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Accommodation Bude






About Bude  |  Weather  |  Tide Times  |  Gallery  |  General Information

The popularity of Bude as a seaside resort dates from Victorian times. Once described by Sir John Betjeman as the "least rowdy" resort in the county, Bude has managed to retain its atmosphere of easy going charm whilst catering for the most discerning of modern day tourists. In the l9th Century it was notorious for its wreckers, who plundered the ships that came to grief off the coast - more than 80 between 1824 and 1874. In 1823 the Bude Canal was dug to carry beach sand - used as a fertiliser - 20 miles inland to Launceston and for exporting Local produce. It was this waterway that brought development to the town. The canal is now used for pleasure-boating and fishing. The Castle, a castellated stone mansion standing on a grassy knoll overlooking Summerleaze Beach, was built in 1830 by the inventor Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, the first man to make a long journey in a mechanical vehicle - a steam carriage - from London to Bath and back. The building now houses the Town Council's offices, with the delightful grounds used for band concerts and fetes held throughout the summer. "The long wave and the thundering shores of Bude" as Tennyson expressed in his poem The Birth of King Arthur, have long made Bude a surfer's paradise. The Atlantic-pounded beaches of both Summerleaze and Crooklets have been described by Australian surfers as the "Bondi of Britain" and it was here in 1953 that some of them formed the first Surf Life Saving Club in the country. The Club still thrives and weekly demonstrations give an insight to its valuable role. The town overlooks a wide bay of hard golden sand flanked by spectacular cliffs and protected by a breakwater. There is a seawater swimming pool under Summerleaze Downs which means safety for swimmers even at low tide. 


Two excellent lifeguard patrolled beaches - Crooklets and Summerleaze have extensive flat sands when the tide is out and are perfect for beach lovers of all ages. As well as the seawater pool, Bude now also boasts a large heated indoor leisure pool with flume, wave machine and cafe. Laser dome, trampolines, putting, floodlit tennis courts, mini-golf and go-carting close to the beaches all add to the family fun.

The town itself offers a wide range of amenities for the holiday maker and a visit to the splendid new Visitor Centre in the Crescent car park would be an excellent place to start. Alongside an extensive display by the North Cornwall Heritage Coast and Countryside Service, and a children's area, a full range of tourist information is available and the staff will be pleased to help you plan your holiday - whatever the weather. Bude offers Summer theatrical shows, concerts, regular dances, discos, numerous fetes and events, many with an historical theme, specially staged for visitors. Attractions include a weekly Cornish Furry Dance, full scale Carnival Week, Folk and of course the internationally renowned 8 day Jazz Festival. In fact something for everyone! 

Several years ago the phrase "the liveliest peace of Cornwall" was coined to describe the pleasure of Bude and its environment, and despite the fact that it has now become the centre for several Festivals, little has changed to alter this claim. The natural beauty of the surrounding countryside and rugged coastline have been carefully preserved. Crisp, clean sands, great Atlantic surfing rollers, a high rate of sunshine and walks with magnificent views of Bude Bay, are there for the visitors' enjoyment and always will be. The choice is yours: whether to soak up the excitement and atmosphere of one of the Festivals, or to just soak up the peace and sheer beauty of the environment, whether to participate in the many and varied activities or to relax totally in a town renowned for its helpful friendliness. One word of warning though - we have it on good authority that one visit to Bude is rarely enough - many visitors return again and again to experience this "the loveliest peace of Cornwall".



The Bude Canal and Wharf Area




The Bude Canal was built primarily to transport sea sand, rich in lime, to farms in North Cornwall & West Devon, where the soil was poor. Sea-going vessels using the sea lock with a depth of 15 feet on an average spring tide brought coastal cargoes of limestone coal and general merchandise. The lock is one of the last working sea locks in the country, and well worth a visit. On the higher wharf, grain and cargo were stored in Petherick's Building, which has sadly since been demolished, although one building still remains which has been converted into flats. At the far end of the wharf, lime kilns functioned, the remains of one being visible to this day, also a foundry and a timber mill which later became a steam laundry and has now been converted into four houses. In the same vicinity, boat building and repairs took place, with boats travelling to and from the sea via the sea locks, and up the canal past Falcon Bridge, then a swing bridge, being replaced in recent years by the County Council. The building which is now "The Brasserie", the Bark House and the Museum (which used to be the blacksmith's shop) are three of the original buildings on the wharf.




For more information click HERE for the Bude Canal web site.


The first part of the Bude Canal, from the sea locks to Helebridge, is a traditional barge lock canal, and is still navigable, although the lock gates at Rodd's Bridge and Whalesborough have long since been replaced with concrete spillways. A level canal side walk, either to Helebridge and back, or travelling via Upton or Widemouth Bay, back to Bude, takes in not only the canal, but also the nature reserve, and a wide variety of differing wildlife habitat. At Helebridge itself, after crossing the A39, one can see the old wharf area, and the restored barge workshop, where the local council have set up a pleasant picnic area.


At Helebridge the canal changes, and instead of locks, the canal traverses its first hill up an inclined plane. The canal tub boats, with wheels fitted to their undersides, were pulled up this first plane for a distance of 836ft - a rise of 120ft. The canal then travelled through Marhamchurch, to the much larger inclined plane at Hobbacott, which is accessible along a public footpath from the viewing point on the A3072 at Hobbacott Down, between Red Post and Stratton. Continuing on to Red Post the canal branches off towards Launceston, following the Tamar Valley, with the other branch heading towards the "port" town of Holsworthy. The Holsworthy leg of the canal also has a branch off towards Tamar Lake, which was originally built to feed the canal with water, and some parts of this are well worth a visit, particularly the old "Bude Aqueduct" where there is an interpretation centre at Virworthy Wharf. The Launceston branch nearly reached the navigable upper reaches of the Tamar and it can be imagined that this could have been seen either as a short cut for shipping from Wales to the English Channel or an attempt to set Cornwall adrift into the Atlantic! In either event the Canal is a fine piece of industrial heritage and further details can be found in the Bude Museum, at local information centres, or from the Bude Canal Society, whose aims are to interpret, promote, conserve, and maintain The Bude Canal.



Bude Picture Gallery




General Information

Doctor/Health Centre: 

Stratton Medical Centre, Hospital Road, Stratton 01288 352133

Minor injuries Hospital: Hospital Road, Stratton 01288 352161

Neetside Surgery, Leven Rd, Bude 0844 8151358

Police: Lansdown Close, Bude 0990 777444


Banks and Cash Points

Barclays: 2 Lansdown Road, Bude 01271 396649
Lloyds TSB: 1 Belle Vue, Bude 0845 303017
Nat West: 11 The Strand, Bude 01409 253563
Link cash point at the Esso Garage, Bencoolen Road, Bude.



2 Bramble Hill, Bude 356011 or 352274 (7 days a week)







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