15 Best things to do in Lou (Cornwall, England)

In southeast Cornwall, Looe is both a family holiday destination and a true fishing port.

The town is located in the hills at the mouth of the Lu River, along the river is a port where fishing boats float on the water and you can test your crabbing skills at the pier.

Looe has a cozy old town, with rows of straight narrow alleys hiding quaint local shops, cafes and restaurants.

In the 18th century, some of these establishments may have been haunts for smugglers who brought rum, brandy and tea ashore along the rocky coastline.

To the front is East Loe Beach, which is the soul of the September Loe Festival party.

Let’s explore the best things to do at Looe:

1. Donglu Beach

Donglu Beach

You don’t have to go far to enjoy one of the seven beaches near Looe.

Just in front of the old town and at the foot of Mount Ararat, the lively East Loe Beach is protected on its west side by the Banjo Pier at the mouth of the Loe River.

This sandy beach is very gentle, and when the tide goes out, it’s completely safe for people with less-than-perfect water skills.

Being so close to the old town, lunch, ice cream and any supplies you might need are just a short walk away.

You can also stroll along the Banjo Pier to look out over Luai Island and watch the fishing boats come and go in and out of the harbour.

2. Lu Island

Lu Island

From Easter to the end of September, you can cruise for a few hours on the island of Lué on the pontoon next to the RNLI slide.

These intersections occur on either side of high tide, as the channel cannot be navigated when the tide recedes.

This 22.5 acres is packed with some interesting stories and you’ll have a busy time ashore.

The island is a protected area owned by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, so you can’t traverse it alone.

Once up the hill, you’ll find the remains of the medieval church of La Manna, on the site of a Celtic monastery built in the 500’s.

The religious significance of the island can be traced back to an alleged visit by Joseph and the young Jesus, who set foot here to trade with Cornish tin merchants.

3. Old Town Hall Museum and Prison

Old Town Hall Museum and Prison

Looe’s Guildhall was built at the turn of the 16th century and is now home to the town’s museum dedicated to historic activities such as shipbuilding, smuggling and fishing.

The building is a treat in itself, with centuries-old features such as the magistrate’s bench with the royal coat of arms, a well-preserved prisoner’s cell and an authentic nine-tailed cat whip.

The courthouse has a beautiful timber roof and contains official weights and measures to ensure fair trade in the town.

Looe’s fishing heritage is represented by historic sardine presses, fishing nets, boots, model boats and other knickknacks.

A few other curious things are Louie’s first ambulance (essentially a trolley), a set of minerals and mastodon tusks dating back 2 million years.

4. Taran Bay

Taran Bay

Just west of Lui, you will come to the Polperro Heritage Coast, an area of ​​outstanding natural beauty.

The first stop is the twin bays of Taran Bay, which are separated by an extremely ancient headland of Devonian sandstone, siltstone and slate.

On the west side is the pleasant sandy beach of Taran, and on the east end is the smaller Rotterdam beach, both with cafés.

When the tide goes out, you can see the boilers of the French steam trawler “Marguerite”, which ran aground on the rocks in 1922 and no one was killed.

Taran Church is famous for a bizarre 18th-century priest, Reverend Richard Dodge, who caused a stir by whipping tombstones in the churchyard to drive away evil spirits.

One explanation for his behavior might be that he caused a disturbance while helping smugglers bring contraband ashore.

5. Water sports

water sports

Looe’s south-facing beach has clear, blue waters ideal for kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding.

You can get equipment at a few places including Looe’s Boat Shop, Black Rock Beach Hire in Millendreath, and Cafe in Talland Sand.

Black Rock Beach Hire offers laid-back, friendly coaching before your departure, and life jackets, wetsuits and waterproof bags for valuables are all included in the price.

If you’re visiting as a couple, you can rent a tandem kayak and work as a team paddling to secluded beaches.

6. South West Coast Trail

South West Coast Path

Known as one of the best walks in the world, the South West Coast Walk is a national walk that runs along the south west coast of England from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset.

Even though the trail is on the coast, it can be strenuous as you descend from rocky cliffs to river valleys and climb again.

But in Looe, you can walk 5.7 miles west to Crumplehorn and take the bus back.

This route will take you past a beach with rock pools and into the cozy fishing village of Polperro.

Set out in the fall, you can spot a variety of migratory birds, including skua, terns, finches, warblers, and perhaps sooty gulls, which are rarely seen on these shores.

7. Monkey Sanctuary

monkey sanctuary

The monkey sanctuary is run by a charity and has provided habitat for rescued monkeys since 1964. In 2018, more than 35 monkeys were kept in humane enclosures, and you can come and see them from Wednesday to Sunday in the summer.

