If you're looking for a seaside resort that offers a mix of adventure, relaxation, and stunning scenery, Bude in North Cornwall is definitely worth a visit. This charming town (my hometown in fact!) is a popular holiday destination for families, couples, and solo travellers alike, thanks to its beautiful beaches, rugged coastline, and range of activities on offer.
One of the main draws of Bude is its beaches, and growing up here, I spent many hours during the summer holidays exploring every inch of them.
Whether you're looking to soak up some sun, take a dip in the sea pool or try your hand at surfing, there's a beach to suit everyone. The town's two main beaches, Summerleaze and Crooklets, are particularly popular, with their golden sands and clear waters. But if you're willing to explore a bit further afield, you'll find plenty of hidden coves and secluded stretches of coastline to discover.
But Bude isn't just about the beach. The town also offers a range of other activities, from walking and cycling to fishing and golf. And if you're interested in history and culture, there are plenty of sights to see, including the Bude Castle Heritage Centre and the nearby Tintagel Castle. Whatever your interests, Bude is a fantastic holiday destination that is sure to leave you feeling relaxed, refreshed, and inspired.
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- Explore the Beautiful Beaches
- Visit Bude Castle
- Take a Walk Along the South West Coast Path
- Explore Bude Canal
- Indulge in Local Cuisine
- Enjoy Watersports
- Visit the Bude Artisan Market
- Take a Day Trip to the Tamar Lakes
- Go Golfing at Bude and North Cornwall Golf Club
- Attend a Festival or Event
- Walk across the Breakwater and Visit Compass Point
- Great Places To Visit Within A 30 Minute Drive of Bude
- What to do in Bude when it's raining
- Frequently Asked Questions
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- 💬 Comments
Explore the Beautiful Beaches
Bude is renowned for its picturesque beaches, which attract visitors from near and far.
Summerleaze Beach is the most popular beach in Bude, and for good reason. With its wide expanse of golden sand and crystal-clear waters, it's the perfect place to spend a sunny day.
The beach is also home to Bude Sea Pool, a unique tidal pool that's perfect for safe swimming and paddling. The pool is open all year round and is free to use. Whether you want to take a refreshing dip or simply relax by the poolside, the Bude Sea Pool offers a fantastic way to enjoy the coastal scenery.
Crooklets Beach is a favourite among surfers, thanks to its consistent waves and reliable swells. But even if you're not a surfer, there's plenty to enjoy at this picturesque beach. With its fine sand and stunning views, it's the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. There are also plenty of rock pools to explore, making it a great spot for families with young children.
Crooklets Beach Cafe is a friendly family-run cafe located at the top of Crooklets beach. In addition to its delicious breakfast menu, which is served all day Monday to Friday and from 8 am to 11:30 am at the weekend, the cafe also offers a range of lunch options, including sandwiches, jacket potatoes, and burgers.
Widemouth Bay Beach
Widemouth Bay Beach is a little further afield (2 miles south of the town) than the other two beaches, but it's well worth the trip. With its long stretch of sandy beach and rolling waves, it's a popular spot for surfers and swimmers alike.
Visit Bude Castle
Step back in time by visiting Bude Castle, a historic landmark dating back to the 19th century. Today, it houses the Bude-Stratton Heritage Centre, where you can explore exhibits showcasing the town's fascinating heritage. Learn about Bude's maritime history, its connection to the canal system, and the development of tourism in the area. The castle's beautiful gardens provide a tranquil setting for a leisurely stroll.
Take a Walk Along the South West Coast Path
The South West Coast Path is a must for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Bude offers a great starting point for exploring scenic stretches of the coast path. I recommend walking from Crooklets Beach to Sandymouth, and stopping off for a cream tea at the Rustic Tea Garden at Northcott Mouth.
Explore Bude Canal
Bude Canal is a historic waterway that played a vital role in the town's development. Today, it offers a peaceful and picturesque setting for a leisurely walk. Enjoy the tranquil atmosphere as you stroll along the towpath, pass by charming locks and bridges, and take in the surrounding nature. You can also hire a rowing boat or a paddleboard (from the wharf) to explore the canal at your own pace.
