Looe A Fishing Village in Cornwall
The twin towns of East and West Looe face each other across a river
and are joined by a bridge with 7 arches dating from the early 19th century.
With narrow streets and a medieval guildhall -now a delightful museum, and the second largest fishing fleet in Cornwall.
Only Newlyn's is bigger.
In the eighteenth century, as well as drifting for pilchards, Looe was a copper port, exporting ore from the mines around Caradon Hill on Bodmin Moor. Buller Quay, now a car park, would have been kept spotlessly clean, with neatly arranged piles of ore awaiting shipment.
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Right in front of the town is the beach, great for families, with lots of rock pools to explore, separated from the Looe River by the Banjo Pier. In season, fancy a all day wreck fishing trip? "All tackle supplied, keep all you catch". Or just a half-hour trip around the Bay in a speedboat? Have a picnic on St Georges Island. Be amazed at marine life viewed from a glass bottomed boat. How about a sail in a real Cornish lugger, or a motor cruise along the coast to Fowey or Mevagissey?
Early risers may like a early morning stroll down to the harbour to see the days' catch being auctioned in the Fish Market. From monk to cuttle to cod to dovers to lemons. Selling commences at 6.30 am sharp. At high tide how many local trawlers (fishing boats) can you spot in the harbour? Here is a clue their registration numbers will start with the letter FY. Fowey is the registration port for local vessels. Ella FY24, Swallow FY59, Lucy Too FY66, Galatea FY97, Maxines Pride FY38 and Keesenyjans FY115 were just a few noted on a previous day trip.
Both towns are a maze of alleyways and back streets to explore. Art Galleries. Shops selling all kinds of goods, from books to bric a brac, to crafts, to shoes, several bakers, ice cream parlours, to handlines for the kids to use for catching crabs as they lean over the harbour wall. When the tide is in take the foot ferry across the river. Visit the Old Guildhall Museum and across the arch bridge the South East Cornwall Discovery Centre. See the Living from the Sea Exhibition. The Town Beach is ideal for families, swept daily in season- hire a deckchair, a parasol or even a beach tent from the beach cafe.
There are a wide choice of places to eat. It is so nice to sit outside in the late afternoon sun, with a Cornish cream tea with lashings of clotted cream. Or later in the evening a relaxed meal in one of the many seafood restaurants - sample menu. How about pan fried lemon sole; or fillet of sea bass; or trio of Looe boat caught fish; or whole lobster served in its shell, caught in the Bay? Mmmmmm. All only a stones throw away from the hustle and bustle of the Quay. Place to stay too, from Self catering Looe Cottages to nearby Holiday and Touring Parks and bed and breakfast .
Christmas and New Years Eve. At Xmas many of the townsfolk illuminate the outside of their houses with Christmas decorations. Christmas lights are festooned along the quays, reflecting in the slow movement of an incoming evening tide. Often a couple of yachts are picked out in a colourful festoon of ribbon lights. The slow creak of wooden hulls rubbing against the granite quay walls, the taught mooring ropes of tied up fishing boats, rising with the tide. The flap flap of numerous crab pots buoy marker flags flapping in the breeze. The tinkle tinkle of guys and stays against masts. Metal doors,(used to keep the nets open), ropes, and nets stacked neatly. This is a working harbour so please be aware of unfenced drops and trip hazards from fishing gear.
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The Town rivals St Ives and Newquay as the place to be in Cornwall on New Years Eve. The roads are closed to traffic from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Everyone dresses up in colourful fancy dress costumes and totally over the top outfits. Everything from Cornish Druids, Egyptian Mummies to Roman Soldiers to Madonna, to the latest reality pop TV show star winner, to their latest sporting hero. People coming to Cornwall from all over Britain to dance and mingle in the streets, celebrating the coming of the New Year. Entry to pubs and inns is often ticket only and sold out months in advance.
Around and about 3 miles along the coast is Polperro an unspoilt fishing village. A unusual attraction just outside of the town is the Monkey Sanctuary. Catch the train to Liskeard up the beautiful East Looe River Valley.
Fancy a walk why not explore Golitha Falls, where the River Fowey cascades down a ravine, particularly stunning when the Autumn leaves are falling. Feeling energetic, go for a walk on Bodmin Moor, stopping off at one of the many inns for tea.
For a lovely drive with some of the best Coastal vistas, head east to the Rame Peninsula The wide sweep of Whitsand Bay, with surf beaches hidden below the cliffs. Rame Head with views all around and back into Plymouth Sound. Unspoilt villages like Cawsand and Kingsand. Held on a Saturday in July is the Looe Trawler Race from the Banjo Pier, around the Island and back again. Why not hire a motor boat and explore the East and West Looe Rivers? You stand a good chance of seeing herons, little egret, and if you are very very lucky seeing the blue flash of a kingfisher as it flies by the boat. Take a walk in Kilmanorth Woods.
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Revised Dec. 2010