Looe is a picturesque fishing village on the south coast of Cornwall, just a few miles in from the Devon border. The town has become a tourist hot-spot in recent years, with the New Years eve party being one of the highlights in the calendar.
The town is built into a cleft in the cliffs, raising on either side of an estuary, where the river meets the English Channel. West Looe has mostly houses and Bed & Breakfasts, as well as one or two cafes/bars, a car park, and a small arcade. If you are looking for a holiday with jumping nightlife, then this is probably not the place for you, but it is an ideal place for relaxing with young families on the beautiful sandy beach, or climbing in the rocky coves further East.
As you would expect from a Cornish village the cream teas and pasties are exquisite, and the places selling them are frequent. The pubs all sell traditional local ales among a wide range of beverages, and have home cooked food served most of the day. I can definitely recommend it as a place to dine with great portion sizes offered almost everywhere, and plenty of fresh local produce such as fish, meat and eggs prevalent on the menu. Fish & Chips is overpriced and fairly average for the most part as a result of the tourist boom of the last few decades.
The price varies with the weather, the summer being very expensive, and the winter offering up some bargains. But beware, the winter months is when most places are closed during the off season, and there is very little to do. The weather will also be a real issue, with plenty of wind and rain compared to the rest of England. However the Summer does tend to be warmer down there, and drier too, but with windier conditions. Accommodation is primarily caravan parks, of which there are many in the immediate vicinity, or B & B's, of which there is no shortage. there are also holiday cottages down there available for rent, for those who prefer a more self catering style vacation. Hotels are fewer and further between.
It is about fifteen minutes to Saltash, a decent sized town just outside Plymouth. Another five minutes down the A38 will bring you to Plymouth itself, the nearest city. Exeter is about 45 minutes away, also on the A38. In the other direction there is St. Austell, which is about 45 minutes, and is a fairly large town, but with few amenities. It has been hit hard by the recession judging by the boarded up store fronts and empty shops.
Overall Looe is a great place to visit with the kids, but make sure you have a car as public transport is unreliable and limited, and you will certainly want to explore the local area, and see what else there is on offer on the English Riviera.
first of all i just want t say that looe is a beautiful place and must be very nice to visit if you are a tourist, but if you have the miss fortune of living down there then you will notice more back stabbings than a horror movie. it is so clicky its not even funny, its a pit a horrible horrible pit where townies flock out side shops and beat up old people and rob them (that has happend before) its unsafe to walk around after dark because 50% of the idiots down looe cant handle there drink. its a discusting place which i do not think any one should ever visit. nice trees tho
Shane and I now live in a small Cornish town about twenty miles along the coast from the quaint fishing towns of Looe. Looe is the principal seaside town of southeast Cornwall; with Looe harbour being the base for an important fishing fleet and the town is the headquarters of British shark fishing. The town itself consists of quaint narrow streets, shops restaurants and olde world charm, whilst managing to provide excellent tourist facilities at the same time as maintaining their traditional fishing industries. You catch the ferry to the other side of the bay or take one of the many boat/fishing trips. (Not one thing I have experienced yet as I get sea sick on a peddlow!) I prefer to watch the fishing fleet land their catch on the key at the market and the auctions that then take place. At Looe you are never too far from the beautiful Cornish beaches with is water sports, fishing, inns, restaurants, boat trips, walks through the countryside and along with with one of the best scenic plus most beautiful coastlines anywhere in the British isle. In medieval times there were two towns on opposite banks of the River Looe. East Looe includes the fishing harbour, the main shopping centre and the sandiest beach. West Looe is quieter, but also has small quaint shops, restaurants and hotels and leads to Hannafore with its spacious promenades and fine views of Looe Island. **History Lesson** I am fascinated by the local history of the area and felt I would like to share some with you too. The two towns of East and West Looe are joined together by a bridge across the river; East Looe and West Looe originated as two separate towns. They were what are called "planted boroughs" and there was first mention of them is in 1201. An estuary bridge, the earliest in Cornwall, joined the two towns settlements by about 1411. The bridge was then replaced in 1853 by a new one about a hundred yards further upstream. Up until 1832 the twin tow
