In April 2021 we made our annual Easter holiday trip to Bude in North Cornwall. We were originally supposed to be staying for the full two weeks, spending the first week at our ‘home from home’ The Beach Haven and the second week at The Old Bakery in Bude, a Beach Retreats property. The Easter holidays fell at the precise time that government decisions were being made about self catering holiday accommodation being allowed to re-open as restrictions started to ease after lockdown #3 and so we held our breath waiting to find out whether we were going to be allowed to travel, keeping everything crossed that our trip could go ahead as planned.
It turned out that we could only go for the second week. We all felt a curious mixture of disappointment that we wouldn’t be able to stay for longer and that we’d have to miss out on staying at The Beach Haven, mingled with excitement that we were allowed to visit our happy place for at least part of the holidays and that we’d be staying somewhere completely new to us.
We needed to adjust our dates at The Old Bakery slightly, switching from our original arrangements of Friday-Friday to Monday-Sunday instead. The Beach Retreats team were brilliant – they were so helpful on the phone when I called them and incredibly efficient at processing the changes.
You can read all about what we got up to during our stay here. This post is an honest review of our stay at The Old Bakery in Bude.
The Old Bakery in Bude
The Old Bakery in Bude is a four-bedroom (sleeps eight), self catering, family-friendly property available through Beach Retreats, who specialise in luxury holiday accommodation throughout Cornwall. I loved it the minute I walked in through the front door.
The Old Bakery in Bude is tucked away quietly behind a row of old 16th century cottages right in the town centre. You wouldn’t know it was there unless you were looking for it. The Old Bakery boasts impressive views across the sand dunes of Summerleaze Beach and, whilst you can’t quite see the sea, the soft morning sunrises and spectacular evening sunsets more than make up for it.
The beach is just a five minute stroll away; the shops, main high street and nearest supermarket are a short three minute walk; and it only takes two minutes to get to the wharf and Bude Canal which is where you’ll find the bustling Farmer’s Market every Friday morning from Good Friday through to September, plus a variety of handcrafting workshops and cafes to mooch around.
We loved being so central to everything – it made excursions into town or to the beach simple and we could easily pop back to the house if we’d forgotten anything. Being next door to the Crazy Golf course was an added bonus – I think the girls would have played every single day if we’d given them the chance!
First Impressions of The Old Bakery in Bude
The Old Bakery is deceptively spacious and definitely bigger in real life than we’d anticipated when we originally booked to stay there. It exceeded our expectations as soon as we set foot inside the front door – an excellent first impression.
As a family of five (sometimes six if the girls’ elder sister, who is currently at uni, comes with us too) we each like our own space to escape to for some downtime in between our daily explorations and adventures. The girls will share a room if they absolutely have to but ideally, if given the choice, they much prefer a bedroom each so they can read / draw / play / do whatever teenagers do in peace. Whenever we’re searching for holiday accommodation, we always choose somewhere that sleeps 6-8 people for that very reason.
I like to seek out a comfy corner so I have somewhere to sit and edit photos & answer emails (because even on holiday I’m usually still working in the early morning before the rest of the household wakes up) and the husband likes to relax with a book or the TV once we’re settled in for the night. The Old Bakery absolutely ticked all of those boxes for us.
As we took our first walk through the property on our arrival, the girls raced on ahead of us, eager to see which rooms were going to be theirs. Excited squeals floated back to us along the corridor as doors opened and closed and they all compared rooms, each satisfied with the one they got. Ella had the double room at the far end of the house, Mimi took the twin room so she could spread out all of her art supplies on the second bed and Lola was thrilled to get the bunk bed room – oh, to be eleven years old again!
The Old Bakery felt like a little bit of a maze at first but once you got your bearings the layout was actually pretty simple. We’d wondered if it might be a bit noisy because of being right in the town centre but it wasn’t at all – we all slept well and barely heard any external sounds at all. We’d also been a little concerned about the parking and whether our car would actually fit in the garage (even with confident reassurances from the very lovely Beach Retreats team) but we needn’t have worried at all because the garage was just the right size to accommodate our seven-seater Citroen C4 Grand Picasso comfortably.