Among the residents are marmosets, Barbary macaques, South American woolly monkeys and capuchin monkeys.

In a small attraction like this, you can get to know each person’s personality, learn about the work of the shelter and what it takes to care for its inhabitants.

The park also has a wildlife room that covers the insects, birds, mammals, plants and amphibians that live on the 9 acres, as well as gardens shaded by tall beech and fig trees.

8. The Old Sardine Factory

old sardine factory

In July 2018, the former sardine factory at West Looe Wharf reopened as a heritage centre, featuring an exhibition, events centre, training restaurant and fishermen’s shop.

The derelict former building dates back to the Victorian era and was partially demolished and rebuilt in a £1.5 million scheme.

Among the immersive exhibits is a large map of Looe’s coastline, measuring 13 m x 11 m on the floor, a virtual reality station that puts you in the boots of RNLI lifeboaters and an in-depth look at Looe’s fishing and smuggling Activity.

9. Crab


For some old-fashioned family fun, you can go crabbing near the harbour jetty in East Lu or the ferry steps in West Lu.

The best time is on both sides of high tide, when the river level is rising, otherwise the crabs will let go before you come ashore.

You’ll need some bait, a net, a weight, and a bucket, and a little patience to catch the crabs, but it’s a skill even kids can master.

After landing, you can carefully pick it up and examine its belly to determine if it is male (triangle) or female (circle). After that, let go of your fish and watch it fly back to the surface.

10. Rock Pool

Lu Marine Conservation Organization

Looe Marine Conservation Group has many tips for family rock pool excursions in town.

The best place to go to the rock pools is undoubtedly the rugged shores of Hannaford Beach in Shiloh.

Download the local tide times and try to get down to the beach an hour before low tide.

You’ll then have an hour to hunt for crabs, starfish, anemones, sponges and fish such as chana, goby and Cornish sucker.

Bring a camera, a pocket wildlife guide and a few buckets to document your finds and return them safely to your home.

11. Adrenaline Quarry

Adrenaline Quarry

A canyon-like former quarry a few miles north of Looe has been converted into an outdoor adventure center, offering a variety of exhilarating activities.

There’s a giant swing that’s so high that you have to be twisted to free fall, and the Wipeout at the water park is a giant floating inflatable playground with slides and tricky obstacles.

Adrenalin Quarry’s zipline is about half a kilometer long, 50 meters high, and can reach speeds of up to 40 mph.

You can also choose from a range of guided activities such as axe throwing and gliding, where you’ll don safety gear and climb, jump, dive and swim in this rugged environment.

12. Millendris Beach

Millendris Beach

An alternative to East Loe Beach, Millendreath Beach is a steep cove leading to the monkey sanctuary.

Check the tide times before you come: at low tide, the bay is a joy, with wide, soft sand and rippling shallow water for the kids to play.

But at high tide there is almost no beach! Facing a once-forgotten seaside village, Millendreath Beach is now undergoing a revival as the Black Rock Beach Resort, with a social café and bistro on a platform behind the beach with a scenic terrace.

13. Trentwood


If you want a quick walk without getting too far from Roue, on a peninsula between the West Roue and East Roue, there is an ancient hardwood woodland that is more than four centuries old.

Trenant Wood is on high ground and bouncy walkers will have views of West Looe and Quay from the clearing.

Spring bellflowers are gorgeous and colorful, and early summer meadows are embroidered with wildflowers.

Tracing the Shiloh Valley, on its southern bank is the Kirminos Forest, the largest western oak forest in the region, home to roe deer, foxes and badgers.

14. Lou Music Festival

    Lou Music Festival

Looe’s mild climate makes it one of the last big outdoor music events of the summer.

The Looe Festival takes place at the end of September, and the way it takes place across town is unique.

The main stage is on the beach, but stages can be found everywhere, in tents, on makeshift platforms, and even on top of vans.

Looe’s Bar is involved in fun activities and events, so it’s a rewarding activity for indulging your curiosity and wandering around.

Looe’s musical tastes vary, from punk to folk, hip-hop, soul, jazz, blues and world music.

The headliners are usually classic rock, punk and indie artists, and Jesus and Mary Chain, Waterboys and Bryan Ferry have all attended the festival over the past few years.

15. New Year’s Eve

banjo pier

As a seaside town, Louie gets very sleepy in the winter.

Until the New Year’s event, a big fancy dress party broke out.

Often listed as one of the best New Year’s attractions in the UK, Looe’s narrow streets are packed with revellers and pubs and restaurants get involved.

Gradually, everyone migrated to the promenade to watch the fireworks display from Banjo Pier at midnight.

Just so the kids don’t miss out on the fun of the fireworks show that starts at six.

Where to stay: The best hotels in Looe, England
Lowest price guaranteed.