ns had two Parliamentary seats - but lost them during parliamentary reforms. East Looe was built on sand spit, alongside the present river and it was actually a planned town with grid of streets. The houses on the four parallel streets were timber fronted but had stonewalls for fire prevention. Later frontages were built on some of these old houses so it is not immediately noticeable how old East Looe really is. Why not take a little time out whilst enjoying a local pasty to very the architecture? Around 1500, the Guildhall is believed to have been built and one house is dated 1555 whilst another is dated around 1632. The ‘Golden Guinea restaurant’ is one of many ancient houses still in use today and whose gorgeous interiors, give more clues to its age than do the later exteriors that has been disguised. One might normally expect the Church of England's parish church to have the most interesting history, but in West Looe, that of the Congregational Chapel on the Quay eclipses it. It is one of the most extraordinary stories in the history of Non-conformist churches. I say this because the Chapel was founded in the 1770s (date not certain), largely due to the efforts of its first pastor, the Rev. Sir Harry Telawny, Bart. However, for some unknown reason he was ordained at Southampton, in itself extraordinary. It seems that no one knows why he was not ordained either at West Looe or at least somewhere nearer than Southampton. Actually the ordination service was attended by an enormous gathering. (The largest recorded in the Southampton chapel's history). It had more pomp in it than was customary for non-conformists. There is some vagueness about the dealings, much of which seem to have over-ridden the regular pre-requisites. Sir Harry, in his address, said the "the dear people at West Looe being, for the most part, brought out of darkness into marvellous light through my poor instrumentality, are abundantly beloved by me"
;. Even at Westminster School, Sir Harry had been a young man of earnest religious inclination. When at Oxford, he preferred to commerce of men of inferior class rank who were religiously inclined for company. As was required in those days, he attested his faith in the established church at the time he took his Bachelor's degree, though he had something of a crisis of conscience in so doing. He preached across the southwest region for many years and at West Looe, on a site near the market place, which is now a private house, at his own expense Sir Henry built a chapel. Whilst he was pastor (the period is unclear), large numbers flocked to his services from as far a field as Plymouth. (This is around 30miles distance). He preached the opening sermon at the new Congregational chapel at Mevagissey in 1776. Sir Harry planned to live his life and die as pastor of the chapel. It seems that great pressure was brought to bear on him; it took the form of returning to the Established Church (of England). He was reminded of the desirableness of persistent to the religion of his ancestors and retrieving the reputation of his family. His scruples were overcome by an assurance that subscription to the Articles of the Established Church was simply an affirmation that he was a Christian. However, after a short time, his religious views underwent further change and he entered the Roman Catholic Church, eventually, after his wife's death, actually becoming a priest. He died in 1834. His congregation at the little chapel remained steadfast in their faith, but their pastor became their foe. He had the chapel, which was his property, pulled down and prevented them from having another meeting place, so they had to meet in secret in each other’s houses. Eventually, the congregation purchased a piece of land and raised the funds to build a small chapel, which opened in 1787. The new chapel was too poor to begin with, so it could ill afford its own pastor, b
ut eventually one of the congregation emerged as minister - a Mr James Angear, but by the time he resigned in 1807, the numbers of the church had increased sufficiently to support a minister and the chapel was enlarged in 1830 and 1849. History lesson over! **The Summer Season** I winter Looe is moderately quiet and there is always plenty of places to park but come the summer months, parking in one of the four larger pay and display car-parks is a nightmare. Near by there is the Monkey sanctuary, Dobwalls theme parks, Eden project, golf courses, and the general natural beauty of Cornwall itself, over at Bodmin Moor. Why not take the coastal path west and walk to Polperro. When sitting on the sheltered sandy beaches, look out for Nelson the seal that