If your kids love spending time in the water – they will love Bude! Here’s 10 things to do in the water in Bude, North Cornwall!
When our family moved to Bude over 11 years ago, we were of course aware that we would be living in a seaside resort, but hadn’t fully appreciated just how many things there were to do in and around Bude for a water loving family!
It was helpful that our twins are sporty and had been taken swimming from around 6 months old so were very comfortable in and around water.
We soon realised that not only does Bude have award winning beaches and clean sea water, but it also has a fabulous sea pool, refilled daily by the tide, a lively harbour, a canal with the only manually operated sea lock gates in the UK, two rivers (Neet – aka Strat – and Hele) and several nearby fresh water lakes!
Whilst surfing and fishing have been popular with visitors to Bude for many years, there has been an upsurge in the range of water-based activities now available for visitors to enjoy and here’s our top 10 of things to do on the waterways of Bude on holiday!
- The most popular sea-based pastime in Bude, is to “catch some waves”. You can learn to surf, or improve your technique with one of the many experienced licensed surf schools at Summerleaze or Widemouth. Most offer private or group sessions and include equipment hire. Bude was the first UK resort to set up a Surf Life Saving Club over 60 years ago and most of the local RNLI life guards learn their skills there.
- Staying with the sea, you can take a dip in Bude Sea Pool, a unique 50m part-natural, part man-made pool which is filled twice a day by the Atlantic. The pool is free to use and open all year round. During the summer holidays, there’s a daily Swimsafe course run by the local RNLI Lifeguards for children to learn to swim in safety. Supported by charitable donations, Bude Sea Pool is a great facility for safe sea swimming and is an integral feature of the town and local community.
- If you prefer a water-based activity that doesn’t require you to get (too) wet, you can hire a row boat or pedallo along the Bude Canal. But beware if you choose the swan shaped one – it is highly popular with children, but limits the distance you can travel as it doesn’t fit under the bridge!! The canal also offers one of the most popular walks, either on a circular walk to the south past the nature reserve to Marhamchurch, or heading in the opposite along the wharf, past the lock gates and out to Barrel Rock on the Atlantic coast.
- Try the extremely popular SUP – Stand Up Paddle – a cross between surfing and kayaking and ideal for when there aren’t any waves! You can try this in the sea or sea pool, (Bude Surfing Experience offers the instruction and equipment at Summerleaze beach) or on fresh water at Tamar Lakes.
- For those with a head for heights and a love of the adrenaline rush, you could try coasteering with Shoreline Extreme Sports at Crooklets. You can swim, dive and scramble among sea caves and rocky out-crops to your heart’s content and enjoy jumping into plenty of deep water, which is great for kids – particularly young teens, who need to burn off excess energy!
- Staying with the more energetic of pursuits, several of the less busy beaches are ideal for windsurfing. Alternatively, Upper Tamar Lake is another excellent location with plenty of space, where you can zip across the water windsurfing. They offer a range of courses to suit everyone, from beginners to experts.
- The blend of coastal-rural location of Bude means that both Coarse and Sea Fishing are available – one of a handful of places in the UK where you can catch bass, carp and wild trout all in the space of a few miles. Enjoy quality sea, coarse and fly angling all nearby, or cast off from the beach around the harbour for mackerel.
- If you fancy exploring by canoe, take a guided canoe tour with The Bude Canoe Experience. They offer fun expeditions on bigger waters such as Roadford Lake and the River Torridge. This guided tour gets a huge “thumbs up” from its paddle wielding patrons. Alternatively, you can hire canoes or kayaks at Summerleaze beach from Shoreline Sports and paddle up the canal or River Neet with or without an instructor.
- A few miles inland, the Upper Tamar Lake offers sailing courses which take place through the year. For beginners, they offer tuition from friendly instructors, with hire of all the necessary gear. If you’re already a keen sailor, it is also possible to launch your own craft for a small fee.
- Or perhaps you prefer the simplest of pleasures with a quick paddle in the sea! Bude is proud to be at the forefront of the Cleaner Seas Project, promoting environmental awareness for the health and cleanliness of the UK’s beaches and coastlines. Bude has been prominent in raising awareness of plastic in our seas at UK Government level, with initiatives such as providing free water refills to visitors with refillable cups and heavily promoting the #2minutebeachclean which visitors are encouraged to take part in.
So come on down and enjoy the water here in all its forms. If your kids are not water babies when they arrive on holiday in Bude, there is every chance they will be by the time you leave!