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Bustling beach life
Bude

Bude Holiday Cottages

Our Bude holiday cottages are perfectly placed to make the most of this beautiful stretch of Cornwall’s north coast. There are several wide, golden beaches to choose from within walking distance of the centre, with many more little coves an easy stroll along the coast path. The wonderful sea pool on Summerleaze Beach is perfect for calm, salty swims when the tide’s out (rated the best sea pool in the UK by The Times!), and one of Cornwall’s largest nature reserves packed with wildlife and migrating birds can be found on the fringes of the town.

There’s interest away from the water, too. Head slightly inland and discover art galleries and independent shops, a cycle path along the canal and a fascinating 18th-century castle. Bude is also home to some brilliant places to eat, from popular seafood restaurants to cosy pubs and cafes on the coast.

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The Bude guide

Surfers take to the waves in Bude

Out on the water

With its rollicking waves, golden sands and stunning sunsets, the beaches in Bude and the surrounding area are a magnet for watersports enthusiasts. Seasonal lifeguards operate on all the main beaches on this stretch of coast (Summerleaze, Widemouth, Crooklets), so it’s a safe place for families to get out on the water. Make the most of the Atlantic swell and take a surfboard out with help from Big Blue Surf School, or have a go at paddleboarding or SUP yoga with Bude Surfing Experience. Or, if canoeing, kayaking or coasteering is more your thing, explore the rugged coastline with the friendly team at Shoreline Activities just off Summerleaze Beach. Freewave Surf Academy offers surf lessons and hire from Summerleaze Beach, paddleboarding sessions on the Bude canal and coasteering trips along the coastline.

Sea swimmers are in for a treat — Summerleaze Beach is home to Bude Sea Pool, Cornwall’s oldest (and biggest) tidal pool. It’s the perfect place for a salty swim without the waves. It was created in 1930 so that the locals in Bude could bathe in safety, and there are no fees or booking requirements — just turn up and jump on in!

Forever Cornwall Camel Trail Bikes

Adventure activities

Adventure seeking families flock to Bude to make the most of its epic coastline and fabulous beaches, but head inland and you’ll find plenty of things to do away from the coast. Adventure Bude is the place to try for high-octane activities — try a high rope course, mountain boarding, caving and rock climbing, all located at their purpose built site in the town. The sheltered waters of Bude Canal are perfect for trying your hand at canoeing and dragon boating (14-person canoes!).

One of the best ways to take in the sights of Bude is on two wheels. With roads and trails that are generally quiet and accessible, there are plenty of routes to tackle in and around the town, whether that’s the challenging Tamar Lakes route, or the family-friendly Bude Canal towpath and nature reserve route that winds through the town.

 

Eating out in Bude

With a smattering of brilliant eateries in the area, Bude is one of north Cornwall’s top spots for fine dining. Bistro-style Sea-Fever is popular with its lovely Summerleaze beach views, whilst the relaxed Scandi-inspired Electric Bakery serves up pastries and other baked goods from Wednesday through to Sunday (check out their online sourdough courses). Potters is a fairly new on the scene, having opened back in 2020 but is now a firm favourite with locals and visitors and has earned a listing in the prestigious Michelin guide, too.

Pubs wise, The Barrel is north Cornwall’s first micropub. With a maximum capacity of 40 people, this tiny pub in the centre of town sells craft ales from independent brewers and producers. The Falcon Hotel set just back from the canal is Cornwall’s oldest coaching hotel and serves up formal but unfussy food from their restaurant and bar in the town centre.

Beaches

Summerleaze

This is Bude’s main beach, just a quick walk from the buzzy town centre and within easy reach of our Bude holiday cottages. 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. Swimmers can take a dip in the Bude Sea Pool for free.

Lifeguarded? May-Sept, plus Easter holidays, Oct half term and weekends in Sept and Oct
Dog-friendly? Dogs on leads between May-Sept

Widemouth Bay

This beautiful stretch of North Cornwall’s coastline offers up a choice of beaches that all bring something slightly different to the party. Widemouth is a long, open bay (3 miles from Bude along the coast path) that’s also great for surfing, dog walking and rock pooling 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.

