The Beach Blog
Bude’s top five hidden gems
Bude is well known for its long sandy beaches, spectacular views and vibrant water sports scene. It’s no secret that visitors and locals alike adore this beautiful coastal town. But there are many hidden gems in this stunning area just waiting to be discovered.
Located just five miles from the centre of Bude sits the much-loved Rebel Cinema. Dating back to the 1980s, this classic picture house definitely has that vintage retro feel. Without it, the next cinema within reach is more than 25 miles away, so this venue is the perfect place to catch the latest releases in style.
An independent cinema, it’s the beacon of on-screen entertainment when it comes to Bude and the surrounding area. When you visit, step back in time as you enter its red double doors and admire its traditional decor inside.
Rebel Cinema has been entertaining locals and visitors for the last three decades — why not grab a seat, some popcorn, and be a part of it too?
Although many locals are familiar with this fantastic semi-natural pool, it’s easy to miss if you don’t know about it. The sea pool, filled naturally at high tide, is a safe haven for swimmers who don’t fancy braving the wild surf, but still want to swim in the great outdoors.
It’s a real treasure to the coastal town’s community, having operated since the 1930s — and it’s completely free to use. Run by local charity, Friends of Bude Sea Pool, it takes care of the maintenance of the pool and donations are always gratefully received.
We love Bude Sea Pool and often encourage our guests to visit, or even take a dip in the water, especially since it’s less than five minutes’ walk from our reception.
Tucked away along the quiet canal route is Bude Marshes, a local nature reserve which is home to abundant wildlife. A space which is carefully looked after and protected, these marshes are a wonderful way to explore the surrounding area and get closer to wildlife in north Cornwall.
Look out for coastal birds, rare plant life, and beautiful wildflowers as you stroll along the waterfront during your stay. There’s so much to explore and it’s a great way to relax and get some much needed downtime with nature.
If you’re lucky, you might even spot a family of otters nestled in the banks of the canal or wreaking havoc with their playful games in the water.
If you’re keen on history, Penhallam Manor might just be for you. This 13th century manor house, only a short drive away from the centre of Bude, is now a grass covered ruin. It was built by a famous family from Cornwall, the de Cardinhams, and then lay undiscovered for hundreds of years.
The manor was discovered during the 1960s when the replanting of trees was interrupted by hitting the 13th century stone walls. Pretty soon, an excavation was under way until experts realised what it was — and the rest is history.
After you’ve had a good little explore, why not visit the nearby village of Week St Mary, where you can take a stroll, have a drink in the local pub, and get a glimpse of quieter village life in Cornwall near the coast.
Truly a hidden gem, Hawker’s Hut is a quaint little wooden hut nestled in the cliffside dating back to 1835. Found in Morwenstow, just a few miles north of Bude, this infamous hut once belonged to Reverend Robert Hawker — the man who wrote Cornwall’s anthem, Trelawney.
The hut is built out of wood from past shipwrecks and allegedly the place where Reverend Hawker liked to seek refuge and calm. It’s said that some members of his congregation were smugglers and wreckers who led ships towards the rocks of Morwenstow to steal goods and cargo. If that’s not enough to peak your curiosity for this secret treasure, it’s also where famous poets Charles Kingsley and Lord Tennyson paid visits to the eccentric reverend.
You can visit Hawker’s Hut at any time of year — and you’re welcome to bring your pooch, because it’s dog friendly. You can reach it on the circular walk starting from Rectory Farm Tea Rooms in Morwenstow.
Bude Canal celebrates 200 year anniversary
This summer, Bude Canal celebrates its 200 year anniversary since the start of construction in 1819. This beautiful waterway has always hosted a buzzing hub of activity, from transporting lime rich sand in its early years to offering exciting leisure activities to locals and visitors today.
Taking a stroll alongside the canal is a great way to explore Bude, and you can even be a part of Bude’s water sports scene while you’re here, with rowing boats, kayaks, and pedalos available to hire on Lower Wharf.
In celebration, we’ve put together our top five things to do on and around Bude Canal. Whether you choose to get out on the water, or keep the ground beneath your feet, we’ve got it covered.
Ideal for a leisurely stroll, Bude Canal offers the chance to get closer to nature with the most beautiful views. Take the trail out of Bude town centre along the canal and you’ll find yourself looking out across local nature reserve, Bude Marshes, where all sorts of wildlife can be spotted, from rare coastal birds to mischievous otters.
If you can’t wait to get in the water, why not try out kayaking or canoeing on Bude Canal? Whether you’re a beginner or an eager water sport enthusiast, Bude offers visitors the chance to get in tune with their inner adventurer and explore Bude’s waters with a paddle in hand.
