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Free Things To Do In Bude
Whether you’re on holiday or live here all year round, one of our main attractions is the abundance of great things to do in Bude – many of which won’t cost you a single penny (bonus!) Here are ten of our fave…
1. Swim a length of the sea pool
Bude’s famed salt water pool, nestled between Summerleaze and Crooklets beaches, has provided safe bathing conditions away from the tidal currents since 1930. The water is naturally refreshed by the sea twice daily and there are lifeguards on duty from 10am-6pm until late September. Now reliant on local generosity, the Sea Pool was rescued from closure last year by FoBSP and has been refurbished with shiny new safety railings (kindly donated by Stainless Studio Ltd) – so there’s never been a better time to take a dip. Alternatively, when the tide’s right out on Summerleaze Beach, there’s Tommy’s Pit at the end of the Breakwater, which was originally constructed by Sir Thomas Acland as a gentleman only pool and pre-dates even the Sea Pool.
2. Walk a section of the South West Coast Path
There are several great walks in and around the Bude area. Our coastal paths are some of the best in the country. If you want to make a day of it, try this 10km circular walk from Bude to Sandymouth. Or for something a little more leisurely, the short walk over the cliffs from Summerleaze Crescent to Crooklets Beach makes for some fantastic panoramas of Bude Bay.
3. Dig a hole, build a sandcastle or write your name in the sand
Kids (and kids-at-heart) will love digging holes, burying each other in the sand, or building stone sculptures or great sandcastle cities with moats and the full works. When the tide is out, why not write a huge message in the sand to family and friends back home, and then pop up on to the cliff to photograph it!
“Wish you were here…!”
4. Take a paddle and body surf a wave
Here at Freewave Surf Academy, we’re all about the swell. But you need a board to enjoy the surf, right? Not necessarily! Wave-riding using just the body was the original form of surfing, and with the right conditions and these tips from surf guru Keith Malloy, anyone can give it a try! Borrow some swim fins for even more propulsion.
Body Surf A Wave
5. Hunker down for a snuggle or a snooze in a hollow of the sand dunes
If you want to avoid the bustle of beachgoers on busier days, here’s a little secret: head for the sand dunes. Most people are put off by these hilly, grassy areas but they really are perfect for creating your own little haven in the sand. They offer shelter without the need for a windbreak, and due to their height they can also provide some of the best views of the beach.
6. Explore a rock pool
Cornwall is one of the best places in the UK for rockpooling, and Bude is certainly no exception. The ideal beaches for budding explorers are Duckpool, Widemouth Bay and Crackington Haven (11 miles south of Bude). Armed with a fishing net and a bucket, go hunting around the rocks and in the little pools that are left when the tide goes out, and discover shrimp, crabs, starfish, sea anemones and molluscs which can often be found hiding amongst the several different types of seaweed.
7. Stroll along the beaches at low tide
A walk along Bude’s golden sandy beaches and hidden coves will lead you further than you think. There’s something about the mesmerizing sound of the sea and the dramatic sweeping coastline that hazes your usual sense of distance. You can ‘lose’ yourself and never actually get lost! A four-mile stroll north from Summerleaze Beach will take you past the sea pool, across Crooklets and Northcott Mouth (great for surfing) to Sandymouth, a quieter National Trust-owned beach break with a little waterfall and a café. En route, look out for the wreck remains of SS Belem near Northcott, which have been there since 1917! Or you could head to Widemouth Bay and walk its impressive 1 ½ length of golden sand.
Walking along the beach at Low Tide in Bude
Do make sure you check the tide times here as they vary daily (and we don’t want any impromptu rescues of stranded strollers from rocks and the like).
8. Forage for your dinner
A popular shoreline activity in the cooler months is mussel picking (please avoid harvesting them between May and September as this is their breeding season). These are great cooked with cream and white wine to make Moules Marinière, or you could just cook & eat them on the beach. There is also a forest of edible seaweeds and other molluscs. Here’s a nice little article from lovefood.com about where to start and what to look out for. To celebrate the abundance of locally grown and produced food, the town is holding its inaugural Bude for Food Festival on 19th-21st September with an array of producer stalls, celebrity chefs, family and evening entertainment on The Castle Lawns.
9. Lounge on the sand with your favourite book
Simple pleasures are sometimes the best, and whilst everyone else is busy in the sea, foraging in rockpools, or covering one another in sand, why not take some time for yourself. Bring a towel or a blanket to lie on, bury your head in a book, and just…relax.
10. Watch the sun going down
The beach sunsets here are truly spectacular, whatever the weather. No two sunsets are ever the same, and their myriad of colours – reflected in the sea – can change in seconds. So keep your eyes peeled, enjoy the view, and don’t forget your camera!