During the second half of the Easter holidays, as soon as self catering accommodation re-opened post lockdown #3, we made our way to Cornwall to spend some time in our happy place during our favourite season: Spring in Bude. This post covers what we got up to during the last few days of our trip – you can read all about our adventures during the first part of our stay there in this post.
Spring in Bude is the perfect time of year to visit. You’re often blessed with beautiful weather (as we were during this trip), it’s not too crowded, and the blossom, bluebells and wildflowers are beginning to emerge.
We stayed in a different place to usual this time. Our home from home at The Beach Haven was fully booked so we opted for a Beach Retreats property – The Old Bakery – instead. The location was fantastic and it was clean, comfortable and stylish – a good choice.
Another beautiful, blue-sky day so we decided to head out on a walk up to the Storm Tower (known locally as The Pepperpot), perched precariously on top of the cliffs at Compass Point above Bude Bay.
When I say precariously, I mean precariously. There is currently a vital fundraising drive taking place to ‘Save Our Storm Tower’ before coastal erosion crumbles the cliffs entirely and sends the Storm Tower tumbling into the waves to be claimed by the sea. It’s an iconic part of the town landscape and an important part of Bude’s historical seafaring heritage. The Storm Tower has already been moved once – 140 years ago back in 1881! – so to lose it now would be utterly tragic. All donations to the crowdfunding campaign will be very gratefully received.
The views along the coastline and over the town from the Storm Tower are breath-taking, especially on a gorgeous day during Spring in Bude like this one. With clear skies you can see for miles and miles (all the way over to GCHQ) and we like to see if we can spot our favourite beaches and the town landmarks.
A long-standing family tradition whenever we go on holiday, at home or abroad, is to have an ice cream every single day. We didn’t quite manage it this time, though we had a good try! We have several favourite ice cream parlours in Bude and we tend to rotate through them all during our week-long stay – today’s choice was Rosie’s at Crooklet’s Beach.
We wandered through the town first, popping into shops we’d visited a few days before having finally decided which souvenirs to buy, before arriving at Rosie’s. Rosie’s is a Bude institution – you have to visit when you’re in town, it’s pretty much the law. Occupying an enviable position overlooking the beach, it’s cheerful red-and-white frontage, play area for children and delicious menu draws in both the tourists who want the views and the locals who know how friendly the staff are and how good the food is.
There was much deliberation over what flavours to try out (so many to choose from!) and discussions about the best combinations went back and forth for a while. In the end Ella opted for Toffee Fudge Fiasco and Cookies & Cream, Mimi chose Strawberries & Cream and Raspberry Ripple Pavlova and Lola went for her new favourite – Birthday Cake! We ate them on the beachfront, people-watching and dreaming of one day owning a place here so we can come and stay whenever we want.
As the afternoon and evening moved on, I could tell that there was going to be another good sunset so I headed out on my own again after dinner to see if I could catch it. Having photographed it over Bude Sea Pool and the Sea Lock at Summerleaze already, I decided to head back to Crooklets Beach this time.
It’s so hard to put into words how I feel about this particular kind of magic – it moves me deeply and I can’t explain why. I will never, ever grow tired of witnessing the sun sink below the horizon, the final burst of colour lighting up the sky in a never-to-be-seen-again, completely unique display of joy and defiance.
Having watched sunsets at various different times of year, Spring in Bude seems to be the best time to see the most beautiful ones. This one felt particularly special and I stayed for quite a while beyond the afterglow, just thinking, before returning back to our accommodation, worn out in the very best of ways, ready to do it all again tomorrow.
Between Good Friday and the end of September, Bude plays host to a Farmer’s Market along the wharf by Bude Canal. If it’s on whilst we’re there, we make a point of visiting. I like to support small local businesses wherever we can, we often pick up unique little souvenirs that remind us of our time in Bude and there are always delicious foodie treats to try out as well.
We stopped by one of our favourite stalls, Tumbled Treasure, and had a long chat with Karen, the owner, who creates beautiful jewellery out of seaglass she finds on the beaches along the Cornish Coast. The girls tucked in to crepes and cakes for a mid-morning snack and we inevitably found ourselves wandering onto the beach as well. It’s almost impossible to stay away really, it draws us in every time we’re near and we can’t help but find ourselves burying our toes in the sand and meandering down to the water’s edge.
For our afternoon excursion we dragged ourselves away from the beach and meandered in the opposite direction, along Bude Canal. It’s a gorgeous walk along the water’s edge, passing by bird-watching hides, locks, blossom trees, bluebells and copious carpets of wild garlic, the heady scent filling the air as you brush your fingers through the distinctive leaves.
Our end destination is always The Weir Bistro, although the path does continue further should you want to stretch your legs for longer. When the girls were small it used to take us at least an hour to get to The Weir with them toddling or scooting along the path. Now they’re tweens and teens it’s only about 20 to 30 minutes.
The Weir is lovely. Cakes, ice creams and hot drinks; meals; plenty of seating indoors and outside; pretty surroundings; a fantastic wooden adventure playground for children of all ages; and even a table tennis table in non-covid times. The perfect place for a mid-afternoon pit-stop.
