The Beach Blog

Bude in pictures: and interview with Clive Symm of Symages Photography

Clive Symm is a talented Cornish photographer specialising in surf, wedding, commercial, landscape and portrait photography, 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.

Follow Symages Photography on Facebook and Instagram @symagesphotography.

The best coverage of 2017

Our hotel, bar and restaurant received some fantastic coverage and reviews in 2017, with lots of great feedback from some brilliant sources.

Have a read of some of our favourite features, and if you’d like to enjoy a stay or meal with us, give us a call on 01288 389800.

London Unattached

The team at London Unattached nominated their top boutique hotels across the UK, and ours was in the top seven favourites. Kay Woolley stayed with us for one night in October and said ‘Bude is another North Cornish town which is following in the footsteps of Padstow and Wadebridge with refurbished hotels, shops and other facilities making it an ideal base from which to explore the whole area.’

She also particularly enjoyed the food and restaurant, adding that ‘the menu makes good use of the fresh produce available in Cornwall. I chose to drink the Sauvignon Blanc which perfectly complemented the food. Each dish was tasty and beautifully presented, the service was good without being overly attentive.’

Read the whole article here.

The Daily Telegraph

Our hotel was featured in the Daily Telegraph in February of 2017 in a round up of it’s favourite luxury hotels in Cornwall, The Cream of The Crop. Of our hotel, it said: ‘the vibe is contemporary, young and unpretentious, though its a hotel enjoyed by folk of all ages. Rooms are flooded with dazzling north Cornwall light – at least on sunny days – and contain big baths perfect for warming up after a swim or surf.’



We were featured in Prima magazine’s 2017 Holiday Hot List, and our hotel described as a ‘gorgeous boutique bolthole, which overlooks Summerleaze Beach and has 16 beautiful rooms’.

Red Magazine

Our hotel was included in Red magazine’s 20 Of The Best Boutique Beach Hotels In Europe, and we were thrilled to read such a positive review of our hotel and restaurant: ‘soothing bedrooms are decked out in a New England style and many look out to sea. Joe Simmonds heads up the restaurant with dishes like seared king scallops and butter and tarragon poached hake fillet’.

Read the full article here.

Country & Town House

We were featured in Country & Town House’s Great British Hotels, with the comment ‘the hottest of Cornish hotspots, The Beach at Bude is a skilfully updated Victorian house, retaining its original character, but with decoration that feels fresh and modern and looks the epitome of seaside chic. The groovy Beach Bar positively hums at weekends, with its inventive cocktail menu and summer terrace drawing a young crowd.’

Read the full article here.

The Sunday Times

In October we were delighted to be included in The Sunday Times 100 Great British Hotels list with a brilliant write up: “The Beach’s terrace is Cornwall at its most photogenic, packed with beautiful young things in floaty slip dresses and Orlebar Brown leisurewear, accessorised with Ray-Bans and Cornish mules. (That’s a vodka-based cocktail, by the way.) Even this crowd isn’t nearly as cool as the view: it takes in one of the best beaches in Britain, Summerleaze, with a tidal pool and rows of pastel huts.”

Olive Magazine

Our brilliant head chef Joe Simmonds was recognised as one to watch for 2018 by Olive Magazine, contributing to getting Bude to be more widely recognised as a foodie destination and ‘drawing a crowd’ to our AA awarded restaurant.

The Beach in the press

We’ve cropped up in the press several times in the last few months, and we’re incredibly proud of the great reviews and positive feedback we’ve received. 

Here are a few of the latest clippings. If you like what you see, give us a call!

In October we were delighted to be included in The Sunday Times 100 Great British Hotels list. Here’s what they had to say about us:

“The Beach’s terrace is Cornwall at its most photogenic, packed with beautiful young things in floaty slip dresses and Orlebar Brown leisurewear, accessorised with Ray-Bans and Cornish mules. (That’s a vodka-based cocktail, by the way.) Even this crowd isn’t nearly as cool as the view: it takes in one of the best beaches in Britain, Summerleaze, with a tidal pool and rows of pastel huts. The ground floor is dominated by a huge bar with a brushed zinc counter, and there’s an informal bistro overseen by Joe Simmonds (once of the Bath Priory’s Michelin-starred kitchen). The 16 rooms are chic, with dainty prints and limed oak furniture, and all have at least king-size beds.”

