Widemouth Bay: Six reasons why it’s our favourite family beach in Cornwall
With almost 500km of coastline and more than 300 beaches, if you need a dose of sea air and to feel sand between your toes, Cornwall definitely has what it takes to bring you a smile. But it’s easy to feel spoilt for choice. We’ve decided to use this little corner of our website to share some of our favourite spots on the North Cornwall coast – a real, family-of-four experience of the Cornish coast. And there’s no better place for us to start than glorious Widemouth Bay.
What you need to know about Widemouth Bay
- Where is Widemouth Bay? About 3 miles from Bude in North Cornwall. Use EX23 0AW.
- Where can I park? There’s a large pay and display car park.
- Are there lifeguards? Yes, there’s a seasonal RNLI presence on the beach.
- Can you surf at Widemouth Bay? The tides often deliver some of the best waves in the area for surfing.
- Is it family friendly? There are free toilets, a large expanse of sand for castle-building, rocky areas for climbing and rock pools to explore for sea creatures. There’s also a ramp down to the beach for buggy access.
- Can I get a coffee? There’s a beach cafe, takeaway, restaurant and a pub in easy walking distance.
But what makes Widemouth Bay our favourite family beach in Cornwall?
1. It’s less than five minutes in the car from Cottons Cottage
It’s our local beach, so hands up, we may not be entirely objective with our favouritism for this particular expanse of sand and waves. But convenience is important. Especially when you have children. If you forget your wetsuits, wallet, sunscreen, the red spade that your two-year-old prefers, etc, it’s possible to nip back to Cottons Cottage with minimal hassle. If you air on the side of chaos and seat-of-your-pants disorganisation as we do as a family you will understand why this is in the number one slot.
But the biggest benefit of having a beach so close for us is that it allows for some risk-free spontaneity. Yes, there’s something about the sea air that just wants to make you throw caution to the wind and we definitely feel we can do this with Widemouth Bay on the doorstep of the cottage. You can just ‘pop’ to the beach for an hour without the worry of it ‘being worth the hassle’ or decide to take an evening beach stroll on a whim when it looks like it’s going to be a good sunset. That’s priceless in our opinion.
And if you like to run, we can say with good authority that ‘to the beach and back’ is a nice 6-7km route (with ample opportunity for a break with a sea view at the mid-point.)
2. The Widemouth Bay cafe serves a brilliant breakfast
Breakfast at this cafe is such a family ritual that our oldest daughter casually refers to any full English as a ‘Big Widdy’ (as it’s known on the Widemouth Bay Cafe menu.) They do a very fine breakfast.
3. It’s great for bodyboarding (and surfing)
If you’re experienced in the surfing of waves, you will have a whole lot of fun at this beach we’re sure. We can certainly see the appeal of surfing. It looks almost tempting from the comfort of the beach as we watch the surfers ride the crests of waves in the golden light of the setting sun. But surfing for us involves missed waves and successive wipeouts, interspersed with the odd few seconds actually standing. We’ve tried but surfing isn’t really for us.
Bodyboarding on the other hand is a lot of fun, and something we enjoy as a whole family. Widemouth Bay is a great spot to catch a wave. Just don’t forget your wetsuit – this isn’t the Bahamas.
And if you fancy trying surfing, several surf schools operate from the beach. And good luck – we wish you many more standing minutes than we’ve ever managed to achieve.
4. Sandcastles, rock pools and seaside strolls
We’ve built whole cities in the sand on this beach, including everything from resplendent castles with elaborate shell decoration, to more functional ‘car parks’ and road networks that would be the envy of the Highways Agency. And burying mummy and daddy’s feet in the sand is a great way to buy a few quiet minutes to drink a take-out cup of tea.
There are also lots of rock pools to wade through and explore for creatures, and rocky areas to clamber over. We can confirm that this makes the prospect of a walk on the beach a whole lot more exciting for the younger members of a family.
5. Widemouth Bay looks like one huge beach, but it’s actually two
The feeling of space at Widemouth Bay is amazing and this is probably helped by the fact that it’s actually two interconnected beaches. Widemouth Bay beach is the bigger area by the main car park. But if you meander to the southern area of the bay, there’s an area known as Black Rock – a sandy bay named aptly after the pointy rock that protrudes from the waves. Walking over to Black Rock can be a good way to find a quieter spot on a sunny day, or have a beach to yourself if you visit out of the main summer season.
6. We’re fond of food and Widemouth bay offers us lots of eating options
What family doesn’t structure their day around the next meal and the need for a constant supply of snack options? As well as the beach cafe, Widemouth Bay has a lot of great eating and drinking options.
First up, Trelawny Tearooms which is opposite the car park and serves absolutely the best cream tea in Cornwall. They are also the friendliest hosts and Vicky makes phenomenal chocolate cake (just ask our two girls.)
If you find yourself still at the beach as the sun is starting to fade for the day (where doesn’t the time go?) suddenly a pint or a glass of wine can become very appealing. Luckily the Bay View Inn is only a very short stroll away. There’s also a play area at the pub, which means it gets the thumbs up from the smaller members of our family.
And when a day at the beach isn’t enough, heading back to Widemouth Bay in the evening for dinner at Elements is the ultimate treat. The food is amazing and the sunset views are stunning.
And this is why we make visiting Widemouth Bay the first thing we do every single time we visit Cottons Cottage as a family. If nothing else, it’s the perfect scenic detour on the way to stock up on food at Morrisons.