I recommend walking from the wharf up to Helebridge on the towpath (where you'll pass Bude Marshes nature reserve) and back to Bude on the cycle path - this circular route will take you about an hour. You'll want to stop off at The Weir cafe, located at the top of the canal at Helebridge for a bite to eat (the superfood salad is delicious!).
Indulge in Local Cuisine
Bude boasts a vibrant food scene, with a range of restaurants and cafes offering everything from local seafood and small plates to traditional Cornish breakfasts and dreamy Cornish ice cream (head to Scoop for a taste of traditional Cornish ice cream, located on Lansdown road)!
I also recommended The Bank Tapas restaurant for something a bit different and don't forget to check out the 21+ best places to eat in Bude too!
With its prime coastal location, Bude is a paradise for watersports enthusiasts. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced thrill-seeker, you'll find plenty of activities to enjoy. Try your hand at surfing, paddleboarding, kayaking, or even coasteering, a thrilling combination of swimming, climbing, and jumping off cliffs. Bude's beaches and coastline provide the perfect playground for these exhilarating adventures.
You'll find watersports operators located at Summerleaze beach, next to the toilet block!
Visit the Bude Artisan Market
Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture by visiting the Bude Artisan Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays 10 am - 3 pm. Held on the green outside Bude Methodist Church, this bustling market offers a wide array of locally produced goods and crafts.
Take a Day Trip to the Tamar Lakes
Located just a short drive from Bude (and actually in Devon!), Tamar Lakes are a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. These man-made lakes, Upper Tamar Lake and Lower Tamar Lake, provide a nice setting for a variety of recreational activities.
Upper Tamar Lake
Upper Tamar Lake is the larger of the two lakes, covering approximately 81 hectares. Some of the activities you can enjoy at Upper Tamar Lake include;
- Watersports: The lake is ideal for watersports enthusiasts. You can try your hand at sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, or paddleboarding. The calm waters and gentle breezes create the perfect conditions for these activities.
- Fishing: Upper Tamar Lake is renowned for its excellent fishing opportunities. It is home to a variety of fish species, including carp, bream, roach, perch, and pike. Anglers can enjoy a peaceful day by the water's edge, casting their lines and trying to catch their next big fish.
- Walking and Cycling: The lake is surrounded by scenic nature trails, offering ample opportunities for walking and cycling. Explore the beautiful countryside, enjoy the fresh air, and take in the stunning views. There are designated paths and trails suitable for all fitness levels. You could also take part in the Saturday Park Run (9am) around the Upper Lake!
- Wildlife Watching: Upper Tamar Lake is a haven for wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for a wide range of bird species, including herons, kingfishers, and various waterfowl. You may also spot rabbits, foxes, and other small mammals in the surrounding areas.
Lower Tamar Lake
Lower Tamar Lake, located downstream from Upper Tamar Lake, covers approximately 29 hectares. It offers a more tranquil and secluded atmosphere, perfect for those seeking a peaceful retreat. Here are some of the features and activities you can enjoy at Lower Tamar Lake;
- Birdwatching: Lower Tamar Lake is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to its rich birdlife. Birdwatchers can spot a variety of species, including rare and migratory birds. Bring your binoculars and enjoy the serenity of watching birds in their natural habitat.
- Nature Trails: The lake is surrounded by nature trails that meander through woodlands and wetland areas. Take a leisurely stroll and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the surroundings. Keep an eye out for native flora and fauna that thrive in this diverse ecosystem.
- Picnicking: Lower Tamar Lake provides designated picnic areas where you can relax and enjoy the peace and quiet
Upper and Lower Tamar Lakes offer parking facilities and toilets, and there is a popular cafe situated at Upper Tamar Lake serving breakfast until 12 noon and delicious light lunches until 3 pm. Whether you're looking for watersports, fishing, birdwatching, or simply a serene environment to unwind, Tamar Lakes provide a tranquil escape from the bustle of Bude town centre.
