Cold water swimming

I’ve seen a lot lately about the benefits of wild swimming or cold water swimming outside all year round. “Cold water therapy”, including year-round sea swimming, recently featured in the BBC’s “Easy Ways to Live Well”, with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall taking a dip in the sea. Apparently there are benefits for physical and mental health, particularly dealing with stress.

Here in Cornwall there are people who swim in the sea all year. Even on the coldest day, if I walk on the beach I will usually see surfers, paddle boarders or kayakers in the water. A friend has recently started a weekly dip in the sea with the Bluetits Chill Swimmers group, just down the coast in Newquay.

Bude has its own beautiful Sea Pool on Summerleaze beach where you can try cold water swimming even if the sea is rough. You often see groups of swimmers there all year round. Some wear wetsuits, others just a swimming costume. I love the sea pool and in winter on a calm day it looks very inviting. I haven’t braved it yet though between September and March – maybe this will be the year!

Jumping into the sea pool in Bude
Bude’s Sea Pool
Bude's sea pool on a sunny January day
Bude Sea Pool in the January sunshine
Swimmers in Bude Sea Pool in January 2020
Locals swim in Bude Sea Pool all year round – this was January 2020.

Bude also has an annual Christmas Day swim from Crooklets Beach when lots of people run into the sea – and usually straight out again, screaming. This must be a good way of working up an appetite for that Christmas dinner.

Bude’s Sea Pool is just 10 minutes away from our cottages. Even better, you can always warm up in the hot tub afterwards. Or perhaps curl up in front of a wood burner with a hot chocolate to recover.

Spring is on the way!

We are past the end of January now and Spring is on the way after a very wet and windy winter. The spring flowers and blossom are starting to appear.

Snowdrops, some of the first spring flowers
Snowdrops in the garden
Early blossom on the tree in our entrance
We have had daffodils since 10 January this year and the blossom on the tree at the entrace was in bud before the end of the month too. 

Sunsets and sunrises

January highlights included some spectacular sunrises and we went to Widemouth Bay a few times to watch the sun setting over the Atlantic. Widemouth is just 10 minutes away in the car and the sunsets are spectacular. This is the only positive about shorter days!

Amazing colours in the sky at sunrise
The beautiful colours of a January sunrise
The sun setting over the Atlantic at Widemouth Bay
A January sunset at Widemouth Bay.
Sunset at Widemouth Bay
Widemouth Bay at sunset

The Eden Project

We fitted in a visit to the Eden Project too. We like to go in the winter while the ice rink is open, usually from October to February when it’s not too busy. The ice rink is great fun and afterwards you can warm up exploring the rainforest and the rope bridges in the tropical biome. The tropical flowers were beautiful this year and we saw pineapples and bananas growing. We also enjoyed a visit to the Mediterranean Biome, where we saw citrus trees. A real contrast to the bare branches and Spring flowers outside.

This year we took three teens and an 8 year old and we all enjoyed the afternoon. It is about an hour’s drive from our cottages. We always enjoy ourselves at the Eden Project – well worth a visit. It is not a cheap day out, but tickets are valid for 12 months (if you buy them as a donation) so you can always visit again if you are coming back to Cornwall. Buy online in advance for a cheaper rate. You can take a picnic which you can eat inside or outside, or you can buy food there, ranging from pasties and sandwiches to a full meal. Dogs are welcome, but not in the biomes.

Ice skating at the Eden Project's ice rink
The ice rink at the Eden Project – usually open October to February each year.
A tree orchid in the tropical biome at the Eden Project
An orchid in the tropical biome at the Eden Project
A beautiful pink Torch Ginger flower in the tropical biome at the Eden Project
A Torch Ginger flower in the tropical biome at the Eden Project. The torch ginger plant grows in southeast Asia.
A pineapple growing in the tropical biome at the Eden Project
A pineapple growing in the tropical biome

We have availability for short breaks and longer stays in our cottages until the beginning of April. We open our outdoor pool for the school Easter holidays on 3 April and we have some cottages available if you would like to get away then for a break with friends or family. Check availability here or drop us an email at enquiries@hiltonfarmholidays.co.uk for more information.

Swimming pool…

It’s that time of year, now that Christmas is over, when we start to think optimistically about warmer weather and opening our outdoor swimming pool ready for the summer season.

Our heated outdoor pool and hot tub.
Pool and hot tub

We open our heated outdoor swimming pool for the start of the main school Easter holidays each year, until the end of September. In 2020 our pool will be open from 3 April until 30 September. Fingers crossed for some warm, sunny weather. The hot tub is open all year round.

Bookings for Easter and the summer are going quickly. Please take a look at live availability here, or email us enquiries@hiltonfarmholidays.co.uk. We are 10 minutes from Bude and the beautiful North Cornwall coast. There are lots of beaches to explore, from secluded sandy coves to family-friendly Summerleaze in Bude with the Bude Sea Pool. The local beaches at Widemouth Bay and in Bude are popular with surfers. You can book lessons and hire boards and wetsuits locally.

We are in a rural location on the edge of a village, but just a short drive from the A39, so a great base for exploring the North Cornwall and North Devon coast. Padstow, Clovelly, Port Isaac and Polzeath are all within 30 minutes to an hour away. Further afield, the Eden Project is about an hour’s drive and the Lost Gardens of Heligan slightly further.

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas to all our guests! We hope you have a relaxing time catching up with family or friends over the holidays. If you are thinking of getting away for a break over the Christmas holidays next year, we are now taking bookings for Christmas 2020 and New Year 2020/2021.

