Visit the beautiful seaside town of Looe in South East Cornwall, sometimes known as the county’s forgotten corner.

How to visit by train

The town, which prospered from the fishing industry and latterly tourism, is actually split into two towns, East and West Looe, and separated by the East Looe River.

East Looe is the busier of the two and has plenty of narrow back lanes with quaint cottages rubbing shoulders with independent shops of all shapes and sizes.

GWR train on the scenic final stretch of the Looe Valley Line

The scenic final two-mile stretch of the Looe Valley Line as it runs alongside the estuary.

Looe harbour

Looe is at its most beautiful with the tide in. Check tide times.

Sign - The Old Lifeboat Station, 1866-1930

Looe is full of character from its narrow streets to its seafront.

East Looe beach and the Banjo Pier

East Looe beach and the famous Banjo Pier, 10 minutes’ walk from Looe station.

The train journey

The best way to visit is on the scenic Looe Valley Line. This lovely branch line begins from the market town in Liskeard and winds its way through the heavily wooded valley until the final two miles which see the views completely open out over the estuary.

This last two miles is an excellent opportunity to spot some of the local birdlife which includes little egrets, oyster catchers, curlew and kingfishers (although blink and you’ll miss them!).

From Looe station, turn right and take the 10-minute walk into town. It’s a further 5 minutes down to the beach. See map.

GWR train running alongside the estuary on the Looe Valley Line
East Looe beach

Beach and banjo pier

On a sunny day head straight for the town beach and banjo pier.

This is a safe sandy beach with shops, cafes and amenities close by as well as the Admiral Boscarn pub with its large roof terrace. The beach gets busy in summer so if the weather is good, it is best to get there early.

Explore the town

If it isn’t beach weather there is more than enough to occupy you for a day.

Head into East Looe and get yourself a pasty from the award winning Sarah’s Pasty Shop. This pasty shop is housed in the smallest of buildings in one of East Looe’s back streets but it is worth seeking out as the pasties are out of this world.

Staff make the pasties in front of you, from traditional steak to mackerel and horseradish!

Armed with your pasty, head towards the harbour and here you will find the ferry that connects East and West Looe (the ferry doesn’t run when the tide is out but you can walk around to West Looe via the bridge).

Hop on and travel across the river and of you have time, it is well worth popping into the Old Sardine Factory heritage centre where you can explore the maritime and fishing heritage of Looe.

West Looe

Scenic walk – Pt 1

Hannafore & views of Looe island

From West Looe you can walk the short but steep walk up to Hannafore. This mainly residential area is home to the Hannafore Point Hotel. The views across the whole of the bay and over Looe Island are stunning and on a clear day you can see for miles.

Looe Island, also known as St George’s Island, is a nature reserve which you can visit on boat trips from East Looe. The island was inhabited by people as far back as the Iron Age, and at one time was a site for early Christian pilgrimages.

The Island’s most colourful history was throughout the 17th and 18th centuries when it was used by smugglers. There is more on the history of the Island and smuggling in the town in the excellent Old Guildhall Museum in East Looe.

Scenic walk – Pt 2

SOUTH WEST COAST PATH TO POLPERRO

Head down towards the end of Hannafore and you will eventually find a gate that leads into a field and this is where you can access the South West Coast Path. Wander a while, find a bench and enjoy your pasty or if you are feeling fit and keen you can walk the 6 miles to the quaint village of Polperro along the coast path.

The walk is strenuous in places but you will be rewarded with stunning views out to sea and glimpses of deserted coves where you can picture the smugglers of the past. Polperro itself (shown) is picturesque too.

If you do opt to do the whole walk, there is a bus in Polperro that will take you back into Looe at the end of your day before you catch the train back to Liskeard.

Walkers on the Looe to Polperro section of the South West Coast Path

Coming by train

Forgot the hassle of parking in Looe. Instead come by train on the scenic Looe Valley Line.

This begins at Liskeard which is on the Cornish main line.

Face coverings must be worn on public transport unless you are exempt. If you can, please buy your ticket online on the GWR app or website. When travelling please remember to wash your hands and use social distancing. Read more on GWR’s Coronavirus advice page.

30 minutes from Liskeard

1 hr 15 from Plymouth (change at Liskeard)

From Looe station it is a 10-minute walk into town or 15 minutes to the beach.
See town map.

Buying Tickets to Looe

Liskeard to Looe

£

4.60

Off-Peak Day Return. Valid after the morning peak, and anytime weekends or Bank Holidays.

Great fares from further afield

PLYMOUTH
TO LOOE

£

6.50

Adult Off-Peak Day Return

Fares explained

1hr 15

Approximate journey time

ST IVES
TO LOOE

£

11.40

Adult Off-Peak Day Return

Fares explained

2hrs 30

Approximate journey time

 

Looe Valley Line

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