Looe, Cornwall’s Jewel In The Crown

guest postHey everyone. Today’s post is by a Rachel Hindle, who describes herself as an ‘avid returner to Looe‘.

Rachel contacted me back in 2011 about writing a guest post and I thought it would be wonderful to have a visitors view of the town.

Well here we are, Rachel’s eloquent and supremely descriptive post. Thank you so much for taking the time and for sending it in. All words and pictures supplied by Rachel.

Looe, Cornwall’s Jewel In The Crown

Rachel Hindle West Looe QuayWe’d popped to Looe, an attractive ancient fishing port in Cornwall, for a quick autumnal, crowd free break. Boasting an intriguing blend of old and new, the South-West has plenty to go round. With its cliff top walks, gastronomic treats, stupendous views and crashing waves, Cornwall is the perfect salty aired platform to ‘opt out’ of busy modern life. A few halcyon days here offer all the laid-back living you could want, with the fabulously fresh seafood promising a gastronomic treat in every cove.

After an increasingly lean funnel of size zero roads, we wove around the final bend, with the object of desire shimmying majestically into view – nestled between dramatic cliff tops, lay the picture perfect Looe.

Pulling up outside Anchor Lights our elegant harbour side Edwardian B&B, the mid evening streets were deserted, with only the fairground style lights draped along the edge of the sea walls to keep us company. We were greeted by a mild stream of fresh salty sea air, owing to the Cornish micro climate. Our upscale bolthole didn’t disappoint, with contemporary luxury woven through fore and aft, from the large, airy Pengelly sea view room, to the soft toned décor and bedding, and the exquisite, locally sourced breakfast selection.

Like the best travel, it’s the quirky surprises, rather than the well-known show-stoppers, that hit the high notes, and following a brisk 500 foot walk along the horse shoe harbour, the quirky Jolly Sailor – one of Britain’s oldest pubs came into view.

A raucous welcome ensued as we ducked through the narrow beamed doorway of the 16th century watering hole. Some time later, amidst the barmaids’ impromptu tambourine session, our attention was caught by a huge dark beam above the bar, reportedly salvaged from a French ship at the battle of Trafalgar.

Locals around Looe have turned relaxation, lubricated with decent wine and fresh seafood, into an art form, but you don’t need to splash a second mortgage at a flash restaurant. The Smugglers Cottage serves super-sized lobster in its grade 2 listed snug, surrounded by old fishing nets, with dark walls and dimmed lights completing the smuggler vibe. The lobster is extraordinary, its plump flesh in plentiful supply, with an addictive sweet aftertaste.

What is it that makes Cornwall special? Cornish author Terry Faull tells me – ‘In Cornwall anyone can become an explorer. Along the coast and across the countryside, a network of public paths and lanes lead to dramatic sea washed cliffs or to sheltered inland valleys where grey/green lichens pattern the walls of granite churches where Celtic saints once knelt. What stories could be told; smugglers and sea farers, farmers and miners, lovers and mourners. Depending on your own wishes there are long walks or gentle strolls. Walks in summer sunshine have their own pleasures of course but on colder and even rainy days, real enjoyment comes from the feeling of the elements and anticipation of the reward to come from a well earned drink and rest by the fireside.’

I enjoy the roughness, the sheer otherness of Cornwall. There is romance in its gnarled old seamen, in its dotted Edwardian frontages, in the range of its amenities.

But while contemporary accommodation is a welcome development guaranteed to keep Looe on the food and travel map, the compact fishing port seems more than capable of retaining its unhurried, sunny, bling-free charm, whilst revealing a truly timeless and unique magic.

Rachel Hindle – November 2011

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About iLoveLooe

Cornwall was always one of our dream places to live, so we upped sticks in 2007 and moved to Looe. I now run iLoveLooe.co.uk and various social media locations for Looe on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Say 'Hi' sometime.