Our ice cream tradition ticked off for today, we headed back to The Old Bakery to read and attempt to finish a particularly tricky Soduku puzzle, before collecting a takeaway from Rosie’s: pizza and fish & chips. It was as delicious as it looks in this photo!
Our final day in Bude and none of us could quite believe that our trip was almost over. Having one day less than usual really made a difference and we all agreed that we’d make up for it next time by staying for two weeks instead.
Determined to make the most of the time we had left during Spring in Bude we headed out early(ish) – armed with a bucket, some nets and a pot of raw bacon – to go crabbing! We’ve only ever been crabbing once before, in Southampton whilst visiting my best friend a couple of years ago so we were a little rusty on how to do it. We picked a spot by the Sea Lock, cast our nets and hoped for the best but sadly, we weren’t successful. It seems that the crabs weren’t very hungry that particular morning. We had fun trying though!
On our way back to The Old Bakery for lunch we couldn’t resist stopping to play on Summerleaze sand dunes for a little while. This kind of completely spontaneous and unplanned fun is the best part of travelling with kids in my opinion. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time visiting a place or your 100th time, children (and yes, even teenagers) always seem to find a new way to see things and come up with the most creative ways to find joy.
The girls discovered hundreds of miniscule shells scattered across the dunes, which we’d never seen before. Normally the only shells we find are the “boring” blue mussels that cling to the rocks or ordinary, oval-shaped, bivalve mollusc shells. So to find tiny and beautiful beach treasure was very exciting!
Squeals of laughter, shrieks of “Geronimo!” and sand flying everywhere ensued for a long time, the girls clambering up to the top of the dunes and launching themselves off into the soft sand below over and over again. Tuck jumps, star jumps and cannonballs were all attempted (some more successfully than others) and I think they would have stayed there all day if we’d let them.
Neil and I were in the midst of gathering up the various crabbing and general ‘children-at-the-beach’ paraphernalia with instructions of “just one more jump each” to the girls, when Lola let out a scream. She’d jumped and landed awkwardly on her foot and I knew immediately that something was very, very wrong. She was crying but it was a completely different kind of crying to normal and she couldn’t move it or put any weight on it at all.
We carried her back to our accommodation, elevated it and got some ice on it, but knew deep down that the fun was probably over for the holiday.
I’d already made plans to meet up with my two cousins (who live in Bude and who I haven’t seen for 2 years and 4 years respectively) for a walk in the afternoon. Lola obviously couldn’t go because of her injured foot and everyone else opted to stay behind as well, preferring a chilled out and relaxing final afternoon before we headed home the next morning.
As a result, I headed out on my own, meeting my cousins at Crooklets Beach car park. It’s still weird not being allowed to hug people and having to keep our distance from each other – we’re normally really close with each other (despite not having seen each other in person for so long) and it’s been that way ever since we were tiny. We always just pick things up where we left off. It was so good to catch up with them properly, to hear all their news and to just reconnect.
We walked from Crooklets over the clifftops towards Northcott Mouth and then onwards all the way to Sandymouth Beach, skylarks and swallows swooping overhead and filling the air with their songs as we chatted. This particular section of the SW Coastal Path is stunning – the dramatic, jagged coastline always takes my breath away and the views are, quite simply, phenomenal. We must have walked for at least a couple of hours in total, there and back again, and we didn’t once run out of things to talk about.
The evening was spent gathering up scattered belongings from hidden corners of our accommodation, cleaning and tidying in readiness to make the long journey home to Staffordshire the following morning. I always feel a little sad on the final night of a holiday – I never want them to end.
It’s getting harder and harder to leave Bude every time we visit – I’m pretty sure a piece of our hearts stays behind with every adventure we have there. We’re thinking more and more seriously about buying a place there so that we can visit more often, so that friends and family can use it too, and so that the girls can have access to it when they’re older and perhaps have families of their own.
We travelled home early in the morning as we usually do, with sandy feet and happy hearts full of new memories. The sunrise was our reward for the pre-dawn alarm and it was a particularly beautiful one.
I took Lola straight to A&E when we got back – she was still in a lot of pain with her foot, couldn’t put any weight on it and couldn’t even get a shoe on because of the swelling. Three hours, several x-rays and a pair of crutches later and we were home with a diagnosis of a very bad sprain (thankfully no breaks or fractures). Bless her – she coped brilliantly.
Our time in Bude was exactly what we all needed: the chance to recharge after the first few weeks of the girls being back at school after Lockdown #3 ended, plus the opportunity to connect as a family before Neil goes back to work when indoor hospitality re-opens in May.
Our adventures during Spring in Bude may be over for another year but we’re already planning our next visit and have tons of ideas for things to do and places to go.
If you’ve been inspired to book a family holiday to Bude (at any time of year!), have a look at these posts for suggestions of things to do whilst you’re there:
- Free Things To Do In Bude
- Top Ten Things To Do In Bude (part 1)
- Top Ten Things To Do In Bude (part 2)
As always, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed following along with our travels.