It was 1 December yesterday so to get into the Christmas spirit, we visited Cotehele, a National Trust house and estate near Saltash. Cotehele is worth a visit at any time of year. The house closes for the winter but the grounds are great for a walk. You can take your dog with you in most of the estate (not the formal gardens or the house). The Cotehele Christmas garland is on display now until 5 January (except for Christmas Day and Boxing Day). The garland is made of thousands of flowers which are grown and then dried on the estate every year.
We also enjoyed a walk down to the Quay with our dog, and then we had a wander around the formal gardens. Even in December the gardens are well worth a visit.
Cotehele is about an hour’s drive from our holiday cottages near Bude. We are fully booked for New Year 2019/20 but we do have some availability for Christmas in our smaller cottages. We are now taking bookings for 2020!
There are lots of things to do at this time of year. We love ice skating at the Eden Project, then warming up in the tropical biome. We enjoy walking on the beaches at this time of year – no mud and lots of space! If the weather is rubbish why not warm up in our hot tub, or curl up by a wood burner (Manor, Parsons and the Farmhouse) with a book.
Summer holidays in Bude
Well, the summer holidays in Bude 2019 are almost over and the children will soon be back at school. For those who are lucky enough not to be restricted to the school holidays, September is a good month to visit Cornwall. The beaches – and those narrow country lanes – will be quieter. Hopefully we will still get some sunshine and good weather. For September offers please take a look at our late availability page.
We are now taking bookings for Summer 2020. Our cottages are just 10 minutes from Bude and a choice of beaches. We have a heated outdoor pool (Easter holidays-end September) and hot tub on site, as well as a children’s play area and games room. For those wanting a bit more luxury, Parsons cottage (sleeps 7) now has a private hot tub in the garden.
Bude is a small seaside town on the North Cornish coast, a great spot for a holiday. It is relatively quiet and unspoilt. Even in July and August you can get away from the crowds and find a quiet beach. We are in a peaceful rural location on the edge of a village, but we are just a short drive from Bude and the coast. Access to the A39 is easy so this a good base for exploring North Devon as well as North Cornwall.
Families with small children will enjoy the sandy beaches. There are plenty of rock pools to explore and safe paddling in the sea pool. Bude also has a big indoor pool. There is also a soft play centre with bowling in case the weather is not so good.
If you enjoy watersports there is a lot of choice within the area. Kayaking, canoeing and stand up paddle boarding are available on the canal, the sea pool and nearby Tamar Lakes as well as the sea. There are some good spots for surfing and body boarding along the coast, with Widemouth Bay just a few minutes away.
Local beaches: Crackington Haven
About 20 minutes down the coast is another of our favourite local beaches: Crackington Haven. Crackington Haven is a beautiful cove with some spectacular scenery around it. Walk along the coastal path in either direction to take in the views. Beware the hills though – they are vicious! You can walk to Cam Beak, the point at the south of the cove, a longer walk with lots of steep climbs and drops. The climb to the north of the beach is also steep but easier and you can stop at a bench to take in the view.
The beach itself has stones at the top, with sand revealed further down as the tide goes out. It is great for a swim if it is calm, or body boarding, but be careful with the rocks towards the top of the beach. The beach is also popular with surfers and kayakers and you will see stand up paddle boarding too. There is lifeguard cover in the summer. No dogs are allowed from Easter till the end of September.
Crackington Haven is popular with children; the sandy beach and the rock pools are great for playing. There are also some tennis courts in a great spot, overlooking the sea. Find the Crackington Haven tennis club on facebook for more details.
There is a pub in a great spot, the Coombe Barton Inn and two cafes, including one of our favourites, the Cabin. The Cabin does evening BBQs in the summer and sells good sandwiches, cakes and ice cream, as does the cafe on the other side of the car park, the Haven. There is a small car park by the beach and another one as you are coming into Crackington Haven down the road from Wainhouse Corner.
Take a look in our blog posts under local area for information on other local beaches.
Where to eat in Bude 2019
Bude’s restaurants and cafes are always changing so here are some suggestions of places to eat in Bude and nearby in 2019. Please book in advance, especially in the school holidays.
