In October half term, just before Lockdown v2.0 was announced, we were lucky enough to be able to say yes to an unexpected and very much welcomed opportunity to head to our happy place by the sea – Bude in North Cornwall. We’d never spent any part of Autumn in Cornwall before and we were keen to see what it was like to visit in a different season.
If you’ve read Part One of our travel diary from our trip, you’ll already know that we discovered that it rains a LOT during Autumn in Cornwall. We didn’t let the weather stop us though and did our very best to make the most of our time staying at The Beach Haven.
This post is Part Two of our travel diary from our trip. Here’s what we got up to in Autumn in Cornwall…
DAY 4: TUESDAY
After spending the day in Padstow yesterday the girls were pretty tired out so we opted for a lazy morning relaxing at The Beach Haven. Today was the only other day of our week in Autumn in Cornwall with any forecast sunshine so (despite protests) we got out and about in the afternoon to soak up the vitamin D and breathe in the sea air. If I’ve learnt anything this year it’s to fill each day with doing the things you love with the people you love because you never know what might happen next.
We walked ‘over the top’ (starting at Crooklets Beach) in order to fully absorb the vastness of the expansive of blue sky and the fury of the wind-whipped sea glinting in the sunlight. I could honestly stand on the clifftops for hours simply taking in the impressive views in both directions. It never gets old and is guaranteed to take my breath away every single time. I can’t even explain what it is, there’s just something about this place that gets to me, right in my heart.
From there we headed down to Summerleaze sand dunes to explore. We’d hoped to stop for a game of crazy golf on the way but sadly it was far too windy – the golf balls would have been flying all over the place! I think this is the only time we’ve ever been to Bude and not been able to play a round. Hopefully we can make up for it next year.
The sand dunes were fun and we stayed there for ages in the golden glow of the afternoon sunshine – the light in Autumn in Cornwall is more than a little bit magic. I deliberately hadn’t planned for us to ‘do’ anything when we reached the sand dunes and watching the girls play completely spontaneously and unprompted was wonderful. It just goes to show that you don’t need to spend anything to make memories together.
We might have brought half the beach back with us in our shoes and pockets but it was 100% worth it and one of my favourite moments from our trip for sure. We watched kites shaped like unicorns and phoenixes soar through the sky, vowed to bring body boards to ‘surf’ down the dunes next time we visit Bude and then headed to our favourite ice cream parlour – Scoop Ice Cream – to refuel.
DAY 5: WEDNESDAY
This day was, by far, one of the wildest, windiest, wettest days of our trip. Not wanting to waste the little time in Bude that we had left before we needed to head home at the end of half term, Ella and I headed out for a wander around the shops, just the two of us. I love spending time with my girls one-to-one, so it was lovely to be able to do this with her here, even during our family adventures.
Bude has a gorgeous range of shops and we have a few that we like to visit and browse through every time we travel here: Wildwood (hippie heaven); Bleujen (beautiful plants, flowers and homeware); The Jaunty Seagull (locally handcrafted gifts and jewellery); and Spencer Thorn (books, cards and gifts) to name a few. We also stumbled upon Satis House, an amazing vintage/curiosity shop stuffed with incredible artefacts like old cameras, jewellery, books, clothes, furniture and interesting trinkets – it was honestly like a treasure trove!
The weather was so awful that we really couldn’t face getting soaked though again, so we opted for an indoor activity in the afternoon and headed for the bowling alley, having managed to snag one of the last online booking slots.
We had a good game – Mimi won, I lost! – and we were then rewarded with an absolutely stunning sunset when the skies finally cleared in the early evening. The Beach Haven really is perfectly placed for prime sunset viewing – it’s the ideal spot no matter what time of year you visit.
DAY 6: THURSDAY
Our penultimate full day in Bude dawned grey and cold, with more wind and rain being forecast for the remainder of our Autumn in Cornwall adventure. I refuse to let the weather keep us indoors though so we forced the girls into coats and hoodies and headed for the beach. There were a few people scattered about walking dogs but on the whole it was almost deserted.
As much as I love the beach in the Summer sunshine, I love it just as much in the Autumn and Winter – there’s something so wild and untamed about it.
