BN1 Visits East Thorne in Bude for some home-comfort Luxury

How staying with independent accommodation businesses can make your staycations more personal

Making a staycation personal is what makes it feel so luxurious. Luxury is also when your breakfast of fresh produce gets delivered right to your door, and Adam enthusiastically ushers you underneath an umbrella as he leads you to your accommodation. Then, you have a choice of spending your day at the communal pizza oven, petting farm animals, grabbing a latte from the horse box converted coffee shop, or perhaps going into Bude and doing some wandering in town or a sporting activity on the beach. This is exactly what is on offer at Naomi and Adam’s campsite, East Thorne in Kilkhampton Cornwall. During my stay, they provided everything possible to make sure my boyfriend and I felt the relaxation and comfort of home, while lavishing in our retreat to the countryside. This made me think that more of us should be opting to make the most of these independently run accommodation businesses scattered around the country, embracing the personalisation and sense of community they offer through their amenities and attention to detail. 

East Thorne is composed of ten timber framed roundhouses, or you can opt to stay in one of the cozy cottages, built on the scenic landscape of Naomi and Adam’s family home. The idea for this romantic and fun glamp-site was established twelve years ago, before glamping was even a popular term, designing a honeymoon space which celebrates the great outdoors and sustainability while maintaining ultimate comfort. Speaking to Naomi, who is understandably proud and passionate of what East Thorne has become, she explained that she and her husband previously had zero experience in hospitality. They just wanted to create accommodation that they themselves would want to stay in – somewhere alternative but luxurious. Understanding this unembellished context behind the business only made me appreciate the whole experience more. With Naomi being from South Wales, and Adam being from Essex, I wondered why they chose Kilkhampton to become their new home. While West Wales and Suffolk were also options to base their adventure, Adam used to go on family holidays to Bude and though his parents never wanted to take the leap to move there, he did. Neither had to sacrifice their love for the coast when they relocated, and in the middle of fresh farmyard fields, it truly is the most gorgeous spot to escape to. 

We arrived and parked the car beside the petting farm of bleating goats and roaming chickens, an immediate indicator of our temporary country lifestyle. Unfortunately, we could not escape the good old English gloomy skies, but Adam was more than accommodating, offering us a brolly and inviting us to the warmth of our roundhouse without any fuss. Straight away, it felt like somewhere familiar and we weren’t treated like customers, but rather like dear guests visiting Naomi and Adam’s home for the night. 

Nomadic wooden beams across the ceiling complete with a skylight, and oak flooring with furniture to match against the royal blue paint work and crisp white linen – we were staying in Neap roundhouse and the design choice is the epitome of classy cosiness. Outside the windows was nothing but green grass, yet the colours throughout the interior were a delightful nod to the seaside. While the large double bed in the middle of the room is bound to catch your attention first, there is also a kitchenette full of details to explore: jars topped with tea bags and a cafetière, and draws full of all the utensils you could need to prepare your favourite home-cooked meals. What’s more, there is a large en-suite bathroom or an extra guest bedroom, and underfloor heating throughout. I couldn’t commend the beautiful decor and amenities enough. 

When booking our stay, we made sure to include the “Banger Brekky Glamper Hamper”, delivered to our door not long after check in, and fully delved into the next morning. A personalised wicker canvas bag full of local produce was possibly the highlight of our stay because the contents truly did live up to the extravagance of its name. We tucked into sausages and bacon from Marsh Farm, and had eggs, honey, porridge oats, butter, ground coffee, apple juice milk and soft baps all freshly sourced. It was more than enough for two people over two mornings, and for the quality of the contents it was of unreal value (£28 for the whole lot). Additions like this to your stay are what make East Thorne memorable, and keeps the significance of supporting independent businesses at the heart of your holiday. 

Bude town centre is just a ten minute drive from Kilkhampton, where you can have the privilege of aimlessly wandering through antique stores and charity shops. First head to The Coffee Pot for a takeaway hot drink, then make sure you visit Polmora@13 for their delightfully soft and sweet Chelsea buns. There are a plethora of quirky cafes and bakeries to choose from as soon as you’re ready for your afternoon stop, because grabbing a Cornish pasty on the south west coast is essential. We strolled along the damp sand of Summerleaze beach, watching dogs joyfully gallop through the waves and climbed up the hills to immerse in the breathtaking coastal views. While we were blessed with a sunny day, the waves remained ferocious; the Autumnal haze over the sea was worth painting. On the other side of Summerleaze, across the golf course is Crooklets beach, complete with perfectly round pebbles and Bude’s natural swimming pool beside the sea. This is the great outdoors Naomi and Adam want us all to embrace and love, right on the doorstep of East Thorne.

While Bude has plenty on offer to discover, it was actually a joy to return back to our accommodation in the evening because there was a hot tub waiting for us and a cloud free sky to compliment it. Even in the middle of Autumn, the bubbling beauty kept me warm and was perfectly private too. However if it is a sense of community you want rather than seclusion, there are al fresco facilities for the whole family. Tucked away by the cottages is a communal pizza oven for an outdoor dinner experience like no other. Then, you can have toasted marshmallows for desert, keeping snug by the central campfire. 

My response when it came to the end of our stay was, why do more people not know about this Cornish delight? Because East Thorne is an independent, family run business, websites such as Airbnb and Tripadvisor are essential but Naomi’s advice is to contact the place you intend to stay separately. Speaking directly to the owners of the business can make your staycation experience so much more personalised because it allows you to get to know the people you will be staying with. They can offer you those extra homely touches that third party websites do not provide. The most effective way to support independent accommodation businesses is to visit yourself, then shout and rave about how amazing your stay was to family and friends. 

Naomi and Adam couldn’t have done much more to make sure we were happy and comfortable, providing us with restaurant recommendations and things to do in the area within the downloadable welcome guide. Over our two night stay, they went above and beyond, and East Thorne is a true diamond within Cornwall’s tourism and hospitality industry.

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