Bude Sea Pool, North Cornwall

Bude Sea Pool, North Cornwall

Part natural, part man-made, Bude sea pool has been drawing salt-kissed bathers for nearly a hundred years. Not only a rare feature of coastal towns but also one of the largest in existence in the UK, it is one of North Cornwall’s most popular attractions and a must-visit in the area.

A view of Bude's colourful beach huts that sit above Bude Sea Pool on Summerleaze Beach

Built into the rocks at the top of Summerleaze beach, Bude sea pool is a semi-natural tidal pool that was enlarged in the 1930s to create a safe haven for sea swimmers. As popular with locals as with holidaymakers, it is open 365 days of the year and provides a superb arena from which to enjoy watery dips safe from the tumbling swells of the Atlantic. Needless to say, if you haven’t been before, then you should definitely pop it on your list of things to see and do in Bude. 

Managed by FoBSP (the Friends of Bude Sea Pool), the pool is managed by a dedicated team of volunteers who raise funds for the management and upkeep of the pool. In the summer months, it’s also manned by a small team of staff (look out for the FoBSP flags) and watched over by lifeguards. Free to use, it can be enjoyed by all generations looking to slip through the tidal pool’s refreshing waters with open skies overhead. For more information, here’s all you need to know...

History of Bude Sea Pool

Bude sea pool was created in 1930 when existing hollows in the rocks were extended and deepened to create the pool you see today. Originally, the Thynne family donated half the funds to create the pool and its surrounding terraces, and it is now managed by the Friends of Bude Sea Pool, a volunteer-run charity. A salty haven for the best part of a century, it is today one of only a few tidal pools left in Cornwall and the UK and is open to the public free of charge year-round. 

A long-distance shot of Bude's Summerleaze Beach with Bude sea pool in the distance

About Bude Sea Pool 

At approximately 91m long and 45m wide, Bude sea pool is nearly double the length of an Olympic swimming pool and is one of the largest tidal pools of its kind in the UK. A semi-natural structure that’s washed by the sea at high tide, its non-chlorinated waters are topped up and refreshed twice a day by the natural comings and goings of the Atlantic. On average, its temperature ranges from around 11°C to 18°C, reaching its warmest towards the end of summer. As it’s filled by the sea, the pool often finds itself deposited with seashells, rocks and even the odd fish or two.

Visiting Bude Sea Pool 

Open 365 days of the year, Bude sea pool is as tempting for balmy summer swims as invigorating winter dips. That said, as the pool’s natural environment changes with the tide and the elements, caution is always advised. If you are visiting with your family, then children need to be supervised by an adult. The lido is even dog-friendly, though pups are requested to be kept on leads and aren’t allowed in the actual pool. Swimming at high tide should be avoided and swimmers are asked to be mindful of pool rules.

Facilities at Bude Sea Pool

If you would like to get changed privately, there are two changing rooms at Bude sea pool which are available during the day in the summer. There is also a number of lockers available so you can safely stow your belongings away should you need to. While there are no food and drink outlets around the pool itself, there is a choice of places to eat and drink in Bude, only a short walk from the pool. With a wide range of shops, cafés, restaurants and bars, you’ll easily be able to refresh and refuel following your swim.

Bude sea pool in winter at high tide with stormy seas swamping the top of the tidal pool's walls

Events at Bude Sea Pool 

Occasionally, Bude sea pool hosts special events that are open to both locals and visitors alike. Ranging from charity swims to seasonal celebrations to dog-friendly swimming days, there all kinds of events that will appeal to all generations. On occasion, you may also see the local RNLI and Surf Lifesaving crews training in the water too. Keep up to date with news and events here

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Bude here.


Sign up to receive our boutique stories…

Stay connected with retreat magic and be the first to know about our new additions. We promise to only fill your inbox with the dreamiest staycation stories and luxury travel moments.