Looe Holiday Cottages
Looe proudly presides over a river mouth that spills into the sea on Cornwall’s south east coast, presenting a stunning seaside town full of natural beauty and character. The bustling working port gives an air of activity while green sloping hills fringed by soft white sands lends a tropical look to the historic Cornish town.
Split into the West and the East by the river, Looe is a unique twin town that offers a staggering range of scenes and sights that will spellbind everyone who visits. From a fabulous variety of beach and water activities to walking, wildlife adventures or exploring the area’s intriguing heritage, Looe reveals more than just a waterside idyll for those keen to unlock its hidden secrets.
Are there many beaches in Looe?
East Looe Beach is undeniably the most popular seaside haunt. Buffered from the harbour by the south-jutting Banjo Pier, the sweeping expanse of sands is perfectly protected, affording a wonderfully sheltered space for all the family. A range of amenities along the small promenade means that you can snack, dine and stroll along the seafront, ensuring the crowd-pleasing likes of safe sea swimming, shopping, sunbathing and sandcastle building are all catered for.
The historic fishing port of Looe is renowned for its sheltered beaches, quaint old buildings and labyrinth of narrow streets. There are numerous local pubs and restaurants in which to eat out and many interesting shops and places to visit.
Looe is still a busy fishing port with all the hustle and bustle concentrated in East Looe where the quayside is laden with nets and floats and catches are auctioned in the market. The boats come and go with the tide just as they have done since the earliest fishermen landed catches here.
East Looe has the sandier of the town’s two beaches. The beach at Hannafore is rocky with a host of pools for children to explore. Whichever side of the river you stay both beaches are within easy reach via the road bridge or ferry boat.
On the other side of the harbour, Hannafore, or West Looe Beach is prime rock pooling territory and is less crowded than its east side counterpart, presenting a long stretch of shingle along with lovely views to Looe Island. Midway between Looe and Polperro, you’ll find the dazzlingly beautiful (and dog friendly), Talland Bay Beach, which also offers conveniences including cafés and parking.
Meanwhile, if you travel east from Looe there lies a bevy of beautiful beaches and coves toward the south Devon border. Plaidy Beach is a small section situated just around the corner from Looe, which neighbours the achingly pretty valley cove of Millendreath. Further along the South West Coast Path you’ll find scenic Seaton and grey sanded, Downderry Beach, which - with its ‘Gypsy’ ship wreck just off the shoreline - makes an especially ideal location for a spot of snorkelling.
Downderry is a small village in a beautiful location on the south coast of Cornwall just four miles from Looe. There is a large beach with sand and shingle ideal for children in summer or a quiet stroll in winter. The whole area boasts stunning sea views to St George's Island in the West, Rame Head in the East and on a clear day you can see the famous Eddystone lighthouse some 9 miles from shore.
The South West Coast Path passes through the village and leads to the nearby beaches at Whitsand Bay and Seaton. Downderry has a local shop, cafe and the popular Inn on the Shore.
Stretching from Portwrinkle up to Rame Head, Whitsand Bay gives three miles of spectacular sands. Surfing is a popular past time here, while cafés at Tregonhawke provide ample refreshment. Do keep in mind that all access points are steep, and though it is dog friendly, it is unsuitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs.
What about walks in the area?
Being in one of Cornwall’s most celebrated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Looe is awash with wonders that walking allows exclusive access to. Weave your way through old oak woodland and an ancient boundary wall via the Talland and The Giants Hedge route, which is something of a challenge comprising over seven miles, with various steep ascents.
Similarly testing - though hugely rewarding - the Smuggler’s Way trail takes walkers from Boscastle on the north coast across Cornwall’s rugged core of Bodmin Moor and along the estuary to Looe. Take advantage of The South West Coast Path with the Hendersick and Talland Bay loop and Whitsand Bay circular walk, which also presents an eclectic mix of environments and sites, from Tregantle Fort to farmlands and Crafthole reservoir. Take a well-timed break at Finnygook Inn before the return route begins.
Any walks around Cornwall’s ‘forgotten corner’ at Rame Head - set in an Area of Outstanding Natural beauty (AONB) - will treat you to a fantastic feast of natural landscape, including the 14th century medieval chapel on the headland. It’s also home to the magnificent 800-acre, Mount Edgcumbe Park, as well as the adorable villages of Kingsand and Cawsand.
What are the top attractions in and around Looe?
Whether you’re a weekending couple or enjoying an extended family holiday, Looe is surrounded by award-winning attractions and special sites of interest that will entertain and inspire while affording a real sense of Cornwall’s breathtaking border towns and villages. Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary is a small, yet spectacular environmental and wildlife attraction that has scooped a variety of accolades due to its wonderfully conscientious charitable work. Not only does it house almost 40 individual monkeys of varying species, but it boasts beautiful gardens that are replete with other wildlife, along with children’s activity room, café, picnic areas, workshops and gift shop.
Five miles inland from Looe near Lanreath, Porfell Wildlife Park & Animal sanctuary is another must-visit gem of southeast Cornwall. Being the county’s biggest exotic animal sanctuary means that it has in excess of 250 residents, from meerkats to zebra and raccoons. With a Woodland Walk, Children’s Farm, Peacock Tea Rooms and Maasai Village, kids and adults will delight in exploring the areas and meeting, feeding and touching the array of animals. Or for a more interactive experience, there’s owl flying, the Lemurs Tea Party or even the chance to be a keeper for a day.
Looe Gaol and Guildhall Museum can be found in one of Looe’s oldest buildings that will transport you back in time with its 16th century Tudor beams and floors, along with historical collections that include smuggling memorabilia, boat building and fishing displays, as well as the ancient cells downstairs. Former derelict caravan park, Seaton Valley Countryside Park is one of Cornwall’s newest park attractions. The Green Flag awarded Local Nature Reserve is home to an abundance of wildlife including otters and kingfishers, and features a nature trail that leads for several miles to Hessenford. The beach, children’s play area, outdoor gym and sensory garden provide a plethora of exciting things to see and do during your visit.
Whether you fancy visiting its famous literary festival or simply admiring the house and grounds during a day out, Port Eliot in St Germans presents a wonderful woodland garden, estuary walk, award-winning picnic spot and gorgeous Grade I listed, landscaped gardens that were designed by Sir Humphrey Repton. Once a monastery, the entire estate is steeped in history, while the house greets guests with breathtaking rooms designed by Sir John Soane, including The Round Room, which presents a magnificent mural painted by Robert Lenckiewicz.
Tell me more about water activities and excursions...
Looe’s Buller Quay is where you’ll find boards and signs detailing all the latest trips and excursions that are available. From shark, mackerel and conger fishing to river trips, there’s an array to choose from (depending on the day and sea conditions).
From here, you’ll also be able to book boat trips to destinations like Fowey or Polperro, as well as activities such as guided canoe expeditions. An incredibly special excursion will take you to or around the Nature Reserve of stunning offshore haven, Looe Island (made even more magical if you pick the glass bottom boat option).
Alternatively, land adventurers will love the Looe Valley Line Rail that runs through the wooded river valleys between Liskeard and Looe, and also includes a tantalisingly tasty Ale Trail.