The Beach Blog
Seasonal local produce
We are extremely lucky to have such a variety of fresh, seasonal produce during autumn. From hearty root vegetables to leafy cabbages and crumble-worthy tart fruits, autumn’s harvest influences warming dishes that will help you make the transition from our long, hot summer into the colder months ahead.
Head chef Joe Simmonds has taken inspiration from Cornish produce that is at its best during autumn to create our new menus, with many dishes featuring some of our favourites below.
We caught up with Joe after a busy lunch shift so he could tell us about his thought process behind the new menus, and what he loves about autumnal produce:
What do you like about the ingredients at this time of year?
We start to move away from the lighter, more delicate foods that we use in the summer, but yet they’re still not too heavy. I love foraging in autumn, not only do you find the best fresh ingredients but it’s also a really fun activity to do. Being creative with food pairings is great as the seasons start to change (we think Joe’s starter of the cauliflower salad with apple is a delicious example of this).
Do you use local suppliers?
Yes, our west country suppliers are some of the best in the UK. Our wild mushrooms come from just across the boarder in Devon, but we’re very fortunate in Cornwall to be both close to the coastline for fresh seafood, and also be surrounded by glorious green fields full of vegetables and livestock.
If you had to pick, which would be your favourite dish from the new menu?
I think it would have to be the pan roasted haunch of venison. The flavours and textures of the dish are really earthy, and it combines some of my favourite autumnal ingredients, red cabbage and wild mushrooms, in a variety of different forms.
JOE’S TOP FIVE SEASONAL INGREDIENTS TO LOOK OUT FOR AT THIS TIME OF YEAR ARE:
- Cavolo nero
- Wild mushrooms
- Red cabbage
View our evening menu for more information, and call the team on 01288 389800 to book a table.
Autumn Picnic Spots Near Bude
Cornwall is arguably most sensational in the autumn months. Now that the summer rush has passed, there is no better time to take a romantic break. What’s more romantic than a picnic watching the sunset?
So grab a blanket, a punnet of strawberries, and maybe a bottle of bubbly and head to one of these idyllic locations…
A wonderful matrix of winding streets and white washed cottages, this village is everything you imagine when you think of Cornwall. Explore this picture-postcard village and harbour where TV’s Doc Martin was filmed before heading up the coastal path to the coastal cliffs.
Take in the sea views with a picnic looking over the pretty little port. On your way back down make sure you stop off at one of the many ice-cream parlours for an after picnic treat.
Just a short drive inland from Bude lies the Upper and Lower Tamar Lakes. The lakes form part the Cornwall/Devon border which runs though the middle where the river originally ran before the lakes were formed.
The walk around Upper Lake takes about an hour and covers three miles. Look out for the abundance of wildlife from kingfishers to squirrels. A bird hide allows you to get a really a good look at the Cornish wildlife in their natural habitats.
Once you are done exploring, relax with a picnic on the grassy banks looking over the lake or at a picnic bench. If you fancy a more active day there is also plenty of water sports available such as windsurfing, kayaking and paddle boarding.
Take a look at the water sports on offer on the South West Lakes Trust website.
You don’t have drive anywhere to make the most of beautiful picnic spots, we have plenty right here in Bude.
Take a stroll and find a quiet spot for a romantic lunch on the banks of Bude Canal. Or if you’re a classic romantic and really want to make the day special, then why not hire a boat and row up the canal? Cosy up with a blanket, wrap up warm and take in the peaceful surroundings as the trees begin to turn to shades of orange and the balmy summer air gives way to clear crisp mornings.
To hire a boat head over to the Bude Rowing Boats website.
As the name suggests, Sandymouth Beach has a large expanse of golden sand when the tide is out. Just a short drive from Bude, the walk down from the car park is definitely worth it as the large beach opens up to reveal towering cliffs and rocky outcrops.
