Just a short drive from the Devon border the coastal town of Bude in North Cornwall is the ideal destination for a traditional seaside getaway. With a beautiful sandy beach, dozens of tasty eateries and numerous nearby attractions, the area offers something for everyone. Check out our list of the best things to do in Bude below, and start planning your next beach break today.
Visit the beach
With so many fantastic beaches, bays and coves available throughout Cornwall, the competition is very stiff, but with its dramatic coastline, soft golden sands and sparkling clear waters, Bude is a strong contender. There are numerous beaches to choose from, so whether you’re looking for a sandy beach with stunning scenery like Sandymouth, or a beach with plenty of activities and water sports like Summerleaze, you'll have plenty of options in Bude.
Best time to visit: Come summer the beach is full of tourists and locals topping up their tans and working on their surfing skills, but don’t forget you can visit the beach at any time of year. For a more relaxing beach experience we suggest visiting in the off season. Not only will there be fewer people around but with rules on dogs being more relaxed at this time of year you’ll be able to take your four legged friend along too.
Prices: The beaches in Bude are free but there may be a small charge for car parking.
Opening times: Open all year round, seven days a week.
Explore Bude Castle
Once the home of Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, the inventor of the steam carriage, Bude Castle now acts as a heritage centre with exhibition galleries. Visitors to the castle can explore the grounds, play games on the lawn and picnic on the benches provided before venturing inside to explore the many exhibitions and visit the shop and cafe. The venue also holds special events throughout the year including evenings of live music, open-air theatre and much more besides - visit the website below for more details.
Best time to visit: Bude Castle is the perfect rainy day activity; with numerous exhibitions to visit and a lovely cafe to relax in, you could easily spend the whole day there. When visiting the café we would highly recommend tasting the locally roasted coffee and trying the locally made cakes at a table by the window. This way, you can make the most of the impressive coastal views.
Prices: There is no charge for visiting the Castle but donations are always welcome.
Opening times: Seven days a week from 10am until 4pm.
Want more ideas of what to do in North Cornwall? Try out this guide to food and drink events in North Cornwall.
Learn to surf
With great waves and gorgeous scenery, Bude is one of the best places to surf in Cornwall. The beautiful coastline and epic waves around Bude’s wild beaches are ideal for the more experienced surfer, whereas the safe and accessible beaches create the perfect environment for beginners. If you’re looking to try out the sport for the first time, then we would suggest lessons from the highly-experienced professional instructors at Bude Surf Experience. Offering lessons on Summerleaze beach, the Bude Surf Experience provides a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for individuals and groups looking to hit the waves for the first time.
Best time to visit: August is the most popular time for surfing in Cornwall: the water is at its warmest, the weather is good and there are lifeguards on hand. Surf conditions can vary, so be sure to keep an eye on the surf reports so you can make the most of your time in the water.
Prices: Lessons start from £35 per person for a 2.5 hour lesson with six people.
Opening times: Lessons are run every day, all year round.
Why not also try our guide to top beaches for watersports in Cornwall?
Dine at Bellinis Italian Café
Bude has an array of wonderful eateries to choose from so whether you’re looking for a traditional Cornish cream tea or a romantic meal for two, you’re sure to be spoilt for choice. If you’re after an extra special dining experience, then Bellinis Italian Café comes highly recommended by TripAdvisor as the number one restaurant in Bude. This cosy establishment offers guests a tasty menu filled with locally-sourced Cornish ingredients including meats, pastries, cheeses and other dairy products.
Best time to visit: With a range of delicious lunch time meals and tasty hot dinks available, we can think of nothing better than a late autumn visit to Bellinis. Avoid the summer crowds and take your time as you indulge yourself with a rich hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and marshmallows while digging into a Pizza Pollo with all the trimmings.
Prices: Prices start from as little as £4.95, see website for full menu.
Opening times: Open all year from 9:30am Monday to Saturday for breakfast and lunch and from 6:30pm during the summer for evening meals.
Take a dip in the Bude Sea Pool
Sheltered by the cliffs along the north Cornwall coast, the Bude Sea Pool provides families with a safe alternative to swimming in the open ocean. The Sea Pool attracts thousands of visitors each year with its captivating sea views, relaxed atmosphere and fresh sea waters. The pool is 91m long and 45m wide so there is plenty of room to splash about and enjoy the salty sea air. For those looking to try something new, why not take a safe swimming lesson in the pool? Held every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from July 12th until August 19th, these free lessons are great entertainment for children aged seven to 14.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Bude Sea Pool is during the summer when the water is warmer. The pool is at its best during low tide and that it shouldn’t be used after the tide has come in and is breaking over the sea wall.
Prices: There is no charge for using the Bude Sea Pool but donations are always welcome.
Opening times: Open all year, seven days a week.
Now that you’ve seen just what Bude has to offer, why not treat yourself to a visit and book a cottage in North Cornwall today. With hundreds of cottages to choose from, we’re sure to have something that suits your style and budget.