About Us

A Castle Built on Sand

Built in 1830 by Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, The Castle embodies the spirit of Victorian engineering ingenuity, it was a pioneering building on sand using a concrete raft foundation, the very first of its kind. It is Grade II listed and is arguably Bude’s most significant built heritage.

The Castle has been used for a variety of purposes and is now licensed for civil ceremonies as well as being home to Cafe Limelight, the Heritage Centre, the Willoughby Gallery and Blanchminister Room.

Ground Floor
The exhibitions on the ground floor focus on Bude and the surrounding area, its rich and varied geology and natural history; the town’s development as a port, later as a seaside resort and more recently as a surfing destination.

Over one hundred shipwrecks are recorded on the north coast of Cornwall between 1756 and 1969. Try the navigation interactive and see if you can steer your way through Bude’s treacherous waters and in to the safety of the canal harbour.

First Floor
On the first floor you’ll discover more about Cornwall’s ‘Forgotten Genius’  Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, and his many inventions.  Gurney invented the world’s first mechanised road vehicle to travel over a distance and at a sustained speed.  He discovered Limelight which was used in theatres and music halls and developed the Bude Light which lit Trafalgar Square and the Houses Of Parliament for over sixty years.

The most outstanding event in local history is undoubtedly the Battle of Stamford Hill. Visitors can meet the Cornish Giant, Anthony Payne of Stratton – a Royalist hero in the English Civil War.

The Willoughby Gallery
Temporary exhibitions are held in this room.  Artists can book the space for the display and sale of their paintings/pottery/crafts as can local groups and organisations.  The Castle Manager co-ordinates the programme of exhibitions and should be contacted if you would like to hire the gallery space for an exhibition.


If you would like to find out more about Bude and the surrounding area’s history or if you are researching your family tree, why not make an appointment to visit the archives?

The archives welcomes donations of artefacts, documents and photographs relating to all aspects of life in the Bude – Stratton area.


The Castle Shop has a wide range of gifts, souvenirs and books – particularly local history books.

Admission to the Heritage Centre and Galleries is FREE.


How to get there

From the A39 or A3072 follow the signposts into Bude.  Upon reaching the mini
roundabout go straight ahead and along ‘The Crescent.  Take the first turning
on the right, near the post office and The Castle is immediately in front of you.  If you turn
right at the Bude Light parking is available in the Town Council’s car park to the rear of
the Parkhouse Centre; if you turn left at the Bude Light parking is also available in the Lower Wharf Car Park.