If you’re seeking the quintessential Cornish experience, look no further than the historic port town of Looe.
Set on the slopes of a wooded valley either side of the River Looe and conjoined by the distinguished seven arches of Looe bridge, this thriving coastal community has enjoyed a rich and illustrious relationship with the sea, its harbour once ruffled by the mizzen sails of its ample lugger fleet.
Today, the laden fishing boats still arrive back at Looe harbour to the excited squall of herring gulls, albeit fewer in number. The Victorian’s once dubbed Looe ‘the playground of Plymouth’ and its reputation as a popular seaside resort has not since wavered.
East Looe Beach, just off the iconic Banjo Pier, is a sheltered bay where the golden sands gently shelve into the sparkling waters, a perfect spot for tots to paddle and play with a bucket and spade. Other beaches nearby include Talland Bay, a cosy inlet that’s ideal for swimming, and the shingle sands of Portwrinkle, with its rockpools and pretty little harbour.
You’re quite literally spoilt for choice when you spend a long weekend in Looe, whether you want to idle away the morning with a mooch around the shops and discover the town’s merchants and artisans, or, if you’re in the mood for an adventure, hop aboard the ferry to Looe Island; a maritime nature reserve and haven for all kinds of wildlife, also once a sacred site for holy pilgrimages.
Learn about Looe’s fascinating history at the town’s museum and marvel at the archives and artefacts that help reveal the stories that shaped this characterful parish.
Looe’s maritime traditions remain an important part of the town’s identity with the waters off Looe Bay teeming with shoals of mackerel, having followed the warmer southern tides to fatten up on sand eels. For visiting anglers, it’s the mackerel that are Looe’s star attraction, a chance to test their sea legs on one of the fishing boat day trips that run out of the harbour. Keep an eye out for the sculpture of Nelson the one-eyed seal, one of Looe Island’s most famous residents, who, for twenty-five years, was often seen swimming in the harbour and became a much-loved tourist attraction.
Looe is linked to the ancient stannary and market town of Liskeard by the Looe Valley Line; an opportunity to enjoy an unhurried, scenic train journey through the wooded valleys and along the sparkling estuary, where at low tide bird enthusiasts are likely to catch a glimpse of little egrets, grey herons, oystercatchers and curlews.
Other tourist attractions close to Looe are The Eden Project, where you’ll discover the awe-inspiring rainforest biome – the largest greenhouse in the world – and the Lost Gardens of Heligan; an award-winning garden restoration set in the gorgeous Cornish countryside near the pretty fishing village of Mevagissey.
Take a look at some of our lovely holiday cottages in Looe, all of them close to South Cornwall’s most spectacular beaches…
Beau Rivage is an impressive Victorian town house tucked away in the hillside and within easy walking distance of Looe town centre. This spacious dwelling – along with its beautiful views – can sleep up to eight guests and also benefits from two enclosed gardens, ideal for barbeques and alfresco dining. It’s also one of our many dog-friendly properties.
Set on a quiet terraced row in East Looe with lovely hillside views towards the harbour is Chy An Nor, a charming fisherman’s cottage with lime white stone walls, traditional sash windows and stable doors. This cosy bolthole has been immaculately finished and boasts lovely bay views from its master bedroom. You’ll only be a short stroll away from Looe’s shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs, and also the town’s popular sandy beach set aside from the iconic Banjo Pier. Chy An Nor sleeps up to four guests.
Flat 2, West Quay House is a stylish waterside apartment with exclusive views of
Looe Harbour. Recently refurbished, this comfortable dwelling offers spacious accommodation on the quieter side of town. Looe’s bustling and colourful town centre is only a ten-minute stroll away.
A stone’s throw from Looe’s sandy beach is Nelsons Cottage, a delightful double- fronted Victorian residence full of all mod cons. Tastefully refurbished, with light and airy reception rooms and a spacious kitchen and dining area, this popular holiday cottage also benefits from its own private parking space. Here, you can wake to sparkling harbour views from the bedroom bay windows.
The Old Barbican is a handsome period property set back in a quiet corner of the fishing port of Looe. With its elegant dining room, impressive oak and granite kitchen, and immaculately appointed bedrooms, it’s easy to see why this beautifully distinguished dwelling continues to attract rave reviews from all those who visit. The Old Barbican sleeps up to eight guests making it ideal for a family gathering or a reunion of old friends.
Coming up in Looe…
Looe Music Festival, Looe (21st – 23rd September)
Expect to find acts on every street corner, in every bar and restaurant, around the harbour and down on the beach as Looe transforms into a festival arena for three days of superb live music and entertainment.
“Looe Music Festival was amazing. That crowd at Looe absolutely blew us away. Probably one of the best settings we’ve ever played at; looking out from the stage at a massive crowd with the sea behind is gorgeous” – Ken, from the band ‘Ferocious Dog’