Days Out: The Castle, Bude in Cornwall

Despite the name, The Castle isn’t actually a castle, but a fine building located close to the beach in Bude, Cornwall. It’s more of a heritage centre than anything else; but one worth visiting if you’re interested in the history of the area.

The Castle was built by and was the home of noted Cornishman, Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, who was a pioneering engineer and inventor; surgeon, chemist, lecturer, consultant, architect and builder in the Victorian era. In 1830 he set about building a new house in the sand hills of Summerleaze Beach. The house was built on an innovative concrete raft foundation; making it the first building of its kind in the UK. The house still stands today, though it has been extended and converted into the art gallery and heritage centre.

Days Out: The Castle, Bude in Cornwall

The Castle is free to enter and contains displays and information about Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, shipwrecks and the history of lifesaving in the area. Battles and the English Civil War, the Bude Canal and Railway and the geology of the area. There is a really interesting display bout the second world war too. I really like that the building is packed full of history, right up to the present day. There’s a lot packed in and it’s a fine way to spend an hour or two.

Downstairs there is a large room dedicated to the history of Bude. I especially liked the display which showed how long it takes for litter and plastics to biodegrade. There are also examples of the geology of North Cornwall and my favourite bit, a selection of artefacts from boats which were wrecked in Bude. There’s also a fascinating display about the life of Archie Jewell who was a local boy who worked as a look-out on the Titanic.

Upstairs is the Cafe Limelight; a lovely cafe with panoramic views from its conservatory towards Bude Canal, the harbour and Summerleaze beach. There’s also a good gift shop and two galleries which host an ever-changing exhibition programme showcasing the talents of local artists and craftspeople.

Days Out: The Castle, Bude in Cornwall

It’s a fine place to stop off for a while if you’re visiting Bude. I like to pop in each time I’m in the area for a look around and a cup of coffee in the cafe. It’s obviously a popular hub for local people and the galleries are always worth visiting.

It’s not a castle, so don’t visit with expectations of medieval stonework and tales of kings and queens. What you will find is a good heritage centre full of interesting pieces of local history; a great cafe and a real hub for local artists.

The Castle, Bude is open daily between 10am – 5pm and it’s free to visit. It’s located at The Wharf, Bude, EX23 8LG. For more information, visit their website.

Exploring Bude with a Treasure Trails map

Every summer for the last 15 years we have holidayed near Bude in North Cornwall. It’s an area we both know pretty well, we have both separately been coming here since we were babes in arms. It’s stunning, when the sun shines there is nowhere better and there are things to do if you can tear yourself away from the beach. Now we have the boy and the dog to entertain, our holidays are less book-beach-pub and more play-paddle-ice cream. Today we decided to do something different, we downloaded a Treasure Trails map, explored Bude and discovered something new about one of our favourite places.

Exploring Bude with a Treasure Trails map

The Bude Treasure Trails map has a murder mystery theme and we’d picked it (there were a few different trails in the area) because it was short and dog friendly. The route should have taken 90 minutes and was only 1.5 miles. I’m not sure if the distance was accurate, but I clocked up 9000 steps on my fitbit during the walk. 

We began in the car park near the Tourist Information Centre and made our way up to St Michael and All Angels Church (I’m going to be a bit vague about the route, lest I give any clues away). Fortuitously, we arrived at the church during coffee morning, so we left clutching courgette and poppy-seed buns to nibble as we walked.

Exploring Bude with a Treasure Trails map

The map and clues took us on a winding route down by the Bude canal and over to Bude Castle – a building I’ve never explored before but one we will be visiting properly later in the week. We ambled into town, up the high street and across to the headland with stunning views over Summerleaze beach, the famous Bude Sea Pool and beyond. 

The route took us over 3 hours, but we had several pit-stops along the way; coffee at Bude Castle; a spot of lunch at Life’s a Beach, overlooking Summerleaze beach and of course the coffee morning at the church. 

Exploring Bude with a Treasure Trails map

We discovered some beautiful, secret, interesting parts of Bude we’ve never noticed before. The Treasure Trails map encouraged us to look up, look down, look at nooks and crannies and to really take note of our surroundings. Plus finding out who dunnit was pretty fun too!

Top Tips for doing Treasure Trails 

⊗ Take a pen
⊗ Don’t entrust your only pen to the person most likely to lose it
⊗ Put your map in a plastic pocket to protect it from the elements
⊗ Wear shoes you’re comfortable walking in
⊗ Don’t forget your sun cream (and brolly)
⊗ Allow extra time for coffee breaks and ice cream

Order your Treasure Trail online and either print it out yourself, or they can send you your trail in the post. There are 1000 trails to choose from across the UK, you can search for a trail on the Treasure Trails website. The description helpfully tells you how much walking (or sometimes cycling or driving) you will need to do; how long it should take and if the trail is accessible or not.

Each Trail is an A5 booklet of 8 pages and costs £6.99. They have three themes; Murder Mystery, Treasure Hunt and Spy Mission. It depends on your location which theme you’ll be given, but all the details for each trail can be found on their website

The Treasure Trails are a brilliant way to spend a few hours exploring with your family. We had such a fun time together. Our six year old has been asking (and asking, and asking) about doing another one tomorrow – a ringing endorsement if ever there was one!