Go Golfing at Bude and North Cornwall Golf Club
If you're a golf enthusiast, Bude and North Cornwall Golf Club should be on your itinerary. This scenic golf course overlooks the coastline, providing breathtaking views as you play a round of golf. With its challenging fairways and well-maintained greens, the club offers an enjoyable experience for golfers of all skill levels.
A short drive out of the town centre you'll also find Ivyleaf - a 9-hole golf course and driving range! Perfect for beginners and children!
Attend a Festival or Event
Bude hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, adding excitement and entertainment to your visit. From music festivals like Leopallooza, a short 10-minute drive from Bude, to Bude Food Festival, held in the Castle grounds, there's always something happening in the town.
Walk across the Breakwater and Visit Compass Point
The Breakwater is a prominent feature in Bude's landscape, extending into the sea from Summerleaze Beach. This man-made structure serves as a protective barrier, helping to calm the waters near the beach and create a safer environment for swimmers and water activities.
Compass Point is an eye-catching structure situated on the cliffs above the breakwater. This octagonal tower served both as a navigational aid and a symbol of Bude's maritime heritage. Due to eroding cliffs, a massive operation to move the tower, block by block, has just begun (May 2023).
Great Places To Visit Within A 30 Minute Drive of Bude
- Boscastle: A charming coastal village known for its picturesque harbour, quaint cottages, and the dramatic cliffs of the Valency Valley. Explore the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic or take a scenic walk along the South West Coast Path.
- Tintagel: Home to the legendary Tintagel Castle, associated with the tales of King Arthur. Explore the ruins, enjoy the stunning coastal views, and visit nearby attractions like Merlin's Cave and Tintagel Old Post Office, a National Trust property.
- Crackington Haven: A secluded beach nestled between towering cliffs, perfect for a peaceful day out. Enjoy beachcombing, coastal walks, and take in the breathtaking views from the top of the cliffs.
- Hartland Peninsula: Just across the border in Devon, the Hartland Peninsula offers rugged coastal landscapes, charming villages, and historic sites such as Hartland Abbey and the Hartland Quay.
- The Gildhouse: Located in Poundstock, this historic building houses a fascinating museum dedicated to the history and heritage of the local area. Discover Poundstock Gildhouse's role in the community and learn about its intriguing past.
- Northcott Mouth: A stunning beach with rugged cliffs and rock formations, located just a short drive north of Bude. Explore the beach, discover fascinating geological features, and enjoy the tranquillity of this hidden gem.
What to do in Bude when it's raining
If you encounter rainy weather during your visit to Bude, don't worry! There are still plenty of activities to enjoy. Here are some things you can do in Bude when it's raining:
- Bude Leisure Pool (formally Splash) for swimming and a fun water flume.
- The Venue - for bowling and soft play.
- Rebel Cinema - a traditional independent cinema located a short drive from Bude along the A39.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! Bude Cornwall is a family-friendly destination with a range of activities suitable for all ages. From building sandcastles on the beaches to exploring the local museums and enjoying outdoor adventures, there's something for everyone in Bude.
Yes, Bude is a popular destination for surfing. With its fantastic waves and surf schools catering to all skill levels, it's a great place to catch some waves and enjoy the thrill of this exhilarating water sport.
Bude Cornwall is a year-round destination, with each season offering its own unique charm. Summer (June to August) is popular for beach activities, while spring and autumn provide milder temperatures for outdoor adventures. Even in winter, Bude has its own beauty and tranquillity.
No, admission to Bude Castle and the Bude-Stratton Museum is free of charge. Visitors can explore the exhibits and gardens without any cost.
Yes, Bude is generally a dog-friendly destination. Many of the beaches in the area allow dogs, although there may be some seasonal restrictions on certain beaches. It's always a good idea to check local regulations and signage for specific dog-friendly areas and any leash requirements.
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