Autumn is a quieter time in Cornwall with emptier beaches that are perfect for a relaxed walk along the coast and a more laid back atmosphere to just sit and admire the impressive shoreline. Sunsets are often spectacular as the summer months come to a close. As Sandymouth is west facing, the sun sets over the water providing the perfect backdrop to a picnic dinner.
To find out more about Sandymouth and how to get there take a look on the National Trust page.
St. Nectan’s Glen
St. Nectan’s Glen is a truly magical place that transports you far away from everyday life. Completely hidden away in woodlands alongside the River Trevillet, the tranquil river walk offers many perfect picnic spots. However, this beautiful wooded valley is not the reason that makes St. Nectan’s Glen such an incredible picnic spot.
Follow the valley path to a place that is nothing short of awe-inspiring with three gushing waterfalls, one of which falls through a naturally formed hole in the rock. Make sure you have your camera ready, you will definitely want to take some photos here. Take your wellies and wade into the shallow waters before the tallest of the three waterfalls to really get a feel for the power of the water falling a huge 60ft.
Find a peaceful corner to have your picnic with the sound of the cascading water in the background.
Find out more about St. Nectan’s Glen on their website.
Once you’re all picnicked out, retreat back to your equally romantic room at The Beach at Bude. Go to our website to book your Autumn getaway.
5 alternative sunny day activities in Bude
There is no better place to soak up the rays than in Cornwall. With its multiple unspoilt beaches, Bude has been always been a popular destination for those seeking to make the most of the British summertime. However, Bude has more to offer than simply stunning beaches so here is our rundown of other things to do when the sun is shining:
1. Take a row down the canal
Built in 1823, the Bude canal was originally created to transport lime-rich sand to local farms, but now simply provides pretty scenery for a stroll or paddle on a sunny afternoon. There is no better way to make the most of Cornwall’s beauty than idly rowing down the canal, taking in your surroundings and finding the perfect quiet spot to have a picnic. Follow the canal out of town for a chance to see an abundance of wildlife, especially as you approach Bude Marshes.
Take a look on the website to see the boats they have to hire.
2. Set off on a trip to Lundy Island
Lundy Island and Marine Nature Reserve is a three and a half mile long and half a mile wide granite outcrop that lies 18km off the coast of North Devon. A world away from modern day life, Lundy Island provides tranquility, peace and unspoilt natural beauty. Lundy is home to an array of wildlife such as deer, seals, ponies, dolphins and even puffins (Lundy is Norse for ‘Puffin Island’). A day trip on Lundy’s own ship, the MS Oldenburg, is more of a cruise with a bar, buffet and shop.
Discover more about Lundy Island.
3. Walk the Bude Circular Canal and Coast walk
The history-seeped circular walk encompasses the very best Bude has to offer, from the unique historic relics along the canal, to the wildlife at Bude Marshes, and the dramatic views along the clifftops from the Coast Path. This 9km walk passes points of interest such as The Pepper Pot, an octagonal storm tower, and Phillip’s Point nature reserve and is the perfect way for the more active among us to spend a day in the sun. As you head back to the town you pass serval craft workshops and cafés where you can stop for a well deserved refreshment.
More information on this walk and more can be found online.
4. Hire a beach hut
Experience a blast from the past and enjoy the beach from the luxury of your very own beach hut. A classic Cornish sight with colourful wooden doors, these traditional beach huts provide a unique landing place for a day by the sea. The deluxe beach hut on Summerleaze beach offers the perfect lunch stop with a large kitchen work top, a small gas stove and complimentary tea and coffee making facilities. Plates, cutlery, mugs and glasses for four people are all provided so you can simply enjoy your day relaxing.
To hire a beach hut head to the Visit Bude website.
5. Explore Bude ‘Poldark style’ from horseback
The best way to see the beautiful beaches, coastal paths and countryside is from horseback. All abilities are catered for by Welcombe Equine with a range of riding experiences such as beach rides, family group rides and even rides that stop of at the pub for lunch. Rides can be personalised to suit your needs on wonderfully schooled horses so even if you’re a complete beginner or a competent rider with years of experience, Welcombe Equine will have the perfect horse for you. If you feel like leaving hoof prints rather than footprints in the sand then this may be the perfect sunny day activity for you.
