The Beach Blog
Day trips from Bude
Bude is full of spectacular sandy beaches and famed for water sports. But did you know that Bude also makes a great base for getting out and about to see some of the things that make the area so special? Here are some ideas for day trips around Bude.
Just half an hour south on the rugged north Cornwall coast sits the ancient birthplace of King Arthur at Tintagel. Tintagel Castle, perched high up on the dramatic coastline, has fired imaginations with its links to King Arthur for centuries, and in 2019 was reunited with the mainland for the first time in more than 500 years when the historic crossing from the mainland to the headland was recreated by a new footbridge.
Explore the island, castle, the remains of the medieval buildings and the beach below at one of Britain’s most historic places. Book tickets online in advance for timed crossings of the new bridge.
Travel 30 minutes north from Bude and you’ll find another historic village at Clovelly. Once owned by the Queen of England, Clovelly has been in private ownership since Elizabethan times. The picturesque fishing village is a perfectly preserved monument to times past, with traffic-free steep cobbled streets winding down to the ancient harbour – the only transport allowed are sledges and donkeys.
Explore the village, visit the restored Victorian walled kitchen garden, eat in one of the two inns, explore the shops, or take a guided tour. Entrance fees apply to all visitors and include parking, a 20-minute film of the history of the village, entrance to the two museums (Kingsley Museum and Fisherman’s Cottage) and to Clovelly Court Gardens.
Slightly further away, the beautiful Lundy Island makes an unforgettable day trip. The tiny island is just three miles long but packed with history including listed buildings, monuments and depending on the season, thousands of seabirds.
Owned by the National Trust, a further 50 years of ownership was secured in 2019 to protect this amazing location which on its rugged and exposed west coast is home to colonies of Puffins and Manx Shearwaters. The relatively protected east coast meanwhile is famed for its spectacular wildflowers in spring.
Access is by ferry from either Ilfracombe or, nearer to Bude at Bideford – ferries run several times a week. Look out for guided walks, rockpool rambles and snorkelling safaris for seeing the wildlife, or visit the Marisco Tavern, a pub which never shuts (although you can’t get a drink all of that time). You might see dolphins, seals breeding in the sea caves or even basking sharks.
For more information on day trips or other activities nearby please contact our reception on 01288 389800, where one of our friendly team would be delighted to advise.
Winter walks in Bude
As autumn turns to winter and the nights start to draw in, it can be very pleasant to get outside and enjoy some daylight and fresh air before hunkering down to enjoy our winter menu in our dining room. Here are some walks you could try.
Poundstock to Penfound – 3.2 miles
An easy country walk, although some stiles may be steep, this circular walk starts at Poundstock church, where you can also park. Follow the lanes through Treskinnick Cross, drop down into the valley at Newmill and then follow the side of the stream to Penfound Manor, said to be the oldest inhabited house in England before taking country lanes back to Poundstock. Time the walk right, and you could catch a film at the Rebel Cinema as you walk past.
Dunsdon to Vealand Farm – 4 miles
Taking around four hours, this is a pleasant walk for those with kids and dogs in tow. Explore the grassland meadows and wander along the waterway before finding the Vealand Farm nature reserve, full of ponds, hedges and meadows.
Kilkhampton to the Coombe Valley – 5 miles
One for the more adventurous walker, this is a relatively strenuous if slightly shorter walk, starting and finishing at Kilkhampton churchyard. The path is along the stream through Kilkhampton Common and then Stowe Woods. It can be slippery when wet but the woods in autumn and winter are full of beautiful colours and can be very uplifting.
Bude Canal – 6 miles
For a peaceful, gentle but moderately long walk, try walking the towpath of Britain’s most westerly canal. Originally created for transporting lime-rich sand to local farms, the canal is now used for canoes and kayaks rather than industrial shipping, although the sea lock does still work. The walk alongside Bude Canal is perfect for those who need wheels, such as prams and wheelchairs and a Tramper all-terrain mobility scooter is available for hire from Whalesborough Farm.
Bude to Sandymouth – 6.2 miles
A moderate coastal walk, this walk can either be done out and back or by taking a slightly different route becomes a circular walk, starting at Bude Tourist Information Centre. The walk passes Bude Castle, Bude Sea Pool, the Surf Lifesaving Club and then takes the south-west coast path, passing Maer and Northcott Mouth (where the wreck of the SS Belem is exposed at low tide) and on to Sandymouth. The return route through Bude passes the infamous ‘Bude Tunnel’, a 230ft plastic tunnel from the road to Sainsbury’s Car Park, that was once voted Bude’s top tourist attraction on Tripadvisor.
Roughtor and Brown Willy – Bodmin Moor
Slightly further afield, but worth it to take in the glorious but exposed Bodmin Moor and the panoramic views of Cornwall from the top in good weather. Start at the Roughtor car park and then head up on to the moor. Expect a sharp climb as Brown Willy and Roughtor are the two highest points in Cornwall. For a shorter walk at 3 miles stop at the summit of Roughtor and then retrace your steps. To make the walk longer, continue on to Brown Willy. Look out for the stone circles and other remnants of ancient Neolithic civilization that are dotted across the moor. Be aware though that sheep, cattle and ponies graze on the open moor and that the weather can come in very fast, so be prepared with adequate clothing and footwear.
Golfing holidays in Bude
Bude, on the north coast of Cornwall, is the ideal UK getaway all year round. Mild weather throughout autumn and winter means emptier beaches and fairways, perfect for those not tied to school term-times to enjoy soaking up some fresh Cornish seaside air.