Places to eat in Marhamchurch
Regular visitors will know the village pub in Marhamchurch, the Bullers Arms. This is about a 10 minute walk but there aren’t any street lights, so please remember a torch if you are planning a walk back along the lane. Find the pub on Facebook or call 01288 361277. The pub serves food but please check before planning to eat there as kitchen opening hours vary. If you would like a coffee or snack, the new village shop next to the village hall sells good coffee, tea, soft drinks, snacks and hot pasties.
Just outside the village by the canal the Weir is a modern child-friendly cafe and bistro, open daily 9am-4.30, with a children’s play area. The Weir also opens in early evenings Thursday-Sunday for a BBQ menu. You can walk over the fields to Widemouth Bay from here, or into Bude along the canal.
Restaurants in Bude
Life’s a Beach is a long-established restaurant overlooking Summerleaze beach. The owners have refurbished it over the winter. Fortunately some of our old favourites are still on the menu, although it no longer has a separate restaurant menu in the evenings. Open for breakfast until 8pm or 9pm (varies daily). New bar open till 9pm daily. Good range of food and the fish, burgers, curries, salads are recommended. Children’s menu. Take-aways available to eat on the beach.
The Beach Hotel is boutique hotel overlooking Summerleaze beach with a cocktail bar and more upmarket restaurant. Good food, portions not huge. Fixed price lunch menu. Open for lunch and in the evenings every day. Cocktail bar with a good choice of drinks open daily until 11pm.
Sazerac cocktail bar and restaurant in the Atlantic Hotel, overlooking Summerleaze beach. Relaxed bar food menu at lunchtime, restuarant menu in the evenings. Open Tuesday-Saturday.
Temple is a small, innovative cafe and restaurant open for brunch and lunch every day except Monday and evenings Thursday-Saturday. Locally-sourced interesting food, beautifully presented. Good coffee too. Located on Granville Terrace at the bottom of town, along from the TSB.
The Deck is another relaxed restaurant on Summerleaze Crescent, in the Edgcumbe Hotel. Skewers, burgers, ribs, steak, fish. Children’s menu.
La Bocca is a small traditional Italian pizzeria in Bude. They will also do take away and deliver to Hilton Farm Holidays. Owned by the family that run the modern Italian style restaurant at Elements at Widemouth Bay.
Cafes in Bude
There are plenty of cafes in Bude if you are looking for somewhere to get a coffee, a light lunch or maybe a cream tea.
Try Cafe Bellini’s in the town centre for delicious sandwiches and ice cream. Find Cafe Bellini’s on Facebook. A good deli as well with a selection of local products.
The Barge is a cafe on a boat moored along the canal where you can get lunches, good coffee and cake.
We also like Get your Veg On which is a popular vegetarian cafe operating out of a caravan by the Tourist Information Centre. Recommended as one of the best vegan restaurants in a Guardian survey in 2018. Find them on Facebook as opening hours can be affected by the weather and they sometimes cater at local events instead. There are tables next to the canal where you can sit. Really good vegetarian and vegan wraps, toasties, nachos and other food freshly made with local ingredients.
If you are heading for Northcott Mouth beach or enjoying a walk across the downs from Bude towards Northcott stop off for a cream tea at Margaret’s Rustic Tea Garden, just inland from the beach. You will spot the tea pot sign as you walk down the coastal path. The cream teas are highly recommended but Margaret also serves hot pasties and freshly made sandwiches. Find the Rustic Tea Garden on facebook or Trip Advisor. Open Easter-September-ish.
If you have been to Widemouth Bay and feel like getting breakfast, lunch or coffee and cake afterwards we recommend the cafe and shop at Cornish Coasts campsite on the A39. Opening hours vary. If you would like an ice cream at Widemouth in the summer the ice creams at the Beach House hotel snack bar on the beach are the best, and the queue is usually shorter. Head north away from the car park. The cafe in the Widemouth car park is open all year round.
Bude’s beaches: Summerleaze beach
We are spoilt for choice with beaches around Bude. There are plenty of beaches within a short drive. This is the first of a few posts with tips on Bude’s beaches to help our guests choose which ones to visit. First up, Summerleaze Beach in Bude town.
Summerleaze is one of our favourites all year round. It is a big sandy beach, great for kids and surfers. It is dog -friendly all year round (although dogs must be on a lead in the summer, check the notices for details). Summerleaze is good for sandcastles, maybe not so good for rockpooling as nearby Crooklets. If you walk along towards Crooklets at low tide, you will come to a rocky section which is good for exploring.