To find out more about horse riding activities head to Welcombe Equine’s Facebook page.
Family Friendly Things to do on a Rainy Day
Cornwall is blessed to be one of the most sun-drenched counties in England, but inevitably we will get the occasional day of rain. Fear not, Cornwall still has so much to offer to guarantee a fun-packed family day out no matter what the weather.
Here in Bude we are able to make the most of the many wonderful family attractions in both north Cornwall and north Devon.
Here are some of the best family friendly days out to be had within easy reach of Bude…
Just a twenty minute drive from Bude lies the Milky Way Adventure Park. Voted Devon’s best large visitor attraction in 2016, this all-weather park offers fun for all the family come rain or shine. With a selection of roller coasters and outside activities such as mini golf and a maze this huge park, just across the boarder into North Devon, is great on a sunny day. However, with 110,000 sq. feet of indoor fun, rainy days don’t have to be a write off. All the family will be entertained with a huge indoor adventure play area designed not only for the little ones but adults too, so let your inner child run free and dive straight into that ball pool. If that isn’t enough there is also dodgems, indoor bird of prey shows and the mind-blowing ‘Clone Zone’ ride, an interactive ride where you can explore an alien spaceship, encounter aliens, fly the suspended roller coaster and attempt to make it back to Earth without being cloned.
If you fancy doing something a little different on your rainy day, why not visit The Museum of Magic and Witchcraft in the picturesque village of Boscastle? Regarded as the world’s oldest and largest collection of all things magic, the museum allows you to indulge in the human fascination for magic. With vast collections of weird and wonderful exhibits, learn about the folklore of Bodmin Moor and explore objects of ritual magic within its hallowed halls. The museum also offers candlelit evening openings throughout the summer often alongside ghostly story telling sessions in the Museum Library. Visit the website to check the dates of these events through the summer.
Situated on what was once just a working farm, The BIG Sheep welcomes families to meet the animals and learn about feeding, sheering and the day-to-day workings of a farm at an attraction worthy of its TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. However, don’t be fooled into thinking The BIG Sheep is just another petting zoo, it is so much more than that. Featuring Devon’s largest roller coaster, live combat games and an indoor play area on top of many other attractions there is plenty to keep the children busy. Live shows take place both outside and inside throughout the day including the milking show, the shearing show and the infamous sheep racing. The adults have not been forgotten either with an onsite ale and gin distillery as well as a live beer show. This place is packed with things to do for all the family on a rainy day and it is just a half an hour drive from Bude.
Situated in Bude itself, The Venue boasts 10 lanes of quality ten pin bowling with animated scoring, “Glo-Bowling” and disco lighting. Ramps and gutter rails are available so that all ages and abilities can play. A giant 4 storey soft play zone is sure to burn off any extra energy with interactive noises and lights and plenty of slides including the 8 meter high ‘Demon Drop Slide’ for the more daring amongst us. There is a large comfortable seating area for parents to enjoy a excellent coffee whilst the children play. If that still hasn’t worn them out there is a also a selection of amusement machines to top off an action filled day. The best part is that all this is available without even leaving Bude.
Splash Leisure Pool, also in Bude, brings the thrills of the ocean inside when the weather means the beach is a no go zone. The AquaSquash sessions, with a wave machine and a 33 meter flume, provide fun for adults and children alike. When you’re all swam out you can recoup in the onsite cafe serving Lavazza coffee, smoothies and a range of light snacks.
To book your next family getaway take a look at our luxury family suites.
Spring Gardens in North Cornwall and Devon
Spring is the perfect time of year to see the gardens in north Cornwall and Devon blooming, with flowers blossoming, spring bulbs emerging from the ground, and fresh buds appearing on the trees. With the weather warming up and plants shaking off the cold of winter, now is the best time to see nature in full swing. We’ve rounded up some of our favourites nearby, so have a read and see which to visit this season.
