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Brixham Pirate Festival

Each year, on the first Bank Holiday in May (5th-7th inclusive), Brixham pays homage to its roots and holds a pirate festival – probably the biggest of its kind in the UK.

Hundreds of “pirates” descend on the town in full costume and whilst not essential, feel free to don an eye patch, a hat and a plastic sword yourselves too.

Brixham is just the other side of Paignton (the next town along from Torquay) and still part of the English Riviera. If you don’t fancy driving, so you can have a drink or two and enjoy the fun, then you can catch one of the regular ferries over from Torquay harbour.

The main stage is in Brixham harbour, next to the Golden Hind replica which will take an active part in re-enactments.

There will be many a sea shanty with music, entertainers and shows throughout the weekend. Cannons and gunfire add to the noise so be prepared for a lively old time.

The massive 17th century replica of flagship El Galeon will be sailing in specially – she has five decks and she will play host to skirmishes, attacks and boardings along with our own Golden Hind.

You can keep an eye on their Facebook page for more info as they get it -the event lineup should be announced soon.

In the meantime, I thought it would be useful to give you a little pirate language to practice which will help you communicate with them when you arrive.

I am, on an almost daily basis, a “swab” which is a person who cleans – ok – it would more often than not, refer to cleaning the deck of a ship, but our shower trays get just as wet.

Another useful word for pirates staying at a B&B is “cackle fruit” which is chicken eggs - so be sure to ask for scrambled cackle fruit at breakfast. You could then tell Julian how lovely they were, making yourself a lick splitter (flatterer).

If you decide to drive to Brixham rather than take the ferry, it could be because you’re a “land lubber” – someone who does not do well at sea (a land lover).

Make sure you take plenty of “blunt” with you (money or coins) so you can support all the local businesses there.

You’ll no doubt make some new friends who you’ll be able to refer to as “hearties” - a term of familiar address and fellowship among sailors or “Matey” – a way to address someone in a cheerful and friendly fashion.

Don’t call anyone a “bilge rat” though as that’s an insulting name.

So, I think you’re all ready for your adventure at sea. We still have some availability for that weekend so why not check out our website and book now at for the best price? See you soon.


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