A couple of weeks ago I shared Part One of our family holiday to Bude, documenting the first half of our adventures in our happy place by the sea. This post, Part Two, covers the second half of our family holiday to Bude, including the bonus days we were lucky enough to be gifted by Tim and Maria, the wonderful owners of The Beach Haven – our home-from-home whenever we visit Cornwall.
It really was a brilliant trip and exactly what we all needed after the stress of the preceding few months. It wasn’t without it’s challenges of course, because travelling with kids is never completely smooth sailing, but it was wonderful all the same. We’re already counting down the days until our next family holiday to Bude (286 days at the time of writing this, in case you’re wondering!).
I try and plan in one ‘big’ day trip whilst we’re on our family holiday to Bude. It helps us venture a little bit further afield from the places we’re familiar with so that we get to see a glimpse of what else Cornwall has to offer. It’s a larger county than you might think and there are so many diverse areas to visit and things to experience. I have a bucket list just for Cornwall (which I’m planning on sharing soon) and we try and tick at least one thing off of it each year.
Previous day trips have included Clovelly, Hidden Valley Discovery Park, and The Lost Gardens Of Heligan. This year I was determined to make it to Lanhydrock National Trust. I’ve heard so many good things about how spectacular the mansion house is, how beautiful the gardens are and how much open space there is that’s perfect for little adventurers to explore. Let’s just say it definitely lived up to expectations. I’ll be writing a separate post dedicated to Lanhydrock with lots more photos and information so for now here are a few favourites from our time there:
Good Friday traditionally marks the return of Bude Craft and Farmer’s Market each year so we decided to head on down to take a look as we’d never been on our family holiday to Bude at the right time before. We spent ages wandering through the stalls at the canalside, browsing handmade gifts sourced from local materials such as driftwood and seaglass found on the beach and gazing at beautiful artwork and creative jewellery.
Enticing smells drifted through the air from the many food stands: loaves of freshly baked bread stood next to stacks of generously sized Cornish Pasties; tempting sweet treats resided alongside fresh and colourful fruit and vegetables; plus cheeses, meats and pastries… the list goes on! I can confirm that it’s well worth buying a slab or two (or three!) of the flapjack – it was absolutely delicious.
It was such a beautiful day so we spent the afternoon back down at Crooklets Beach soaking up the sunshine, jumping over the waves and breathing in all that glorious sea air. There really is nothing else like it and I can honestly say that I haven’t felt as relaxed and contented as I did that afternoon in a long time. Watching my girls having fun playing together, hearing the husband laugh for what seems like the first time in months and realising that my shoulders were down and that my heart was full made me vow to get back down to our happy place more often.
When my Mum and I used to visit my aunt and cousins (who live in Bude) during the summer holidays when I was a little girl, my Nana and Grandad would sometimes be there too. We would often all make the short journey south to Widemouth Bay, a glorious stretch of sand just 3 miles from Bude itself.
The colourful windbreaks would go up, merrily flapping in the breeze; picnic blankets were haphazardly spread out on the sand and weighed down with a curious combination of hastily-sourced rocks and Tupperware boxes crammed with sandwiches and snacks; deckchairs were wrestled with and (eventually) triumphantly erected for my grateful grandparents; and the bodyboards and cricket set would be gleefully pulled out of the myriad of beach paraphernalia we’d stoically carried down to the beach.
We would stay there for hours and hours just playing and building sandcastles and paddling in the water and collecting shells and feathers and flinging frisbees back and forth and shrieking with joy, before we all piled back in the car to head home with happy hearts and sandy feet and sun-kissed cheeks. They are such wonderful memories that I hold very dear, especially as my Nana and Grandad are now sadly no longer with us.
For some reason, in all our years of taking our girls on a family holiday to Bude, we’d never taken them to Widemouth Bay beach before and so we decided that this year would be the year. We’d expected it to be jam-packed with people because of the fantastic Easter weekend weather we’d been gifted, but in actual fact although the car park was busy, the beach itself was remarkably sparsely populated. Of course the girls made a beeline for the outgoing tideline and we spent a happy hour or so doing what we love best – making childhood memories that will stay with them forever, just like my own ones have.
