Widemouth Bay, pronounced wid-muth, sits just a couple of miles south of Bude and while it benefits from all the Bude has to offer, is a slightly quieter setting. It is a beachside village dotted with cafes and bars, plus everything you need for a great day at the beach. Surf hire and surf schools are available and there is a very chilled out feeling to this area.
Widemouth Bay is close to the A39, which makes it easy to explore the North Cornwall and Devon coastline. Only a short drive away are the historic villages of Tintagel and Boscastle, steeped in legends and folklore. Padstow is less than an hour’s drive from Widemouth Bay, and is favoured among foodies with many talented chefs serving up fresh local food.
Widemouth Bay sits just off the A39 Atlantic Highway, between Bideford in Devon and Camelford in Cornwall. The easiest way to reach it is by car.
It is only 23 miles from the main A30 via the B3254, or you can reach it by leaving the M5 at Junction 31 Exeter, thereby skirting the north side of the dramatic landscape of Dartmoor as you head towards the A30.
Alternatively, take the M5 to Junction 27 at Tiverton and follow the North Devon Link Road (A361) thereby avoiding Exeter. This way, you arrive via the Atlantic Highway, a special stretch of A39 from Barnstaple to Newquay, bear in mind that it’s a bendy road so it’s slower.
If you’re driving to North Cornwall in a plug-in electric vehicle, see our list of charging locations here.
There are two main car parks at Widemouth Bay, and they’re right next to the two beaches; Widemouth Bay and Black Rock. Both generous in size, but in high summer the beach car parks can become crowded.
Widemouth Bay car park is owned by Cornwall Council, and has 560 spaces. From 1 April – 31 October prices start from £1.10 up to £8.40 for 24 hour parking, during the off-peaks months it’s only 60p for the day.
Black Rock car park is privately owned, and is manned by a parking attendant. It costs £4 for 3 hours, or £5 for all-day parking and there’s around 400 spaces.
You can also park at the Viewing Point to the north of Widemouth Bay, as there are 50 car parking spaces and no charge but this is extremely busy over the summer months. There’s is a converted horse box here which sells a delicious cup of coffee, homemade cakes and snacks. The coastal path takes you straight down the beach with stunning views, but it is rather steep in places, so not ideal if you’re carrying lots of beach clobber.
For its size Widemouth Bay has a great selection of eateries, with plenty of options to appease your appetite.
A morning at the beach can build up quite a hunger, so head to Black Rock Cafe for a hearty lunch. With a selection of choice, such as a filling baguette or tasty ploughmans, you’re sure to return to the beach with some newfound energy. Dog owners will be pleased to know your pup is welcome too.
The Bay View is just a few moments from the beach, meaning you can watch the crashing waves as you tuck into some pub classics – we recommend the ‘posh spicy seafood cocktail’. Recently undergoing a large extension, there’s plenty of space for family meals, plus it’s dog friendly. Be sure to wash your meal down with a local ale or Cornish gin.
On the road between Widemouth Bay and Bude sits Elements restaurant, which is well worth a visit for its modern Italian menu and stunning sea views. Choose to dine in the panoramic sea view restaurant, the bar lounge, or there’s a new extension where dogs can join too. If the sun is shining eat alfresco on the outside terraces. Serving delicious pizzas, local fish and irresistible desserts, there’s something for everyone.
Break Bar at The Beach House is a funky set up, as the unique venue as it has private access to the beach at the bottom of the garden. With a secret hideaway feel, the menu focusses on sea food, naturally, and there’s a street food vibe with an eclectic mix of global cuisines. On a Sunday they do ‘Roast on the Coast’, a real British classic!
Widemouth Manor – on the way to nearby Millook – benefits from a cliff top location, overlooking Widemouth Bay’s dramatic coastline. With daily specials to highlight locally-sourced ingredients, to award-winning Phillip Warren steaks, you’ll find something to tempt you. The adults-only Sunset Drinks lounge, is the perfect date-night spot, and as the name suggests, the sunsets from here are stunning.
With a relaxed surf vibe, overlooking the beach at Widemouth Bay, sits Widemouth Bay Cafe. Open all year round this is a great spot if you want to grab a Farmer Tom’s West Country Ice Cream or relax with a illy coffee. In fact, you may want to start the day here and tuck into a ‘Widdy Big Breakfast’ or one of their organic fruit smoothies.
With two wonderful beaches, Widemouth Bay and Black Rock will have the kids exploring rock pools, building sandcastles and experiencing the beautifully clear water. If they happen to tire from the beach, there’s still plenty to do nearby.
At Black Rock kids can take a spin on a go kart, plus there’s a JCB sand pit for excavating fans.
