The nearest airport is Newquay (www.newquaycornwallairport.com) – a 40-mile drive from the hotel – where flights arrive frequently from London Gatwick, most major UK cities and the Scillies touch down. Exeter Airport (www.exeter-airport.co.uk), an 80-minute drive from the hotel, offers a wider range of European flights. A one-way taxi ride from Newquay costs roughly £60; a one-way trip from Exeter, around £80.
Direct trains from London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Reading (www.nationalrail.co.uk) arrive at Exeter St David’s station – an 80-minute drive from the hotel.
The hotel is a four-and-a-half-hour drive from London via the M4, M5 and the A30 from Exeter. Bristol is two-and-a-half-hours. A car isn’t essential once you’re in Bude (there’s rambling or beach loafing aplenty to do), but the area’s chocolate-box villages and scenic coastal roads make hiring some wheels worthwhile. There are Avis car-hire booths at Newquay and Exeter airports and free parking at the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
Aside from wolfing down the delights on the tapas and cocktail menus, and admiring the seaside views, the hotel offers little in the way of in-house activities. However, guests are spoilt with Summerleaze Beach a mere two-minute walk away, where surfers, sunbathers and swimmers congregate on the golden sands, and Bude offers quirky shops and cafés, and unspoilt countryside beyond. If you want to learn how to do a cutback and off the lip manoeuvre or you’d just like to stand up on a surfboard for more than a wobbly second, the Big Blue Surf School (+44 (0)1288 331764, www.bigbluesurfschool.co.uk) sits on the beach, offering one-on-one coaching, and group and individual lessons. If you fancy trying your hand at the salty-dog lifestyle, head to the sea-lock gates to negotiate chartering a boat for the day. If you haven’t got your sea legs quite yet, bomb down country trails and zoom through swathes of green on a bike; Bude’s bikes (+44 (0)1288 353748, http://budebikehire.co.uk), a 20-minute walk away at Pethericks Mill, rent out adult bikes for £13 for up to four days.
The hotel concierge can organise horse riding across the downs nearby or on the beach, and golfing at Bude and North Cornwall Golf Club (+44 (0)1288 352006, www.budegolf.co.uk). They can point you in the right direction for a country hike too, along coastal paths, or through verdant farmland. Bude to Sandymouth or Widemouth Bay (both two-hour roundtrips) pass by sea-sprayed crags and patchwork fields, or tourist-bare Crooklets Beach is just a 20-minute walk away. Beyond Bude, you can clamber over the ruins of Tintagel Castle +44 (0)1840 770328) – where legendary monarch King Arthur was rumoured to be born. The gleaming white biomes of the Eden Project (+44 (0)1726 811911, www.edenproject.com), and glorious green expanse Dartmoor National Park (+44 (0)1822 890414, www.dartmoor.gov.uk) are both an hours’ drive away.
Set on Summerleaze Beach, blue-and-white clapboard eatery Life’s a Beach (+44 (0)1288 355222, http://lifesabeach.info) is just steps from the hotel. By day, it’s a café serving sandwiches, salads and piled-high burgers. After sundown, elegant bistro-style seafood dishes – crab bisque and River Exe mussels with smoked bacon – are served for an adult crowd, washed down with killer daiquiris and mojitos. Elements (+44 (0)1288 352386, www.elements-life.co.uk), an Italian eatery a five-minute drive (or 30-minute walk) from the hotel, serves simple yet hearty fare, such as burgers, intriguingly named and topped pizzas, pastas, salads and creamy desserts and gelato.
Rosie's Kitchen ((+44 (0)1288 354238, www.rosieskitchen.co.uk) is a cheerful laid-back café on Crooklets Beach serves Cornish pasties, burgers, hotdogs, paninis and fish and chips made from fresh local produce. It’s also gained a reputation for its excellent coffee, award-winning ice cream and milkshake bar. Hot chocolates come with marshmallow-studded peaks of cream and waffles are precariously topped with sweet goodies.
Just five minutes’ walk from the hotel on Belle Vue Lane, Bar 35’s (+44 (0)1288 353535) bold wallpaper prints, Pop Art-inspired wall hangings and mismatching furnishings are a stylish backdrop to locally loved live-music nights.