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Bude Further Information

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About Bude

Bude could be described as a traditional seaside resort. This is by far the largest resort covering the North East of Cornwall. It has 3 miles of sandy beaches with scattered rock pools and wide open to the Atlantic swell. It has excellent facilities for those who just wish to relax on a beach, or for surfers or walkers. The area boast some of the highest cliffs found anywhere in Cornwall. Bude was first recognised as a tourist resort in Victorian times, and after the completion of the rail link in the 1880's holidaymakers flocked to the area in great numbers in the fresh air and smell of the sea.

Since the 1950's Bude was recognized as being a premier surfing centre and during the summer months with a gentle breeze coming off the Atlantic and the possibility of seeing dolphins playing in the bay, there can be few better places in Cornwall.
With the coming of the Bude to Launceston Canal in the 1820's Bude was a busy North Cornwall port. The canal ran for a length of 35 miles rising to a height of 350 feet in just 6 miles. The coming of the railway instigated the demise of the canal in 1891. Today, the canal is used for fishing, boating and walking.

The 'Bude Canal Trail' follows the canal into the heart of Cornwall. The first two miles are still water. Close to the canal entrance stands Bude Castle, a small fortification overlooking Summerleaze Beach. A comprehensive history of the town and canal can be seen in the Bude-Stratton Museum which is located near the canal sea lock.

The town of Bude is quite compact with numerous specialty shops, high street names, surfing and cloths shops together with numerous cafes/restaurant/tea rooms. During high summer it is a hive of activity but all very civilised. It never appears to have the hustle and bustle of resorts like Newquay. It certainly does not have the night life of Newquay, visitors are quite happy to wander around, enjoy a meal or Cornish cream tea, relax on one of the beaches, try a bit of surfing, or a nice walk along the canal or one of the many cliff tops.

Bude Attractions

The Bude Jazz Festival - one of Britains leading Jazz Festivals.
Now coming into its 20 year it takes place for a week between late August and early September.
Anyone wishing to enjoy this Festival which is extremely popular should book their accommodation in Bude very early as this is one time when the town is extremely busy
For a comprehensive list of Jazz musicians taking part and details of tickets etc. please visit:
An excellent Golf Courses overlooking one of the town's main beaches
An excellent swimming pool
10 pin bowling
The Brocklands Adventure Park - a place for the whole family – www.brocklands.com
Trevigue Wildlife Conservation at Crackington Haven
Pixieland Fun Park - great for children
Killarney Springs - 66 acres of countryside with many animal, indoor games and mobile action.

Bude Beaches

The main town beach is Summerleaze Beach - within a short walk of the town centre with a car park on the beach, the mandatory parking meters are never far away and this is no exception. The beach is flat with good sand quality. Surf is excellent when conditions permit, which in Bude is quite often. Services include toilets/café/lifeguard services, freshwater shower.
Don't forget – always bathe between the flags, the sea is clean, the sand is soft but there are invisible rip currents that life guards are continually monitoring.
The beach has a large natural swimming pool in the rocks with the water changing every high tide, a real favourite.

Immediately to the North of Summerleaze Beach and also an easy walk from the town centre is Crooklets Beach - A nice sandy beach that occasionally offers good surf, very popular with visitors and locals alike. At low tide it is one long beach from Summerleaze to Northcott Mouth with good surf along the entire length.

Services include:

Fresh water showers
Moving out of Bude there is:
Strangle Beach - near Crackington Haven. The beach is quiet even in the summer, probably due to the difficult climb down to the beach.
The beach is sand and shingle with plenty of sand at low tide.
Parking at the cliff top
There are no facilities
Warning – swimming is unsafe and the climb down is both difficult and slippery.

In total contrast to Strangle beach is Widemouth Bay Beach - about a mile long, flat sand backed by cliffs and grassy fields. Rocky in places it has many rock pools popular with children with their crab/prawn nets.
The beach is popular with surfers and its coastal walks provide excellent views.
Services: Parking/café/toilets/shops/Lifeguard/freshwater shower
Dangers: At high tide there are rocks in the centre which sometimes create rip currents. Please bathe between the lifeguard flags at all times.

Widemouth Bay is a small resort in its own right. Although many of the visitors to the beach come from the accommodation in Bude there is a certain amount of accommodation in Widemouth Bay.
This includes:
Widemouth Bay self catering units
Widemouth Bay bed and breakfast and a few
Widemouth Bay hotels.

Moving to the north of Bude we arrive at:
Sandymouth Beach: A lovely spot managed by the National Trust.
There is a National trust car park at the heat of the beach which is a 5 minute walk down a rocky path. Quite small it is usually a nice place to get away from the crowds. There is also a National Trust café in the car park is is highly recommended for snacks/cream teas etc. Toilets in the car park
The walks here are really exceptional over grassy unspoilt headlands.
Directions: A39 from Bude towards Bideford - turn off and follow the signs for Stibb and Sandy Bay. The beach is about 3 miles off the main road.

Duckpool Beach:
A small sheltered pebble beach with a large expanse of sand at low water.
Parking is limited
Toilet facilities

Northcott Mouth:
A large pebble beach with sand at low tide
Plenty of rock pools to explore
Facilities – car park but no toilet

Bude is situated in the far north east corner of Cornwall.
An excellent base from which to explore little popular resorts such as Boscastle, Tintagel, Crackington Haven, Widemouth Bay, Morwenstow, and just a little further afield the major resort of Padstow. Of course the Bodmin Moor is close at hand if you enjoy walking over rough terrain.
For those wishing to visit major attractions such as the The Eden Project, The Lost Gardens of Heligan at St Austell, the Tate Gallery and Barbera Hepworth Museum at St Ives and the National Maritime Museum at Falmouth, allow an hour to one and a half hours depending on traffic.
The Rick Stein Restaurant at Padstow is very popular but booking is essential. As it is for the Jamie Oliver 15 Restaurant at Watergate Bay.


Bude Accommodation:
The accommodation in Bude is quite spread out as the town itself is quite small.
In the town centre there are primarily:
Bude guesthouses - these are often large houses converted into guesthouses.
Bude self catering - these are split into two categories:
Bude apartments
Cottages in Bude, these are quite numerous, many are basically second homes being let out when not in use by the owners. Unfortunately, like most popular places in Cornwall this tends to increase the cost of property putting it out of reach of the local population.
The hotels in Bude are not numerous considering the town's popularity but they tend to be of excellent quality.
Many of the hotels in Bude are to be found on the approach roads or near the beaches.
The Bude camp sites and caravan parks are all on the outskirts in the surrounding countryside. The size and geography of Bude does not lend itself to this type of accommodation.

For further information on Bude or any other area in Cornwall.
Full details can be obtained from the Cornwall Tourist Information office Tel. 0345 484950.


Getting to Bude
Bude is somewhat off the beaten track, most visitors to the town arrive by private car. The road is mainly dual carriageway, but after Launceston the road deteriorates into single carriageway.
By Coach
By Air - to Newquay airport - hire cars available