regularly visits the harbour for his supper of fish from the fishermen; he is now blind in one eye. A word of warning though, watch out for the seagulls as they think the tourists are easy pickings. The birds are large, so you are warned. They sit atop of cars parked in the car park almost taking food from your hands! This is the reason that you see lots of signs in Cornwall saying, PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE SEAGULLS! **Eating Out** Talking about food, Looe has a wide selection of eating establishment. Looe and the surrounding area can offers restaurants, cafes, pubs and other eating houses of every description - from gourmet meals - through fish and chips on the plate or out of the bag - to fast food. Really the choice is yours. I have given a few examples of place that I have used since moving to Cornwall in October 2002. *The Moonlight Tandoori Restaurant* Fore Street East Looe Cornwall PL13 1AE Tel: 01503 / 265372 For a spicy night out. The portions are large and very tasty. It is open Sunday to Saturday 12 noon - 2.30pm 5.30 pm – Midnight, open seven days a week including Bank holidays (except Christmas day) and is Fully Lice
nsed. The prices are reasonable. The Smugglers Cott Middle Market Street, East Looe, Cornwall UK Tel: 01503/262397: This is a famous 15th Century Eating House that Open All Year. I would advise booking, as it is very popular. It is open evenings only and Sunday lunchtimes, plus serves Carvery on Thursday & Friday evenings. This is idea to visit for special occasions or anniversaries. Tom Sawyers Tavern: Proprietors: John & Judith Marine drive, Hannafore, West Looe, Cornwall. UK Tel: +44 (0)1503/262782 This is probably my favourite restaurant in Looe at present. It as a Restaurant and bar and I would advise booking, as it is very popular. On a Sunday offers an excellent Carvery meal and also provides Live Music. Kelly’s Restaurant and take away Fore Street, East Looe, Tel :01503 / 263381 It is open all year 7 days a week and serves traditional carved roast dinners, home made fresh cream cakes, locally made ice-cream extensive on an all day menu. It strikes me though as a fast food café and I have only used it to buy chips if truth were told! It serves quality fish & chips and was winners of the sea fish industry quality awards 97, 98, 99, 00. 01 & 02 There is also a Children's menu available, along with wheelchair access. (Special rates for party bookings, coaches & clubs.) Finally it would be Cornwall if I did not mention the infamous Pasties. Yes you know the "national dish" of Cornwall. It is truly a meal in itself and Looe has some of the very best Pasty makers. Expect to pay from 75p for a small one to between £1.50 and £2.25 for a big one. The traditional beef potato and suede varieties is avalible but look out for the more exotic flavours such a Indian Chickpea and Potato, Pork and Stilton, Chicken and Aspagrass to name but a few. Yummy! Well I hope my guide to Looe has given you some incite to the town and what it has to o
f the holidaymaker. Now I think “I” deserve a large Veggie pasty for my supper!
Hullo there! I’m back! Fully recovered from my evil bout of flu’ now passed onto my other half who has evolved it into double pneumonia with a dose of pleurisy thrown in for good measure! So while he sits sniffling away on the sofa I have taken refuge in my ‘pooter ‘germ free’ zone in order to charm you with another Cornish delight! This time its Looe that I want to tell you about. So before you get comfortable may I suggest you nip off to the other loo and hurry on back for another ‘scatty’ epic! We visited several towns and villages while we were in Cornwall last month, some of which I have no desire to pay a return visit to but this is not one of those places. I would go and live in Looe tomorrow if I had the chance! We actually came across it more by accident on our way back from Plymouth. We weren’t all that keen on that place but then to be fair to it we didn’t really get to see much of it and I will keep an open mind on Plymouth. I would have liked to spend a bit more time here. The bridge across the River Tay is amazing though; quite a feat of engineering and it bought back all those memories of past History lessons when I read Isambard Kingdom Brunel on the side of the bridge! They are doing a lot of renovating work though so it’s not all that ideal a place to visit just to see the Taymar Bridge at the moment. Anyway I am meant to be doing an op about Looe, so let us head off there now. Got your seat belts fastened? Ok let's away then! A bit of culture first methinks, seeing as I am still in the History mood! Looe is actually two towns, West Looe and East Looe. A very old multi arched bridge that crosses the Looe River connects them. I believe the bridge is Victorian? Looe was famous once for its pilchard fishing indusrty. When we visited the tide was out and it was nice to see people taking their dogs along the
