Take a stroll into the West Country: Bude, Cornwall
- Recommended for:
- Activity, Beach, Family, Budget, Mid-range
Cornwall is one of the more popular holiday destinations in the UK, available to all and at any type of budget! After visiting Bude for years, here is my opinion on why it is the best place in the UK
If you're looking for a chilled holiday on the beach, an adventurous holiday including surfing, cycling and more, or perhaps a holiday filled with walks around the countryside then look no further than the small town of Bude!
Bude is situated on the north west coastline of Cornwall and is easily accessible by road from the A39 and A3072. It is a bustling town during the summer filled with many tourists looking through the numerous high street shops and food outlets. The first time you visit the town itself, it may seem a little confusing with its one way system and you may find yourself popping in and out of the town to start off with, however it is very easy to grasp.
So, where to stay?
For the past 13 years I have stayed at Wooda Farm Park (Poughill, Bude, Cornwall EX23 9HJ Tel: 01288 352069), in everything: tents, motorhomes and static caravans. The Colwill Family and staff are extremely friendly, courteous and most of all helpful to anyone and everyone. The site is beautifully positioned looking downhill towards the dramatic sea-horizon and is well maintained. Located on a farm, it is great for families, where the adults can relax at the on-site bar/restaurant, children can play in the spacious playground or have tractor rides, families can enjoy a game of pitch and putt, the guys can have a fishing experience or go clay-shooting and the girls can try their hand at archery and more! A few years ago they built a take-away that provides freshly made burgers, pizzas, jacket potatoes and lots more at cheap prices!
If you're looking for a great local fish and chip takeaway then The Mermaid located on Belle Vue Lane is a must (Belle Vue Lane, Bude, Cornwall, EX23 8AT - Tel: 01288354769)! Pleasant staff and good prices means that I have been returning here for over a decade now and have never been disappointed with it.
If you want lovely barbeques and you're coming here on holiday in the summer months, then head over to Bude Meat Supplies (Princes Street, Bude, EX23 8AT Tel: 01288352034) which is easily seen on Princes Street when heading up the town's one way system. A lovely, little local butchers who are very friendly and are able to advise you on the right cuts of meat for your purpose, flavouring to suit your own taste buds (made there and then!) and at a price to suit your wallet!
Great local dishes!
Restaurant wise, if budget is no worry, then Life's a Beach found overlooking Summerleaze Beach has a fine local fish menu whose dishes are second to none (Summerleaze Beach, Bude, EX23 8AT www.lifesabeach.info; Tel: 01288 355222). Its location is perfect for an evening meal, watching the waves pass by and for watching the sun set, followed by a calm walk to the north of the restaurant. Simply stunning! The best pub close to Bude is, in my opinion, Bay View Inn at Widemouth Bay (Bay View Inn, Widemouth Bay, Bude, North Cornwall, EX23 0AW - www.bayviewinn.ndo.co.uk - Tel: 01288 361273), again, serves great local seafood dishes in a warm and friendly environment!
NOTE: Both Life's a Beach and the Bay View Inn get extremely busy in the summer months and it is sensible to make reservations perhaps a few days in advance, to avoid disappointment!
Sun, sea and sand
Bude has some of the nicest tourist beaches in the UK, which are always well maintained. Two beaches are situated right next to the town's highstreet, Summerleaze and Crooklets beaches. Summerleaze Beach, which is accessible by following the road at the bottom of the town’s one way system, following the River Neet is perhaps the town’s most popular beach. It is a large beach at low tide where the River Neet feeds into the sea on its left hand edge and is great for beginner surfers. During the summer months it is watched over by the RNLI Lifeguards and for sea-swimmers, it has its own sea-pool, which is filled up by the incoming tides.
Widemouth Bay (2.7miles South of Bude) is a must for everyone visiting the area. With a length of 1.5 miles it is a great for children to run around, build sandcastles, learn to bodyboard or fly kites. The left hand side of the beach known as Black Rock is also a dog-friendly area.
Everybody's going surfin'!
For those that want to learn surfing, then Zuma Jay Surfboards outlet found in Belle Vue Place in Bude, is the place to go (20 Belle Vue Lane, Bude, Cornwall, EX23 8BR - www.zumajay.co.uk - Tel: 01288 354956). The staff here and, in particular, Nigel, will go out of their way to help you start surfing. They hire out bodyboards, surfboards, wetsuits (for all ages), provide you with the local surf forecast, and will make sure that you get the best out of your holiday. They also have a great range of clothes, sunglasses and footwear if you just want to get the look!
For surfing lessons then former British and European Surf Champion Mike Raven (www.ravensurf.co.uk) or Outdoor Adventure (www.outdooradventure.co.uk/surfschool/index.php) are the forefront in surf-education. They are both very good in ensuring you learn to surf correctly, quickly and safely! It is definitely worth learning through these people, rather than forking out money for the equipment and then not knowing what to do!
Time to take a break - out and about
So if surfing isn’t your thing what else is there to do? Well with such a dramatic coastline, that were once home to many Smugglers Coves, walking along the South West Coast Path is simply staggering and is well worth bringing your camera for! If you’ve got a car then there are several other lovely places to go and visit.
The Tamar Otter Sanctuary is great for everyone of all ages (The Tamar Otter & Wildlife Centre, North Petherwin, Near Launceston, PL15 8GW - www.tamarotters.co.uk/aboutthetamarott.html - Tel: 01566 785646). Children absolutely love this place. There are, of course, the otters which you can see be fed daily, as well as deer fowl, who if you are lucky can be fed by hand (some are very friendly! But obviously you must be careful as they are untamed animals) and, as of this summer, if you look closely, you may be able to spy wallabys along their woodland walk! There is a small shop and food/pasty/Cornish ice cream outlet on site.
Crackington Haven is situated along the coast, south of Bude, and if you want dramatic coastlines, there is no better example! It has a pebble/rock-beach, shops and the Coombe Barton Inn. Another great place to have a reasonably priced meal watching the sunset over the sea!
The Camel Trail is a brilliant cycle trail for all the family. Travelling from Bodmin-Wadebridge-Padstow, you can hire bikes out at any of these towns or bring your own. The Bodmin-Wadebridge section follows an abandoned railway line through green, lush woodland and the Wadebridge-Padstow section follows the estuary out to the sea. Padstow is great to visit. There are so many Cornish fudge shops, if you have a sweet tooth, many Cornish Pasty shops, seafood restaurants (including Rick Stein’s restaurant and fish and chip shop) and has many nice tourist shops.
Boscastle, which made national news in 2004 after the dramatic flood, is great to pick up many quirky souvenir items and great for photo opportunities! A walk out along the cliffs to the harbour wall is rewarded by a lovely view out to sea.
A simple finale!
All in all, Bude and its surrounding towns/countryside has had a major role in my life and I hope that you all may experience and enjoy what a truly lovely place it is.