Our annual, much-loved, family holiday to Bude in Cornwall during the Easter holidays feels like forever ago. Life has been so busy since then that it’s taken me two whole months to be able to create the time to sit down and write these travel diaries. Looking through all the photographs and thinking back over the memories we made together in our happy place by the sea has been wonderful.
Our family holiday to Bude was a very much needed break in the middle of what was an incredibly chaotic time at home and all of us had been counting down the days for a long time in the lead up to it. The aftermath of the fire, no kitchen for weeks and weeks (washing up in the bath and mostly living off of joyless microwave meals, salads and sandwiches), huge piles of work and endless amounts of school related-events…we were all absolutely exhausted, both mentally and physically, and in desperate need of being able to recharge as individuals and reconnect as a family.
The great thing about Bude is that we know it so well. We always stay at The Beach Haven and it truly feels like a home-from-home – we relax as soon as we step through the front door. We regularly talk about buying a place down in Bude ourselves: somewhere we can escape to whenever we want; somewhere that friends and family can use if they need a break; somewhere that our girls can take their own families to stay in if/when the time comes that they have children of their own. A little legacy to keep the memories and traditions being passed down through the generations. It’s only a dream at the moment but I hope that one day we’ll be able to make it a reality.
Originally, our family holiday to Bude was only supposed to be for a week. Not long before we were due to go down there, Tim and Maria, the owners of The Beach Haven, contacted us to say that they would love to offer us a few days extra stay over the Easter weekend itself. We very gratefully accepted and it was the difference that made the difference – having that extra time in our happy place by the sea made it an even more special experience than usual and we made many more memories that will last us a lifetime.
This post covers the first half of our family holiday to Bude and part two will follow soon after.
We set off early on Saturday morning, as is our tradition, to beat the traffic. It’s always worth it. We watch the sunrise as we head south along the motorway, we stop for coffee and breakfast half way through the journey, and we arrive in Bude late morning, leaving us plenty of time to blow away the cobwebs with a brisk walk over the clifftops, filling our lungs with sea air and allowing the wind to whip away our worries and carry them out over the ocean.
The weather in April can be hit and miss. In previous years we’ve arrived for our family holiday to Bude and been faced with various combinations of torrential rain, glorious sunshine, flat grey skies, a heatwave and bitterly cold winds! This year we were lucky – the sun was out to play, even if we did need to wrap up warmly and going for a paddle in the sea was out of the question unless we wanted frostbitten toes.
I do so love the first walk we do ‘over the top’ from Crooklets to Summerleaze beaches. The spectacular coastline never fails to take my breath away, the spring wildflowers add a cheerful pop of colour and it truly felt like we’d arrived as I breathed in the scent of the sea and exhaled all the stress of the preceding weeks. I literally felt my whole body relax and it definitely makes the initial trip to the supermarket to pick up some supplies for the week that bit more bearable.
Sunday dawned with grey skies, slanting rain and a biting wind, so we spent the first morning of our family holiday to Bude at The Beach Haven playing board games and planning our adventures for later in the week when the weather was supposed to pick up. By the afternoon the rain had stopped: we grabbed the girls’ scooters and headed down to the skate park to burn off some energy and release the cabin fever. I don’t know why we’ve never been to the skate park before – it’s always been there and we take the girls’ scooters to Bude with us every single year but for some reason we’ve never actually been to check it out. The addition of some cool street art *may* have made it slightly more appealing from my point of view this time around 🙂 The girls had a brilliant time scooting up and down the ramps, trying out a few tricks and laughing at their Dad photobombing my attempts at getting some shots of them in action.
Energy levels quickly needed replenishing which meant it was time for the first ice cream of the holiday. It went down a treat: the Crooklets Beach Cafe had a good selection of flavours and provided some much needed shelter from the elements (and the ever-hungry seagulls wheeling round in search of a sweet snack!)
It’s often said that Bude has it’s own little micro-climate, completely independent from the rest of Cornwall. Usually this very much works in it’s favour – it’s often sunny in Bude whilst there are grey skies elsewhere – but not so today, where we experienced out ‘worst’ weather day of our family holiday to Bude. In the end it wasn’t too much of an issue: it always takes us a few days to wind down from real-life and settle into holiday mode, so no-one was really up for much of an adventure yet anyway and we were all quite content to have a ‘slow’ day.
We did venture out in the afternoon for a freezing cold walk over the clifftops into the town centre for a wander around the shops, and the locals were saying that it was actually colder than it had been all winter! It wasn’t cold enough to stop the girls’ requesting that we fulfil our tradition of having an ice cream every single day whilst we’re on holiday though, so we sat shivering outside which they gleefully enjoyed tubs of chocolate and bubblegum deliciousness.
I feel like I’m putting a lot of focus on the weather, but here in the UK it really can make or break a holiday! As a family we’re pretty good at getting out and about and having adventures whatever the weather, but it is much more pleasant in the warmth and sunshine. Thankfully from today the sun put in an appearance and decided to stick around for the rest of our family holiday to Bude, and it made such a difference. I’m definitely solar-powered!
The girls had been clamouring to play crazy golf ever since we arrived and so that’s where we spent our morning. It’s only a small 9-hole course but we love doing it and it’s a really lovely way to spend an hour or so. We play a round every time we visit Bude, it’s a tradition that we have to fulfil every year and I love making these little memories with our girls.
My Mum and Stepdad usually come down to Cornwall at the same time that we’re there for our family holiday to Bude and they stay with my aunt, who lives just outside the town. My Mum had a rather special milestone birthday just a few days prior to us all arriving, so we went out for dinner tonight to celebrate all together as a family. Usually we go to the Bay View Inn – it has spectacular views over Widemouth Bay, swings and a slide for the kids and good food.
However, as it was an extra special occasion we decided to try somewhere new and opted for Elements instead. The food was fantastic, the décor was beautiful, the views over the ocean were perfect, it was really family-friendly despite being on the more ‘upmarket’ end of the restaurant scale and the service we received was outstanding. We’ll definitely be making a return visit next year.
I usually plan several day trips whilst we’re in Cornwall, but all the girls wanted to do this year was spend time on the beach and so that’s mostly what we did. Truthfully I think a slower-than-usual family holiday to Bude was probably exactly what we all needed and even I felt a little relieved that we weren’t travelling here, there and everywhere like we have done in previous years. We spent the morning jumping the waves at Crooklets Beach and hearing the girls’ squeals of joy is one of my most favourite sounds in the world.
Another tradition that we always make time for when on our family holiday to Bude is meeting up with my aunt and cousin for a walk along Bude Canal. We inevitably end up at The Weir Bistro, where the girls eat ice cream and play table tennis; the grown ups have a hot drink; and we catch up on all our news. It’s always one of my favourite afternoons (even if the girls were disappointed that the ice cream hut was shut this day for some inexplicable reason and they had to make do with cake instead!). I’ve always been close to this side of my family and I miss seeing them as often as I used to when I was little. I got to hear all about my cousin’s adventures in Canada with her husband and now it’s moved significantly higher up my list of ‘must-visit’ places.
The second part of our family holiday to Bude will be covered in a blog post to follow in (hopefully!) a few days time. In the meantime, 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.