river edge for a walk, but I suspect that it is even more of a delight and picturesque when the tide is in. We parked the car right by an old, what looked like an old boating lake to us. My apologies if I have got this wrong, if you know better please correct me? I would hate to upset any Looers!! This was an excellent place to park as it had us right at the bottom of the town. A future op I am planning about another similar town saw us having to park at the top of the town and walk down to the sea. Ok on the way down, a bloody nightmare going back up again. But back to Looe for now. We crossed the bridge linking the two Looes into East Looe and then sauntered quite contently through the town. We visited in the first week in September, it was quite busy but not unbearable so, I would like to bet that it gets a vast sight more busier than this in the height of the holiday season? I was astounded at the size of the seagulls along this party of the town! They sit atop of cars parked in the car park almost taking food from your hands! Mind you I wouldn’t fancy these monsters walking all over my car and then pooping on it! Its bad enough having to park my car under a tree at home that is frequented by 2 wood pigeons that delight, I am sure, in aiming straight for my windscreen at least twice a week! It was along this first stretch of road that I discovered the first of many shops that I simply had to visit, Abbey bears! No need really to tell you what they sell, is there? I managed not to succumb to the huge teddies in here, but settled on a tiny little white suede cutie, much to my husband’s wallets immense relief! As you wander along the road you are only vaguely aware that you are going up, steeply. The delightful shops either side of this twisty narrow road do much to divert you from the effort of ascending! Half way up we decided perhaps that a spot of lunch was in order. <
br>I forwent any ideas of eating on the run, saying that it would be nice to actually sit down and get a meal served to us for a change. Cornish pasties are almost unbeatable but this time I wanted to sit and eat at leisure! We picked a small place just by the look of the outside of it called The Archdeacon. It isn’t all that special inside with peeling walls, unadorned with any garish paint effects instead relying on its quaint ‘olde worldy’ charm to entice patrons in. Without risking boring you to death too much I will just say that we all had a very lovely, and more than adequate in terms of quantity scampi meal, served quickly and in a friendly manner! Fully replete after our meal we continued our stroll along the charming little streets stopping every now and then when a particular shop caught our eye. It is right here, right now that I simply HAVE to tell you about one such shop, or gallery to give it its correct name. Clive’s Cat’s Cartoon gallery! It is simply a wonderful art gallery/shop where Clive draws and sells the funniest cartoons you have ever seen. I swear if you stand inside this shop and look through some of his work, within minutes you will be laughing out loud, you just won’t be able to help yourself! Don’t believe me? Check out his great web site then: www.clivescats.com. It must be wonderful to have a job like this that you really enjoy, that you can share with other people, make a living from and live in such an idyllic little town to boot. Not envious at all, spit spit!! To whet your appetite and encourage you to visit the web site, a bookmark I bought has a picture of a cartoon cat, called Barry on it. Barry is doing a wonderful impression of a rocket with the words underneath him, “ Pickled onions make life more fun”. As I am writing this op I have the website minimized on my tool bar, the mus
ic playing is cool too! If you do check it out I would love you to let me know what you thought about it? I very reluctantly dragged myself away from here; I could have stayed all day just watching him work, and we continued our stroll around East Looe. We eventually came to the harbour. It’s the kind of place that you could envisage being a little sanctuary after a busy day at work. The pace of life seems to have gone down a gear or two. I would like to have come back here for an evening and just sat watching the boats come and go. Fishing trips are widely advertised on various boards along here. Evidently it is a well known centred for shark fishing. Before we got to the harbour I forgot to mention that we came to the beach first!! It was all but deserted, my kind of beach:o). It stretched around a curve and I think I am correct in thinking that is protected by a jetty known as Banjo Pier, so named because of the unusual shape. I am not given to beach holidays where you sit all day on a beach going pinker and pinker and then spend the rest of the evening finding sand where there oughtn’t to be sand, but I could have happily spent the day here. I would have taken a flask of tea and a sketchbook; I would have been in heaven:o). As long as it wasn’t too crowded, as I should imagine this would be in July/August. I shall stick to visiting in September I think. We spent a lot longer in Looe than we had intended to, it is that kind of town, and there is so much to do. Probably not for kids though. But then if you went for the day you could leave them on the sheltered beach while you indulged in a spot of retail therapy! As I sit here putting the finishing touches to this op I have a calendar picture in front of me of Looe by night. Now that is something else I am going to have to see for myself, for real! The little houses clinging to the cliff sides