In August, we were included in a roundup of the most stunning restaurant views in the country by the Daily Mail.

“Situated right on the coast in North Cornwall, The Beach at Bude is a rightly popular restaurant, bar and hotel with sweeping views across spectacular Summerleaze Beach and the Atlantic.”

Read the full article here.

Cornish journalist Lee Trewhela included us in his Cornish Guardian article looking at the coolest places in Cornwall.

He said:

“[Bude has] this wonderful boutique hotel: a fantastic restaurant with some of the best food in Cornwall, a great bar, chic rooms and that view over Summerleaze Beach.”

Back in the summer, we went State-side. USA Today included the hotel in a roundup of 20 scenic beside hotels in Great Britain.

Smugglers’ Challenge

Having been diagnosed with a brain tumour in early 2017, Bude local Brown Cardoo became aware of the overwhelming number of people that are affected by cancer, so he decided to do something about it. Along with three of his best friends, one of which lost their sister-in-law to cancer this year, the team came up with the idea of the Smugglers’ Challenge, a huge feat that will be the first of its kind in the UK. The challenge will involve the four men hand paddling from Plymouth to Bude in an attempt to raise £20,000 for two great cancer charities: The Force and Cancer Research UK.

For one hour intervals in a ‘tag team’ system, the men will take it in turns to paddle, sleep, keep watch, and plot the route, continuing through day and night and battling whatever weather conditions are thrown at them.

Whilst one is paddling the remaining three will be aboard a small support boat, which will also offer assistance should they run into any trouble. The journey is estimated to take five days of non-stop paddling, departing from Plymouth towards the end of August or beginning of September depending on affecting factors that will need to be measured closer to the time, such as weather conditions, wind speed and tide.

With two of the team being volunteers for Bude’s RNLI lifeboat and each regularly taking part in sea-going activities, the team are well aware of the potential threats and dangers they could encounter at sea, but all are willing to take on the challenge for the great cause.

Experiencing harsh seas, days of broken sleep, and the potential of seasickness, the team are putting themselves through the ultimate test of endurance, both mentally and physically.

We are the main sponsors of the challenge and will be hosting plenty of fundraisers before, during and after the event to help raise as much money as possible for the campaign. Keep your eyes on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds for more information on the events that we’ll be hosting to raise money for the incredible paddle, including a wine tasting dinner on Thursday 7 September.

Useful Links

Cocktail tutorial - how to make a passion martini

Our cocktail menu is brimming with sophisticated blends and delicious tipples that are perfect to sip on in the bar or on the terrace. We thought we’d give you a slice of the action and let you in on learn how to make one of the most popular cocktails on the menu: a passion martini.

Let our bar manager Rudi West take you through the steps to make a passion martini at home.


– 25ml Passoa
– 50ml Absolut vanilla vodka
– 50ml passionfruit purée
– 25ml lime juice
– 12.5ml vanilla syrup
– Prosecco
– Half a passionfruit


Equipment you will need:

– A spirit measure
– Boston cocktail shaker
– Two serving glasses, one coupé for the martini and a shot glass for prosecco
– Strainer



1. Chill your serving glass by filling it with ice and set aside.

2. Place all ingredients apart from the prosecco in the Boston cocktail shaker.

3. Fill the shaker with ice, place the lid on firmly and shake for 10 to 15 seconds.

4. Remove the ice from the serving glass.

5. Separate the Boston shaker, place the strainer on top and pour into the chilled serving glass.

6. Top with the passionfruit half and serve with a shot glass of prosecco.



AA Awards for our hotel and restaurant

We recently had an AA inspection and received some fantastic results that we’re all very proud of, with great success for both the restaurant and hotel.

The hotel was awarded an AA Four Star classification and the restaurant received two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence, which is a fantastic result.

The inspection took place in late March and was judged by an inspector on a three course dinner, an overnight stay with breakfast and a review of two more rooms in the hotel.