If you fancy combining practicing your swing with taking in the views of the beautiful north Cornwall coast, you will be spoilt for choice of golf courses when staying here at The Beach at Bude.
Here in Bude, we are lucky to have one of Cornwall’s best-loved and oldest golf courses right in the centre of the town, with Cornwall’s number one rated golf course found just a few miles down the road.
And don’t forget, our very own nineteenth hole here on the terrace makes an ideal end of day spot to watch the sunset, cocktail in hand.
With the wind in your hair, the challenge of a links course and the reward of the dramatic and beautiful coastline in the distance, a golfing holiday is the perfect way to combine relaxation and gentle exercise.
Bude & North Cornwall Golf Club
Bude & North Cornwall Golf Club is a classic seaside links course fitted between town and the coast. Formed in 1891, look out for holes 16 and 17, two long par 4’s stretching well over 400 yards. With no temporary tees or greens and no winter restrictions on buggies or trollies, Bude Golf Club can be played all year round, making it an ideal starting place for a winter golf holiday.
St Enodoc Golf Club
St Enodoc, also founded in 1891, really got going in 1907 when renowned golf course architect James Braid designed the course. Situated in Rock on the Camel Estuary and ranked the best course in Cornwall (11th in the UK), Braid returned in 1936 for an update and the layout has remained similar ever since.
Golfers are spoilt for choice at St Enodoc: the championship Church course, named after the 13th century St Enodoc Church found near to the 10th green, is by far the more challenging and you’ll need to prove your handicap to play. The slightly easier but still demanding Holywell course, named after the holy well found to the left of the 12th, is open to all.
Holesworthy Golf Club
Just over the border into Devon, 7 miles east of Bude is Holesworthy Golf Club. The 80-year-old club is just over 6000 yards long with a par of 70, set in rolling Devon parkland with views of Dartmoor from the 10th tee.
The fair and testing course is playable all year round with a decent mix of long and short holes, catering to golfers of all levels of experience.
For more information on golf and other activities nearby please contact our reception on 01288 389800, where one of our friendly team would be delighted to advise.
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.
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.
Yoga in Bude
The north Cornish coast is the perfect place to unwind and getaway from the daily routine of our busy lives. Here in Bude we are lucky to have numerous beaches to stroll along, feeling the wind rush through our hair with the chance to soak up some Cornish rays. Our terrace is also ideal for chilling out with a cocktail at the end of the day and watching the sun set.
For a deeper sense of calm and relaxation, yoga can be a fantastic way to escape. Whether practiced on the beach out in the fresh air on a warm sunny day, or in one of the nearby yoga centres – you’re never too far from a session when staying here at The Beach at Bude.
Yoga encourages you to listen to your body. Originating around 5,000 years ago in India, there are many health benefits with this style of exercise including building on strength and flexibility, as well as improving breathing and mental health. Other well-known benefits associated with practicing yoga are improving muscle tone and weight loss, reducing stress, and increasing energy levels.
Going hand-in-hand with everything a relaxing beach getaway should be, yoga perfectly complements a stay at The Beach. It can enrich the laid-back seaside lifestyle where action-packed activities such as surfing and kayaking are not for everyone.
There are regular yoga classes just a five minute walk from the hotel at Bude Golf Club, which are run by local instructor Vika Bundy. With a mix of morning and evening classes throughout the week, and opportunities for both beginner and mixed abilities, there is a class for everyone whatever your experience.
The Yoga Studio in Bude, located on King’s Hill Industrial Estate, is another venue with daily classes. Established in 2010 by instructor Rosie Lewis, you’ll be in safe hands with many years of yoga experience to guide you.
For more information on yoga and other activities nearby please contact our reception on 01288 389800, where one of our friendly team would be delighted to advise.
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.
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.
Wildlife in north Cornwall
North Cornwall has much more to offer besides the sandy beaches and rolling waves brimming with wetsuit-clad surf fanatics.
Hidden within its coastal beauty is a wonderful array of wildlife. From sea creatures navigating the open waters between boats, boards and swimmers, to the fascinating organisms found in rock pools and seasonal birds flying inland towards the marshes and moorland.
Bude is fortunate to host all these types of environment, making it the perfect base for wildlife enthusiasts to explore and see a variety of animals in their natural habitat.
Cornwall’s first and largest nature reserve is the Bude marshes, nine hectares of reeds and grassland playing residence to a large variety of birds. You may even be lucky enough to spot an otter. Accessed from the footpath next to Bude canal, it’s a popular attraction for families to catch a glimpse of unique species not seen in many other parts of Cornwall.
Spring sees the chiffchaff and the sedge warbler occupy the marshes, whilst summer welcomes the reed buntings amongst the growth of purple loosestrife, autumn brings the long-legged wood sandpiper, and the snipe and moorhens inhabit during winter.
Heading out to the coastline and into deeper waters, it is not uncommon to spot a basking shark, which are completely harmless despite their appearance, or possibly even a dolphin. Coming back towards the shore, grey seals can be be found laying in sheltered coves and on the rocks.
If you want to get children involved with wildlife from any early age, then one of the best places to start is in the rock pools. Spend hours splashing around with buckets finding a multiple of different seaweeds, jewel anemones, crabs and mussels to identify.
To book your next wildlife getaway take a look at our relaxing rooms and call us on 01288 389800.
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.