With all equipment provided and a handy instructor to keep you in the know, this is an excellent way to get to know Bude Canal. What’s more, if you have a four-legged family member with you during your stay, you don’t need to worry about leaving them behind. This experience is dog friendly.
Bude Canal boasts a great cycle route, taking you along the waterway before dipping into a woodland and across robust farmland. The great thing about this cycle route is that it runs between four and seven miles, so whether you’re cycling with young ones in tow or fancy a more challenging trail, this is a fantastic way to explore more of Bude’s countryside and take in its stunning views. Bikes are provided by Bude Bike Hire.
A popular activity for the whole family, friends, or couples to enjoy, climb in and set your sights to the canal’s expansive waterway with Bude Boat Hire. From classic rowing boats to novelty pedalos, this is a great way to enjoy Bude Canal with stunning ocean views, spotting wildlife out on the marsh, and available for hire up to two hours.
Though Bude has a strict catch and release policy, this is an exciting experience for beginners and skilled fishers alike. The canal’s waters are home to various species of fish, including carp, bream and even eels.
Bude Canal also offers wonderful scenic views for fishing, with peace and tranquility best found early in the mornings for a better catch.
After a day beside the water, retreat back to our luxury rooms. We offer a relaxed dining experience with a menu prepared by our head chef Jamie Coleman, or if you just fancy a drink overlooking the action across the waves, we welcome guests to come and unwind in our terrace bar with fantastic views across Summerleaze Beach.
Learning to surf in Bude
Surfing is a big part of the beach lifestyle here in Bude. If you’re joining us here at The Beach at Bude and want to learn to this popular water sport, read on to find out about the best surf schools in the area.
If you also want to see a round-up of our favourite beaches around Bude to take to the waves, head to our blog post about the top five surfing beaches in Bude.
One of the closest surf schools to our hotel overlooking Summerleaze Beach, the Big Blue Surf School has taught around 30,000 people to surf over the last 15 years. Open all year round, they even have extra thick wetsuits which will keep you warm if you want to try surfing in the winter. They offer lesson to anyone aged eight and up, and all equipment is included in the cost of your lessons.
Another of the surf schools located just moments from the hotel on Summerleaze Beach, Bude Surfing Experience offers daily surf lessons which are perfect for beginners. The two and a half hour lessons are run in groups of up to eight people. The team are also on hand at Summerleaze Beach if you are someone with a keen interest in surfing and just want a few tips of how to improve.
Running everything from classic water sports such as surfing and kayaking, to extreme sports and multi-sport events such as the Bude Triathlon, Shoreline Extreme Sports have an experienced team on hand to teach you to surf. Running its surf lessons from Crooklets Beach, you’ll be in safe hands – as this is also where the town’s surf life saving club is based.
Providing surf lessons on Widemouth Bay, just a few miles south of Bude, this surf school was established in 1981, making it one of the first surf schools in Cornwall. They specialise in teaching beginners, whether learning on your own, with family or in a group. Being on Widemouth Bay, it is close enough to Bude so you don’t have to travel far when staying in the award-winning beach resort, but it is away from the crowds giving you all the space you need to learn and gain confidence.
Another surf school at Widemouth Bay, Freewave Surf Academy provide surfing lessons for complete beginners, as well as taster lessons to help remind those who have tried it before of the basics. From a two hour session, up to a three day intensive course, the instructors will help you to develop your skills and confidence to take to the waves on your own in no time.
Looking for somewhere to stay on your surfing holiday to Cornwall? Take a look at our range of rooms and availability online, or call 01288 389800 for more information.
Bude Triathlon 2019
We are proud sponsors of the Bude Shoreline Triathlon again this year, taking place on Sunday 30 June.
Whether you’re coming to Bude to participate in the exciting annual event, or are simply going to be spectating, join us for a meal at The Beach where we’ll be serving the following menu from 12pm until 8pm.
Whitebait & garlic aioli £6
Scampi & Marie Rose £6
Buttermilk chicken with lemon mayo & chipotle jam £6
Caesar salad, anchovies, parmesan & hen’s egg £8
Exmoor beef burger & chips £10
Fish & chips with crushed peas £10
Club sandwich: chicken breast, hen’s egg & bacon £10
Spiced falafel burger & french fries £10
French fries £4
Sweet potato fries £4
Weather permitting, we will also have a DJ on the terrace throughout the afternoon to celebrate the achievements of all the athletes.
Stand up paddleboarding in Bude
If surfing is a little too high-paced for you, have a go at the UK’s fastest growing water sport – stand up paddleboarding (SUP).
Paddleboarding involves standing or kneeling on a paddleboard, which is basically a large surfboard, and propelling yourself using a single paddle and alternating long strokes either side of the board through the water.