The inspector was particularly looking at the six critical assessment areas, which are used by the AA across all inspections; cleanliness, hospitality, service, bedrooms, bathrooms and food. The hotel was awarded 78 out of 100 and therefore achieved four star status.

Inspector Robert Martin said “The Beach Hotel impresses for its many qualities, this was a most enjoyable visit, to a well-managed establishment with a focused team, delivering friendly hospitality and attentive service in a delightful environment.”

He added “The meal taken did impress for ingredient quality and cookery, Two AA Rosette Award achieved and deserved. In terms of cleanliness, compliments to the team, a very positive score, delightfully clean.”

The restaurant has been awarded two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence based on the inspector trying three courses from the menu: mushroom and egg yolk ravioli; lamb striploin with boulangère potatoes; and panna cotta with rhubarb and ginger crumble. This is a real achievement for us, and for our fantastic head chef Joe Simmonds and team.

We are thrilled that the hotel and restaurant has achieved the recognition it deserves, and everyone has worked incredibly hard to get it where it is, so thank you to all our great staff for their hard work, and to the AA inspector Robert for his great review.

The Beach in the press

Our hotel, bar and restaurant cropped up in the press a number of times, and we’re incredibly proud of the great reviews and positive feedback we’ve received.  Scroll down to read where we were featured, and if you like what you see, get in touch to book a stay with us.

In June 2016, Tom Chesshyre from The Times stayed with us and had some great things to say about The Beach:

“Will and Susie Daniel, the owners, took over this (now) lively hotel four years ago and injected an element of fun by creating a cocktail bar with a long, curving zinc-topped bar and retro “aviation chairs” (made of soft leather and metal similar to panels from aircraft). Cider brandy mojitos and passion fruit martinis were introduced, a bright and breezy restaurant serving seafood and steaks installed, and the bedrooms revamped.”

Read the rest of the article here:

Coast Magazine included our hotel in their top 15 Striking Sea-view Stays, commenting:

“This boutique hotel is a sleek addition to a terrace of Georgian houses that overlook the rolling sands of Summerleaze Beach. A few minutes’ walk from the centre of the small town of Bude, the hotel has huge windows and glass doors opening onto a large terrace with comfortable seating – the perfect place to eat, drink and watch waves.”

Read the article here:

Martin Dunford from The Independent stayed with us in May and said: “Ask a local to direct you to the coolest bar in Bude, and most of them will wave you towards The Beach Bar. For here, killer cocktails – or, by day, simply coffee and cake – are as much a part of the lifestyle as the sandy beach in view from its terrace.”

Read the article in full:

Ros Belford at The Telegraph Travel gave our hotel a 9/10 rating, with a highly complimentary review, stating that The Beach is: “An upbeat seaside hotel whose heart and soul is its cool bar, with decked terrace looking out over Bude’s fine sandy beach. Popular with surfers and sea-lovers of all ages, and indeed anyone looking for a relaxed, hip and very sociable place to stay and hang out.”

Read the rest of the review:

In February 2017, our hotel was featured in The Telegraph Travel again, as a ‘cream of the crop’ hotel in Cornwall. They said ‘New England-style rooms with Lloyd Looms chairs and king-size beds with cloudy duck-down duvets. Many have decks or balconies with sea views, although you can always sit on the bar’s terrace, drink in hand. The vibe contemporary, young and unpretentious, thought it’s a hotel enjoyed by folk of all ages. Rooms are flooded with dazzling North Cornwall light – at least on sunny days – and contain big baths perfect for warming up after a swim or surf.’

Cornwall Life included our head chef Joe Simmonds’ recipe for pigeon breast in its Food Heroes feature, commenting: “The Beach at Bude has a menu boasting the best seasonal local ingredients served up with classic cooking techniques.”

Read the full article and get the recipe:

Ellie Michell at Barefoot Cornwall had a glowing review after a stay with us earlier in the year, noting that: “The atmosphere in the bar was just gorgeous, remarkably busy for a cold February night, with good music playing and super friendly staff.”

