A Family Holiday to Bude 2019: Our Happy Place By The Sea (Part One)

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.

Watching the sunrise is always my favourite part of the journey. It’s like a beautiful promise of what’s to come.

Mid-journey break for coffee and breakfast at Starbucks

Everything necessary for a family road trip – a mug full of hot chocolate, my camera and a back pack full of snacks!

A snooze for the littlest. I love that she fell asleep holding her big sister’s hand.

A doze for the middle one as well. Out of all three of the girls she is the least fond of the long journey

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.

Looking back towards Crooklets Beach

Middle Beach

Bude Sea Pool and Summerleaze Beach just around the corner


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!)

Bude Skate Park

The first ice cream of the holiday

I will always love the sight of these happy little beach huts on Crookelts Beach

A family selfie – it had to be done!


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.

Quiet days often lead to me picking up my camera to document the girls candidly around the house. This photo (and the one below) have ended up being some new favourites of mine – I love capturing them when they’re in cuddly, giggly moods!

My three girls. The focus isn’t anywhere near perfect but I don’t care – I love how happy and relaxed they look.

There was barely another soul out and about when we went for our walk in the afternoon

Taking in the views of the turbulent and angry sea

High tide filling up Bude Sea Pool. The girls find this absolutely fascinating as a concept. One day I’ll be brave enough to actually go for a swim in it!

Moody skies over Summerleaze Beach and the iconic beach huts

Bobble hats, winter coats and ice cream!

This one loves a bubblegum flavoured ice cream. Her tongue stayed blue for hours!

The walk back to The Beach Haven from the town centre takes us through the middle of Bude Golf Course. I love the tall grass by the side of the road – I find it really peaceful to watch it move with the wind.


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.

Cornwall or California?

The blossom trees were so beautiful this year. Lola loves finding fallen flowers and giving them to me as little gifts.

The sun came out to play and brought the smiles with it

I took an almost identical photo to this in the same spot last year and now I think it might have to become an annual tradition so I can see how much they grow as the years go by

I love this photo of my little tribe

We take our games of crazy golf very seriously :

The crazy golf course is in such a lovely location – Bude Light and Bude Castle in the background, Bude Canal just behind those buildings you can see, the beach not far away and the town centre just a five minute walk.

Heading back to The Beach Haven over the clifftops and Summerleaze Downs in the sunshine

Watching the ‘white horses’ of the waves will never get old. This stretch of coastline is so very beautiful.

The others had scooted on ahead so I took a little detour down to the beach itself and spent a little while mooching along the shoreline searching for seaglass. I’ve still not managed to find any!

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.

Ready and waiting for the guest of honour – my lovely Mum!

I don’t have anywhere near enough photos of my Mum and I together. This is a new favourite 🙂

My Mum and Stepdad who both mean the absolute world to me

We chased the sunset home to The Beach Haven and I captured the last of the light as it sunk below the horizon. There is something very special about a Cornish sunset.


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.

Managed to convince the husband to have a selfie with me to prove that I was actually there too!

Shiny, happy people 🙂

Rolled up trousers and wave jumping hand in hand with her Dad – she absolutely loved this and would have stayed all day given half the chance

One of my favourite photos from the trip

Lola shrieked with delight every single time a wave approached her – it’s definitely her happy place and I’m pretty sure she’s going to live by the sea when she’s older

Heading back up the beach, wellies in hand, ready for whatever the afternoon brings

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.

Wandering along Bude Canal in the sunshine

There were pretty flowers everywhere, as well as plenty of wild garlic which smelled absolutely heavenly

We saw some teeny tiny ducklings not far from this spot. Eleven of them altogether!

The Weir Bistro

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.

(Joining in with Katy at Otis & Us and Daisy at Dais Like These for Monday Escapes)

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  • Cornwall is such a beautiful place. I haven’t been in years but looks like you also had fantastic weather for Easter too. #MondayEscapes

    • Reply June 17, 2019

      Chloe Ridgway

      We were so lucky with the weather over the Easter weekend – it was fabulous! I’m so glad we stayed for the extra three days or we would have missed it. Cornwall is definitely our happy place – I hope you make it back down there one day soon.

  • Reply June 17, 2019

    Lara jarvis

    You’re a beautiful photographer! I love these shots. And I love Bude! We’ve not been for a couple of years but we love rock pooling there. We must check out the skate park next time we are there, I’m a sucker for graffiti! xx

    • Reply June 17, 2019

      Chloe Ridgway

      Oh gosh, thank you so much Lara! My girls seem to prefer paddling in the sea and jumping over the waves to rock-pooling but I remember hunting for crabs and tiny fish when I was a little girl and loving it. I’ll have to try and get them into it next year – it’s such a magical little underwater world isn’t it? I hope you make it back down to Bude soon and yes, definitely check out the skate park. It’s not massive but it’s fun for the kids and the graffiti is cool 🙂

  • Reply June 17, 2019


    This looks like such a lovely trip: love your photos of them paddling in the sea! The English seaside is great at any time of year. #Mondayescapes

    • Reply July 3, 2019

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thanks Annabel. Our annual visit to Bude is a favourite tradition of ours.

