Set behind Bude's popular Summerleaze beach is the 1930s Bude Sea Pool. Whilst Summerleaze is a fantastic, wide, sandy beach it does face into the Atlantic Ocean meaning it is subject to big waves and strong currents from time to time. The outdoor pool was created to allow safe bathing in seawater in any conditions, without the tides or waves. That said, at high tides the sea may overflow into the pool which can be dangerous in big seas.
The pool is patrolled by lifeguards during the summer months making it perfect for kids. There is also the added bonus that the water in the pool warms up quickly and is usually considerably warmer than the sea.
Part natural, part man-made this tidal lido is built into the cliffs and rocks that the beach backs onto. It is a very respectable size - 290 feet (88 m) by 140 feet (43 m), making it more than big enough for all levels of swimmers. In fact the RNLI and the Bude Surf Lifesaving Club both use the pool for training and exams.
The pool was built with donations from the Thynne family, amongst others. Today, despite almost 60,000 people visiting Bude Sea Pool every year, making it the town's top visitor attraction, funding is a little tighter. Some of the pool's upkeep and maintenance is now provided by the Friends of Bude Sea Pool, a volunteer charity organisiation.
Whilst the Sea Pool might be Bude's most popular attraction there is in fact another, lesser known open air pool. Tommy's Pit (named after Sir Thomas Acland) is another pool located at the opposite end of the beach by Barrel Rock. Opened in 1859 it was built as a men-only bathing pool.