Spring Gardens in North Cornwall and Devon
Open between 11 March and 5 October, Docton Mill Gardens is a wonderful display of flowers and plants, boasting an expansive bog garden, a 140 meter long herbaceous border, a wild flower garden, a magnolia garden, a woodland garden and a greenhouse area. In spring, visitors will see an impressive display of narcissi, primulas, camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas and a blanket of bluebells covering the woods. Docton Mill was also voted the best tea room in North Devon at the North Devon Food & Drink Awards, so stop by the café for a cream tea or freshly-made sandwich during your visit. The gardens are located a 30 minute drive from Bude and visitors can park free.
In a sunny, sheltered part of the north Devon coastline, Clovelly Court Gardens are usually a month ahead of the rest of the country in terms of seasons, with exotic plants thriving in the walled gardens, safe from the harsh coastal winds and salty sea air. Although spring is a particularly good time to visit, there is something to enjoy all year round, with lots of glasshouses providing a warmer environment for plants. The village also boasts some beautiful floral displays, and last year, for the third year in a row, it won a gold award in the South West region of the RHS Britain in Bloom competition, so be sure to have a walk around Clovelly to see the residents’ hard work. Clovelly is 30 minutes’ drive from Bude.
Rosemoor is a huge garden surrounded by woodland, an idyllic expanse of 65 acres that has something to see in every season, but is particularly impressive in spring, tipped as one of the most beautiful gardens in north Cornwall. With a fruit and vegetable garden, a stone garden, and cottage garden, RHS Rosemoor is a lovely setting in which to enjoy the new growth and blooming flowers. On Tuesday 20 March the garden is hosting an open day, inviting members and non-members to the gardens for free, with golden daffodils carpeting the floor. Rosemoor’s Garden Kitchen has also won best garden centre restaurant in Wales and the south west for the fourth year in a row, and much of the produce featured on the menu is grown in the garden, so stop for a bite to eat. Rosemoor is a 45 minute drive from Bude, near Great Torrington.
Although uncultivated and wild in nature, Dunsdon National Nature Reserve is a beautiful grassland that’s rich in wild flowers and home to a great range of wildlife. The reserve is 80 hectares in size and provides an expansive area to explore, blending meadow and wet woodland habitats with traditional Devon ‘culm’ grassland. Look out for kingfishers, goosanders, dippers and otters on the river, with several wild orchid species to find in the grasslands too. The reserve is just 20 minutes’ drive from Bude.
Merging art and culture in lovely surroundings, Broomhill sits within a sheltered valley surrounded by hundreds of acres of woodland. The garden’s glorious planting is really quite special, and made even more spectacular by the addition of wondrous sculptures dotted throughout the gardens, making up one of the largest permanent collections of contemporary sculpture in the south west of England. Broomhill is an hour’s drive from Bude.
A 16th century property surrounded by beautiful gardens, Hartland Abbey also has lots of woodland areas, which were grown on either side of the abbey to shelter the building from the worst of the strong winds that blow off the sea. Hosting spring flower days throughout the earlier months of the year, visitors will be able to see daffodils, camellias, hellebores, early spring bulbs, mimosas and a range of wild primroses and violets within the walled gardens and along the woodland paths. The orchard is also a popular attraction, and visitors can easily walk to Atlantic Cove from the gardens, a remote and quiet section of the South West Coast Path that offers spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and cliff scenery. Hartland Abbey is 30 minutes’ drive from Bude.
Although it has over four acres of gardens to explore, including a wildflower trail and teeming pond, it’s not necessarily the plants you’ll be looking at in The Gnome Reserve. The attraction is home to over 2,042 gnomes, a record-breaking collection of characters that are dotted throughout the gardens in north Cornwall. On entry, visitors are provided with a gnome hat and fishing rod, designed to help guests to ‘blend in’, and providing the perfect opportunity for a family photo. The reserve is a 30 minute drive from Bude.
