Introduction to Looe
Technically, Looe is not one, but two villages: East and West Looe sit on opposite sides of the River Looe and are linked by a footbridge. If you ask locals even today, there's still a sense of rivalry and being two distinctly different villages.
Looe started out as an important shipyard thanks to its good location just 20 miles from Plymouth, although fishery has always played a big role in the village's economy. In the 19th century, the Victorians discovered the pristine beaches near the town and turned it into a beach resort. The village has stayed popular with tourists ever since, but don't worry about it being just another seaside town with tacky rides and fish and chip shops. While the beach, and especially near Looe Island offer amazing views, there is a lot to in and around the village!
Culture & attractions in Looe
Apart from fishing and shipbuilding, the area also has a lively history of smuggling and buccaneering, and there are endless stories to be told about the events that took place in the many old buildings. The best place to learn more about the town's history is the Looe Guildhall, which is now the city museum.
Visit the lovely Guildhall that now houses the town's museum or stroll across the seven-arched bridge to quieter West Looe. Quay Road passes the 14th century church to reach Hannafore Point where you can stroll along the promenade and spot seals basking on the rocky beach below. Of course humans are allowed to visit the beach, too, and apart from the seals, you can see George Island just off the coast.
Looe was recently selected by Time Out as one of the best places in the places to celebrate New Year's Eve in the UK, as the locals use the occasion for a giant public fancy dress party ‐ and the fireworks by the seaside are a stunning sight, too!
Must-do highlights in Looe
Many people visit Looe specifically for The Monkey Sanctuary, half a mile west of the village, where a group of cuddly woolly monkeys (that really the species name ‐ well, without the 'cute') has found a new home. The sanctuary also has spacious gardens, a bat cave and an extensive playground.
Overall, Looe is a great base for animal and nature lovers. From the harbour, you can embark on a boat trip to get to know the local ocean life better. If you're more a fan of the 'Fish are food, not friends' philosophy, the village is a great spot for fishing, too. Looe Island is tiny but a stunning nature reserve that you can visit in the summer months, and the Eden Project is not far away, either.
The 16th century Cotehele mansion is a stand-out National Trust site with boat trips from the manor's private quay and a large collection of armour and weapons indoors ‐ something different from the usual furniture and household objects you usually get to see in this kind of place.
Eating & Drinking in Looe
Eating out in Looe is a remarkable experience especially as no international chains have made it here yet ‐ every pub, café and restaurant is absolutely unique.
The Old Sail Loft Restaurant in East Lowe specialises in sea food and offers great value lunch deals ‐ the atmosphere is more like a French bistro than of a seafood restaurant, but the food is definitely up to international standards!
If you are looking for a quick and cheap snack, head to The Coddy Shack, which uses the catch of the day to prepare the freshest fish in town.
Accommodation in Looe
Thanks to its relaxed atmosphere and few tourists around, Looe is a great base if you want to explore the countryside and enjoy peace and quiet.
11 Creekside is a beautiful holiday apartment right by the waterfront with spectacular views. The apartment sleeps 4 guests and is has been designed as a modern but cosy living space.
If you prefer something a little more secluded, the Barn Owl Cottage just outside Looe is a rustic stone cottage with a sunny patio and 2 bedrooms.
So that's our round up of things to do on a weekend in Looe. Have you ever been there? What would you recommend doing if someone went there for the weekend? Please share you experience with us…