In this paper, the behaviour of fibre Bragg grating sensors subjected to transversal as well as axial strains is characterized, both in the case of low-birefringent and polarization-maintaining single-mode optical fibres. Two configurations are considered. Firstly, diametrical compression is studied and the results compared to those previously obtained in the literature. Secondly, the sensors are embedded in an epoxy specimen and their response monitored when the latter is subjected to biaxial loading. In both cases, the experimental results are compared to those obtained by means of finite-element simulations and an appropriate analytical description of the opto-mechanical response of polarization-maintaining fibres.