If you’re visiting Bude and would like to follow the trail we did, you can find it here.

Exploring Bude with a Treasure Trails map

Note: We were given this Treasure Trails map for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own. We loved it and we’re sure your family will too!

Holiday Snaps – from Devon 2016

I’ve got this fancy newish camera which I’ve been trying to use and get used to. I had planned on taking it on holiday to Devon for a week to try and spend some time getting to know it a bit better, but I ended up with a fairly epic chest infection a couple of days before we went and I wasn’t really in the mood.

I decided instead to take my “old” camera, a Nikon Coolpix L820. It’s a bridge camera and whilst it really struggles indoors, outdoors it comes into its own.

Before we headed down the M6 towards the South West one of my friends challenged me to take 5 decent photos of Devon. I don’t think I’ve managed that, but I have chosen some pictures which will make me smile.

It wasn’t a particularly great holiday, we’d booked an especially skanky cottage and ended up having to leave after three days and go and stay elsewhere. It was a shame, after everything we’ve been through these past few months I just really needed a rest, a break from the norm and some time to reflect and recover. But maybe that’s something for another blog post. Back to the photos….

Day one of our holiday we got in the car and went for a drive to get our bearings. I’ve no idea where this place is, it’s somewhere in Exmoor, somewhere where we stopped for some air. There was purple heather everywhere, gorse in flower and the air was as clear as a bell. I love the colour and texture in this picture.


The first cottage we stayed in didn’t have much to recommend it, but it did have a huge buddleia outside the front door. It was teeming with butterflies and bees, so I snapped this little fella. Isn’t he lovely?


Day two, in an attempt to cheer ourselves up we headed to the familiar territory of Westward Ho! It was worth the drive of nearly an hour for the fresh air and the lift in our spirits.


Although he will kill me for sharing this, I adore this photo of my boy running towards his Dad who had just been for a swim in the sea. Again this is Westward Ho!


It’s not an especially lovely photo, but this is the view from the cottage we stay at in Welcombe in North Devon. Waking up to see the church, the sky and a tiny handkerchief of the sea always makes me happy, rain or shine.


On our last night we drove to Bude and had dinner at Life’s a Beach, which by day is a beach cafe and by night a popular bistro. We had a delicious meal and then walked some of it off on the beach afterwards. Here’s the small boy at his cheeky best.


The last night again, this time the beach at Bude, a harbour of sorts. It’s not a great photo, but it is a photo of one of my happy places.


And lastly, on our way home we stopped at Westward Ho! (are you sensing a theme here?) and had fish and chips on the beach for tea. Whilst we waited for dad to come back I took this panorama and the boy played with his new sword and shield. The result is this rather moody shot of a knight which will probably always make me smile.


A mixed holiday for us, some lovely moments, some disappointment, but lots of lovely cuddles with the boys. Looking back I didn’t take any or many decent photos, it’s probably reflective of our mood at the time. We did have fun, we did stick brave smiley faces on for the boy and we did our best to make the best of our holiday. I think he had a good time and that’s all that matters right now.

Crabbing and chips by the sea for Father’s Day

Often pictured but seldom heard, my long suffering husband Matthew has kindly written a guest post for me about what we did on Father’s Day. He’s not a blogger, nor does he have the soul of a poet. He is by nature a man of few words, so this is a rather big deal. Enjoy his tale of crabbing and the best Father’s Day ever…

So far in my life, I’ve had four Father’s Days. Undoubtedly the best was the first in 2011, but 2014 is a very close second.

Father’s Day this year happened when Team HodgePodgeDays were on their annual two week jaunt to Devon. It was nice to be able to have a Father’s Day to ourselves, rather than slaving away at home with a to-do list.

The day started with a very lazy Sunday morning at the cottage, playing in the garden in the morning sun. Eventually we got in the car and drove the few miles to Rosie’s kitchen in Bude for brunch; followed by a stroll on the beach looking for pirate treasure.

After we decided the pirate had taken the treasure with him, we headed back to the cottage for a pitstop and then sped up the coast to Appledore. Appledore is a beautiful village on one side of the estuary of the River Torridge and an ideal place for crabbing.

Unfortunately when we got there the tide was out. We decided to walk down the slipway onto the sands and ambled about looking at the boats resting on the sand and looking into the pools of water. Sooner rather than later, the tide started to come in, so we made our way up to find Mrs HodgePodgeDays, who informed us it was tea time.

So off to Sylvester’s Chip Shop I went and came back with the best cod and chips I’ve ever had. We gobbled the whole lot down sat on a bench on the harbour side; the late afternoon sun on our backs watching the world go by. It was a special moment.

After tea it was nearly time to go as it was nearly bedtime for the little fella. But we wanted to try our hand at crabbing. Seeing as though that’s why we’d come to Appledore. Mrs HPD proved herself a natural at crabbing, baiting the lines with bacon. We soon had a bucketful of crabs and a very happy boy.

Best Father's Day crabbing together

What a fantastic day we’d all had. The lad is going to have to come up with something extra special for Father’s Day next year!