This is Bude’s main beach, just a quick walk from the buzzy town centre. Despite its popularity and proximity to town, it’s huge expanse of soft sand lined with rows of colourful beach huts to hire means that it never feels crowded, even at high tide. It’s a favourite spot for surfers and bodyboarders who come for the powerful waves. There’s surfboard hire and lessons on the beach, as well as windsurf, paddleboard and kayak rental, too.
This popular cove was awarded Blue Flag Beach status in 2022. Flanked by rocky outcrops which are brilliant for rockpooling families, this beautiful expanse of golden sand just north of Bude is a short walk from the town centre and is home to the Bude Surf Life Saving Club. At low tide it joins Summerleaze to form one long bay. It’s great for families with its play area, skate park and popular dog-friendly beach cafe just off the sand.
This National Trust beach is a secluded alternative to the more popular beaches in the town centre and Widemouth Bay. It’s a rocky beach with a large expanse of sand, with cliffs that are rich with geological formations; there’s even a shipwreck which can sometimes be seen in the sand at one end. With towering cliffs, this beach feels more like a cove, with amazing rockpools and a stream running down the middle. It’s a lovely walk to Sandymouth along the beach when the tide’s out, one mile north.
A couple of miles south of Bude, the coastal village of Widemouth Bay is home to a long, open bay that’s also great for surfing, dog walking and rockpooling at low tide. A little further down the coast you’ll find the pretty shingle cove of Crackington Haven, which is flanked by tall cliffs — ideal for a spot of dramatic coast path walking.
To the southern end of Widemouth Bay beach beyond the rocky outcrop, Black Rock is a wilder section of this stretch of coast, where big tides and some impressive reef breaks draw the surfing crowds to its waters throughout the year. There are also some incredible rockpools and caves along the beach, so bucket-and-net-wielding children will have hours of fun here.
Bude Sea Pool
Sheltering beneath the cliffs of Summerleaze Beach, Bude Sea Pool is a semi-natural tidal pool and has provided free, safe seawater swimming for nearly a century and continues to be hugely popular today. At almost 100m long, its depth changes with each tide depending on how much water has washed over its protective wall, and shoals of fish are regular swimmers in the pool, too. Its calm waters are used by endurance swimmers, triathletes, kayakers, and surf lifesaving clubs and it’s managed by local charity, Friends of Bude Sea Pool, who look after the upkeep of this semi-natural swimming spot. There are no fees, no booking — just turn up and jump on in!
It’s always important to remember that while tidal pools are safer than the open ocean, it’s best to swim with other people and be aware of bad weather conditions, cold water and slippery rocks — a cosy robe to warm up in afterwards and a flask of hot tea is always a good idea! See the rnli website for more advice on staying safe and preventing cold water shock.