Only open on select days throughout the year, Andrew’s Corner is a wonderfully secluded spot just under an hour’s drive inland from Bude. Featuring a lengthy season from February to October, the garden has far-reaching views over the open, rugged moor of Dartmoor, and there is a wide range of unusual trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants to see during a visit, with a kitchen garden and flock of chickens too. Visitors with children also have some help keeping the kids entertained with fun quiz sheets, enchanting fairy doors and a children’s playhouse. The garden can be accessed outside the specified dates and times by appointment by calling 01837 840332.
If you’d like to book a holiday in Cornwall to see the beautiful gardens nearby, book your stay with us by calling 01288 389800.
Bude in pictures: an interview with Cornish surf photographer Clive Symm
Clive Symm is a talented Cornish surf photographer, who also captures weddings, landscapes and portraits, and over the years he’s taken some fantastic pictures in and around Bude.
We caught up with him recently to find out a little more about the man behind the lens, providing insights into what motivates him, his thoughts on Bude’s fantastic surf scene, and why he loves Bude Sea Pool.
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into photography?
I’ve loved photography since I was at school, way before digital cameras were available. I worked at a local supermarket for the whole of the summer to save up and buy my first “proper” camera, a Ricoh KR10 Super and a 50mm lens. I’ve never stopped taking photos since then really. I’ve had a lot of sales jobs with some pretty big companies and being a photographer has always helped to build my profile within these. When I was at JVC I was often given their latest video cameras to take home and test.
You’ve taken some incredible pictures of the surf in and around Bude. What is it that motivates you to take pictures of surfing in particular?
Having surfed myself since the age of about 14 it’s a great way to enjoy two of my passions at the same time. Also taking the odd surf shot has helped me stay focused on the sea when I’ve been unable to surf due to injuries or ill health.
What’s your favourite thing about shooting around Bude?
Bude has a great “vibe” about it, it’s one of those places that always feels welcoming no matter what the weather’s doing, the scenery is stunning and the people are, mostly, friendly. I love just going for an unplanned walk with my camera and seeing what images I can come up with. It’s not often I get home disappointed with the results.
Bude has produced some of the best professional surfers in the country in recent years. Why do you think that is?
I think there’s loads of factors that have attributed to the success of our local surfers. Obviously we have some quality waves within a few miles of Bude and depending on the tide our local beaches can be surfed at almost any size. There aren’t that many days when there’s no surf. I’ve been doing this a long time and seen the amount of time and effort these athletes spend in the water improving their skills. They’re training constantly which makes a huge difference to their performance. There’s a great community spirit locally.
Bude Wave Riders, run by volunteers, offer a great introduction into surfing for very little outlay. Also our more experienced surfers seem quite happy to share their knowledge with the young, up and coming, super keen, groms. We have some excellent surf schools, some of which run “elite” clubs for the up and coming kids that show potential. They can even get one-on-one coaching from British and European champions if they want it. Obviously media coverage is a huge part of everything these days. Luckily we have some great local photographers and videographers who spend a lot of time, in and out of the water, capturing images and footage of these guys helping to show the world of what they’re capable of.
Do you surf yourself, and if so, where’s your favourite spot?
I do and my favourite local spot has to be any one of Bude’s three beaches. I live a couple of minutes away by foot from Crooklets and like being able to just wander down, check the conditions, get changed at home and be in the water within 10 minutes.
Your portfolio features some beautiful landscape pictures. Where is the most photogenic place you’ve come across in Cornwall?
Thank you, that’s a tough question, the whole of Cornwall is beautiful. I don’t really have a favourite. I’ll check the conditions, the time of year, when the sun sets, etc. and decide where to go on the day, could be anywhere…
We’ve also noticed Bude Sea Pool in lots of your images, and we’ve even shared a few of them ourselves. What do you think the pool brings to the local community?
I think it’s a fantastic facility, one of the best ocean pools in the country, definitely a great tourist attraction which brings people into town. I really enjoy capturing the different moods it seems to have, very photogenic and just 5 minutes from home.
