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. 9/10.

Once the poor cousin of Cornish beach resorts, Bude has undergone a remarkable transformation. “We’re not Padstow yet, or Watergate Bay,” says Will Daniel, of the Beach boutique hotel, “but we’re getting there.” Of the two beaches, our choice is family-friendly Summerleaze, which has a wonderful sea pool, new beach huts and restaurants ranging from Life’s a Beach to the Beach, where Joe Simmonds’s sea bass gives Rick Stein a run for his money.

In a great spot at the end of a 19th-century crescent overlooking the beach, you’ll find the aptly named 16-room Beach hotel, which must be one of the best in the country for surfers. Will and Susie, 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’. Cider brandy mojitos and passion fruit martinis were introduced, a bright and breezy restaurant serving seafood and steaks installed, and the bedrooms revamped.

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. Lucky then, that this cool and contemporary vibe has rubbed off on the New England style rooms on offer here, where the limed oak furniture, Lloyd Loom chairs and king-size beds all add to the stylish seaside environment – this may be an old Victorian building but the vibe is contemporary, young and unpretentious.

Wander up to the top of Bude’s long Summerleaze Beach and you’ll find a chic boutique hotel with 16 rooms that wouldn’t look out of place by the seaside in New England. The staff are smiley and efficient, and it has a cracking little seafood restaurant: the chef, Joe Simmonds, was trained at the Michelin-starred Bath Priory.