The Old Bakery is what I call an ‘upside-down house’. The sleeping arrangements are all on the bottom floor and the living accommodation is on the top floor, presumably to make the most of the awesome views (have I mentioned the views…?!).
The reverse level layout is a brilliant way to organise the house and it worked really well for us. The bedrooms, bathrooms and a ‘snug’ were all at street entry level, set out along an ‘L’ shaped corridor. Upstairs is a large open-plan kitchen/diner, lounge and a roof terrace which overlooks the bowling green and tennis courts.
The ground floor of The Old Bakery in Bude comprised of four double bedrooms, comfortably sleeping eight people:
- Master bedroom with en-suite containing a toilet, a sink and a bath with a hand held shower;
- Double bedroom;
- Twin bedroom;
- Bunk bed room (suitable for up to age 12 years old)
- a big entrance hallway with tons of space for hanging up coats and stowing away flip-flops/wellies (depending on the weather!);
- a family bathroom containing a freestanding bath with a hand held shower, a toilet and bidet;
- a large separate shower room with a toilet;
- a ‘snug’ (the girls called it the “chill-out room”) which had a large squashy leather sofa, a TV, books, board games and DVDs.
The snug was perfect room for kids and teens who want their own space to hang out in whilst the adults are relaxing upstairs. All the bathrooms had underfloor heating too which was a lovely (and unexpected – I’d somehow missed that part when reading the property description on the Beach Retreats website!) treat on a chilly Cornish morning.
There was also an outside patio area with an outdoor shower (for rinsing off after a day at the beach / surfing the waves) though we didn’t feel the need to venture out there.
All the bedlinen was provided of course, as well as huge snuggly white bath towels, plenty of pillows and soft blankets on every bed – I fell in love with the rainbow ones in the bunk bed room! If you’re travelling with little ones, a cot is available on request or you could take your own travel cot – there was plenty of space in all of the bedrooms to set one up (with the exception of the bunk bed room which would have been a bit of a tight squeeze).
For me the top floor was the absolute star of the show. A generously-sized, light-filled, open plan kitchen, dining area and lounge that was a real suntrap in the afternoon and early evening.
The kitchen had two undercounter fridges, an undercounter freezer, built-in microwave, electric oven and hob, toaster, kettle, coffee machine, enough cupboard storage for the supplies we’d bought, plus all the pots, pans, crockery and cutlery you could need (the cutlery was hidden in a secret drawer inside one of the other bigger drawers – an ingenious space saving solution but it took us ages to find it!). I loved the open-shelving design so much that we’re actually contemplating something similar for our own kitchen at home in Staffordshire.
There was also a teeny ‘utility room’ containing a toilet and small sink with a washing machine and dryer tucked in the corner.
The lounge was decorated retro-style and had a TV, a woodburner and exceedingly comfy sofas. It was my favourite spot in the house – watching the sun go down through the enormous window that took up most of one wall was such a treat in the evenings. If we were in the house during the day the dining table would be filled with card games and colouring or puzzle books and the sofas were the perfect place to snuggle up with a good book (I read a whole book in four days which is unheard of for me!).
Finally, there was also a roof terrace (accessible from the lounge) which had a table & chair set seating eight people and was the perfect spot for a morning cuppa to watch the world wake up.
Useful Things To Know
Every Beach Retreats property is unique & individual and as such, they often offer different facilities or have slight adjustments to the rules. Here are some useful things to know about The Old Bakery in Bude:
- It’s dog-friendly. You are allowed one small dog at the property, though not during the peak summer season (July and August).
- A £250 security deposit (to cover breakages and damage) is payable at the time of booking the property. It’s fully refunded within 14 days of checking out. We received ours before the 14 day time period was up and even though a cereal bowl had been broken during our stay (it slipped off the draining board and fell into the sink after I’d finished washing up) we still had the full amount refunded to us, which I hadn’t been expecting.
