Things to do in Bude on a rainy day

Image courtesy of the Venue, Bude


When the sun is shining, Bude is an amazing town with so much to offer in the open air. Its beaches like Summerleaze and Crooklets are much-loved. Its famous Bude Sea Pool pulls people in from far and wide. Its streets and alleyways, with plenty of chances to shop-gaze from the outside, are well worth a wander. And it is surrounded by incredible countryside and stunning coastal walks. But what does the north coast town boast in the way of things to do when it’s raining? When the heavens open and the storm clouds gather, what can you do in Bude on a rainy day? The answer? Well, loads of things! You’ll be pleased to know there’s a ton of family-friendly, rainy day activities in Bude, especially if you don’t have a car or you just want to stay in the local vicinity. So come with us as we recommend, in our inimitable Proper Cornwall way, 12 things to do in this beautiful north Cornish town when you need to hole up in a storm…

1) Travel into the past at The Castle Heritage Centre

Bude Castle (officially The Castle Heritage Centre) isn’t really a castle at all. But it is a damn good heritage centre that charts the fascinating history of the town and its surrounding areas. It’s family-friendly and provides a great afternoon of learning about the Battle of Stratton, Bude‘s importance in the English Civil War and inventor Sir Goldsworthy Gurney while sheltering from the rain. There are also three art galleries, the Limelight café, a gift shop and a dog-friendly decking area that’s open all year. Click the ‘Read More’ button for more details!

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2) Avoid the rain by swimming in a pool…

The 25m pool at Better, Bude Leisure Centre (formerly known as Splash Leisure Pool), to be exact. Yes, you can’t beat a leisure centre when the storm clouds roll in. There’s a ton of activities at this centre in Stucley Road that you can read all about on its website here. There’s that big pool which comes equipped with a 33m indoor flume and a wave machine for the kids (and big kids). And then there’s a gym with more than 50 equipment stations. And a ton of daily fitness classes. There’s a welcoming vibe and, well, a roof over your head here.

3) Watch a fab flick at the Rebel Cinema

Nothing beats stepping back in time and watching a film like folks used to do in, well, in this case in the 1980s. The family-run Rebel Cinema is in the Poundstock area on the outskirts of Bude, just past Widemouth Bay (get a bus or taxi if you’re not driving as it takes only about 10 minutes from the town centre) and it’s a proper blast from the past, dating back to 1988. Inside, though, it’s actually pretty modern with two screens showing the latest blockbusters, surround sound, 3D options and popcorn in the foyer. Read all about this unique cinema here.

4) Let’s go bowling, dude (and soft play too!)

Ten bowling lanes. Four floors of soft play in one huge children’s room. A bar stocked with great drinks. A fab snack eatery with hot meals and refreshments. This really is the ultimate in getting out of the drizzle and settling down for a few hard-fought frames of ten pin bowling as the kids hit that massive, seemingly never-ending soft play area all afternoon. Pool tables, air hockey and an array of arcade-like games for all ages complete the experience at The Venue in Stucley Road (near that great leisure centre!). Strike out here for more details.

6) Chill out, man… in a spa!

When it’s raining cats and dogs outside, you need to be pampered. And the W Club Leisure and Spa at Whalesborough Farm, just off the A39 at Marhamchurch on the outer edge of Bude, is perfect. It boasts a dizzying area of spa treatments, all designed to relax you in these plush, tranquil surrounds. There’s also a (deep breath) swimming pool, jacuzzi, Swedish sauna, aroma steam room, drench shower, gym, fitness classes and even some tennis courts. In fact, we’d go so far as to say this is one of the best spas in Cornwall. Discover more here.

6) Craft it up… 1940s style!

