Friday, 11 February 2011


Looe, no doubt the butt of numerous jokes due to its unfortunate name, is the last major seaside resort on the South Cornwall coast before we reach the mouth of the River Tamar. It is a town of two halves, West Looe and East Looe, divided by the River Looe. Just offshore is Looe Island, aka St George’s Island, which has the last vestiges of a chapel dating back to the 12th century, when it was inhabited by monks. Everyone dreams of owning their own island, but for two sisters, the Atkins sisters, that dream became a reality in 1965 when they bought this island and actually lived there, writing a couple of books about their experiences. On the death of the longest-living sister, Babs, the island was bequeathed to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and is now a nature reserve.

I love old pubs with a rich seafaring past, and The Jolly Sailor in West Looe, built in 1516, fits the bill perfectly. The pub claims to be one of the oldest in Britain and is a Grade II listed building. There is a beam in the pub which allegedly dates from the Battle of Trafalgar. There are many stories associated with this pub, but one of my favourites concerns the landlady who hid an illicit haul by covering it with her petticoats. Those who are interested in smuggling should visit the Old Guildhall Museum and Gaol, which has displays on this as well as fishing and boat building.

For events in Looe and the surrounding area see here.

Webcam views of the bay and harbour.

Map of the area.

File:East Looe Beach and the mouth of the River Looe (9899).jpg
Photo by Nilfanion, via Wikimedia Commons

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