What’s the most memorable or favourite image that you’ve ever taken?
I don’t really have a favourite but this image (below) always comes to mind. It was taken just down the coast from Bude on a very stormy winter day a few years ago. I just love the energy and movement, not to mention the timing of that wave breaking against the cliff in the background…
What would your ideal day in Bude consist of?
It would be warm and sunny with light offshore winds and the surf at first light would be about 4ft and clean. That’s when I’d get in for a wave. After a couple of hours I’d get out look back and see the surf building to 8ft. I’d check my phone for messages and see that the Ash brothers (two of my favourite local surfers) where going in for a wave. I’d grab my camera and shoot them until they got out. Have a quick look at the photos I’d taken and then head down to the sea pool for the sunset and maybe stay a little later to photograph the stars reflected in the water. Then on to The Beach for a drink at the bar.
We want to say a big congratulations to the guys that took part in The Smugglers’ Challenge.
The team of four Bude locals set off from the Mayflower Steps in Plymouth on 29 August, aiming to paddle a surfboard almost 300 miles around the Cornish coastline, finishing up in Bude.
The weather, unfortunately, had other ideas. The team completed the stretch along the south coast without any problems, and were making incredible time. However, as the weather set in, it soon became clear that the exposed north coast would just be too risky. There’s very little shelter up there, and not many opportunities to dive into harbours for cover.
At the half way point, the team followed the advice of the coastguard and turned around to paddle back to Plymouth. The total mileage was around the same as it would have been if they’d made it to Bude, so it was still an amazing accomplishment.
The goal was to raise money for two cancer charities – Force and Cancer Research UK. We held a fundraising dinner in at The Beach in August, with all proceeds going directly to the challenge, and have been donating £5 from every three course lunch sold in September. To date we have contributed around £6,500 to the challenge, and have been very happy to support them the whole way.
Donations can still be made via the Smugglers’ Challenge website here. They are very close to their £30,000 target.
We have plans in place for a big finish celebration in early November, to mark the completion of this amazing challenge. Watch this space for more information.
Take a look at the video below for more on the challenge, and the story that inspired it.
An interview with Fretted Knot
If you’ve been into our bar on a Sunday afternoon, you may have noticed some live music being played from one of our very talented resident musicians, Fretted Knot, an acoustic duo made up of Mark Wilson on guitar and Buster Cottam on the bass. The talented pair play a great selection of covers and their own songs in acoustic, folky and reggae styles, the perfect recipe for the ultimate Sunday soundtrack. We had a chat with Mark to find out a little bit more about the band…
Firstly, how did you get into music?
After listening to my older brother’s CD collection of artists such as Jimmy Hendrix, Radiohead, Ash and lots more, I knew that creating music was something I definitely wanted to try. So I started guitar lessons with a few different teachers; some were classical and others more folk or rock influenced, but I loved learning anything I could get my hands on.
What can people expect when they see Fretted Knot perform at The Beach?
We play a mixture of covers and originals, and the set can vary from John Martyn and The Beatles, to Nirvana and The White Stripes. Most of the covers will have our own twist on a song to make it a little different. For example, we play the White Stripes’ rock song Seven Nation Army in a reggae style, and Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box is played on a lap steel guitar, which gives it a slight country and folky feel.
How did you and Buster meet and why do you think you work so well together as a duo?
We met through a mutual friend when Mark moved to Bude and we work very well together, but we couldn’t say exactly why. Maybe because we both have beards?!
Who, what and where inspires you the most?
The North Cornish coast is a great place to live for inspiration, not to mention the friends and family we have here.
Do you prefer to write and play your own music or play covers?
If it’s a cover we can relate to and put our own twist on then that’s easily as enjoyable as performing an original song, because you’ve still done something creative and made it your own.
What would be your ultimate Sunday soundtrack?
(press play and have a listen)
What’s the best and worst gig you’ve ever done?
