North Cornwall is one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations and it’s easy to see why. The area has so much to offer, from stunning scenery and beautiful beaches to a host of activities and places to eat and drink.
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We have fantastic attractions designed with younger visitors in mind for truly memorable days out. It is not necessary to spend a lot of money to enjoy a brilliant family holiday in our area. In fact, aside from the obvious draw of the sandy beaches and gorgeous countryside, there is an array of things to do for free in this part of the world. Finally, don’t despair if the sun doesn’t shine every day as there are plenty of activities to occupy little people and, as every parent knows, if the children are happy everyone is happy!
The beaches offer unlimited fun, from swimming and paddling; to crabbing in the rockpools; scrambling over rocks, not forgetting the obligatory sandy picnics and ice-creams. Both beaches in Bude have sandy play areas for children, which offer hours of free entertainment: The ‘Pirate Ship’ at Crooklets Beach is conveniently situated next to the Crooklets Beach Café or at Rosie’s Cafe with Ice-cream Parlour – geared up with young children in mind, they also have an outdoor play area plus indoor play barn, allowing parents to enjoy a well-earned cup of coffee while the younger people let off steam.
Watching the ducks and rowing boats or taking a pedalo on the canal is another favourite pastime for young tourists.
You can enjoy walking along the flat towpath, along the Bude valley from Marhamchurch to Bude, returning on the cycle path on the otherside of the nature reserve. This gives lots of opportunities for spotting birds, farm animals and even otters if you are lucky, along the canal and within the adjacent Bude Marshes nature reserve. You can either start or end your walk at The Weir Café/Bisto just 1/2 mile outside of Marhamchurch. The café has an indoor and outdoor seating where you can enjoy a delicious lunch or cream tea while the children let off steam in the enclosed play area, watch the birds on the lake or play on the interactive wildlife screens within the café.
A stones throw from Bude’s main shopping street, another walk suitable for pushchairs or little legs is the path between Summerleaze and Crooklets beaches. The tarmac path takes you across Summerleaze Downs where you can enjoy a superb view of the iconic Bude Sea Pool or watch a Cricket match in the summer. At any time of the year this is somewhere to take a ball or frisby and just enjoy the wide open space with gorgeous panoramic views over the sea and harbour.
During the summer there are often craft, nature and beach-based activities taking place for children of all ages. Just pop into the Bude Tourist Information Centre to find out about the events for youngsters going on during your stay.
If you would like to use a larger pool than ours at Court Farm, then The Splash Leisure Pool in Bude is a large pool with flume and wave machine, and the beach-style shallow end is ideal for toddlers who want to splash and float about safely. The facilities include a pool-side café selling hot and cold food and a well-stocked sweet shop.
Next door to Splash is The Venue Bude which offers 4 levels of soft play in Playzone with slides, ball-pools and a separate toddlers area, a 10 lane ten pin bowling alley, café and bar. The Venue provides another wet-weather refuge within just 10 minutes of Court Farm or Northcott Farm.
The Bude Haven Recreation Ground near The Castle Bude has a super crazy golf course and tennis courts and, if the weather is poor there are indoor games such as table tennis, squash and pool.
During your stay with us you may wish to venture a bit further afield to explore more of the beautiful Cornish or Devon countryside. Long car journeys are often unwelcome when holidaying with young children so you’ll be pleased to hear there are some lovely attractions within half an hour to an hours drive.
The largest theme parks in our area require a full day to really get your money’s worth! The Big Sheep is a world famous all-weather attraction with masses of animals and even its own brewery! 20 miles from Bude is Clovelly, where the cobbled, traffic-free, high street leads down to the world famous fishing village, famous for its donkeys, which traditionally carry goods up the hill. A few miles further is The Milky Way which has lots to offer all ages but older children will love the rollercoaster and the birds of prey shows are fantastic.
Cornwall’s Crealy, south of Bude near Wadebridge, is another excellent day out with log-flumes, animals and heaps of indoor and outdoor play areas.
A day out in Launceston affords a number of child friendly places to visit, including Trethorne Leisure Farm. Here there are indoor and outdoor play areas with trampolines, climbing wall and ball pools. Kids will love being able to feed the animals and actually handle them in the supervised ‘in touch with animals’ sessions.
There is also The Hidden Valley Discovery Park, something for ages with its Nature Trails, Forbidden Mansion with hidden doors, upside down dining room, Treasure Hunts and Light Railway.
The town centre is dominated by the ruins of the Launceston Castle, which has lovely grounds for youngsters to run about in while parents can enjoy the history and fabulous views across Devon and Cornwall. English Heritage and National Trust properties hold special events for children throughout the year, such as story telling at King Arthur’s castle in Tintagel.
The Launceston Steam Railway provides an exciting short trip for train enthusiasts and the line ends at New Mills Farm Park where a morning or afternoon can be spent happily visiting the animals and playing in the huge field of ride-on cars and other toys.
If you have railway lovers in your party the Bodmin and Wenford Railway is only thirty miles away and has special events throughout the year. If you do decide to travel further, The Eden Project is a great day out for visitors of all ages and Newquay Zoo and the Blue Reef Aquarium are only 45 miles away.
Possible Itineraries for Inexpensive Day Trips with Children:
South of Bude: For a day out which involves no entry fees at all visit the picturesque fishing village of Port Isaac to soak up the history and enjoy the postcard-perfect set of TV’s Doc Martin series while the children run on the beach and explore the caves at low tide. On the way back visit Trevathan Farm at St Endellion to buy St Endellion Brie, fresh local produce or sample the excellent cakes and icecream. The farm has strawberry picking in season and a lovely play park with animals, zip-slide and ride-on tractors in addition to the swings and sandpit. Or sample or pick up some sparkling wine or cider from Camel Valley Vineyard near Bodmin.
North of Bude: A visit to the Atlantic Village Retail Outlet at Bideford can be easily combined with a session at the Atlantis Adventure Park where your children can pan for gold, play crazy golf or enjoy the indoor play zone.
Inland from Bude: The Tamar Otter Park is a lovely place to spend a few hours and is just twenty minutes from Bude towards Launceston. Why not combine a visit to the otters with lunch somewhere free such as Homeleigh Garden Centre, at Dutson near Launceston, where the children will love the pet shop and play area, or the Lifton Strawberry Farm.