Christmas decorations in the Farmhouse
The Farmhouse ready for Christmas

School holidays 2020!

Are you looking for a self-catering cottage in North Cornwall for the school holidays 2020? Our cottages are almost fully booked for May half-term (week from 23 May 2020),with only Pound cottage (sleeps 4) and cottages for 2 available. The summer school holidays 2020 are getting busy too but we still have some availability most weeks. If you are thinking of a break over Easter, our pool will be open from 3 April and we have cottages available throughout the Easter break.

Heated outdoor pool opens for the school Easter holidays 2020 until the end of September.
Our heated outdoor swimming pool (open school Easter holidays until the end of September).

Just a few minutes from the small seaside town of Bude, we are in a quiet rural spot with great views. Bude itself has been voted Best UK coastal resort several times over the last few years. Bude is small and unspoilt, with independent shops and restaurants. There are two beaches, a semi-natural sea pool and some great walks along the coastal path. If you want to explore further afield, we are near to the A39 which gives easy access to North Devon and North Cornwall. Visit Clovelly, Boscastle and Tintagel which are all within 30 minutes. Or try the Eden Project and Lanhydrock.

Spring flowers along the coastal path, overlooking Northcott Mouth.
Spring flowers

If you are feeling adventurous there are lots of watersports available locally. Try coasteering or book a surfing lesson from one of the local beaches. You can try paddle boarding on the canal or the sea pool to get your balance before you have a go on the sea. Kayaking is available along the canal to see the wildlife, or on nearby Tamar Lakes. Or maybe just go for a walk along the coastal path and take in the scenery.

September 2019 late availability

We have a few last minute deals for September 2019 late availability bookings. For a full list check out our special offers.

Explore North Cornwall and the area around Bude in September, after the summer rush. Hopefully we will get some sunshine! Our heated outdoor pool is open until the end of the month.

Visit the beautiful local beaches and walk the coastal path. Try watersports on the sea, the canal or nearby Tamar Lakes. Go for a swim in Bude’s Sea Pool. Bude itself is a small seaside town, with independent shops and cafes and two beaches. We are ideally located for exploring the North Cornwall and North Devon coastline with Boscastle, Tintagel and Clovelly all within an easy drive. Further afield, the Eden Project, Lanhydrock, and the Lost Gardens of Heligan are all around an hour away.

Our heated outdoor pool and hot tub.
Pool and hot tub

September 2019 late availability: 10% off any week in a cottage sleeping 4 or more until 30 September. 

Farmhouse: 31 August to 6 September (6 nights), £1250, usually £1550. Our spacious Cornish Farmhouse sleeps 11 or 12 in 5 bedrooms. Ideal for families or friends to get together.

Parsons: 31 August to 6 September (6 nights), £700 (usually £780). A comfortable, modern cottage with a private hot tub. Parsons sleeps 7 in 4 bedrooms.

Swallow’s Nest: 31 August to 6 7 September (1 week). £540 (usually £600). Swallow’s Nest is a cosy barn conversion sleeping 4.



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.

Cream teas…

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.

Northcott Mouth

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.

Widemouth Bay

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.

Cottage for two

Special offers August 2019:

LAST WEEK AVAILABLE Stable cottage, 17 August – NOW £450 for the week.

Are you looking for a cottage for two in Cornwall? We have three cottages sleeping two on our peaceful rural site near Bude. They are set away from the pool and play area, overlooking the countryside across to the coast. Our cottages for couples are cosy and fully-equipped with everything you need for a self-catering break. They each have a double bedroom, shower room and small open plan living space with kitchen area. Each cottage has outside seating. Dogs are welcome, usually a maximum of two in Pear Tree and Stable and one in the Nook. Find out more on our cottage page.

We have a heated outdoor pool (open Easter-end September), hot tub and tennis court on site. Our cottages are a short drive from Bude and Widemouth Bay. Just a few minustes from the A39, Hilton is an ideal location for exploring the North Cornish coast and North Devon.

Summer 2019

We are getting booked up for Summer 2019, especially the school holidays but we do have some availability earlier in July and in our cottages for two. Enjoy our outdoor pool (open from Easter till the end of September). Explore the small seaside town of Bude and nearby beaches.

Summer 2019 school holidays

Our family cottages are almost fully booked for the main Summer 2019 school holidays. We now have just omne week in Swallow’s Nest available.

Swallow’s Nest cottage – a barn conversion with lots of character, sleeping 4. Available the week of 24 August, £900.

July 2019

If you are lucky enough not to be restricted to the main English school holidays, we do have some availability earlier in July. Come and explore the local beaches before they get busy!

Spring flowers

13 July – last week available in our Cornish Farmhouse. Sleeps up to 11 in 5 bedrooms. The Farmhouse is great for a family holiday or a group of friends, with lots of living space and a private garden. NOW £1950.

29 June-13 July – we have availability in Parsons cottage. Parsons is a spacious, modern cottage with an open plan living space and private garden with hot tub. Parsons sleeps 7 . Popular with families and groups of friends.

29 June- 13 July – last weeks available in Pound cottage. Pound is really popular with families with young children as it is all on one level. Couples who want a bit of extra space also book Pound cottage.

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 Beach in summer

The beautiful Bude Sea Pool at Summerleaze Beach.

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).

Barrel rock in stormy seas.

Summerleaze has a half tide cross – when the sea reaches the cross bar the tide is half way.

The half way cross on Summerleaze Beach.

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.

Bude canal from the sea lock.

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.