Introducing Looe & Looe Island
Nestled in the crook of a steep-sided valley, the twin towns of East and West Looe stand on either side of a broad river estuary, connected by a multi-arched Victorian bridge built in 1853. There's been a settlement here since the days of the Domesday Book, and the town thrived as a medieval port before reinventing itself as a holiday resort for well-to-do Victorians: famously, the town installed one of the county's first 'bathing machines' beside Banjo Pier (named for its circular shape) in around 1800, and it's been a popular beach retreat ever since.
A couple of centuries on, the town beaches of East Looe, Second Beach and Millendreath are still bound to be crammed on hot summer days; things are usually quieter across the river at Hannafore Beach, backed by grassy banks for picnics, and plenty of rock pools to delve in at low tide.
In contrast to Fowey, Looe still feels behind-the-times when it comes to eating out – chip shops and chintzy B&Bs still very much rule the roost – but this might be set to change thanks to chef du jour Nathan Outlaw, who recently opened his first south coast venture here, Outlaw's Fish Kitchen. Whether this will be enough to spark Looe's culinary renaissance is debatable, but it's certainly a welcome addition.