Things to do in Bude
A great family-friendly seaside town with something for everyone, it’s no surprise Bude was voted the Best UK Coastal Resort at the British Travel Awards in 2015 and 2016! Whether you’d like a long cliff coastal walk, relaxing day at the beach or a round of crazy golf, you’ll find it here in Bude.
Visit the Bude Heritage Centre, it’s based in the impressive canalside castle and explores Bude’s wonderful natural history and world famous geology. If you want to learn even more about the local geology and history, book a two hour guided walk with Dr Roger Higgs via Geoclastica. Art fans should also check out the Willoughby Gallery which hosts a range of temporary exhibitions.
Raining? Not a problem. For a day that’s sure to bring smiles no matter what the weather is doing, head to Bude Haven Recreation Park where you can enjoy crazy golf, pitch and putt and table tennis among others fun games.
Wildlife and walking
There is a great range of beaches in Bude and the surrounding areas. Summerleaze is a popular option, but the huge amount of sand at low tide means it rarely feels crowded. If you’re looking for something a little more rugged head to Breakwater Beach instead. It’s much more at the mercy of the Atlantic swell and there’s no lifeguard duty here, so care should be taken.
For something totally different, head to Bude Sea Pool. It’s a semi-natural tidal pool that’s been offering safe bathing for users since the 1930s! It’s free to access, though donations are greatly received as it costs £30,000 a year to keep the pool open and safe.
After a dose of nostalgia? Hire a pretty pastel painted beach hut for the day at Summerleaze Beach. You can arrange this through the Tourist Information Centre. If you fancy more exploring, why not hire a rowing board or pedalo and check out Bude Canal from the water.
Walkers will love the coast path around here; the cliffs are among the highest in Cornwall and afford wonderful views. Being Cornwall’s most northern town means you could feasibly walk into and explore Devon too if you’d like.
There is a great range of wildlife to be seen in Bude. Over the years otters have been spotted in the canal and River Neet, seals and basking sharks in the sea and oystercatchers in the sky (and mud). Bring your binoculars!
Food and drinking
Foodies will feel right at home in Bude. The port means there is always plenty of fresh fish available and there is a great range of eateries to suit everyone, from pubs to cafes, teashops to bistros. For a grown-up meal out, head to The Beach at Bude. Last time I visited I had the pesto pasta with wild garlic which was as delicious as it sounds.
For tapas done right, head to The Bank. Traditional Spanish tapas is given a Cornish twist – think local mussels in spicy tomato sauce, falafel croquettes and sautéed chorizo and Cornish cheese. In the mood for something more traditional? Head to Rosie’s Kitchen, a family run beachside cafe with ice-cream to die for.
There is a great mix of independent shops in the town, so if you need to stock up on holiday souvenirs you won’t go home empty-handed. It’s also a great spot for scooping up some vintage fashion, art and collectibles. The Wharf is a great place to head if you’re after all things quirky and cool. There’s a regular farmers' market, award-winning florists and a range of arts and crafts studios. On the main high street you’ll spot a couple of big names, but it is still dominated with lively local shops.
If you’d like to try a spot of surfing, head three miles south of Bude to Widemouth Bay. There are viewing areas at either side for those who would prefer to drive up and enjoy the view without getting sandy.
For village life, head to Crackington Haven. It’s a small coastal village located in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The gently sloping, enclosed bay is great for families.