Situated on the beautiful North coast of Cornwall, Bude offers some of the most stunning beaches in the UK, inspiring painters, photographers and visitors alike. Walk along the river Neet to the picturesque sands of Summerleaze Beach, explore the rock pools at Northcott Beach, or dive in for some surfing at Widemouth Bay. And they’re all just a few miles from the park!
1. Crackington Haven
Photo credit: Giuseppe Milo, Flickr
Crackington Haven is a stunning beach set between some of the highest and most majestic cliffs in Cornwall, at the bottom of a narrow valley. This beach is a ‘haven’ in that it is relatively sheltered from the wind in comparison to the rest of the exposed coastline of the Bude area. The beach, though rocky, is a stunning and romantic site to enjoy the beautiful sites that Cornwall has to offer. Kids can also get involved with the wildlife in the beach’s many rock pools. When the tide is out, the beach features a large stretch of golden sand. Next to the beach are two cafes, a pub, toilets, surf hire and a car park, all perfect for a quiet day out. Lifeguard service is available from the 2nd to 10th of June, and the 7th to 7th of July to 2nd of September. Dogs are not allowed during season.
2. Millook Haven Beach
Photo credit: Chris Hill, Flickr
Millook Haven, just like Widemouth Bay, is on Widemouth Field’s doorstep only a couple of miles away. The beach sits underneath the Penalt Cliff, and is composed mostly of pebbles and shingle. Millook is popular amongst experienced surfers and is loved for its haunting beauty. This beach is perfect for wildlife lovers who might be in with a chance of spotting dolphins, seals and birds of prey. If you love your rocks, then this is the place for you. The Geological Society of London voted Millook Haven as one of the top 10 geological sites in Britain, with its interesting zig-zag shaped cliff (thought we’d leave the scientific terms to its Wikipedia page). Dogs are allowed all year and there is no lifeguard cover as this beach is not a bathing beach.
3. Widemouth Bay
Widemouth Bay Beach is one of Bude’s most popular beaches, amongst surfers and bathers alike. The beach stretches across 1.5 miles of sand, but is divided into a South And North Beach by a natural rock barrier. These amazing rock formations are, like Millook, of geological interest. This is the perfect place during your holiday to get involved and learn how to surf with the many surf schools situated here. Widemouth is similarly the ideal family location for swimming, surfing, walking, exploring rock pools, sunbathing, and simply relaxing. There is a large car park, public toilets, and a cafe. Lifeguard cover is from the beginning of May until September on North Beach, and from the middle of May until September on South Beach (also called Black Rock). Dogs are also welcome on Black Rock.
4. Summerleaze Beach
Summerleaze is just a five minute walk from the centre of Bude, and is possibly it’s most picturesque. Among many of its charms, Summerleaze features colourful Beach Huts, the river Neet, colourful bobbing fishing boats, sand dunes and an open-air sea pool. This impressive pool is part man-made, part natural rock-pool, and has been open since 1930. Summerleaze has a large car park with level access, an RNLI lifeboat station, public toilets, and an office with beach equipment such as windbreaks, deckchairs and sand wheelchairs for hire. Overlooking Summerleaze is Life’s A Beach, a beach café by day, and mouth-watering seafood restaurant by night. Be sure to book though as this place is popular! Lifeguard cover is from the beginning of May until the end of September, dogs are allowed but must be on leads.
5. Crooklets Beach
Crooklets is popular among surfers, due to its exposure to Atlantic swells, and is home to Bude Surf Life Saving Club. Though pebbly at the top, Crooklets adjoins Summerleaze and Northcott Mouth to form a larger bay at low tide, creating a large expanse of golden sand. With a cafe, a car park with level access, disabled access, shops, public toilets and outdoor showers, it is perfect for families. There are Beach Huts available to hire from the Beach office at Summerleaze. RNLI lifeguard cover from May to September, and there is a seasonal dog ban.
6. Northcott Mouth Beach
Northcott is a rocky and rugged cove, owned by the National Trust for the wreck of the SS Belem that is revealed at low tide. For all those history buffs, the ship’s propeller shaft from wreck on the night of the 20th of November, 1917, was luckily salvaged. This has been put to good use as a metal support for the Barrel on Barrel Rock at the end of the Breakwater at Bude. This beach is perfect for families, children, and surfers, with a lovely stream across the beach, many rock pools and waves formed from the rocky surroundings. The facilities are limited, however, with no toilets. During the summer you can have tea in the garden at a cute little caravan next to the beach. Northcott is dog friendly.
7. Sandymouth Beach
Sandymouth is an impressive two miles long, giving you the opportunity to take in the impressive Bude coastline. For avid walkers, this can be continued on the coastal path, which will end in a complete circle. Like Northcott, Sandymouth is a National Trust beach, and is great for surfing and exploring rock pools due to the surrounding cliffs and rocks. One of its most impressive quirks is its very own waterfall, shown above. If you are tired from the long stroll along the coastal path, you can rest your feet with a bite to eat at the Sandymouth Cafe just a minute away from the beach. This beach isn’t suitable if you are less mobile, as access is via quite a steep and narrow path. There is a large car park, toilets and surf hire available. Dogs are allowed at Sandymouth.
8. Duckpool Beach
During high season, Duckpool is a great escape from the many other beaches in Bude that can become quite busy. Though small, it is a great example of the romantic and haunting atmosphere of Cornwall’s coast. This beach is unsuitable for swimming, but its picturesque beauty is well worth a visit. It is bordered by the woodland Coome Valley, which is ideal for walking and Steeple Point Cliff. Dogs are also allowed at Duckpool.