Summerleaze is home to the Bude Sea Pool, great for serious swimmers and children who want a safer swim than the sea.
Facilities on Summerleaze beach
Summerleaze has better facilities than some of the more remote beaches. There is a big car park and toilets and showers by the RNLI station. It is a short walk to the beach so access for pushchairs is possible. Beach wheelchairs are available to hire from the Beach Office in the summer (call 01288 352226). There are toilets and showers by the RNLI station. Life’s a Beach (up the steps) sells food to take away or eat in and ice creams. Lifeguard cover for the beach and sea pool is provided by the RNLI over the Easter holidays and May-September. Check the board at the entrance to the beach for lifeguard cover hours and any warnings.
Summerleaze is popular with surfers and body boarders and a few surf schools operate from the car park.
Summerleaze beach landmarks
As well as the Sea Pool there are a few landmarks to look out for. You will see Barrel Rock at the end of the Breakwater just over river from Summerleaze. Barrel Rock has become a Bude landmark. Named after the beacon at the end of the rock, there is also a micropub called the Barrel on Lansdown Road (check the website as opening hours are limited).
Summerleaze has a half tide cross – when the sea reaches the cross bar the tide is half way.
Just next to the beach you will see the end of the Bude canal and the sea lock, one of only two working sea locks in Britain. You can cross over the lock to pick up the path along to the Breakwater. The canal itself was originally built to take sand inland. You can walk along the canal back to Marhamchurch. See our blog entry for details on the walk (scroll down to Bude Canal Walk.
What you might not like about Summerleaze
If you are looking for a quieter beach, Summerleaze is popular with families so it does get very busy in high season. There may well be queues for the car park in school holidays. Summerleaze is dog-friendly so if you would prefer a beach with no dogs, try Crooklets, just along the bay.
Now that we are quieter over the winter months I am making the most of my dog walks around beautiful Bude, especially when it is not raining! We are very lucky to live here, in such a lovely part of the country. We often head for the beach which is glorious on a clear, sunny day at this time of year. There are still a few hardy surfers in the water on a good day and keen swimmers in Bude’s Sea Pool.
One of Bude’s landmarks, Barrel Rock, at the end of the breakwater.
The waterfalls at Sandymouth beach are always worth a visit, especially after a rainy spell.
I’ve also been trying to find some good spots to take in Autumn colours this year – too often the leaves get blown off the trees in a gale. The new footpath/Segway route/cycle path between Whalesborough, just down through the village, and Widemouth is a great place for a walk, as is the Bude canal tow path.
Bude canal – walk into Bude along the canal. Use the car park at Helebridge for a shorter walk.
Bude canal – walk into Bude along the canal. Use the car park at Helebridge for a shorter walk.
Rustling through the Autumn leaves on the footpath between Whalesborough and Widemouth.
Autumn colours on the footpath near Widemouth.
The sunsets at this time of year are also spectacular. A guest recently took a photo of the sunset reflected in the pond in our field (open to guests when the cows aren’t around).
A November sunset reflected in the pond.
Autumn breaks in Bude
Autumn breaks in Bude
It’s hard to believe it’s the last week of the school holidays and I’m thinking about Autumn. We had such a lovely warm spell in July and August; some beautiful sunny days on the beach. Today it’s raining and windy, a reminder of the other kind of Cornish weather! However, our guests are enjoying our pool which is open until the end of September. The water is always warm.
Living here has definitely made me more aware of the seasons and now the nights have started to draw in I am missing warm(ish) summer evenings. Autumn around Bude can be lovely though so I am reminding myself of some of the good things!
Walks on beaches and the coastal path. If you are lucky enough to be able to visit Cornwall outside the school holidays you’ll find empty beaches. Walk from Bude to Sandymouth at low tide and find the remains of a shipwreck just north of Northcott Mouth.
Pieces of the wreck of the SS Belem which ran aground in 2018
On a sunny day take in the views from the coastal path. One of my favourite stretches is the section between Northcott Mouth and Bude, which has some amazing views over the beach, but is not too hilly!
View over Strangles beach
Sunsets. We get some beautiful sunsets over the coast all year round, but in the Autumn and Winter they are really stunning.
A sunset at Widemouth.