- A wooden highchair is provided and a cot is available on request.
Suggested Improvements for The Old Bakery in Bude
You can probably tell that we absolutely loved our stay at The Old Bakery in Bude. As with most places (nowhere is 100% perfect, although many come close!), there were a few minor things we thought of that could have made our stay even better, easier and more comfortable than it already was.
The house was spotless when we arrived, which was brilliant. I always try and keep the places we stay in as clean as possible whilst we’re there, looking after them as well (maybe even better!) as I would in my own home so I found it a little odd that there weren’t any cleaning products available to use (for example: spray for the kitchen to wipe down surfaces before and after cooking). There weren’t any antibacterial handwashes in the bathrooms or kitchen either – just a tiny bar of soap in each that we used within a couple of days. Particularly now that Covid-19 is in the mix I thought these things would have been readily available as standard. We ended up going out and buying our own. Basic kitchen supplies such as foil and clingfilm would have been useful too seeing as it was self catering accommodation.
The welcome pack of tea & coffee, delicious shortbread biscuits and a pint of milk were very much appreciated – after a long journey the best part of arriving somewhere new is that first cuppa and a snack. These were the only personal touches though. Perhaps we’ve been spoiled with our stays at The Beach Haven where there is a bottle of wine chilling in the fridge alongside the milk, warm homemade scones with clotted cream and jam waiting for us in the kitchen on arrival, and fresh flowers in vases in almost every room. Those little extra details can be the difference that really makes the difference in feeling even more welcomed and valued as a guest.
As a family we like to explore as much as possible, so we tend to be out of the house quite a lot during the daytime. As a consequence, we’re then in the house during the evenings, usually relaxing in front of the TV as we wind down from the adventures of the day. The Old Bakery had basic Freeview which was great, including a couple of kids channels for if you’re travelling with little ones. I think a few more options would have been ideal – either Netflix or Sky perhaps. This is of course personal preference. We were incredibly lucky with the weather whilst we were in Bude – it was glorious sunshine every single day – but if we’d gone at a different time of year or had more rainy days at home then extra options would have been a bonus.
Finally, the shower room was ace – I loved the skylight and the cubicle itself was spacious. Having an extra shower in the master bedroom en-suite (instead of the bathtub) would have made a huge difference to our experience in terms of ease and not all having to wait to take turns in the shower. For a property that sleeps eight people we felt there would be benefit to having more than one shower.
Things We Loved
There were so many things that we loved about The Old Bakery in Bude
- The light! As a photographer, light is always the first thing I notice about a place and the upstairs of The Old Bakery in Bude was a dream come true.
- The views! Watching the sunset every evening from the huge window in the lounge and on the roof terrace felt very special. This, more than anything else, is what would make me want to go back and stay there again.
- The retro vibes! I loved the decor and styling in the lounge – it was quirky and different from any accommodation we’ve stayed in before. Plus the sofas were extremely comfy (perfect for an afternoon nap in the warm sunshine that streamed in every day).
- The underfloor heating! This made all the difference on frosty Spring mornings and added to the cosy vibes on the ground floor.
- The location! Being so close to both the beach and the town centre meant everything was really convenient and within easy walking distance.
- The space! The Old Bakery was much bigger than I thought it was going to be and having that little bit more space than we’d anticipated made a difference.
Would we stay at The Old Bakery in Bude again?
100% yes. If our home from home (who we are very loyal to – we’ve been every year, sometimes twice a year, for the last eight years!) wasn’t available then we would absolutely stay at The Old Bakery in Bude again. And we definitely plan to try out some other Beach Retreats properties in other areas of Cornwall too.
Please note: I have not been compensated in any way for writing this post. We paid in full for our stay at The Old Bakery in Bude. All thoughts, images, feelings, words, ideas and opinions are my own. We genuinely loved our time at The Old Bakery and I would happily recommend it to anyone looking for a family friendly stay in Bude.