a woodland hideaway in the heart of devon.

Beach Life – Bude

If you only have time to visit one beach while staying at Honeydown then Bude should be top of your list. This is our favourite place, our go-to, no matter the weather (a blustery walk in the rain on a deserted beach is very good for the soul). Bude has history, a canal, sea pool, cafes, surfing lessons, pubs, museum, ice-cream, a fabulous stretch of beach, and lots lots more.

Bude grew from one manor house to a little harbour village during Elizabethan times, and then to a place of industry when the canal was built in 1825. Built to transport lime-rich sand from the sea to farms around the county to improve soil quality, the canal is an engineering wonder and features the only working sea lock in England. Then came the railways which took work away from the canals, but no worries for Bude as the Victorians then hopped on a train, discovered it to be a perfect coastal ‘watering place’, and the little village grew to be a popular tourist town.

Our top tips for a day in Bude…

Start at Crooklets Beach – home to two cafes, a row of beach huts, and a wood-fired beach sauna. Choose from either Rosie’s Diner or Crooklets Beach Café and enjoy a little surfer watching while you eat breakfast. You might even see some junior lifeguards in action as this is the birthplace and training hub of the first ever surf life saving club in the UK.

Take your shoes off and walk along the beach from Crooklets towards Summerleaze and you’ll soon find yourself at Bude Sea Pool, a semi-natural tidal pool and absolute best spot for wild swimming on the edge of the Atlantic. Rain or shine, no matter the time of year, the sea pool is open and free for everyone. This spectacular pool was created in the 1920s during a time when smart doctors advised sickly people to immerse themselves in salty water. Those doctors were spot on – the magnesium in sea water can help nerve functionality, moderate blood sugar levels and improve your sleep. There’s also zinc, iron and potassium in there to help reduce skin inflammation and heal your scrapes and cuts. Suffering from hay fever? Jump in the sea pool! Yes, that thick salty sea air really can help you to breathe easier. 

* Quick side note on the sea pool – the Friends of Bude Sea Pool is a charity run by fabulous volunteers. The pool has no town or government funding and relies entirely on the generosity of visitors for donations. If you enjoy the pool pop a few pounds into the collection box, or if you have no cash you can find numbers there to text a donation.

After your dip in the pool head into town, just a short walk away. Potter around the shops, visit the heritage centre and get yourself a pasty to save for supper from Pengenna Pasties. Treat yourself to a book from independent family-owned bookstore Spencer Thorn – something to read in your hammock later while eating that pasty.

Then it’s probably time for a late lunch… you might have stumbled across somewhere that you fancy by now, but if not here are some suggestions all in easy walking distance:

La Bocca – family owned, hand stretched stone baked pizzas

Olive Tree – bistro with a good choice of burgers, right next to the canal

Life’s A Beach – fabulous sea views, Cuban sandwiches and fresh locally caught fish

If filling your tummy gives you some energy then now’s a good time to try one of the many activities on offer in Bude. You could try surfing lessons from Bude Surfing Experience. Or for something a little gentler hire a canoe from The Bude Canoe Experience and have a gentle paddle along the canal. And, even gentler still… a round of mini golf near the museum.

When you feel ready to head home to your truffle walk back from Summerleaze to Crooklets along the coastal path above the beach, you might by now be just in time to see the sun starting to set right in front of you.