Besides the obvious juvenile hilarity in the name of the town, there’s little that’s not chocolate-box-Cornish-seaside-town in Looe. This little picturesque village is, along with Polperro, the jewel in the tourist crown of Eastern Cornwall. It’s everything you’d imagine from the region: quaint, tightly packed and cobbled streets, with overhanging houses, a quayside filled with crab-fishing children, ice cream stalls, cream teas, boats in the harbour.
We pitched up on one sunny afternoon in the Easter holidays. Fore Street was teeming with European teenagers and holidaying Britons, all bewildered by the unseasonal warmth and determined to make the most of it. The coach trips were also in town: we stopped for an excellent cream tea in Caffe Fleur, and most of the tea room was taken up by jovial seniors on a day out. More power to them, I say.
You can rest assured that Looe remains bustling throughout an extended season then, with school holidays and granny holidays ongoing from Easter to October. Nevertheless, the town has descended too far into a tourist trap: it’s undeniably quaint, and every tourist shop is balanced by a cute boutique, or museum, or secondhand bookshop. Or, most pertinently, a charity shop.
Charity shops only balance out a couple of bucket-and-spade boutiques, being only a couple in number: the ubiquitous Cancer Research, and a regionally-ubiquitous Cornwall Hospice. That’s all there is, the first a generously-proportioned shop which yielded up a dress (not for me, obviously), the latter a smaller but well-stocked and busy affair, from which I left with an FF Bruce popular theology book.
Really, despite the name of this blog, charity shops aren’t the real reason to visit Looe. You visit Looe to take the little ferry across from East Looe to West Looe (the first boat trip I ever took, at age 7, was on a boat named Simon, on this very journey); you visit Looe to sit overlooking the beach cradling a passionfruit ice cream (with fudge stick instead of flake); you visit Looe to scoff a cream tea with pensioners commenting on the jam; you visit Looe to mooch through the maze of undulating streets purchasing local-themed food and gifts. You visit Looe to have a lovely time, and a lovely time you have.
Find: Looe on Google Maps
Transport: Looe station is between Plymouth and Par – you might have to change at Plymouth.
Consume with: we had an excellent cream tea in Caffe Fleur, Fore Street.
Visit: get a boat ride, hit the beach, or get out to Polperro or Fowey.
Overall Rating: three trinkets with shells on.