Looe is a small, bustling working fishing port in the south-east of Cornwall. In addition to it being a popular holiday destination dating back to Victorian times. The village sits in a hilly landscape at the mouth of the River Looe. Although the village has evolved throughout the years it has managed to maintain its traditional charm and character.
Looe is divided by the River Looe into East and West Looe and is connected by a seven arch Victorian bridge constructed in 1853. It was originally a single traffic road but following an extension in the 60s now allows two-way traffic. It is a compact old town, construed of rows of straight, narrow lanes featuring quaint shops, cafés and restaurants.
The main beach in East Looe has fine golden sand and slopes gently to the sea offering safe swimming, it is a traditional family beach and when the sun shines is a sun trap. It is easily accessible from the town and has all you need nearby for a relaxing time.
The south facing beaches of Looe with their clear blue waters are ideal for kayaking, canoeing and paddle-boarding. Equipment can be hired locally.
Hannafore Beach in West Looe is the best place to go rock-pooling in low tide.
For some old-fashioned fun have a go at crabbing. The bridge is a perfect spot to catch crabs from. A crab line, a weight, some bacon and a bucket is all that is required to get you going and keep the children entertained. It is advised to let your line drop to the bottom and wait about ten minutes to allow crabs close by to smell the bait.
Looe Museum is in the town's Old Guildhall and Gaol, the museum dates back to the 15th century and narrates the history of the towns fishing, shipbuilding and smuggling past. There is a collection of smugglers memorabilia, exhibits on the town's railway heritage, and model boats. With more than 550 years worth of history there is lots to discover about the town. It is rumoured to have its own resident ghost.
West Looe is home to The Old Sardine factory and is now a heritage centre with a focus on the towns maritime and fishing history and is open throughout the year. It also has a climbing wall, café and restaurant.
From Easter time you can take a trip out to Looe Island, once a holy pilgrimage site, today it is a sanctuary for rare plants and wildlife. If is not uncommon to see grey seals sunbathing on the rocks or bobbing about in the water. You can easily pass a few hours on the island exploring. On the hill you will find the ruins of the Medieval Lamanna Chapel, on the site of a Celtic monastery that was founded in the 500's.
Maybe you want to try your hand at fishing and there is no better place to get started with organized mackerel fishing trips near to the shore. Once you have your rod and line you are all set. For the more adventurous you can take a boat and head to the Gulf Stream where you can seek out blue sharks.
The Old Lifeboat Station is situated on the front by East Looe beach and now serves as an art gallery displaying the work of local artists.
Looe is a fabulous place to walk with the South West Coast Path passing through the town. There are numerous walks inland through the stunning countryside where you can spot lots of birds, or simply meander long the river that flows through the village. Keep an eye out for Nelson the Seal, a bronze seal commemorated to a one-eyed grey seal who was a popular resident in the harbour for more than 25 years. He sits perched on the rocks.
In the evenings you can stand on the quayside and watch the fishing boats come back in with their hauls of the day to the busy fish market. The fresh produce can be eaten later that evening in the local restaurants. You won't get much fresher than that, it is literally from sea to fork. The town is proud of its fresh fish and you will not be disappointed, whether it is award-winning fish and chips or a fancy meal in a gourmet restaurant overlooking the harbour.
On Sundays throughout the year Craft Markets are held in the Quayside Centre in West Looe.
Not what you might expect here but Looe Live is a fabulous music festival held at the end of September. Performers take to the main stage on the beach, or on pop up stages, bars and cafés throughout the town. It is a great fun with loads of talent and a diverse range of music, with some impressive performers taking part over the years. Everyone is sure to have a great time.
New Year's Eve is another big event here, in fact it is said to be one of the top places in the UK to celebrate. Thousands of revellers congregate in Looe decked out in fancy dress to bring in the new year. The festivities are completed with a fantastic firework display on the seafront from Banjo Pier on the stroke of midnight. Perhaps you might stick around for the annual New Years Swim Day!
Throughout the year there are numerous other festivals and events from literary festivals to a regatta. There is lots to do and it is worth checking to see what is taking pace whilst you are visiting.
Whilst here a train ride might be of interest to you. The Looe Valley line links Looe and Liskeard and is one of the most unusual and scenic railway lines in Britain, as it follows the river towards the coast, simply stunning.