Discover Looe: the Cornish town bursting with coastal charmPosted by Sophie Hesp on Apr 07, 2019
An idyllic spot for a Cornish day trip
Popular for its reputable seafood scene, spectacular walks and beautiful beaches, Looe is one of Cornwall’s south coast gems. A fantastic year-round holiday destination, this buzzing town has an event for every season. From coastal walks to music festivals and one of the best New Year events in the South West, there’s never a dull time of year in Looe.
Sample the freshest local seafood
Whether you’d prefer to wine and dine in one of Looe’s finest restaurants, enjoy a classic pub lunch by the beach or pick up the catch of the day fresh from the harbour, Looe’s thriving foodie scene means there’s something for everyone. Its streets are occupied by the likes of The Sea Kitchen and The Old Sail Loft, both of which serve delicious freshly caught seafood.
What’s more, keen chefs will relish the opportunity to stop by Pengelly’s Fishmongers to pick up fresh seafood ready to be cooked up back at home, from monkfish and mussels to Cornish crab.
Explore nearby Polperro
© Clive Hodges via Flickr
Looe is perfectly situated to take advantage of its beautiful surrounding areas – Polperro being just one of these. Embrace the opportunity to observe the local Cornish wildlife from the water with a day’s kayaking, where you may just be lucky enough to spot herons, Rock Pipits and the occasional friendly seal. With a selection of local companies operating guided trips in licensed sea kayaks, such as Talland Bay Beach Café, Looe is a great starting point to take to the water. Explore the nearby rivers and creeks not accessible by foot and get acquainted with the Cornish secrets of Looe’s maritime environment.
Paddling into Polperro and landing on the sheltered beach of the picturesque fishing village, you’ll be able to discover the charms of the jumbled whitewashed cottages dotted along the harbour, before stopping for a spot of lunch. Pack a picnic to enjoy on the beach or sample a Cornish seafood menu at one of Polperro’s local restaurants, like The Three Pilchards or Couch’s Great House.
For longer excursions around the Cornish coast, setting off on kayak from the Fowey Estuary is a great opportunity to explore National Trust nature reserves and bird sanctuaries on either side of the river, before paddling onto Looe and Polperro.
Get inspired at Looe Literary Festival
Returning to the town once more this November, Looe’s Literary Festival promises to bring locals and holidaymakers alike an eclectic celebration of thought, inspiration, stories and words. With a combination of free and ticketed events taking place in various locations throughout the town, the festival is hoping to inspire the public with a series of talks, book signings and meet-the-author sessions, as well as a pop-up art gallery.
The perfect Cornish event for keen literary lovers and curious bookworms, last year’s festival speakers included author and fisherman Paul Greenwood and journalist Emily Gosling.
Explore Talland and The Giant’s Hedge Walk
© Adam Gibbard/Peter Edgeler via Flickr
Starting from the sand, shingle and impressive promenade at Hannafore Beach, this varied walk allows you to take in the beautiful wooded estuary of the West Looe River, while exploring the coastal charms of the renowned South West Coast Path. The perfect autumn adventure for all ages, the route is dog and family friendly, with plenty of twists and turns that younger explorers are sure to love. Following the coast path west and crossing the coastal plateau will lead you towards Talland Bay, where children and dogs can run riot across the sand at the quaint smuggler’s beach.
Stop for a spot of lunch at the Talland Bay Beach Café or Smugglers Rest – both serving delicious local menus of fresh Cornish cuisine – before heading back to the coast path to soak up some more of those incredible sea views. The route is a patchwork of steep uphill climbs and flatter sections, and stopping every now and then to capture a photo of the view over Looe and Talland is a must.
Solve a murder mystery
An intriguing day out for the whole family, Looe’s Mystery Treasure Trail is the perfect outdoor adventure for problem-solving detectives. Taking roughly 90 minutes to complete, the self-guided trail will lead you for one and a half hours through the charming narrow streets of Looe, hunting for clues and eliminating suspects as you go, in a bid to answer the age-old question – ‘whodunit?’.
Simply purchase and print a trail booklet to take with you, before setting off to discover the clues hidden all over town. You can download a PDF of the trail to your phone to receive top sleuthing tips, coded directions and even the odd hint if you get stuck, making sure no mystery goes unsolved. The route starts out at the ferry steps in West Looe, leading you east across the early 19th Century seven-arched bridge and through the winding streets of the fishing village, and is accessible for wheelchair and pushchair users from start to finish – making it fun for all the family.
See in the New Year with a sparkling Cornish celebration
Watch as the seaside town of Looe is transformed into a twinkling street party to welcome the New Year. Each December, one of Cornwall’s most renowned New Year celebrations kicks off as thousands of locals and tourists line the village, decked out in their finest fancy dress. Looe’s boats and buildings are decorated with lights, as the harbour sparkles throughout the night.
Enjoy dinner and drinks at one of Looe’s great local pubs or restaurants before taking to the Banjo Pier or seafront promenade to marvel at the skies as two spectacular firework displays mark the occasion with a bang. For children keen to get involved with the celebrations, a family-friendly firework display traditionally begins at 6pm, while adult party-goers are encouraged to make the most of the occasion and enjoy a second show at midnight.