Camping

September Staycation at Sandymouth Bay Vacation Park, Bude Cornwall

After lockdown restrictions lifted we decided to book a UK getaway, choosing our preferred holiday time of mid-September and crossed our fingers hoping that the Cornish weather gods would be kind to us…

Where we stayed

Sandymouth Bay Holiday Resort
Darwin Escapes
Stibb
Bude
Cornwall
EX23 9HW

Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

ReceptionThe reception at Sandymouth Bay Holiday Resort

Accommodation & facilities

Check in was quick and easy and our accommodation was available early for us. Due to Covid-19 check in had changed to 5pm and checkout to a much-too-early 9am, so when we arrived after a long drive just before 4pm, we were relieved to find our caravan was available.

First impressions of the site and facilities were good. Everything looked modern, clean and well designed and finding our caravan was easy, with parking very close by.

From the outside, the first thing we noticed was the lack of outside seating, which we did find a little strange, but inside the caravan, it was exactly as advertised. Size-wise, it was definitely on the small side, but as there were just two of us staying in the two-bedroomed caravan, it was plenty big enough and importantly, it was well equipped.

The caravans are situated fairly close together, but there is a small amount of outside space between each one. However, as the accommodation we chose didn’t include any outdoor seating (which we’d assumed it would), it made it impossible to take advantage of the lovely views.

Thankfully, at the last minute, we’d popped a couple of camp chairs in the car, but we actually had to go out to buy a small table that we could use outside. I’ve stayed in a lot of caravans in my time but never have I stayed in one with no outdoor seating, so we did find it odd and inconvenient, which was a shame as we couldn’t really fault anything else.

Food & Drink

The bar and restaurant area are attractive, and the food was good. Due to Covid-19, the resort was offering restaurant delivery straight to the caravan and we took advantage of the service several times.

The food quality and the prices were good and there was a decent selection to choose from. Mark visited the bar and was happy with the price and selection of beer available too, so in terms of food and drink, the standards were definitely higher than those we’ve encountered at some other holiday parks.

Out & about

Although the break was all about rest and relaxation, we did do a good amount of sightseeing and got out and about to explore the coast.

Sea Kayaking at Port Gaverne

We spent the most amazing day out at Port Gaverne where we booked an afternoon sea kayaking session with Cornish Rock Tors.

The beach at Port Gaverne was perfect for swimming, and both before and after our sea kayaking trip we swam in the clear blue water there. Although it’s small and there’s not much there other than the beach, Port Issac is larger and within walking distance, so we’d recommend parking in Port Issac and walking down the hill to enjoy the sea at Port Gaverne, which was by far our favourite beach for swimming.

Tintagel

Having already visited Tintagel castle, this time we spent the day at the beach where we explored Merlin’s cave and saw a seal who had been cut off in one of the beach caves at low tide get rescued.

The beach directly below the castle is beautiful, with a fantastic small natural pool ideal for splashing around in and a dramatic waterfall. The town of Tintagel itself is full of lovely little shops and cafes so it’s well worth a visit, even if you don’t visit the castle ruins.

Summerleaze Beach & Bude Sea Pool

One of the highlights of our break was visiting Bude sea pool, somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for many years.

Although the weather during the first couple of days was very foggy, it was still warm and the sea pool and beach are a must-visit.

Sandymouth Bay & Northcott Mouth Beach

The beach closest to the holiday park is Sandymouth Bay. Go at low tide and you’ll find a vast sandy beach with rock pools to explore. The waves are a little frisky here, so it’s best for surfers and bodyboarders rather than families wanting a paddle.

Turn left and head down the coast towards Bude and you’ll reach Nortcott Mouth Beach and the wreck of the SS Belem. Continue walking and you’ll get to Crooklets, just make sure you’re aware of the tide times so you don’t get cut off!

Crackington Haven

We had another day out at Crackington Haven and spent a lovely afternoon in the water there. There were some waves here, but it was still relatively gentle and came a close second as the perfect swimming beach to Port Gaverne.

There’s a lovely cafe, public toilets and at low tide, there’s a good stretch of sandy beach to enjoy and lots of rock pools to explore.

What we loved

  • Good value, well-equipped accommodation
  • Good quality food from the on-site restaurant
  • Good location with a stunning beach close by
  • The holiday park is just 10 minutes drive away from the centre of Bude
  • Great on-site facilities for families with a lovely play area for kids
  • Good level of cleanliness and social distancing signage in place throughout the site
  • Everything inside the caravan was clean and in a good state of repair

We didn’t love

  • The nearest beach was further away than we’d expected and takes you down a sketchy single track lane so driving there was the safer, more practical option
  • I found the lack of outdoor seating really strange and limited our ability to use the outside space

The verdict

Our Rating

Location 4/5

Accommodation 3.5/5

Site Facilities 4/5

Value 4.5/5

Overall Rating 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

We chose mid-September to go away as we thought most kids would be back at school, however, there were still plenty of families with school-age children holidaying whilst we were there – earplugs helped drown out the unwelcome early morning shrieks of kids up early and out playing. As a parent with a grown-up daughter, my tolerance for noisy children is pretty low!

The accommodation was good value for money and the caravan was well equipped with everything we needed to self cater. We took advantage of the restaurant delivery service a few times and each meal was tasty, decent enough quality and good value for money too.

The location was great with loads of amazing beaches not far away and plenty of things to see and do. Whilst the holiday park wasn’t as close to the beach as we’d thought/hoped, we thought that Sandymouth Holiday Resort was a lovely place to stay and somewhere we’d definitely consider staying again.

Insider Tips

  • Depending on what accommodation you choose you may find no outdoor seating or furniture, in which case we’d recommend taking camp chairs and a camp table with you.
  • Although the beach is under a mile away, it’s down a steep single track road and we didn’t feel safe on foot. If you have small children or mobility issues, we’d recommend not attempting the walk and instead taking the car down to the National Trust run carpark a few minutes drive from the holiday park.
  • Bude is a lovely little seaside town and it’s only around a 10 minute drive away from the holiday park, Summerleaze beach is home to Bude Sea pool which is well worth a visit.
  • You can hire rowing boats or pedalos in from Bude Rowing Boats which makes for a leisurely way to while away an hour or so. Located at Lower Wharf in Bude.
  • If you fancy a guided sea kayaking adventure then we can thoroughly recommend Cornish Rock Tors who run a range of different activities from their base in Port Gaverne.
  • Due to Covid-19 may tourist attractions require pre-booking. Places like the hugely popular Tintagel castle require the purchase of timed tickets at the time of writing.
  • Although we paid more to upgrade to a sea view, the views from the standard Prideaux caravans didn’t appear to differ greatly from ours.

Our trip

We booked a 7 day holiday staying in a Prideaux 2 Plus Sea View caravan. Booked through the Darwin Escapes website, we paid £345.

DISCLOSURE | This trip was self-funded and is not a brand collaboration.

Where to next?

Shell Robshaw-Bryan Shell loves all things travel and outdoors and is a nature-loving, comfy-camping kinda girl. Shell started the Camping with Style blog after a serious snowboarding accident which left her with a broken back. Despite this she used the outdoors and healing power of nature to aid her recovery and she continues to spend time outdoors whenever she can.

From open water swimming, snowboarding and kayaking to hill walks and meditation, Shell shares her travels and microadventures here on the blog and in various publications she’s written for, Shell has a particular interest in promoting wellbeing and the many benefits of nature therapy.

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