You don’t have to be super fit or into sport to have a go at paddleboarding. It is easy to pick up and you can go at your own speed, and it’s also really good for your core and balance. It’s well known as being a fun activity to do in a group, so if you’re in Bude on a family holiday or in a celebration party then this is definitely an activity worth investigating.
Bude Surfing Experience can meet you at the Bude Tourist Information Centre, where the instructors will teach you the basics of SUP before setting off on your paddleboarding adventure in one of the following locations:
Experience SUP on the open sea, with free rein of the Atlantic ocean and the opportunity to explore the rugged coastline of north Cornwall from a different perspective. Launching from Summerleaze Beach provides the most authentic stand up paddleboarding experience in Bude, with the salty sea air breezing through your hair as you glide through the rippling water.
Bude Sea Pool
The semi-natural pool is a calm location which is perfect for SUP beginners, providing a safe haven to practice the water sport without having to worry about rip tides, big waves and getting in the way of surfers. Paddle up and down the pool, mastering the technique and practicing manoeuvres and turns before progressing to the sea.
Unique to Bude, this is the only canal in Cornwall and therefore the only place in the county where you can experience SUP in this type of environment on the calm, winding waterways. Taking a gentle paddle along the canal allows you the chance to take in all the beautiful wildlife and greenery which surrounds the area.
A SUP session with Bude Surfing Experience starts from £35 per person, including all equipment, and is suitable for all ages from eight upwards.
The Beach suites
Relax in the comfort of your own suite at The Beach at Bude. Completed in 2018, our two suites provide a little extra room to chill out after a day exploring the Bude area, making them perfect, but not exclusively for, families staying with children.
Both our suites have two bedrooms, which can be made up as doubles or twins; family-sized bathrooms and lounges. See below for further information on each suite, and what makes them amongst some of the most unique holiday accommodation in Bude.
The Suite provides ultimate hotel luxury. The modern bathroom features a large walk-in shower with a separate freestanding bathtub and glamorous marble wall tiles. The lounge houses a rich navy velvet corner sofa, designed to complement the coastal accessories and create a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere to sit and watch the wall-mounted TV.
Leading out from the lounge is a private terrace with outdoor furniture, which provides a space to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine and sea air whilst being away from the general public on our main terrace at the front of the hotel.
The Retreat is the largest of the two new suites. It comes complete with a well appointed kitchen, diner and lounge – providing the maximum flexibility for your stay in Bude, with access to the hotel’s restaurant with delicious food prepared by our award-winning head chef Jamie Coleman, or the option to cook your own food back in your suite. Appliances include a fridge, washing machine and range cooker with gas hob; meaning you can choose whether you want the luxury of a fully serviced hotel stay or a more relaxed self-catering holiday.
Its clean, modern interiors have been designed to allow this suite to be dog-friendly. For more information on bringing your dog to the area, check out our blog post on a dog-friendly Bude.
Suites start from £175 bed and breakfast per night. For more information or to book call our reception on 01288 389800. Booking is also available online.
Bude is consistently voted as the UK’s Best Coastal Town at the British Travel Awards year-upon-year, but it’s not just our facilities which get us top marks. The combination of crystal clear waters, golden sands and green spaces also contribute, and we’re pleased to be recognised as such an environmentally conscious town.
One of the things Bude is most famous for is its beaches. Our award-winning coastal town is lucky to host multiple beaches along the Atlantic coastline; and three of them have been given internationally recognised awards, showcasing a high quality environment which regularly attracts families and keen water sport enthusiasts.
Widemouth Bay, Summerleaze Beach and Crooklets Beach all hold a Seaside Award, with Widemouth Bay also winning a coveted Blue Flag, one of only seven in Cornwall. Criteria to meet these awards is based on elements such as good water quality, availability of educational information about the beach environment, and facilities such as public toilets and lifeguards – proving Bude is a fun and safe environment for a seaside holiday.
But maintaining these high quality beaches can be hard work. Bude has a very active community which cares about the environment, and even its very own environmental group, A Greener Bude, which works hard to ensure Bude is as sustainable and environmentally-friendly as possible.
Under this group there are many people working together towards a common goal of improving marine and environmental pollution, climate change and the economy and health of Bude’s community. Initiatives throughout the town include beach cleans and a cleaner seas project, helping to maintain the high quality beaches and bathing spots which are arguably the town’s biggest attractions; a biodiversity trail, which works on the conservation of plants and wildlife; and a big push on reusing and refilling products, minimising the need for single-use plastic and waste.
Want to get involved? Join a tribe of likeminded individuals on the first Saturday of every month at Crooklets Beach for a beach clean, taking place from 10am until 12pm with all equipment provided.
After all your hard work, why not join us at The Beach for some refreshments? Warm up in winter with a rich hot chocolate, or sip one of our signature cocktails in the sunshine on our terrace. For something a little more substantial, our lunchtime offer of two courses for £15 or three for £18 is a great way to reward yourself for helping to keep our town clean and tidy.
