Archive for things to do in cornwall

Christmas and New Year in Looe Cornwall

Friday, November 28th, 2014

Great Value B&B in Looe: Christmas events & New Year celebrations

This year, Looe is promising a fantastic time for anyone planning a short break to Cornwall.  If you like to balance your fun with rest and recreation of a more relaxing kind, and get a good night’s sleep between the celebrations, then look no further than Polraen Country House for your Winter Bed and Breakfast accommodation.  We’re offering simple B&B from £60 per room per night throughout the winter.

Looe Harbour Christmas Weekend Dec 5 – 7

Reindeer in LooeThis fun-filled 3 day weekend event of Christmas activities centred around West Looe Quay offers plenty of opportunity to buy local produce and novel Christmas presents and stocking fillers as well as Santa arriving by boat and  live reindeer in town. There’ll be plenty of entertainment with choirs and carols, fireworks, a lantern procession and more. Full information.

Coca Cola Truck visits Looe Dec 15

Coca Cola Truck in LooeFor the first time ever, the Coca Cola Truck will be visiting Looe in Cornwall which is one of only two places in the UK where it will bequeath a lasting gift for the people of the town. Drawing crowds wherever it goes, the truck will be on the Quayside in Looe from midday until 8 pm with a lots of fun filled entertainment – and no doubt, ‘free Coca Cola’!

New Year Celebrations

New Year in LooeFancy dress revelry topped off with a spectacular fire work display at midnight has made the town of Looe a magnet for those seeking a night to remember at New Year.  Looe is rated as one of the top places in the UK to celebrate on New Year’s Eve, while hundreds of brave souls, do their bit for the RNLI on New Year’s Day by taking part in a fundraising New Year’s Day Swim from East Looe Beach.

Just a 3 minute drive into Looe and you can join in the pre Christmas festivities or the New Year fancy dress and fireworks. Back at Polraen, you can sleep like a baby surrounded by glorious Cornish countryside, enjoy a sumptuous breakfast and relax in the space and privacy of a country house with the convenience of easy access from onsite parking, free Wifi and bus and Looe Valley train links into town.

Book your room at Polraen online now

Cornwall by Car, Bus and Train

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Printed on the back of our breakfast menus, our Top Ten Day Trips from Looe have proved so popular with guests staying at Polraen Country House in the Looe Valley that we thought we’d share our recommendations so you can plan ahead.

Cornwall With and Without a Car

Explore Cornwall by trainBe adventurous!  Why not explore Cornwall by car, bus and train.  It’s rare to find hotel accommodation in Cornwall in such an idyllic rural location enjoying the convenience of both bus and train services.  Our suggestions include days out from Looe with and without the car using Polraen Country House near Looe as a touring base for Cornwall and Devon. At Sandplace in the Looe Valley, Polraen Country House benefits from Western Greyhound No 573 hourly bus service and the scenic Looe Valley Line train giving easy access to Looe, Polperro, Liskeard and beyond.

Touring By Car

Whitsand Day out from LooeWithout negotiating any narrow back lanes, it’s a direct route from Polraen’s car park to the A38 via Morval on the A387. In less than 10 minutes, you’ll be on a fast road heading east to fantastic beaches at Whitsand, the Rame Peninsula and Devon or west into deeper Cornwall.

Exploring By Looe Valley Line Train

Just a 2 minute stroll to Sandplace Station, guests really appreciate our proximity to the scenic Looe Valley Line. 5 minutes to Looe or use it to connect with the mainline at Liskeard. It’s perfect for day trips by train to St Ives, Falmouth, Truro and Plymouth. Cheap day returns and group/family discounts make the journey easier, faster, and far more relaxing than by car. It’s less costly too (no fuel or parking charges).  A year round service Mon-Sat and from May 18, a Sunday service too.

 

Travelling By Western Greyhound Bus 573

Polperro Harbour Explore Cornwall by busWestern Greyhound bus number 573 runs from Polperro via Looe and Sandplace through the Looe Valley to Liskeard and beyond to Pensilva up on Bodmin Moor. It stops on request right outside the hotel and honours senior citizen bus passes so if you qualify, enjoy ‘free’ trips too. We’re happy to assist with directions, timetables & loan Ordnance Survey maps.