The worst gig was at a festival where the acoustic stage was next to a fairground waltzer playing very loud Techno, and the best gig was a showcase event at Ronnie Scotts in London. There was an awesome crowd and it’s a great venue.
What are your favourite songs to play?
Master Blaster by Stevie Wonder. It’s got great lyrics that are still very relevant today.
What’s your opinion on the music scene in Cornwall?
There’s some excellent festivals and venues in Cornwall, but it would also be great to see more showcase events for local singer-songwriters and bands.
We have live music in our bar from Fretted Knot and James Dixon on alternating Sundays from 4pm. Call 01288 389800 for confirmation or to book a table.
Family-friendly activities in Bude
Bude is the perfect family-friendly resort, with award-winning beaches and plenty to do to keep children and teenagers entertained. In celebration of the brand new family-friendly suites we’re introducing to the hotel, we’ve rounded up some family-friendly activities in Bude that will keep the whole family entertained, with a variety of pastimes for whatever the weather.
Newly introduced this year, Segway Bude is a fun past-time and a great way to see the beautiful Cornish landscape. With qualified instructors and state-of-the-art segways to ride, you’ll be speeding along the countryside and coastal trails in no time. No previous experience of segway riding is required and although there is no minimum age restriction, riders need to be over 4ft tall and at least 32kg to operate one. Segway Bude also offer archery lessons, which a minimum age of seven years, and any children must be accompanied by an adult. Sessions
Learn to surf
Summerleaze Beach is right on our doorstep and it’s the perfect place to learn the art of surfing, with fun waves and suitable conditions for both experienced surfers and beginners. The beach is lifeguarded over the summer months, and there are several nearby surf schools offering wetsuit hire, group tuition or one-on-one lessons, including Big Blue Surf School, Bude Surfing Experience, and Raven Surf.
Voted as Trip Advisor’s top ten UK amusement parks last year, The Milky Way is an all-weather attraction with something for the whole family. The north Devon-based adventure park boasts a multitude of activities, facilities and fun for all ages, including dodgems, rollercoasters and high-octane rides for the thrill-seekers, and vibrant play areas, pottery painting and an 18 hole mini golf course for a more relaxed day out. Live shows are presented in the indoor arena and feature a daily schedule of things to watch, including scientific experiments, birds of prey, and an entertaining and educational journey through the solar system for ‘galaxy showtime’.
Stretching 21 acres into the Cornish countryside, the Tamar Otter and Wildlife Centre houses plenty more animals and birds than you’d expect, including fallow and muntjac deer, owls, meerkats and wallabies. Guests can watch the British and Asian short clawed otters being fed at 12pm and 3pm every day, and see the sociable families playing together in their expansive enclosures, one of the top family-friendly activities in Bude. There are also nine birds of prey species to meet, including a Bengal eagle owl, a harris hawk, a kestrel and a buzzard, with insightful talks on the birds from a professional at 11:30am and 2:30pm every day.
Get on your bike
Cycling is a great way to see the Cornish landscape whilst getting out in the fresh air and burning off some of the kids energy. Bude Bike Hire have a range of bikes and equipment available to suit all abilities, with free, downloadable maps to help plan your route, which include the canal, coastal views or rugged farmland and countryside. It’s recommended that you book in advance where possible, and helmets are provided, with the optional add-ons of tag-alongs, trailers and child seats.
With a puzzling maze, a secret hobbit house and plenty of trails to explore, Hidden Valley Discovery Park is one of our favourite family-friendly activities in Bude. The grounds include six individual gardens within the park for visitors to enjoy, and a detective hunt with plenty of clues to solve. There is also a ‘forbidden mansion’, an impressive red brick building with a large labyrinth of rooms, secret passageways, concealed doors, upside-down rooms and exciting surprises. Guests can also ride on the miniature train that travels along mile-long railway track right around the perimeter of the park, and unlimited rides with all entry tickets to the park.
