Looe

 

Looe is a small town and fishing port on the south Cornish coast. Looe is in fact two towns, East Looe and West Looe, connected by a bridge across the River Looe. Both towns are situated around a small harbour and along the steep-sided valley of the river which flows between East and West Looe to the sea beside a sandy beach. Off shore to the west, opposite the stonier Hannafore beach, lies the picturesque St George's Island, commonly known as Looe Island. Looe remains a fishing town, and several fish dealers operate from the docks of East Looe. With its fleet of small fishing boats returning their catches to port daily, Looe has a reputation for producing excellent fresh fish. The town is also a centre for shark fishing. Looe's main business today is, however, tourism, with much of the town given over to hotels, guest houses and holiday homes, along with a large number of pubs, restaurants, and shops selling beach equipment, ice cream and Cornish pasties. Inland from Looe lie many camping and caravan sites, as well as a Monkey Sanctuary. Other local attractions include the beaches, sailing, fishing and diving, and spectacular coastal walks, especially the one via Talland to Polperro.Looe has some of the best New Year celebrations in the UK. Revellers in fancy dress fill the streets, pubs and restaurants. At midnight a spectacular firework display takes place on the banjo pier watched by people on the beach and promenade.

East Looe centre's on its broad sandy beach, with the distinctive Banjo Pier, a new lifeboat station and St. Mary's Church. Stretching back from here is a grid of narrow streets forming the main business area of the town, packed with many small shops, restaurants and pubs, and the Old Guildhall, now a museum. Along the estuary lies the quay, with several fish dealers. Towards the bridge lies the Victorian Guildhall, and just north of the bridge the railway station, which is the terminus of the Looe Valley branch line to Liskeard.

West Looe spreads west from the bridge on the Polperro Road towards Sclerder, and along the river south of the bridge, with hotels, restaurants and boarding houses along the waterfront and houses climbing the perilous cliff above, towards a cluster of shops and businesses and the Church of St. Nicholas.

Further south along the coast road is Hannafore Point, marking the edge of Looe Harbour, with to the west the wide, stoney Hannafore beach, facing across a narrow channel to Looe Island (officially called St. George's Island). Slightly inland is the hamlet of Portlooe. Beyond lies a coastal path leading to the hamlets of Porthallow and Talland, and from there on to Polperro.