Bude isn’t what you’d call a picture postcard town with quaint old shops and houses but what the centre lacks in architectural quality, the town more than makes for with it’s wonderfully spacious, coastal location. You need to go just slightly off the main road routes to see its real charm – and there is plenty of it! The 18-hole links golf course separates the town into two halves (and naturally, The Beach Haven is located in the better half 😉
Also bordered by coastal downs to the west and an ancient canal to the south, you always have the sense that you are out in the open. The town started due to an ambitious canal built to transport sea sand inland to fertilise the dense soil – it ran for some 35 miles, inland to the town of Launceston and Holsworthy. It’s use came to an abrupt halt with the arrival of the railway in the Victorian era and this Bude was re-born as a tourist resort. It has two wonderful beaches, Crooklets and Sumerleaze, the latter benefiting from a unique open-air sea pool maintained by charity. The old canal and towpath remain in use up as far as Marhamchurch, two miles inland which makes for a very pleasant and easy (pushchair/ wheelchair friendly) walk. A circular route can be achieved by returning on the cycle path. The canal is also notable for its unique sea lock enabling small vessel to sail into the wharf.
The town also has a very noble sounding ‘Bude Castle’ which in reality is simply a castellated building notable for being the first to be built on sand by using a raft of concrete. This was a product of Cornish inventor, Goldsworthy Gurney, most notable for lighting the Houses of Parliament for the first time with his ‘Bude Light’. Today the building houses the town’s museum and restaurant. It’s grounds make also make for a pleasant recreational area. But what most visitors come for are the stunning coastal surroundings and it’s well worth walking a little way out, either side of the town, onto the clifftops, to splendour at the views of Bude Bay and harbour.