“We are not just a shop. We are an experience.” The Kitchen Front is certainly that. Come rain (or shine, for that matter), head into this unique 1940s-inspired ‘experience’ in Bude‘s Lower Wharf that offers daily creative workshops (like ‘family ceramic painting’ and history talks) and pop-up events dedicated to the kitchen. All of the cute handcrafted kitchenware, fabric and gifts on show have been designed by artist Clair Roberts and are for sale. Then there’s the 1940s-themed tea room that just has to be seen to be believed. See here for details.

7) Shop in an eco-friendly bohemian paradise

Shopping doesn’t get much wilder than at, well, Wildwood in Bude‘s Lansdown Road. This store, which is open seven days a week, stocks a wide range of eco-friendly and fair trade products. So much so, in fact, that you find you lose yourself after a while, which is great when it’s pouring down outside. Unique gift ideas, ethnic goods, fair trade textiles, artisanal jewellery and clothes, you name it, it’s here. Wildwood, which opened in 2000, boasts seven rooms in its 19th century repurposed cottage. Check out more details on this bohemian paradise here.

8) Re-enact that scene from ‘Ghost’ at the Parsons

Okay, so the point of this list is to stay in town on a rainy day. But Parsons Pottery is literally just a couple of miles down the coast at Quinceborough Farm off the A39 next to Widemouth Bay, so if you’ve got a car or even jump a taxi, this place is worth the short trip if you want to try your hand at making or painting earthenware clay pots. John and Rosie Parsons run a range of classes and workshops to suit all ages and group sizes. To find out more about the Parsons and their creative classes, head here. The best pottery in Cornwall awaits!

9) Create a masterpiece in a glass art workshop

The frankly awesome name of this glass art workshop says it all. If it’s raining and you’re bored, make a bee-line for Beau Nidol for something fascinating and different to do. This place at Bude‘s Lower Wharf creates glassware masterpieces like the wave formation (above). Take part in half-day workshops in the studio here with the experts or just pop in to browse the glass artworks and gifts in the shop. Teenagers can take part in the workshops as long as they are over 12 years old. Discover Beau Nidol here.

10) Hole up in a medieval church house

Okay, have you come to this list because it’s raining outside and you’re in Bude? Yes? Okay. And is it Wednesday? Good. Between 10am and 4pm? Excellent. And it’s somewhere between Easter and 20 October, yeah? Great! In that case, visit Poundstock Gildhouse, just off Vicarage Lane on the edge of Bude. Apologies, this ancient building (the best preserved example of a ‘continually in use’ medieval church-house in Cornwall) is only open on Wednesdays, 10am to 4pm in season. Entry is free though and you get a tea and a biscuit. More here.

11) Stand in a tunnel… no, really, stand in a tunnel…

Some call Bude Tunnel an architectural masterpiece. They stand in awe at the way it goes straight, creating ‘perspex memories’ every step of the way. Others call it ‘just a tunnel’. But who’s listening to them? In the rain, the only tunnel that Bude has to offer provides both shelter and Instagram opportunities so you can show your mates that you’ve been to one of the town’s most talked-about attractions. It’s free, it goes from the Sainsbury’s car park to Crooklets Road and, according to some, it’s everything you ever wanted. To find out more, Google it!

12) Hit up one of Bude’s unique indoor events

Finally, if you hit it just right then one of the best things to do in Bude in a storm is to enjoy one of the town’s indoor events and festivals, especially its eclectic music offerings like the Bude and Stratton Folk Festival in May or the Bude Jazz Festival that takes place at the end of August. Click the ‘Read More’ button below to find out about the annual Bude Jazz Fest but head to our Events section to explore other Bude events to hit up over the coming months. And then go and explore these 12 awesome things to do on a rainy day in Bude! Enjoy!

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And a camping/glamping bonus…

Sure, it may be rainy out there but who cares if you’re in a tent, caravan, treehouse or some sort of luxurious glamping pod? Bude is a haven for amazing campsites and glamping destinations. Read our special feature in partnership with Hipcamp on the best camping and glamping sites in Bude by clicking: here. To go straight to Hipcamp‘s special recommendations for camping and glamping in Bude, click: here.

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