Top Ten Day Trips from Looe

  1. Looe to Polperro Cliff top walk (on foot and by bus)
  2. Eden Project via Bodinnick Ferry and Fowey (by car)
  3. Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Victorian port of Charlestown (by car)
  4. Lanhydrock – a gem in the National Trust portfolio of historic houses (by car)
  5. Days out by train to St Ives, Truro, Falmouth, Penzance, Plymouth (by train)
  6. Whitsand Bay & the Rame Peninsular – the beaches & villages of Cornwall’s ‘forgotten corner’ (by car)
  7. North Coast to King Arthur’s Tintagel, Boscastle and Rick Stein’s Padstow (by car)
  8. The contrast that is Bodmin Moor, granite formations, ghosts and Bodmin Jail (by car or by bus)
  9. Discover grey seals and amazing wildlife on  visit to Looe Island (by bus/train and boat)
  10. Go on a mackerel or deep sea fishing trip from Looe (by bus/train and boat)

Full details and a print friendly download available here.  At Polraen, we know that a little bit of local knowledge can go a long way in making the difference between a good holiday and a great one. We are more than happy to assist you during your stay, with suggestions on things to do, places to visit and how to get there. Why not book your holiday in Looe now?

New Year in Looe

Friday, December 6th, 2013

New Year in LooeI love this time of year. When you live in Cornwall, you just have to scratch the surface to find there are so many things to do – and in Looe, there are so many events and festivities in the build up to Christmas and the New Year.

New Year in Looe

Of course, New Year in Looe has become famous for its fancy dress and fireworks display so if you haven’t made plans for New Year’s Eve and fancy a short break away, come and join us in Cornwall. We’ve got some late availability at Polraen Country House for 2 night minimum short break stays over the New Year in Looe from £90 per person.

December Munchtime Express

We had the pleasure of joining the Munchtime Express on the scenic Looe Valley Line on Tuesday with wonderful food free of charge courtesy of Nick Barclay at Blue Plate Downderry.  Over a 5 week period Nov-Dec, 5 of our best local restaurants serve free samples on the train of their wonderful food. This annual event has become so popular you have to book in advance. It’s a lovely scenic return journey on the Looe Valley Line travelling from Looe to Liskeard and back (passing Polraen Country House at Sandplace en route). So you’ve missed it in 2013 but plan it for next year!

New Year in Looe with Fireworks

So what else in December before the New Year celebrations? Well here’s the latest list of events courtesy of the local Tourist Office. If you want to keep up with the latest information on New Year in Looe and what’s going on,  we recommend you like the Love Looe Facebook page

LOOE & AREA DECEMBER 2013 EVENTS GUIDE DECEMBER

  •  3rd Munchtime Express Looe Valley Line
  • 4th Christmas Carols at Millpool Centre Pelynt Male Voice Choir
  • 6th Santa Arrives Memorial Steps, East Looe 6.30pm
  • 6th Santa’s Grotto & Festive Events West Looe Quayside Centre 5pm
  • 7th Dickensian Day Rose Garden 10am – 4pm
  • 7th Polperro Christmas Fayre & Carols with Keltique Big Green 2pm
  • 7th Polperro Lights Switch on 6.30pm
  • 8th Carols with Porthpyra Singers St Martin’s Church 7pm
  • 8th Craft Market Quayside Centre, West Looe 11am-3pm
  • 8th Wood Watch Walk Kilminorth Woods
  • 14th Produce Market Quayside Centre, West Looe 10am-2pm
  • 14th Fireworks Fundraising Coffee Morning Guildhall Tearoom 10am
  • 14th Santa Fun Run Starts West Looe Quayside 11am
  • 14th Keltique & Rame Choirs Riverside Church 7pm
  • 14th & 15th Nativity Display St Martin’s Church
  • 15th Christingle St Martin’s Church 4pm
  • 15th Christmas Open Day, Monkey Sanctuary 11am – 4.30pm
  • 16th Keltique Candlelit Concert St Nicholas Church West Looe 7pm
  • 19th Pub Carols with Keltique Around East Looe
  • 20th Sheila’s School of Dance Christmas Show Looe Bay Holiday Pk
  • 21st Sheila’s School of Dance Christmas Show Looe Bay Holiday Pk
  • 21st Produce Market Quayside Centre, West Looe 10am-2pm
  • 22nd Craft Market Quayside Centre, West Looe 11am-3pm
  • 22nd Polperro Fishermans Choir West Looe Quayside Centre 7pm
  • 24th Crib Service St Martin’s Church 4pm
  • 24th Christingle Riverside Church 4pm
  • 24th Christmas Holy Communion St Martin’s Church 11pm
  •   24th Christmas Holy Communion Riverside 11.30pm
  • 25th Christmas Holy Communion St Nicholas Church 9.30am
  • 25th Churches Together Christmas Lunch Looe Academy
  • 31st Looe New Years Eve Fireworks E. Looe Beach 6pm & 12 midnight
  • 1st Jan New Years Day Swim East Looe Beach 11am (TBC

Love Looe Logo

The Beautiful Looe ValleyThe South East Cornwall Walking Festival 2013 taking place in September in and around Looe in Cornwall – what a brilliant programme of walks this year!