Top five reasons to visit Bude
Bude was voted the ‘Best UK Coastal Town’ at the British Travel Awards at the end of 2018 – an accolade it also achieved in 2016 and 2017.
There are many things that make our award-winning town so special, but here are our top five reasons to visit Bude:
Bude Sea Pool
Known to be Bude’s number one attraction, the Bude Sea Pool is free to use all year round and provides a safe swimming area for those that may find the swell from the sea waves too daunting. This semi-natural pool is 91m long by 45m wide and was created in 1930s. Managed by the Friends of Bude Sea Pool charity, it welcomes around 50,000 visitors every year.
Whether you’re into walking, cycling, kayaking, fishing or taking it easy on a peddlo – the Bude Canal is a hub of activity for all paces of life. The two mile footpath alongside the canal and marshlands is perfect for admiring the vast array of wildlife, so there’s plenty to see and do for the whole family on a day out. Bikes, kayaks and peddlos are all available to hire in Bude, making it easy to explore without bringing a car load on holiday with you.
Well known for seaside holidays in Cornwall, Bude has two main beaches, Summerleaze and Crooklets, which are great for building sandcastles, surfing and many other watersports. The South West Coast Path also passes through these beaches, perfect for winter walks when the icy water and sunbathing on the golden sand isn’t so inviting.
The Castle Bude
Perched on the sand dunes overlooking Summerleaze Beach is the Grade II listed castle, home to three galleries showcasing work of local artists including art, pottery and photography. There is also a Heritage Centre where you can discover Bude’s rich history, with exhibitions and artefacts from a variety of collections, such as the Bude railway. Admission to the castle is free, providing a cultural and educational activity for all generations to enjoy.
And how could we not mention the newest addition…
Not your typical tourist attraction, but the Bude Tunnel has become somewhat of a famous landmark in our coastal town. With five-star reviews and comments including ‘a tunnel like no other’, the 70m long tunnel which stretches from Sainsbury’s car park all the way to Crooklets Road is definitely worth a visit.
Providing undercover protection from all weathers (always a bonus in Cornwall where the weather can be a little unpredictable sometimes), it’s no wonder why the public take cover here to enjoy the spectacular sea views in Bude. A unique asset to the town.
UK staycations aren’t just enjoyed by humans. If you’re a dog owner then it is often hard to leave your four-legged friends at home.
Due to popular demand, we are pleased to provide our first dog-friendly accommodation offering in one of the newly-finished suites, with tiled flooring throughout making it perfect for clearing up sandy paw prints.
The Retreat benefits from two bedrooms which can both be made up as doubles or twins (perfect for families or a group of friends travelling together), a family sized bathroom and a large well appointed kitchen-diner and lounge.
Our terrace also welcomes dogs all year round, so even if you’re not staying with us in the hotel you can join us for a drink and bite to eat after your dog walk.
Bude boasts a variety of footpaths and trails perfect for dog walking. From the leisurely two-mile stretch of flat tarmac path along the Bude canal, to the rugged South West Coast Path connecting Bude to nearby beaches such as Crackington Haven to the south and Marsland Mouth to the north. For culture seekers wanting to find out a little more about Bude’s history, the four-mile circular town trail is also a nice route to be accompanied by your dog.
With so many beaches in the Bude area, it’s always useful to know when and where dogs are allowed at certain times of the year. Sandymouth, Northcott Mouth and Black Rock beaches are dog-friendly all year round with no restrictions. The only restriction on Summerleaze Beach is that dogs must be on leads between 21 May and 30 September. Finally, Widemouth Bay and Crooklets Beach only allows dogs on the beach between 1 October and 31 March.
Book your next stay at The Beach at Bude online, or call our reservation team on 01288 389800 to discuss your requirements.
Bude Christmas Day swim
The main event in the Bude Christmas calendar is the annual Christmas Day swim.
Hosted by Bude Surf Life Saving Club, over 500 people brave the icy cold waters to take part each year in the ‘no wetsuits’ swim, which has been running for around 35 years to raise money in memory of former member Mike Moyle.
Taking place at Crooklets beach, crowds of swimmers plunge into the Atlantic Ocean on the north Cornish coast – whatever the weather. Many spectators come to join in the festivities, supporting the adventurous (and some may say mad) participants with cheers of encouragement and warming towels to welcome them out of the water.
Hot chocolates and refreshments are supplied after the event which creates a lovely community atmosphere where swimmers and spectators come together to share Christmas wishes and photo opportunities.
If you want to take part in this year’s swim then visit the SLSC website for a registration form – or if spectating is more your style then head to the shoreline for an 11am start on Christmas morning.