Blackberries are everywhere at the moment, a bit earlier than usual, but I think they’ll be around for a few weeks. I’m looking forward to crumble, or maybe cakes with some of our eggs.
Blackberries and eggs from our hens.
The Budelicious food festival. This is a new event on 22nd and 23rd September, based around the Falcon Hotel in Bude. It includes demonstrations and an Artisan Producer’s Hall, where you can buy some great local produce. There will be a Foodie Fortnight from 15th-29th September, with lots of Bude’s great cafes and restaurants taking part.
Finally, sometimes it’s nice to chill with a book, maybe curled up by a woodburner. Three of our larger cottages have woodburners. Or perhaps take a dip in our hot tub, which is open all year.
Spring breaks in Cornwall
Are you looking for Spring breaks in Cornwall with family or friends? We offer short breaks up until the end of June (except for Easter and May half term). Our lovely Farmhouse sleeps up to 11 in 5 bedrooms. It is available for Spring breaks over weekends in March and April (from £650 for 2 nights). We just have one weekend left in May (19th May, minimum 3 nights £880) and one in June (9th June, minimum 3 nights £880). Even better our heated outdoor pool opens at the end of March for the Easter holidays!
We have had some lovely feedback from guests who stayed in the Farmhouse for February half-term. They also booked some outside catering from local chef Nicky Vereker, who delivers freshly prepared food to your cottage. Nicky’s food is really tasty.
“Just a quick note to thank you very much for our stay. The house was wonderful, a really good size for us all. The kids loved the games room and the hot tub. What great facilities you have there. I only wish I’d found time to have a quick knock about on the tennis court but it was either the weather or we were exhausted from our walks. Maybe next time. Thanks also for the recommendation with Nicky, her food was really good and it was a lovely way to end our last night.”
Try a walk on the South West Coastal Path
The Times featured a walk along one of my favourite sections of the South West Coastal Path (The Times, 20/1/2018 by Christopher Somerville, or find the walk on Christopher Somerville’s website). This particular walk starts at Northcott Mouth, just north of Bude and follows the South West Coastal Path above Sandymouth to Duckpool. It then heads inland to Coombe Valley and back to Northcott Mouth though woods and the countryside. Northcott Mouth is a short drive from our cottages (about 15 minutes).
The views of the coast are spectacular along here.
The wreck of the SS Belem can be seen just north of Northcott Mouth at low tide.
In the Spring you get lots of flowers which are beautiful.
Walking down to Northcott Mouth on a sunny day.
Even on a grey and murky day in the Autumn it is still worth walking along here. The craggy cliffs, waterfalls, the long run of sand and sheer drops to the sea are always stunning. There are some steep climbs on this stretch of the path and a long flight of steps up from Northcott. For an easier walk try walking from Crooklets in Bude to Northcott. This is an easier stretch of the South West Coastal Path. Time it right and walk one way along the South West Coastal Path and the other way along the beach, which is only possible at low tide. Check tide times online at Magic Seaweed.
Nortcott in the winter
One of the waterfalls at Sandymouth.
Stop for lunch….
The Times recommended the Preston Gate pub in Poughill for lunch. Definitely worth a visit, or try Margaret’s Rustic Tea Garden at Northcott Mouth in the summer or one of the many cafes or pubs in nearby Bude.
Margaret’s Rustic Tea Garden, Northcott Mouth.
February half term
Are you looking for a short break over February half term 2018? We have availability in our family cottages sleeping from 4 to 7 starting any day from Monday 12 February (minimum booking 3 nights). Our cottages are on a small peaceful rural site close to the North Cornwall coast. We are only 10 minutes drive from the coastal town of Bude and from Widemouth Bay, a popular surfing beach. Walk on the canal path, explore the rock pools, take in the sea views from the South West Coastal path and enjoy a cream tea or a hot chocolate in one of Bude’s many small cafes before heading back to relax in the hot tub. We have a play area, games room, tennis court and hot tub on site.
Bude canal, ending by Summerleaze beach. Walk along the tow path from Marhamchurch to Bude.
Walk from Bude along the beach at low tide to Northcott Mouth and hunt for the pieces of the wreck of the SS Belem which ran aground in 1918
Further afield you can explore the Eden Project and maybe try skating on their winter ice-rink before warming up in the tropical biome. Or try the indoor and outdoor activities at the Milky Way Adventure Park.