In the walking festival, alongside tried and tested favourites, such as a visit to the Duloe Beer & Cider Festival, this year’s week long programme of escorted walks from Sat 14-21 September, introduces some more eclectic interests such as foraging for edible plants along the South East Cornwall coast and seashore and a guided tour with archaeologists conducting the first archaeological dig to be carried out on the Hurlers Stone circle on Bodmin Moor since the 1930s.

The walks explore a truly diverse and beautiful rural landscape with a chance to appreciate some ‘off the beaten’ track gems. These idyllic locations are within an area of countryside in South East Cornwall along the coast from the popular fishing and seaside town of Looe to Polruan on the Fowey River, and inland across verdant pastures of the Looe River valleys running up to Bodmin Moor.

East Looe River ValleyWalking of course can be a solitary pursuit but to be escorted by local experts sharing their insight and specialist knowledge in local history, wildlife, conservation and archaeology is a real bonus. Although all these walks are free of charge, many are led by experts in their field and any donations will go towards local charities or the project running the walk eg Looe Marine Conservation Group or Mapping the Sun Project.

Accommodation for the South East Cornwall Walking Festival

If you need accommodation, Polraen Country House in the Looe Valley, is an ideal base for the Walking Festival. You can book bed and breakfast but with a fully licensed bar and restaurant service serving home-made dishes and blackboard specials – you have the convenience of optional evening dinner Wed- Sat. Some of the walks start from Sandplace Station on the scenic Looe Valley Train Line just 400 yards from Polraen so it is an ideal base to explore whether you come Trenant Bridge, Looe Valley, East Looe Riverwith or without the car.  Double rooms are priced from £80 per room per night including Full Breakfast, free parking and Wifi.  To book rooms at Polraen, check availability here

South East Cornwall Walking Festival Programme

For the South East Walking Festival, download the full list of walks here

Looe Music Festival – September 2013

And if music rather than walking is more your cup of tea, remember the Looe Music Festival takes place in September the weekend of 27-29 September.

 

 

Looe Bioblitz – Wildlife Bonanza in Cornwall

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Rockpool Creatures Looe CornwallSo what is the Looe Bioblitz? And if you’re interested in wildlife, why should you come to Looe in South East Cornwall to take part on June 23 and 24?

What is a Bioblitz?

A bioblitz  is a survey of a natural space to try and identify and record as many species as possible, and to raise public awareness of biodiversity in the marine and coastal environment.  Anyone who lives in Looe or has visited on holiday can’t fail to appreciate how lucky we are in Looe to have an amazing variety of wildlife from grey seals to blackbacked gulls, from bats and badgers to dolphins and basking sharks, from fish aplenty to crabs and kingfishers – the list is endless. And that’s why Looe was selected this year by the Marine Biological Association as the focus for their fifth Bioblitz – the largest one they’ve held.

An amazing range of activities will be run to survey and gather the species and data, under the eye of national wildlife experts who are coming to Looe specially for the event this weekend. The 24 hour race running round the clock will involve local groups, holidaymakers, wildlife enthusiasts and volunteers from our local Looe Marine Conservation Group.

What type of wildlife events are taking place?

If you fancy any of these activities, turn up on Sunday at the new Millpool Centre in the Millpool Car Park in West Looe which is acting as the base camp for the event. From 10 am on Sunday, here you can get details of the programme of activities from a manned desk. Amazing interesting activities that you might not have ever done before such as seashore safaris, bug hunts, woodland, meadow and strandline walks, plankton netting, rock pooling, bat detecting, moth traps, mammal spotting, and snorkelling – with national and local wildlife experts on hand to answer questions. Most of the surveys will take place at Hannafore and East Looe Beaches, on Looe Island and in Kilminorth Woods. So the base camp in the Millpool is the nerve centre for data, where lab work, identification and data recording will continue through the night. You can take part in events or simply observe.  In the Millpool Centre, there will be talks; art based activities and microscopes/screens/ specimens for people to look at and learn about, all under the knowledgeable eye of experts – some coming from France and from the Natural History Museum as well as the MBA and Cornwall Wildlife Trust.  There will be monitors in the centre for viewing photos and identifying additional records from these pictures and a series of ‘mini missions’ for volunteers and members of the public to take part in.