Associated with the legend of King Arthur, Tintagel Castle is steeped in history and a beautiful location to visit, whether exploring the castle, the Dark Age settlement or the fascinating museum dedicated to the impressive landmark. The beach below the castle is great for paddling in the sea and rock pooling, and exploring Merlin’s Cave is a must when the tide is out. Park in the centre of Tintagel and take a stroll down the road to the remains, with far-reaching views over the sea and along the coast. The site also hosts an array of events and exciting occasions such as archeology festivals and magical storytelling sessions, so be sure to check what’s on before you go. A wide range of gifts and souvenir items can be bought from the gift shop too, including toy swords and tapestries.
Independent shops in Bude
There are some great independent shops in Bude to pick up a gift, souvenir or treat for yourself, specialising in all matter of items. Whether you’re looking for homewares or streetwear, we’ve rounded up the best places to go in Bude where you’re sure to find something.
This lovely little shop isn’t just for the bookworms; you’ll find something for everyone here, from books on cooking and upcycling furniture, to fiction and classic novels. There’s even a selection of book categories that are signed by the author, for a more personal and unique gift. You’re bound to find something appealing, but Spencer Thorn also has an online shop, stocking lovely smelling cosmetics, stationary, and decorative items for the home.
Using only the highest quality Belgian chocolate, this small, family-run business creates an array of chocolatey products that are made right in front of your eyes, as their kitchen is attached to the shop. They have a great assortment of goodies, with handmade truffles and filled chocolates in beautiful boxes, gourmet chocolate ‘slabs’ with various toppings and flavours, and various shapes of chocolatey goodness. There is also a selection of items that can be personalised, such as a completely edible chocolate photograph in a chocolate frame. If you have something in mind or can’t find what you’re looking for, they also have a bespoke service. Just get in touch to see what they can do for you.
Drawing inspiration from the seaside lifestyle and a love of streetwear, Airculture supplies a wide range of items including clothing, footwear, skateboard accessories, art prints and vinyl records. You’ll also find a selection of sweatshirts and t-shirts in Airculture’s own designs, which would make a great gift or souvenir. If you’re on the way to the beach, grab some necessities here, like buckets, spades and the all-important frisbee.
Aptly, the word Bleujen comes from the Cornish word for flower, and whether you’re looking for a decorative floral arrangement, a blooming bouquet, or a plant for the garden, this is definitely the place to go. If you’d like a bouquet, they can put together a bespoke combination of stems based on your preferences, or provide advice if you’re not entirely sure what to choose, and there are hampers available with wine, chocolate and a rose plant for the last-minute gift-giver. They also offer seasonal, hand-tied combinations which will be the highest quality flowers available at the time, and can deliver any orders within a 12 mile radius of Bude, but will go further afield if necessary.
Discover this little boutique, specialising in shoes, with a wide range of collections from stiletto heels and pumps, to flip flops and knee-high boots. They also sell an extensive range of bags, patterned skirts, scarves and accessories, with new ranges arriving all the time.
Family-owned and run, Spencer Thorn Jewellers specialise in contemporary silver jewellery with elements of copper and gold. You will find a beautiful hand-made collection of individually created jewellery, which is all completely unique. They also offer a selection of watches for every taste and budget. If you’d like something a little personal or have something in mind they can also create bespoke jewellery pieces, and have a lovely Cornish themed range including charms and rings.
With a great selection of wetsuits, surfboards, clothes and footwear, Bude SurfCabin is the shop of choice for surfers in Bude. With ladies’, men’s and children’s departments, you’ll find the perfect present for a beach-lover, with a great selection of surfboard accessories like fins, leashes and tail pads too. They also provide wetsuit and board hire to give surfing a go.
Kittiwakes are home furnishing specialists stocking a great supply of items that would make perfect gifts, like scarves, bags, smelly candles, trinkets, tea towels, mugs and clocks. It also stocks beautiful blankets, which would be great to snuggle under on a grey day, with a lovely selection of driftwood products that to bring the magic of the wild coast inside.