Why Bude and Trevalgas Cottages for a holiday?

Whether you are after a break with bucket and spade and picnics on the beach; or exploring the green rolling hills of this beautiful local area; or visiting the many places of interest nearby; or poking around the shops of a small seaside town; or just seeking solitude – this area of North Cornwall can deliver!

Early days

  • You won’t find Bude on old maps of Cornwall.
  • Bude was originally a small fishing harbour – where the River Neet (known locally as the River Strat) runs into the Atlantic – and a sheltered haven in a bay, backed by rugged cliffs to the north and south. The adjacent town of Stratton and the village of Poughill date back before Domesday records.
  • In the middle ages Bude was little more than a chapel on a rock, referred to as Bede’s Haven, later developing into a small but thriving port, handling goods to and from Bristol, Wales and Ireland.
  • In the late 1700s, the idea was muted to dig a canal so that mineral rich sea sand could be transported inland to improve soil quality. Work started in 1819 and the canal opened in 1826 running about 30 miles south to Launceston, with a branch going northwards to the Tamar lakes area.
  • In 1830 Bude Castle (which now houses the Bude museum and heritage centre) was built by inventor Goldsworthy Gurney. In 1835 St Michael’s Church was consecrated and a year later the parish of Bude Haven (or Budeham) was created. Population then was around 2000.
  • In 1891 the Bude & North Cornwall Golf Club was formed and in 1898 the London & South Western Railway reached the town.

Later development

  • Bude is north Cornwall’s largest town and has two beautiful sandy beaches close to the town centre.
  • The town became a favourite bathing resort with the Victorians, helped after Tennyson visited and wrote about Bude in 1859 and the subsequent arrival of the railway.
  • In the 1930s Bude Sea Pool was constructed on Summerleaze beach to provide a safer area for swimming away from rip currents. The pool (still free to use) is still in use today and popular with visitors and locals.
  • In 1953 first Surf Life Saving Club in Britain was formed by Australians who recognized the fantastic surfing beaches that Bude offers. The club is still running and provides demonstrations each Tuesday evening throughout the year.
  • The population of Bude-Stratton today is around 10,000.

The town offers

  • a compact town centre with a varied selection of shops, mainly small independents, Bude’s own department store (Wroes) plus branches of a few national chains. An eclectic mix which makes an interesting walk and browse
  • a few art galleries and places to buy artists’ supplies;
  • lots of surf shops offering boards, wetsuits etc (for sale or hire)
  • a wide selection of restaurants, cafés, and takeaways – including a particularly good selection of fish and chip shops;
  • a chance to try a genuine Cornish pasty. It has EU protected status and to be called a
  • Cornish pasty it has to be made in Cornwall. A good range will be found in Bude and as tastes vary, try more than one – and let us know where you find the best.

Sporting facilities

Bude has a wide range of sporting facilities …

  • Bude Recreation Ground, close to the town centre. has facilities for tennis, bowls, putting, squash, crazy golf and table tennis;
  • Golf. Bude and North Cornwall Golf Club’s links course (which stretches around the town and down to Crooklets beach) and Ivyleaf Golf course (at Stratton);
  • rowing boat hire from Lower Wharf for a gentle paddle along the canal;
  • an Adventure Centre in the town overlooking the beach which offers visitors sessions in coastal sports such as surfing, rock climbing, abseiling , and sea kayaking;
  • several other surfing schools which provide wet suit hire as well as tuition;
  • a modern indoor sports centre with ten pin bowling, a children’s soft play area, and indoor electric go-carts;
  • ‘Splash’ sports centre with a large indoor swimming pool with wave machine and big slide – although most guests at Trevalgas are very happy to use the on-site indoor heated swimming pool – open most of the year;
  • several horse riding centres, which offer trekking over the downs or a canter along the beach at quieter times;
  • angling – whether from the beach (no permit required) or coarse fishing on the canal (rod licence and permit required).

Open spaces (for Beaches and Walking see our separate pages)

Bude Sea Lock and Lower Wharf. The sea lock keeps salt and sea water separate – the only sea lock in England! A place for a gentle stroll, a cream tea
(with Cornish clotted cream of course) and to explore the craft shops.
Summerleaze Down. An open green space between Crooklets and Summerleaze beaches – an ideal place for a gentle saunter, walking the dog, watching the cricket, flying a kite, playing pitch and putt, admiring the sea view and some glorious sunsets.
Bude Sea Pool. Refreshed twice a day by the Atlantic.
Bude Canal. Bude’s development owes a lot to the canal and it’s well worth exploring – with a flat tarmac footpath for about 2 miles to Hele Bridge. See more on our walks page.
The River Neet which runs through the nature reserve, alongside the Strand, and behind the Castle where it runs into the sea at Summerleaze beach.
Efford Down – the green wedge of land between the canal and the Atlantic with a great view of Bude and the coastline and a place to join the South West Coastal Path (Bristol if you head north and Dorset via Land’s End in the other direction!)
Bude Marshes Nature Reserve – the first local nature reserve in Cornwall. A 22 acre wetland wildlife site (and part of the Bude Flood Prevention programme) is mainly a reed bed and is home to many diverse plants and animals – with areas of open water which support colonies of dragonflies and damselflies, plus populations of Bee and marsh orchids. Easily accessed close to the Bude TIC with level tarmac paths that provide a circular walk. Click for more details


Bude. St Michael’s & All Angels CofE, Central Methodist, St Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, St Martin’s United Reformed Church.
Poughill. St Olaf’s CofE, Poughill Methodist Chapel.
Stratton. St Andrew’s CofE, Stratton Methodist Chapel.

Bude town

A small town with much of interest – and the natives are friendly and welcoming. Local people, particularly in their dealing with the Unitary Council in Truro (over 50 miles away), have been heard to say that this part of the Duchy is the forgotten corner of Cornwall. Many others will say it is Cornwall’s best kept secret!

Come and judge for yourself.