Support for Looe’s Wildlife

At Polraen, we have a major interest in Looe’s marine wildlife as we sit on the steering committee  of our Looe Marine Conservation Group. We’ve found it a great way to engage with nature, meeting like minded people and its a great excuse to get out and enjoy the fantastic rural and coastal environment that we have the privilege to live in. Whether you live locally or are on holiday, you might like to support the efforts of our group by becoming a member for just £6 per annum. Take a look at the Looe Marine Conservation Group website from the comfort of your armchair or better still, become a member or even a volunteer if you live nearby.

At the time of ‘blogging’, we have rooms available  at Polraen if you’re needing overnight accommodation. 

Cornwall Spring Flower Show at Boconnoc

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

Boconnoc DaffodilsWent to the Cornwall Garden Society Spring Flower Show at Boconnoc today (Sat 6th April) – an annual pilgrimage with my Mum. We were blessed with clear blue skies, lower than average temperatures but no wind chill so the weather was perfect.

Buy your ticket in advance if you want to save a £1 but the £7.50 entrance charge at the gate is well worth it – for a Cornish version of the Chelsea Flower Show or Hampton Court Flower Show with an emphasis on daffodils, which is no surprise at this time of year.

The backdrop for the event is amazing. Boconnoc is situated about 10 miles north of Looe and Polperro, just off the B3359 and near the A390 towards Lostwithiel.  It’s one of Cornwall’s old country estates with gracious sweeping lawns, sheep grazing on pastures, Victorian follies, rhodedendron ‘trees’ and an impressive Cornish country mansion. The event itself is charming. Marquees and outside displays with lots of nurseries plying rare and exotic species alongside more familiar plant types with alpines and rockery plants going for a song.

Amongst the ‘other’ stands were garden ornaments, solar powered fountains, antique edwardian garden implements, garden furniture, garden sculptures and pottery, garden tools and of course, Cornish food and drink at very reasonable prices.

All in all, a great day. I came away with a few additional shrubs, alpines, and perennials for the Polraen Hotel garden (always manage to find a new space for a new arrival). Best I think to set a budget before I go next time………… Also signed up for a monthly donation to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust while I was there. A lovely day. I’ll be going next year. The first of many ‘Things to Do‘ in and around Looe which I recommend to hotel guests and love to do myself…..

April 3 nights for the price of 2 offer at Polraen Country House

Take advantage of our April 3 nights for the price of 2 offer on double and twin rooms and enjoy a short break from £84 per person for a 3 night stay at Polraen Country House.  There are so many fantastic gardens in Cornwall which are wonderful particularly in spring.

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Looe Raft Race at Festival of the Sea

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Looe River entranceLooe’s Festival of the Sea

One month earlier in 2013 taking place:- 1st and 2nd June  – A fantastic weekend to visit Looe if you’re planning a last minute weekend break.

Expect to be entertained at Looe’s annual homage to its maritime heritage and Cornish roots, with just about everything to do with the sea on the agenda including the funniest silliest wackiest Raft Race ever. Taking place on Sunday afternoon, and guaranteed to make you laugh, come rain or shine, you’ll see rafts made out of empty bottles, barrels – anything, including the kitchen sink. Many taking to the waters of the Looe River on their home made vessels will be bombarded with water bombs and abandon ship or possibly sink before the half way mark. All proceeds from the race go to the RNLI.

Grazing on the Quay

Photo Courtesy of Looe Festival of ood and DrinkEnjoy all manner of food from the sea – another great feature of the weekend, both Sat and Sun, is the daily tasting from 11 am each day, with the ever popular ‘grazing on the quay’ providing succulent taster dishes from some of Looe’s finest restaurants and food suppliers including crab from Nippers Shellfish and paella from Simply Fish.  Sample the best of local food and drink in stalls set up along the harbour side of the historic fishing port of Looe.

Music

As you stroll along the quay with the aroma of a fish bbq courtesy of Pengelly’s wafting on the breeze, music by local groups and artists will lift your spirits, even if the rain tries to dampen them. If you enjoy music, check out the Looe Music Festival in September.

Looe Marine Conservation Group

We’ll be there with a show and tell stall to introduce you to a few creatures from the rocky sea shore around Looe – crabs, limpets, starfish, anemones. Crabbing from the Looe quayside is always fun with the kids and there’s a neat little leaflet about crabbing in Looe which you can get free of charge from the Looe Tourist Office and from retail shops in Looe which sell the crabbing kits.

Life Boat Station

Take a tour around the lifeboat station, experience their simulator and talk to the crews. The raft race prize giving  and closing ceremony is 5pm at the lifeboat station on Sunday.

