I am a bit of a history geek and my favourite period is the Tudors so when I found out there was a full size replica of the Golden Hind in Brixham, just 15 minutes from where we were staying on our recent holiday in Torquay, it was top of my want to visit list.
The Golden Hind at Brixham is a full-sized replica of one of the most iconic ships from the age of exploration and is set up as a museum ship, giving an insight into what life must have been like aboard Sir Francis Drake’s Tudor Galleon.
If you don’t know the story, Sir Francis Drake was a Privateer (a legal pirate) whose mission was to open trade links with new nations and discover new shipping routes, thereby weakening the Spanish dominance of South America. He did this successfully, acquiring treasure from Spanish ships and claiming land on behalf of Queen Elizabeth I.
Brixham itself is a beautiful harbour town with sunning views over towards Torbay and a large working harbour. You cannot miss the Golden Hind set at the end of the long high street and my first impressions were that it seemed smaller than I had imagined but we were eager to get onboard.
Once aboard, the first thing that struck us was how hard it must have been for the sailors who worked aboard this ship. The steps were narrow, steep and tricky to climb up and down just with the boat moored in a still harbour. How they did it in rough seas I don’t know.
The first thing the kids spotted were the stocks so we all stopped to pose with them.
The ship is packed full of signs and displays about how hard life was onboard the ship by the end of a long voyage in the 16th Century with half the sailors losing their lives to disease and infection brought about by the lack of proper sanitation, cramped sleeping conditions on hard decks. Their cooking facilities were a fire box and their food was salted or pickled to keep it fresher for longer.
I was surprised to learn that the Golden Hind was originally called Pelican, however at the Strait of Magellan, the Pelican was renamed the “Golden Hinde“ in honour of Sir Christopher Hatton, a patron of the voyage whose coat of arms featured a golden female deer (also known as a ‘hinde’).
There are 5 decks to explore in total and the kids were given the challenge of finding the rats in the displays as we walked around (cuddly ones, not real ones), which helped keep them amused as Kian, Hubby and I read all the information that was placed around the ship.
Down below deck there was lots of displays which mirrored life onboard for the sea carpenter and surgeon. There was also a replica of Sir Francis Drake’s drum which was said to mysteriously beat itself during times of peril but their favourite part – dressing as Pirates of course!
We were also introduced to The Captain and his Parrot and Isaac and Eliza took them off for some Pirate role play.
The Golden Hind replica has been a feature of picturesque Brixham harbour for over fifty years, entertaining and educating thousands of visitors during this time – as well as being featured on many tv programmes and films and is open come rain or shine as is an all weather attraction with many indoor displays as well as wide open decks.
The Golden Hind is also very reasonably priced attraction at just £15 for a family ticket. We were onboard for an hour and a half exploring all 5 decks but beware, there are lots of narrow staircases to climb so you are not able to take a buggy onboard and it may be tricky if you find climbing stairs difficult.
For more information visit www.goldenhind.co.uk like them on facebook or follow them on twitter @GoldenHindShip. They have some fab pirate events coming up in May which are a must if you are heading that way for a break.
Disclaimer: We were provided with a family ticket for the purpose of a review. All thoughts are our own.