, boarded-up houses and shops, broken windows, grotty pubs and restaurants serving sixties style menus. And the ugliest car-park in the south west - or maybe you know of an uglier one? I know that the season hasn't started yet and most sea-side towns don't look their best in March. I realise too that Brixham is a working harbour, not a facsimile. Perhaps the population is sesonal, hence the ghost town look. I'm disappointed and sad!

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