The wind was whipping up a frenzy, making our ears sing, numbing our toes and turning our fingers blue but it was 100% worth it. Because we were out and about earlier than usual, we were able to get right down to the waters edge amongst the rockpools and the seaweed. The tide was coming in as we made our way across from Crooklets Beach to Summerleaze Beach along the shoreline instead of over the clifftops like we usually do.
If offers such a different perspective on the power of nature when you’re right up close to it and rainy walks on the beach fill my soul with something magical. As a family I think we definitely need to move to live by the sea.
After getting home, drying off, thawing out and having lunch, we spent the afternoon building and decorating the Halloween gingerbread house we bought at the supermarket.
The girls love doing one at Christmas time (it’s a tradition of ours) and whilst I’m fully aware that this Halloween version is just commercialism and consumerism they had fun and were happy and that’s all that matters really, right?
They did the whole thing together all by themselves with zero help from me – I was very impressed!
The Beach Haven is self catering accommodation and has everything you could possibly need, which suits our family perfectly. It means we can keep to our own schedule and manage our time so that we can make the most of our days; everyone’s different likes and needs with regards to food can be catered for easily; and it helps us keep our costs down and budget our trips better.
As a result, we tend to have most of our meals at ‘home’ when we stay in Bude. The only exception is that we do try and go out for dinner once while we’re there – the girls love doing it, it gives me a break from cooking and it’s just a lovely way to spend an evening together as a family.
In previous years we’ve been loyal to The Bay View Inn and Elements, both nestled on the clifftops overlooking the spectacular Widemouth Bay. This time we wanted to try somewhere new (to us) and opted to book a table at the much closer-to-home Starboard Bistro at Rosie’s Kitchen right on Crooklets Beach with the sound of the ocean crashing on the shore in the distance. I can’t believe we’ve never been there before! It’s a Bude institition and a vital part of the town’s community.
It was toasty warm inside thanks to the log-burner, with a lovely cosy atmosphere and twinkly lights (I’m a sucker for twinkly lights) and the food was absolutely delicious. Lola and I both had wood-fired pizzas whilst Neil, Ella and Mimi opted for fish and chips. The portion sizes were good for the kids (enough without being enormous) although the desserts were huge so if you have a sweet tooth make sure you leave yourself some room!
We will definitely be back next time.
DAY 7: FRIDAY
It’s become a long-standing tradition of ours to always go down to the beach to say goodbye to the sea on our final day of any trip. As has been typical of this holiday, it rained solidly, torrentially, all day. We headed out anyway, this time making our way over to the Breakwater on the far side of Summerleaze beach. We explored the place where Bude Canal meets the sea, imagined we lived in Efford Cottage (Bude’s famous ‘pink house’) and nearly got stranded whilst skipping stones. Five more minutes and we would have had to swim for it as we were almost cut off by the incoming tide!
We also had one last ice cream – indoors in the warm this time at Rosie’s this time – with steamy windows, twinkle lights, cheerful bunting and a buzzing atmosphere. The hot chocolates that we spotted being taken to another table looked amazing and if we’d have been here for another day we would absolutely have tried them out too.
The rest of the day was spent drying shoes, draping clothes over radiators, packing suitcases and enjoying the last few hours of our time in our happy place.
It was definitely a holiday with a difference. No crazy golf, only one small day trip, and we didn’t manage to do some of the other things we usually do when we visit Bude such as meeting up with my Aunt for a walk along the canal. We did manage to fulfill most of our other traditions though and for that I’m glad.
I think we were just really unlucky with the weather (and to be fair, I think the whole of the UK was enveloped in a rain cloud for the whole week too). It would have been a different story if it had been a week full of that gorgeous late autumn sunshine we’re sometimes gifted with in October half term.
Would we spend Autumn in Cornwall again? Well, for us Cornwall is always a good idea! So I think yes, we’d go back. We’d just make sure we were more prepared next time and would be sure to pack wellies, more waterproofs and a few extra layers of warm clothes.
I’m so grateful that we were able to escape to Bude right before the second lockdown came into effect. We were super careful everywhere we went, followed all of the social distancing rules, washed and sanitised our hands regularly and wore masks whenever we were out and about in town in order to minimise the risks for ourselves and everyone else around us. This week together after navigating the first eight weeks of the girls being back at school after six months off was very much needed and it filled our cups in the ways we were all craving. We’re already counting down the days until we return to Bude again and I’ll be sure to document our adventures once more.