,like little Monopoly houses as though a huge hand has scraped them all up and hurled them at the cliff and there they have stayed and delighted tourists and the locals for many, many years. They are all ablaze with lights and the reflection off the sea is a sight to behold! There are many little towns and resorts in Cornwall built such as Looe. With houses precariously perched along the steep harbour walls and higher. Fowey, Padstowe, Polperro, Mevagissey. The list is seemingly endless. We haven’t visited them all yet but for now I have to say that Looe is my favourite. As far as I can tell it remains relatively unspoilt by tourism, which very obviously brings in all important revenue for the town. But they seem to have settled on a perfect balance between the necessary tourist shops and attractions and the desire for Looe to remain the little treasure that it is on what is fondly known as The Riviera Coastline of Cornwall. I for one shall be going back there at some point in the future and hope that it remains as delightful and unspoiled as it is now. I somehow think it will. I don’t see ‘the powers that be’ allowing it to be anything else but. Thank you! Kazz xx
Looe is situated in south-east Cornwall and is built on the estuary of two rivers. East Looe and West Looe are joined across the estuary by a broad seven arched bridge. The labyrinth of narrow streets rise steeply from the river up the sides of the valley so if your hotel is at the top be prepared to get some exercise, whether you want it or not! Looe used to be a pilchard fishing community but the arrival of the railway in 1859 brought the first summer visitors and tourism has been strong in the town ever since. The quayside is still lined with fishing boats and you can go on a shark fishing expedition if you’re feeling brave. For anglers who prefer to keep their feet on dry land there is a circular area at the end of Banjo Pier, which is ideal for fishing. There are the usual gift shops you would associate with any sea side town together with cafes and tea rooms where you can sit and watch the world go by. You can get a boat trip out to St George’s Island or you can visit the park and feed the swans. Looe is a good base for getting out and about and exploring Cornwall. Polperro is only about 5 miles south of here and is well worth a visit. You park at the top of the valley near the Crumplehorn Mill and walk down the steep street to the sea. There are plenty of shops, pubs and cafes on the way down to the harbour and pony and trap services run during the summer for those who don’t fancy the walk. The walk down isn’t too bad – it’s the walk back up again that’s a bit hard on the legs! The pub on the quayside at the bottom is very nice so you could get refreshment for the return journey! At the bottom jagged rocks guard a pretty harbour where fishing boats are moored. Until last century pilchard fishing was the main occupation of the villagers and Polperro has retained the atmosphere of a fishing village. It even has a fisherman’s choir. It does get very busy in the height o
f the season so a visit out of season is a good idea so that you can really enjoy the unique character of the village. If you visit the Polperro Heritage Museum of Smuggling and Fishing you can see photographs and articles about the 35 foot pulling and sailing lifeboat, Ryder, which was stationed in Looe from 1902 to 1930. The restored boat is afloat in the harbour adjacent to the museum. Fowey is a further 10 miles or so the other side of Polperro, with its narrow streets of architecture ranging from Elizabethan to Edwardian. If you walk along the high narrow lane of Bull Hill you get a panoramic view over the rooftops of the town to the river. There is a museum in Forte Street called Noah’s Ark museum where domestic items are displayed in their period settings. Beware of the ‘I had one of those’ factor – it makes you feel old! The Bodinnick car ferry crosses the river at Caffamill and a passenger ferry makes its way in between all the boats to reach Polruan on the other side. Talking of boats, there’s a Trent class lifeboat to go and visit in Fowey as well. Mind you that goes without saying in most of the Cornish towns!