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Bude Sea Pool

With 422 miles of coastline, it’s hard to resist the allure of the ocean in Cornwall. With beautiful beaches around every rugged corner and an assortment of watersports to keep you well and truly entertained, making the most of the Cornish coast is a sea breeze.

Looking across the sea at Bude Sea Pool at high tide as surfers ride the waves at Summerleaze Beach

When it comes to coastal destinations in Cornwall, Bude is a firm favourite, with a variety of beaches, winding clifftop footpaths, and rockpools promising aquatic adventures aplenty - not to mention a mouth-watering array of ice creams on offer. Of course, one of the highlights of any visit to this seaside haven has to be the famous Bude Sea Pool on Summerleaze Beach, which offers beachgoers a giddy mix of salty seas and swimming-pool-calm.

Spend your days bobbing in the relaxed waters of the pool, watching the waves roll in from a distance, before drying yourself down and heading into town for an equally refreshing drink at one of the many great pubs - the ultimate way to end your day by the sea! 

Excited to visit Cornwall’s supreme sea pool? Here’s everything you need to know before you visit…

History of Bude Sea Pool

Colourful beach huts sit in rows above the still waters of Bude Sea Pool as someone swims across the pool

Part natural and part manmade, Bude Lido is one of the most iconic sea pools in Cornwall and the town’s number one attraction. Built in the 1920s as a safe haven for holidaymakers and locals to enjoy the benefits of sea swimming in a calm and sheltered way, Bude Sea Pool has been welcoming eager swimmers since the 1930s.

The architecture of the sea pool is very clever, with the front walls sitting lower than the tide line to ensure a fresh rotation of sea water at high tide without the use of pumps. To this day, the simple design blends seamlessly with the beach’s rugged cliffs, providing a beautifully natural setting for a wild(ish) swim. Floating in the gentle waters with the sun shining overhead, it’s easy to see why Bude Sea Pool remains popular to this day.

Originally built by local estate owners, the pool is now under the care of the charity Friends of Bude Sea Pool. They work hard to make sure the pool remains safe and in good condition, and while the pool is free, you can donate to the upkeep on their page

Visiting Bude Sea Pool today

Looking across Summerleaze Beach at low tide at Bude Sea Pool

Free to enjoy and no need to book, you can rock up and make the most of Bude Sea Pool whenever the mood strikes! The only thing we recommend is to avoid the pool around an hour and a half before and after high tide.

A wonderfully unique wild swimming experience, the lido/rockpool hybrid is great for a range of activities for all ages, from sea swimming to stand-up paddleboarding - you can even practise your snorkelling! Bude Sea Pool is 91m long and 45m wide, with three full lengths measuring roughly 250m if you fancy tracking your laps. Because of tidal movements, the conditions and topography can alter daily – with sandbanks randomly arising one day and shoals of fish being deposited by the waves another. It is therefore tricky to determine the depth of the pool from day to day, so always take care when entering the water (no diving).

Open year-round, Bude Sea Pool often matches the temperatures of the sea, with lows of around 9 degrees in the winter, 11 degrees in the spring, and up to 18 degrees in the summer months. You will often see hardy locals entering the pool throughout the year, but we recommend working up to winter swimming or wearing a wetsuit to stay safe. When the sun is high in the sky, there’s no better place to cool off than Bude’s salt-kissed lido. 

While there are no toilets at the pool, there are some in both the Summerleaze and Crooklets beach car parks, as well as lots of amenities in Bude itself, including cafés and restaurants galore. You’re welcome to bring picnics to enjoy by the sea pool too, and what a picnic spot it is!

What to do in and around Bude Sea Pool

Summerleaze Beach in Bude with golden sand and waves rolling in and Bude Sea Pool in the distance

Bude is full of fun things to see and do, allowing you to create a jam-packed day out when visiting the sea pool. Summerleaze Beach is a popular spot for surfing, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie – you can hire boards and even learn to surf with the lovely folks at Bude Surfing Experience on both Summerleaze Beach and Widemouth Bay. Summerleaze is also dog-friendly year-round, so you can bring the whole pack when visiting (just make sure to keep the pup on a lead between May and September, 10am to 6pm).

Overlooking neighbouring Crooklets Beach, Ocean Soul Sauna offers a heady mix of sea views and steam – the perfect addition to your blissful beach day! Simply sit back and soak up the sights of the crashing waves before wandering along the sand (at low tide) for a refreshing dip in the sea pool.

If you love nothing more than stretching your legs surrounded by unbeatable views, the South West Coast Path has you well and truly covered with some absolutely breathtaking walks over cliffs, through woodlands, and along the idyllic canal.

Excited to spend your days relaxing in the famous Bude Sea Pool? Explore our beautiful holiday cottages in Bude and start planning some coastal adventures.

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