With Adventure Daddy away in India, and feeling a little fed up with house renovations, Oskar and I were in need of some adventure. Luckily having an identical twin, one can always be sure that there is someone not too far away that feels the same! Cue some last-minute spontaneous adventure! Yeaaaaaaaaaah!
With the campervan packed with two twins, one four-year old, one three-year old, one two-year old and enough snacks and food to sustain a small army, we headed west to a new county and our 9th family camping trip of the year.
We were heading to Bude in North Cornwall for a week of family and beach-filled craziness. Having found a good last-minute detail on ‘Pitchup’, Wooda Farm Holiday Park was our destination of choice, and what a great option it was! Although it is a very ‘structured’ campsite with lots of pitches with electric hook ups in perfectly manicured plots, we ended up in the top field, which is just a massive field, which with three small children was perfect! We had a tonne of space, an electric hook up and the best views in the house, looking down towards the cliff tops and sea. We couldn’t have asked for more!
Having never been to Bude, and it being a very spontaneous trip, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect, but what a cool little seaside town! There are loads of beaches around Bude but we headed to Summerleaze Beach, which was great – great surf for those who love surfing and body-boarding and for those with bigger kids, but also when the tide is low, there are loads of pools, absolutely perfect for little people to paddle and swim in.
On the first day we made our base right at the back of the beach in the dunes, which was great; really protected, great for digging and sandcastles and close to ice-cream! However on our second day we based ourselves right down by the pools – sure, it’s a lot more windy and you have to hike a bit more for your ice-creams, but the boys were in swimming and sandcastle heaven!
We hadn’t come particularly well equipped and needed to buy the boys a shortie-wetsuit to keep them warm enough, but we picked these up in the kiosk for about £10 each – total bargain. We also got them a little boogie-board each, which they sort of got the hang of, but mostly just seemed to enjoy running and dragging them along the sand. So even if you turn up empty handed you can pick up all the seaside gumph that you need for a pretty reasonable price, which is nice to know.
The boys also LOVED going down to the ‘big sea’ for some wave jumping, which always ended up in someone taking a full dip, but provided hours of amusement. The lifeguards were on duty too, and kindly let the kids sit on their jetski, which made their day.
All in all Bude had a great family feel, with loads of variety within a single beach. There was even an ocean pool, which loads of families headed to. We highly recommend it.
Half way through the week the inevitable happened for a British Summer holiday and it absolutely chucked it down with rain…. Cue softplay hell. But at least there was that option. We headed to ‘The Venue’ in the centre of Bude, which has bowling and a softplay all conveniently located under one roof. We attacked both.
After three whole soul-destroying hours in softplay we had had more than we could take, but it absolutely served its purpose and the kids loved it. And actually as far as soft plays go, it was pretty good – large enough to keep them amused and clean enough that you didn’t feel like you were all going to emerge with some sort of contagious disease. The only issue was that given the dreadful weather, just about every young family from Bude and the surrounding areas were also in there, creating that hot, sweaty, airless environment that every parent who has ever been to softplay, knows well.
As the rain continued to teem down we headed into the bowling alley. Now, it’s fair to say that bowling is very much not a game for toddlers, who all lost interest within about 10 minutes and wandered off into the amusements to sit in the car driving video game, having to be dragged back every time it was their go. But at least Cath and I had fun! Luckily for a pair of competitive twins we won one game each, preventing any sulking or grudges.
The rain had just about stopped when we emerged so we headed back to Wooda and had a bit of a play in the playground to get some much-needed fresh air. We hardly scratched the surface of what Wooda had to offer…. There were more playgrounds, farm animals, restaurants, bars (as if!), beauty salons… you name it! But we spent all our time in the top field, riding bikes and running around and that was enough for us.
The weather forecast for the next day was slightly better, but not exactly beach weather, so we did a quick google search of things to do in the local area and decided to drive down to Boscastle – a National Trust area.
This turned out to be SUCH a fantastic day – a totally unexpected little gem! (but totally expected for anyone that had done any research before their trip!) It was a scenic 14 mile lovely drive down the coast to Boscastle, and by the time we arrived the sun had emerged from the clouds and it was perfect weather for a stroll.
Boscastle is a beautiful harbour village on a natural inlet. It was once an important commercial port, being the only harbour along the whole of the harsh north-Cornwall coast throughout the 19th Century. The harbour trade declined after the railway came to the area in 1893, leaving behind a quaint little village and harbour, now frequented by fisherman.
We enjoyed a gorgeous amble through the picturesque village towards the harbour. We made it to the sea and had a good scramble over the rocks on the cliff-side, before some pretty threatening grey clouds rolled over and we decided to begin our retreat.
The great thing about it being a National Trust area is that just as it started to pelt it down and we began to run back inland, we found ourselves conveniently heading towards a delightful National Trust café. Yea! So we took shelter and enjoyed some hot bevvies, poked around the gift shop, bought some fudge as evidence to the husbands that we were thinking of them, and then when the clouds and rain had passed, headed back outside and back to the car.
Boscastle is an absolute must if you are in the area – a joy to stroll around and explore. Although we only stayed in the village and harbour area, there are plenty of coastal walks around the area, which are described on the National trust website.
It was only about 3pm when we had finished at Boscastle and we didn’t want to head back ‘home’ yet, so we headed in the right direction, looking for somewhere to stop enroute. We drove past Widemouth Bay and, given the weather was reasonable again, decided one last beach stop was needed.
Well, there is one word to describe Widemouth…. WINDY! This has much to do with it being an incredibly exposed, wild stretch of coastline, with 2 miles of beach facing directly west straight into the full force of the Atlantic Ocean. Great for surfers…. Not so great for toddlers wanting to build sandcastles and Mummies wanting to sit and relax!
We really did look like proper English tourists on holiday… fully clothed in water/windproof jackets, sat on a rug, sheltering behind a windbreak trying our best to just ‘get on with it!’ It was quite a sight. Especially as our set up was repeated all over the beach by other hardy families who were determined to withstand the on-shore wind and enjoy their beach holiday!
However, after 45minutes of being pelted with sand, we decided to retreat to ‘Widemouth Bay Café’ just behind the beach for some shelter and an ice-cream (as any parent will know, ice-cream had been used as the bribe for good behaviour all day, and since the boys had actually been pretty good, we needed to follow through with our reward). Although we only indulged in ice-creams (absolutely delicious by the way), others were tucking into all sorts of yummy looking meals – it definitely looked like a good place for a re-fuel and TripAdvisor gives it some great reviews.
While we had been in the café we had however looked at the weather forecast for the following day, which was due to be the last day of our holiday. Annoyingly the weather looked terrible, with a load more rain on the way. So, whilst high on ice-cream, we had decided that we would leave that evening and drive back late rather than ‘killing time’ in the rain and suffering a soggy pack down the following day.
Not wanting to dirty all our pots/pans/crockery etc again, we decided to bomb back to Bude and pick up some fish and chips to celebrate our final supper, before heading back to pack up camp. Being a British seaside town, there were clearly loads to choose from, but we got ours from ‘Sizzlers Restaurant’ and it was DELICIOUS! We ate it all huddled up in the campervan and it was a brilliant end to our great British seaside get-away in the campervan.
The weather had been predictably unpredictable, but we had made the most of our days, come rain or shine. Bude is a super-cool beach and absolutely perfect for families. The town has loads of amenities, shops and services and we would totally recommend Wooda Holiday Park (top field!) for camping. Thanks to Bude, North Cornwall for being our 9th family campout of 2017 and for allowing us some awesome Twin and Cousin time :o)