Read the whole blog post:

In April 2017, The Beach was featured in a roundup of the best British beach hotels in The Times. Journalist Annabelle Thorpe described the hotel as “A seriously stylish hangout…as perfect for walkers as it is for surfers.”

Cocktail Tutorial - how to make an espresso martini

We have recently launched a great new cocktail menu in our bar, which has a great selection of delicious blends, along with some classic favourites too. We thought we’d give you a slice of the cocktail action and let you in on how to make some yourself at home, with an easy-to-follow video tutorial from our talented bar manager Rudi West.

Watch the video of how to make an espresso martini cocktail, then give it a go yourself.


– 50ml Absolut vanilla vodka
– 25ml creme de cacao
– 25ml Kahlua
– 25ml vanilla syrup
– One shot of espresso
– Coffee beans to garnish
– Ice


– Rocks glass
– Boston shaker
– A spirit measure


1. Chill your serving glass by filling it with ice and setting aside.

2.Place all ingredients in the glass half of the Boston cocktail shaker, fill the glass with ice, place the lid of the shaker on firmly and shake.

3.Remove the ice from the serving glass. Separate the Boston shaker, place the strainer on top and pour into the chilled serving glass for a lovely frothy finish.

4.Top with three coffee beans and serve.


Cocktail Tutorial - How to make an amaretto sour

We have recently launched a new cocktail menu, brimming with exotic blends and delicious tipples to sip on in the bar. We thought we’d give you a slice of the action and let you in on how to make some, introducing our King of cocktails, bar manager Rudi West.

Watch the video of how to make the cocktail, then give it a go yourself.


– The white from one egg
– 50ml Disaronno
– 12.5ml sugar syrup
– 25ml lemon juice
– Lemon slices to garnish


– Rocks glass
– Boston shaker
– A spirit measure
– Strainer


1. Place the egg white in the Boston shaker glass, discarding the yolk.

2. Add the disaronno, sugar syrup and lemon juice into the glass, place the lid of the shaker on firmly and shake.

3. Fill two thirds with ice and shake again.

4. Place cubed ice into your serving glass and strain the contents of the Boston shaker into it.

5. Garnish with the lemon wedges and serve.


Mackerel with feta, cucumber, apple and shallot salad recipe

Our Head Chef Joe Simmonds will make a special appearance at Padstow Christmas Festival, to demonstrate his fantastic culinary skills on stage this year, sharing the spotlight with Rick Stein, Nathan Outlaw and Clare Smyth, along with plenty of other talented chefs.


2 mackerel fillets
30g feta cheese
Half an apple
Quarter of a cucumber
2 shallots
100ml white wine vinegar
100ml water
50g caster sugar
50ml cassis
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 teaspoons wasabi paste
1 lime zest and juice
A small amount of cress or pea shoots to serve
Salt and pepper
A splash of cooking oil


Make a pickling liquor by heating the white wine vinegar, water, sugar, and cassis in a saucepan. Bring to the boil. 

Take the pickling liquor off the heat. Slice the shallots into half cm rings and place in the liquor. 

Next, season the mackerel (it’s best to do this five minutes before cooking). Add a splash of oil to a frying pan and place on a low heat to warm up.

Dice the apple neatly and place in a bowl. Squeeze lime juice from half the lime over the apple. Dice the feta and add to the bowl. 

Peel the cucumber and dice (or, if you have a melon baller make 10 balls of cucumber). Add to the bowl and season with salt. 

Place the mackerel skin down in the pan and hold down for ten seconds so it doesn’t curl.

While the mackerel is cooking, add the wasabi paste to the mayonnaise with a squeeze of lime juice.

Go back to the mackerel. In total, this should be cooked for 4-5 minutes on the skin side only, on a medium heat.  

While the mackerel is finishing off, start assembling the ingredients on the plate with a swipe of the wasabi mayonnaise. Dot the apple cucumber and feta around plate, then take the shallot rings out of the liquor and lean a few of them against against the diced salad. 

When the mackerel is 90% cooked, flip over, take off the heat and place on your salad. Garnish with lime zest, a pinch of pepper and cress or pea shoots.