When discussing over lunch what to do in the afternoon, a unanimous vote for ice cream was immediately approved. A few days previously we’d spotted an ice cream parlour we’d not visited before, displaying an array of flavours the girls hadn’t yet tried and they were absolutely desperate to check it out. Scoop Ice Cream is now officially one of our new favourite places to get ice cream in Bude.
As well as having a big day trip to visit somewhere new each year, I also do my best to get us all to do/experience something new too. I suggested hiring a peddalo on the canal and the shout of excitement that went up told me it was a good idea. So that’s what we did. We all took it in turns to pedal (it’s much harder work than I thought it would be – my poor thighs!) and we enjoyed it so much that I think it might become another annual tradition on our family holiday to Bude. We wandered home via Summerleaze Beach and over the clifftops in the late afternoon sun to be rewarded with the most beautiful sunset.
Easter Sunday dawned bright and sunny again, and whilst the girls were pretty worn out from our peddalo escapades yesterday I was mindful that our family holiday to Bude was quietly coming towards it’s end. I really wanted to make sure we made the most of every single minute we could, especially as these extra days were so generously gifted to us by Tim and Maria, the owners of The Beach Haven, which is where we always stay whenever we visit Bude.
After a bit of protest (and using the promise of ice cream later in the afternoon as a bargaining tool) I managed to drag everyone out for a walk along the Breakwater. Whilst we mis-timed it to be able to make it all the way out to Barrel Rock where brave* (*crazy) teenagers were gleefully throwing themselves into the sea with shouts of terror/excitement, it was still invigorating to feel the sea-spray on our faces and the wind whipping our hair as we scrambled across the seaweed-strewn rocks, keeping our eyes peeled for fossils as we went. My favourite bit is always turning back to see Bude in all it’s glory spread out in front of us, the boats bobbing languidly in the water where the canal meets the sea.
Holiday pocket money burning a hole in their wallets, the girls requested a visit to the shops in Bude Town Centre in the afternoon. There really is something for everyone and we all have our favourites shops that we like to visit. There seemed to be several gorgeous new shops open this year too which is wonderful to see – I really hope they are successful. We each bought some souvenirs to help us remember our family holiday to Bude before making a return visit to Scoops for the aforementioned promised ice cream. The husband and the eldest two girls then headed back to The Beach Haven whilst Lola and I stayed out a little longer together. It was so lovely to have a bit of one-to-one time with her and I think she enjoyed our scoot/walk home too.
It’s so hard to pick a favourite day out of any holiday, particularly when we do so many fun things. But if I HAD to choose I think maybe Easter Monday, our last full day of our family holiday to Bude, would be it. We try and leave it up to the girls to choose what they would most like to do on our final day in a place and their choice this time was another game of crazy golf!
As per tradition, we had one final ice cream and wandered down to the beach to say goodbye to the sea. This is something we’ve done with the girls every year since they were small and it’s unintentionally become a really lovely way to end our holidays. I hope it’s something that they always remember and perhaps even pass down to their own children when they’re older.
We spent hours playing beach cricket together: laughing; chasing each other across the sand and paddling in the sea as the tide slowly came in. We watched the sun begin to sink lower in the sky, casting sparkles across the water, before slowly making our way back to The Beach Haven to begin the sad task of packing to go home. We never want to leave. Bude truly is our happy place by the sea.
I think perhaps this photo shows most accurately just how much fun we had on our family holiday to Bude this year – three exhausted but happy girls dreaming of beach days and ice creams and family fun. Until next year…
Here’s a video I made of our family holiday to Bude. It may take me forever to create these vlogs, but they hold so many moments and memories within them that it’s totally worth the effort involved. They’re priceless time-capsules documenting us as a family and we all love watching them over again as the weeks, months and years go by, remembering the fun we had together.