  • Reply June 22, 2019

    Jenny Taylor

    Only been once but it’s such a beautiful place to visit. Loving the video hunny. All the gorgeous fun filled family snaps too.

    • Reply July 3, 2019

      Chloe Ridgway

      I’m glad you liked the video Jenny – they take me forever to create but they’re so worth the time and effort involved because of the happy memories they hold.

  • Reply June 24, 2019


    Bude really does look lovely, I love the graffiti. Such a shame about the weather. We were so lucky in Cornwall last year – although the weather hasn’t been the same this year. Lovely photos Chloe

    • Reply July 3, 2019

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thank you Kerri-Ann. Thankfully it was only the first three days that were grey and cold, after that the sun came out and it was gorgeous!

  • Reply June 25, 2019


    As always Chloe, your photographs totally bring this holiday to life! I especially love that shot of you and your mum. Why do we always focus on the kids hey? We went to Bude a number of years ago now but absolutely loved it. Your kids will have so many wonderful memories of these family holidays in years to come. Gorgeous photos of your girls as always. xx

    • Reply July 3, 2019

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thank you for your lovely comment Suzanne 🙂 I love the photo of my Mum and I too – it was only a quick selfie but it doesn’t matter, it’s the memories it holds of her special birthday and us all being together to celebrate her that are held within the photo that matters. I really hope my girls keep these memories of our family holidays close to their hearts as they grow up. We’re hoping to maybe one day buy a place down there that they can all use to take their own families too if/when the time comes.

  • Absolutely stunning pictures! I love this area and Bude — so nice to see it portrayed so beautifully.
    Jen from Jenography.net recently posted…Secret delights of Moliets, France, with Madame VacancesMy Profile

    • Reply July 3, 2019

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thank you so much Jen. North Cornwall is an absolutely stunning part of the UK isn’t it? We love exploring different places in and around Bude. There’s so much to see and do.

  • Reply June 28, 2019

    Cathy (Mummytravels)

    Cornwall is always such a beautiful places and being by the sea is so relaxing – it definitely sounds like you needed a chilled out break this year, although my daughter’s favourite things to do are being by the sea, eating ice cream and playing crazy golf anyway!
    Cathy (Mummytravels) recently posted…Tips for Puy du Fou with kids in FranceMy Profile

    • Reply July 3, 2019

      Chloe Ridgway

      Haha yes I think those things would be top of our list of things we enjoy too, regardless of whether we’re on holiday or not! Our trip to Bude was EXACTLY what we all needed, it made such a difference to us all.

  • Reply June 29, 2019

    Helen Wills

    I love that you managed to get such colourful photos, even when the weather was against you! It really does look like a beautiful place

    • Reply July 3, 2019

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thanks Helen! Thankfully it was only the first few days that were cold and grey. Th sun came out after that and it was gorgeous weather – we were so lucky 🙂

  • Reply June 30, 2019

    Karen Beddow

    As ever you have taken just stunning photos. I really really love them. Well done xxxx

    • Reply July 3, 2019

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thank you Karen!

  • Reply June 30, 2019

    Katy Stern

    Oh Chloe Your photos are always SO BEAUTIFUL!! you capture everything just so beautifully and Bude looks gorgeous too. There is nothing like sea air and family time to make you smile. Thanks for linking up to Monday Escapes

    • Reply July 3, 2019

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thank you Katy, you’re so kind. And I couldn’t agree more – family time by the sea is one of the best things there is 🙂

  • Reply June 30, 2019

    Katja Gaskell

    You take the most beautiful photos! Granted, this is a stunning corner of the UK but your photos really are incredible 🙂

    • Reply July 3, 2019

      Chloe Ridgway

      Oh gosh, thank you Katja! That’s such a lovely thing to say. You’re right though, it’s hard to take a bad photo in Cornwall as it’s such a beautiful place.

  • What lovely pictures! How gorgeous is your mum?? Happy birthday to her. It looks as though you had a fantastic time x
    Nell (Pigeon Pair and Me) recently posted…Transit by FLIP Fabrique at Underbelly Festival, London. A reviewMy Profile

    • Reply July 3, 2019

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thanks Nell! I’ll pass that on to my Mum as well just in case she doesn’t see your comment. I think she’s beautiful and this is officially one of my favourite photos of us both together. It was such a lovely evening celebrating her 🙂

  • Reply July 1, 2019


    I’m glad the weather improved for you in places. Cornwall is so pretty in the sunshine. You got up to loads in your first few days. We need to seek out The Weir Bistro next time we are that way!

    • Reply July 3, 2019

      Chloe Ridgway

      It was only the first three days that weren’t quite what we’d hoped for weather-wise. The rest of the time it was glorious! The Weir Bistro is lovely – great food, a brilliant adventure playground for the kiddos, table tennis and a really pretty setting.

  • Reply July 1, 2019

    KAty Stern

    So so gorgeous, we haven’t travelled to Bude but we really need to don’t we, it looks so pretty!!! I am with your little girl the beach is my happy place too xxx

    • Reply July 3, 2019

      Chloe Ridgway

      Oh Katy you and your three would absolutely love it there! There are plenty of campsites too so you could trundle down there in Otis. You’d have a brilliant time.

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