Lifeguarded? May-Sept, plus Easter holidays, Oct half term and weekends in Sept and Oct
Dog-friendly? Dogs on leads between May-Sept

Crooklets Beach

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.
Lifeguarded? Mid May-Sept
Dog-friendly? Dogs on leads between mid May-Sept
Food & drink

Restaurants in Bude

A firm favourite, Sea Fever is fine dining without the fuss. Fish is caught in the bay and all other ingredients are local and Cornish. Try and bag the window seat for spectacular views over Summerleaze beach. The cocktail menu is definitely worth a gander, too! It may be fairly new to the scene but popular Potters has already become one of the best places to eat and drink in Bude. Their Cornish hake fish and chips is one of North Cornwall’s best, whilst the Cornish negroni cocktails include Bude gin and are especially delicious. Set just back from the canal, The Falcon Hotel is Cornwall’s oldest coaching hotel and serves up formal but unfussy food. The sprawling terrace sits under the trees and is the perfect spot for a drink when the sun’s shining.

Cafes in Bude

Right above Summerleaze, laid-back Life’s a Beach is perfect for anyone who’s worked up an appetite in the waves. Serving great beach café fare by day and a locally-inspired seafood menu by night. Open from Wednesday through to Sunday, this Electric Bakery on the outskirts of Bude is definitely worth hunting down for their artisanal sourdough, cakes and pastries, specialty coffee and craft beers. They’re staunch supporters of local producers (try their ‘3-mile loaf’) and great advocates of sustainable food — their menu reflects the seasons. Grab a table outside and watch the world go by.

Pubs in Bude

Cornwall’s first micropub, The Barrel at Bude is one of Bude’s tiniest venues with a maximum capacity of 40 people, selling craft ales from independent brewers and producers. About a mile from Bude in the village of Stretton, The Kings Arms is a 17th-century coaching inn with centuries-old flagstones, huge inglenooks and bags of character with an extensive menu features wholesome pub fare. Overlooking Bude’s inner harbour, The Brendon Arms has been run by the same family for centuries, serving homemade dishes using fresh local ingredients.

Local food in Bude

Bude and Widemouth Bay have plenty of places where you can get your hands on local produce when you’re staying at our Bude holiday cottages, from markets to fishmongers and delis. Bude’s weekly farmers’ market, held in the bustling heart of the town, is a great place to get hold of all your fresh produce and Cornish goodies to take back home.

Find out more about buying local in with our handy Local Food Guide to Bude and Widemouth Bay.

Things to do

Bude Sea Pool

The beauty of tidal pools is that you can take a dip with having to brace the waves, making it the perfect place for a bit of family fun. Under the cliffs at Summerleaze Beach, Bude Sea Pool is Cornwall’s oldest, created in 1930 so that the locals in Bude could bathe in safety away from the waves. Today it’s managed by local charity, Friends of Bude Sea Pool, who look after the upkeep of this semi-natural swimming spot. No fees, no booking, just turn up and jump on in!

Lizard Wildlife Unsplash

Maer Lake Nature Reserve

One of north Cornwall’s most important breeding grounds for overwintering birds, this beautiful wetland meadow reserve to the north of Bude — known locally as ‘The Pool’ — welcomes a variety of breeding, feeding and nesting bireds such as spoonbill, marsh harrier, sandpiper and whooper swans, amongst many others. the 22-acre site is also a fascinating place botanically, with a number of interesting plant species. Although you can’t get up close to the wildlife, the viewing gate allows wildlife watchers to catch sightings of the various birds. Don’t forget your binoculars!

Bude Castle

Once the home of steam carriage inventor Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, the wonderful Bude Castle is a fascinating little place to while away an hour or so on a wet afternoon. Exhibitions in the heritage centre delve into all aspects of Bude history and the surrounding area, from prehistory to the present day. Outside there are lawns to explore, and during the summer months the castle hosts family-friendly events, such as craft afternoons and circus skills days.

 

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