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Rockpools galore
Widemouth Bay

Widemouth Bay Holiday Cottages

Our Widemouth Bay holiday cottages are perfectly placed to make the most of this beautiful stretch of Cornwall’s north coast. This beachside village is dotted with cafes, plus there’s plenty of surf schools and hire on the beach, and this part of the county has some of the loveliest stretches of the entire South West Coast Path. A couple of miles away (or an hour’s walk along the coast path) you’ll find lively Bude — perhaps Cornwall’s first proper seaside visitor destination — so you get to experience everything that Bude has to offer but in a much quieter setting, and you’re never far from sandy coves and an abundance of things to see and do. Widemouth Bay Beach, a wide expanse of beautiful sand which stretches for nearly two miles, was awarded Blue Flag Beach 2022 (it’s one of just nine beaches Blue Flag beaches in Cornwall) making this area a mecca for family-friendly holidays.

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The Widemouth Bay guide

Beach life

The village’s two beaches — Widemouth Bay and Black Rock — form one long expanse of sand when the tide’s out, stretching for almost two miles. With its Blue Flag status, this is a brilliant area for families who flock here for old-fashioned seaside holidays of rockpooling, sandcastle building and ice creams on the beach. Both Widemouth Bay and Black Rock are lifeguarded during high season, and Black Rock is dog-friendly all year round so it’s a great place for dogs too (there are seasonal restrictions on Widemouth Bay).

There are a number of places to eat within striking distance of the beach, including the popular Bay View Inn and laid-back beach bar The Break. Adventurous families who want to get out on the water will have plenty of surf school options (there are four schools on Widemouth Bay alone and many more in neighbouring Bude); some of them offer paddleboarding or coasteering if that’s more your thing.

Cornish walking holidays Gwithian South West Coast Path

Walking galore

Widemouth Bay is a fantastic spot for a bit of rambling. The coastal walk into Bude follows the South West Coast Path north and takes around an hour — it’s a beautiful stretch of coast, and along the way you’ll pass the magnificent Phillip’s Point Nature reserve, one of the Wildlife Trust’s smallest reserves. You’ve got the option to make this a 10km circular route if you want to by carrying on along Bude’s canal towpath south out of the town towards Helebridge and following the footpaths over fields back to the coast and onwards to Widemouth Bay.

A more challenging route takes you along the coastal path to Crackington Haven. It’s a good stomp of just over six miles and rather strenuous in parts but the views are worth it if you can handle the terrain.

Beautiful Bude

Widemouth Bay is only a couple of miles — or an hour’s walk — from Bude, and it’s brilliant to have all of the delights of this charming beachside town on your doorstep. 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, and one of Cornwall’s largest nature reserves packed with wildlife and migrating birds can be found on the fringes of the town.

The little town is an interesting place to amble around with art galleries and independent shops, plus there’s a fascinating 18th-century castle on the outskirts. Bude is also home to some brilliant places to eat, from popular seafood restaurants such as the bistro-style Sea Fever and Potters Restaurant, to cosy pubs and cafes on the coast.

Beaches

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

Black Rock Widemouth Bay

Black Rock

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.

Lifeguarded? Mid-May to mid-Sept
Dog-friendly? Yes, all year round

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

Summerleaze

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. Swimmers can take a dip in the Bude Sea Pool for free (no booking required).

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

Food & drink

The Bay View Inn

For food with a view, you can’t get much better than this popular beachside restaurant, tucked behind Widemouth Bay with beautiful views from the deck at the front. There are various eating areas, each with a different vibe, such as the laid-back surf bar with scrubbed floors, the sea-facing conservatory, and the open plan Driftwood area, which is perfect for sandy-footed families who’ve spent the day at the beach, and kids will love the pirate ship on the terrace. They’re big on fresh, Cornish ingredients, and it’s creative bistro menu features things like crispy hake and chips and gourmet burgers.

The Break Beach Bar

With private access to the beach from the bottom of the parasol and beanbag-dotted garden, sandy-footed beachgoers in search of sustenance should make a beeline for this multi award-winning laid-back beachside restaurant and bar. Serving up a heady mix of food, tunes in the dunes and stunning ocean views, The Break’s coast-inspired menu features things like seafood skewers and fragrant fish curries as well as local wines, ales and coastal cocktails. Inside, there are books, games and sofas for rainy days whilst the garden outside looks right onto the golden sands of Widemouth Bay. 

Widemouth Bay Cafe

You can almost dip your toes in the water from the terrace of this brilliant eatery overlooking Widemouth Bay — it’s a great place for watching the waves roll in and surfers performing tricks out at sea. It’s a relaxed, cosy little place, with leather sofas and driftwood tables. The menu features all the favourites, from burgers and scampi to sandwiches, and there’s an impressive gluten free and vegan menu, too, as well as lots of options for children. From pasties and sandwiches to all-day-breakfasts and tasty organic smoothies, wave-fuelled appetites will find what they need here. 

Eating out in Bude

Bude is just a couple of miles north of Widemouth Bay and has lots of good places to eat, from the laid-back cafes and bars to family friendly pubs. The stylish bistro Sea-Fever has lovely sea views and unpretentious food, whilst popular Potters is all about fresh, local fish dishes, such as Tandoori Cornish monkfish and St Ives smoked mackerel pate on toast. The scandi-inspired Electric Bakery serves up pastries and other delicious baked goods. There are also a number of great pubs, such as the tiny The Barrel, which sells craft ales from independent brewers and producers, and the slightly more formal The Falcon Hotel set just back from the canal.

Things to do
surfing widemouth bay

Learn to surf

If you want to learn to ride the waves, Widemouth Bay is a great place to give it a go. With four surf schools on Widemouth Bay beach catering to all ages and abilities, you’re spoilt for choice. As well as offering surf lessons and hire, Freewave Surf Academy also run SUP, coasteering and bodyboarding sessions. The Reubyn Ash Surf School halfway along the beach is lead by a European Champion with 30 years experience, whilst the Widemouth Bay Surfing Co offers surf lessons and hire, as well as a surf clothing shop from its shack off the sand.

Coasteering

If surfing’s not your bag, there are plenty of other watersports to try in Widemouth Bay. Coasteering is one of the most exhilarating way to explore the craggy coastline — you’ll swim through huge sea caves and wildlife-rich rockpools, visit inaccessible beaches and leap off cliffs and plunge into clear tidal pools. There are two centres on Widemouth Bay beach that provide coasteering to explore the surrounding coastline — Freewave Surf Academy, which run family trips as well as providing for stag and hen parties, and OA Surf Club, whose instructors have over 3o years’ experience.

Bude Sea Pool

The beauty of tidal pools is that you can take a dip with having to brave the waves, making it the perfect place for a bit of family fun. Under the cliffs at Summerleaze Beach in neighbouring bude, this is Cornwall’s oldest sea pool, 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. There are no fees, and there’s no need to book, just turn up and jump on in!

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