Head to Bude and take on a leisurely family trip on Bude’s Canal. You can choose from rowing boats with oars or a jolly swan or VW beetle pedalo. Buoyancy aids are provided and you’ll find Bude Boat Hire down at the Wharf. Nearby there’s also Budehaven Recreation Ground with crazy golf, tennis, bowling, putting, squash and table tennis, if you fancy some family competition.
For indoor entertainment The Venue, which is also in Bude has bowling and soft play. Right next door, if you want some indoor swimming, is Bude Leisure Centre, with its 25m pool, plus kids and big kids alike will love the flume and wave machine.
You’d struggle to beat the Widemouth Bay area for an introduction to the beauty of surfing, with great water quality, consistent waves and wide expanse of sand. And there are plenty of local surf schools to help you on your surfing journey.
OA Surf Club is a surfing and coasteering school, with 35 years of experience, the team’s relentless passion and commitment provides an ideal start to surfing.
Local surfing European champion Reubyn Ash also runs a surf school here at Widemouth Bay. Reubyn has over 30 years experience in the water, and is a fully qualified SLSGB Lifeguard and ISA Surf Coach.
With over 15 years experience in taking small groups, families and individuals on surfing lessons in and around Widemouth Bay, Freewave Surf Academy is here to help on surfing, SUP and coasteering.
There are plenty of places locally to hire all the surfing paraphernalia too. Black Rock Cafe Surf Hire has a selection of bodyboards, surfboards and wetsuits to hire, as does Widemouth Bay Surf Co. and Trelawny Surf Hire.
The Bay View Inn recently opened Offshore Arts Restaurant and Gallery, a creative space supporting the work of talented artists, writers and musicians from North Cornwall. During the summer there will be a calendar of visiting art exhibitions, but shows will be on display all-year round along with a range of artisan products to buy.
When the sun is shining, it is a breath-taking place to spend your day. Try a stretch of coast path walk along dramatically eroded cliffs (be careful to stick to the paths and keep dogs on leads), play on the sandy flat beach at low tide, and check for wildlife among the plethora of rock pools in the rockier parts of the shoreline. There is something for every beach-lover.
Both Widemouth Bay and Black Rock are lifeguarded during high season, the sea is of excellent water quality, perfect for water sports but equally equipped for a gentle paddling session with small children. In winter, the exposed waves can be a little wild, the elements providing for superb storm-watching, when the beaches are excellent for dog-walking. Don’t forget to catch a sunset too, they’re pretty impressive here.
Head south to Millook a pebbly beach, which is about 2 miles from Widemouth Bay, and is accessible via the coast path, or you can drive, however parking is an issue. Bude is about 2 miles north, and has beautiful beaches aplenty, with the two main ones being Summerleaze Beach and Crooklets Beach.
Widemouth Bay isn’t known as a shopping destination. If you want a proper browse you’ll need to head to nearby Bude. However, at Widemouth Bay, The Beach House Shop specialises in freshly caught fish and local meat. Widemouth Bay Surf Co. sells surfing goods, while at The Bay View Inn they sell a range of local artwork, artisan goods and sustainable products. There’s also a small gift shop at Black Rock.
For a rainy day, just off the A39 at Poundstock is a lovely independent cinema, The Rebel, the perfect place to spend a few hours – popcorn at the ready. As Widemouth Bay is close to the A39 you’ve good access to plenty of Cornish hot spots, such as Boscastle, Padstow and Rock. Sure to be on your Cornish bucket list, The Eden Project is just over an hour’s drive.
The village of Widemouth Bay is fairly recent in comparison to many Cornish villages, consisting mainly of bungalows built during the twentieth century. Widemouth Bay does have a rather tiny church, Our Lady and St Anne, the church’s modest dimensions earned it a place in Dixe Wills’ 2016 book Tiny Churches.
If you were hoping to catch some live music on your Cornish getaway, you’ll often find local musicians playing at both The Bay View Inn and Elements.
You’re in a fantastic location for a bit of rambling. The coastal walk into Bude follows the coast north and takes around an hour. A scenic walk, you’ll pass Phillip’s Point Nature reserve, over Efford Down, as you enter Bude take in the iconic Storm Tower at Compass Point. The route then turns inland at the Bude breakwater and follows the canal from the sea lock into Bude.
If you wanted to, you can make this a 10km circular route by continuing along the canal towpath to Helebridge and following the footpaths over fields from Whalesborough to the coast.
If you’re up for a challenge take on the south west coastal path to Crackington Haven. It’s a good stomp, and is just over 6 miles. It’s rather strenuous in parts but the views are worth it if you can handle the steepness.
The weather is ever-changing in Cornwall, like the rest of the UK. The warmest months are usually July and August but September can be lovely too. Make sure you have a cosy place from our website to stay.
There are public toilets at Widemouth Bay car park.
This characterful little coastal community has something for everyone, with pretty amazing sunsets, too.