Bude is one of Cornwall’s famous surfing destinations. Rivalled only by iconic Newquay, it boasts golden beaches, surf shops and eclectic cafes, and is perfect for a holiday by the sea.
Alongside its status as a top surf resort, you can discover many enchanting places to go and things to do in Bude. Whether you prefer getting absorbed in historical charm, heading out on long windswept walks, or getting an adrenaline rush, this unsuspecting seaside town will surprise you with its many delightful attractions and amenities.
Get to know the impressive Cornish coastline with a visit to this beautiful seaside resort. Uncover a host of exciting things to do in Bude below or click the button to begin browsing our Bude accommodation options today.
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Surf at one of Bude’s beaches
Crooklets and Summerleaze are two long, wide, sandy stretches of beach that are both easily accessible at low tide, and both are within a mile of the centre of Bude. Favoured by surfers and dog walkers, Bude has beaches that offer space for everybody. You can hire beach huts, take surfing lessons, or simply build sandcastles with your kids – the beaches are a vast, sandy playground when the sea is out.
Less than 2 miles to the south is the village of Widemouth Bay which seems to exist solely for surfers and boogie boarders; it’s a great place for accomplished wave riders to ‘get amongst it’. Check Bude tide times before you go, as well as our great selection of Widemouth Bay cottages.
Take a dip in Bude Sea Pool
Be sure to take a swim in the Bude Sea Pool on Summerleaze Beach, a beautiful, semi-natural, tidal swimming pool that’s a safe place for wild swimming with the beach and sea as your backdrop. No matter what the waves are doing, you can take a dip in this protected pool of seawater. It’s a stunning feature of the beach and free for everyone, so you have no excuse not to pop in for a dip in this lovely pool.
It’s a great place to exercise and is also perfect if you have kids and want to keep an eye on them while they splash around in the water. With the fantastic cliff behind and the sea stretching away in front of you, it’s a real beauty spot to enjoy during Bude beach days.
Discover local history at The Castle
While it’s not actually a castle, The Castle Bude is the area’s heritage centre that is bursting with archives and exhibitions, perfect if you love getting to know the heritage of the area you're visiting. The structure was built in the Victorian era, in the 1830s, and overlooks Summerleaze Beach, so is a great place to pop into if you need a break from the wonderful sand and sea.
For the creative among you, The Castle is also home to two galleries boasting a range of contemporary arts and crafts to inspire you. They host a programme of music and events throughout the year too that includes an annual literary festival and an annual heritage festival.
Walk to Compass Point and Pepper Pot for views
A beautiful viewpoint on the Bude coastline, Compass Point is just the place to aim for on a seaside walk. It’s right on the fantastic South West Coast Path which runs through town and offers impressive coastal views for miles in all directions.
Enjoy the sea breeze and get the muscles pumping on the short hike up the cliff to the top where you’ll find The Storm Tower, an iconic landmark that can be seen for miles. This folly is also nicknamed the Pepper Pot for its quaint hexagonal structure. It was first built in the 1830s and it’s been rebuilt twice – once in the 1880s after being battered by the elements due to its proximity to the coastline, and it’s currently being rebuilt again further inland as coastal erosion takes the cliff edge ever closer to this much-loved local tower.
Tee off at Bude Golf Club
This is another destination for fantastic views during your holiday. Bude Golf Club occupies much of the high ground in town, so if you love golf, the views across to the ocean are exceptional. This links course offers 18 holes to tackle, with buggy hire and a pro shop.
Stop in at the bar and restaurant where they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, so they’ll keep you fuelled all day, and the club offers social events too, so check their page to see if anything coincides with your Bude break. If you’re keen on the sport, this is a wonderful place in the centre of town to unwind with a round of golf amid the impressive Cornish landscape.
Canoe along the Bude Canal
Bude Canal has a unique history. It was once part of a much larger pioneering canal system, with 2 miles of barge canal stretching between Bude and Helebridge, and 33 miles of tub-boat canal – it was the first in the UK and the second in the world to use water-powered tub-boat inclines. Built in 1819, the project only lasted 78 years as it didn’t get the trade predicted, but in 1901, Bude’s council bought the remaining canal for leisure use.
It's a steadfast icon of Bude and a beautiful way to see the town by canoe, kayak, paddleboard or even pedalo. A level towpath runs alongside it, perfect for walking, wheelchairs and bike rides on its bank, and Bude’s Tourist Information Centre is nearby, a great first stop while you decide how you want to make the most of the wonderful canal.
Catch a film at Rebel Cinema
An old, traditional-style, independent cinema in the heart of town, Rebel Cinema is a great place to have on your radar for those quieter days on your holiday when you want to lose yourself in a great film. Treat yourself to dinner and a movie in town; this cinema is the perfect way to watch an epic with the atmosphere of a small cinema.
It was originally built as a single-screen cinema in the 80s, with the second screen being built in 2014; it is entirely independent with a wonderful feel. Popcorn, drinks and other sugary goodies are on offer from the counter, so grab your snacks and head in to watch the latest blockbuster when you fancy a chilled-out night between holiday adventures.
Dine out at The Olive Tree
You could head to any number of Bude’s pubs and restaurants for traditional Cornish fayre, but we’ve picked out The Olive Tree for its fantastic location right on the canal and its mouth-watering menu. They serve up a brilliant range of offerings, from seafood linguine to vegan fish and chips, and they have outdoor seating where you can perch and watch the barges float past.
Other top Bude restaurants include:
Purchase goodies from Bude’s shops
Bude is the largest town in the region so people travel in from a wide area for the shops. The choice consists of a small selection of high street favourites and independents, selling everything from essentials to bespoke craft goods. Bude also has some banks and handy cash machines around.
There are lots of Bude shops where you can buy a bucket and spade or hire a beach hut – the same goes for surfing apparel. As this place is such a haven for water sports, you can hire boards and wetsuits at a range of surf shops in Bude town centre.
Launch yourself down the Monster Slip and Slide
For a real adrenaline boost, fly down the Monster Slip and Slide on a doughnut or bodyboard and make the most of the warm weather in Cornwall. This unique, exciting attraction is only open for a couple of months in the summer, but it’s a real find for when you need a break from relaxing on the region’s stunning sandy beaches.
At 110 metres long, it’s a real monster of a slide and it’s a fantastic place for entertaining kids or taking a big group of friends. Best of all, under 4s are free, making it a brilliant destination for all ages. If you need to fuel yourself between slides, there’s food, drink and snacks on offer from The Monster Munch Team.
Special mention: Enter The Bude Tunnel
We couldn’t resist adding this unique Bude attraction to our list! This tongue-in-cheek destination shot to number one on TripAdvisor in 2018 after hundreds of ironic reviews voted this Sainsbury's supermarket tunnel the best attraction in Bude. At the time, it was lit up for Christmas with 6.5 miles worth of festive lights and it became a bit of a local phenomenon.
While it isn’t decorated for Christmas anymore, this simple, plastic tunnel that provides cover when walking from the supermarket to Crooklets Road still offers plenty of delight to visitors far and wide. While you might not go out of your way for this kooky, unexpected attraction, if you love something a bit different, visit this Sainsbury's to pick up some of your holiday shopping so you can experience The Bude Tunnel for yourself – and perhaps add to its many extraordinary reviews on TripAdvisor.
Bude holiday cottages
Escape to one of our fantastic holiday cottages in Bude for a break to remember. With golden beaches that’ll impress, quirky cafes to tempt you and enchanting viewpoints to inspire you, it’s a destination that you can’t help but fall for.
Begin browsing through our collection of Bude cottages and book your next Cornish holiday today.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.