Looe is a delightful seaside town in South East Cornwall with good road and rail links, and only approximately half an hour’s drive from Plymouth, Devon – the nearest large city.
Whether you prefer East Looe, with its narrow streets and eclectic mix of good shops, cafes, tea rooms and restaurants; or West Looe, quieter but equally beautiful (and well blessed with stunning walks), just across the bridge that spans the pretty river that is always bustling with fishing boats, pleasure craft and all things maritime…it’s all a matter of personal preference. Personally, I could never choose – East Looe enjoys golden sands, a safe clean sheltered bay, the iconic RNLI station and the famous ‘Banjo Pier’.
Regular pleasure and fishing trips are available here – just stroll down by the river and you’ll be spoilt for choice! Don’t miss the chance to see Looe Island (St George’s Island), made famous by the two sisters who lived there until their deaths, and who wrote evocatively of their island life in the book “We Bought An Island”. The island was bequeathed to The Cornish Wildlife Trust, a lasting legacy to preserve the ecology of this unique safe haven for wildlife and indigenous plants.
Looe is a genuine working fishing port, and the seafood on your dinner plate really is fresh from the sea! For those who prefer other gastronomic delights, there is as wide a choice as you would find in the very best ‘city’ restaurants, from delicious Cornish pasties (‘oggies’), to full roast dinners, local steaks to wonderful and imaginative vegetarian dishes!
I can recommend many ‘eateries’, but perhaps the most memorable are Kelly’s in Fore Street (fish and chips par excellence, succulent roast dinners, and oh! The ice cream is mouth watering! Seafood connoisseurs will surely love Squid Ink (Chapel Street)…and their divine menu is not limited to seafood, although I have to say the scallops are irresistible, as is the mackerel pate! They also cater for gluten free diets, which is really good to know. If you are seeking a gorgeous cafe (the word cafe doesn’t do it justice!) then do try Daisy’s in Castle Street – dog friendly and a mouthwatering menu too!
Accommodation – we have stayed at several venues in both East and West Looe. The Ship Inn has lovely rooms above the pub, and is so friendly and welcoming and clean. The pub is very old, and it’s simply charming! For old fashioned service and one of the few hotels in Looe with a lovely indoor pool (and, I think, the only one with a gym/spa treatment facility), The Hannafore Point Hotel in West Looe has the most beautiful views and excellent ‘proper old fashioned service’. I could not forgive myself if I failed to mention the truly gorgeous Trehaven Manor, a real gem of a deluxe B&B in Station Road – one of the most friendly and welcoming ‘home from home’ establishments in the town (& with a parking space for each room – a treat in Looe where free parking can be limited) The rooms are superb, many with beautiful views over the river, and nothing is too much trouble to ensure guests’ comfort and enjoyment.
Looe is very busy in high season, demonstrating its popularity! But please come and visit in Autumn, Winter or Spring, you may find that some shops and restaurants do not open from dawn till well after dusk (as is the norm in summer), but the uncrowded streets, the chances to share a smile and a chat with the residents, the more personal attention (as staff are less rushed!), and the sheer beauty of a traditional Cornish harbour town in all her natural glory are, to me, priceless.
But if you ache for excitement, fancy dress, fireworks and real Cornish hospitality, be sure to re-visit at New Year. Looe is listed as one of the top New Years Eve destinations in the UK!