For further information on the Raft Race in Looe: contact: 07747488488 Email: vicky@skiphiredpw.com OR Dave Peat 07747488488

The annual Polperro Festival takes place Sat 16-24 June promising an action packed week of entertainment while the new Looe Food Festival provides a weekend (June 23 and 24) to tempt your tastebuds with produce from land and sea. (Scroll down to see the outline programme of events).

Accommodation with free bus links

If you want to visit the Polperro Festival and need somewhere to stay, accommodation in the small fishing village of Polperro may be in short supply or at a premium and parking (minimum £4 charge) can be an issue. So avoid the crowds and the seagull noise! and enjoy our quiet location leaving your car behind in our free car park at Polraen Country House in the Looe Valley. Go green and catch the bus! We benefit from an hourly bus service No 573 which runs to Polperro from 07.42 until 17.49 while later bus services run from Looe. The last evening return from Polperro to Polraen leaves Polperro at 18.20 but much later services run between Polperro and Looe allowing you to enjoy the full range of evening entertainnment in Polperro’s pubs with the last service back to Looe at 23.20 from where you can catch a taxi.

Here you can download the No. 573 bus timetable

Bring your bus pass if you are a senior citizen, and you can enjoy the scenic ride to Looe and Polperro for free as concession passes are recognised by Western Greyhound buses in Cornwall.

At Polraen Country House, we currently have availability throughout the week of the festival from £87 per room per night including breakfast with optional dinner available. Call us direct for the best deals or book online via our website which will be up to 15% cheaper than online booking agents. But book soon as the end of the Polperro Festival coincides with the Looe Food Festival, taking place over the weekend of 23 and 24 June. And there’s no prettier journey into Looe than on the scenic Looe Valley Line where you can board the train at Sandplace for the 5 minute journey into Looe skirting the banks of the river while you watch the birds and wildlife from your carriage window. Here you can download the train timetable

So it really is a great time to visit, when you can enjoy two festivals in the same week! The Looe Food Festival will take place in a large marquee in the Millpool Car Park in Looe, where you can tempt your taste buds with an array of Cornish seafood and local produce from sea and land. There’ll be a host of leading Cornish food and drink suppliers, chef demos, brewery bar….and more over a fantastic weekend with FREE ENTRY TO THE FESTIVAL MARQUEE!

(Outline programme for the Polperro Festival is below with a full programme available via this link:  Polperro Programme of Events 2012 )

Friday 15th June – Day 0 – Festival Eve/ Arts Foundation evening
Saturday 16th June – Day 1 – Opening Day, Procession & Mayor Unveiling (Procession at 2pm)
Sunday 17th June – Day 2 – Music & Family Fun Dog Show
Monday 18th June – Day 3 – Arts Foundation Craft Fayre
Tuesday 19th June – Day 4 – Village Fete
Wednesday 20th June- Day 5 – Schools Day, Comedy Night
Thursday 21st June – Day 6 – All things Cornish, Comedy Night
Friday 22nd June – Day 7 – Foody Friday
Saturday 23rd June – Day 8 – Polperro Festival Carnival (procession at 2pm)
Sunday 24th June – Day 9 – Gig on the Green Finale

 

Cornish Tin Mining – A World Heritage Site

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Last week I learned what Cornish tin mines have in common with Machu Pichu, the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and Stonehenge. They’re all World Heritage Sites!  And having just completed a ‘World Heritage Champion’ training day, I found the learning quite  fascinating- inspiring me to put a Cornish Mining Heritage page on the Polraen website featuring a great widget (interactive tool) that introduces visitors to the sites, the attractions, audio trails and history – all part of the ‘Discover the Extraordinary’ project.

Learning about the history of Cornwall’s mining industry helps you to appreciate the full legacy of what has been left not only here in Cornwall but also the extent of the impact that Cornish mining had around the world.  It’s a fascinating story which started 270 million years ago when the granite that creates the backbone of the county cooled and tin and copper ore amongst others was created. From circa 1700 to 1914, the mining industry helped shape the heritage, culture and traditions of the Cornish people as well as the landscape. The population boomed as demand for mineral ores grew for industrial and military use.

Cornwall was the Silicon Valley of its day, fuelling the industrial revolution, exporting mining technology around the world along with Cornish miners who then were at the forefront of diamond mining in South Africa, silver mining in Mexico, and the gold rushes in America and Australia. High pressure steam in Cornish mining was the engineering foundation for Stevenson’s invention of the first steam locomotive leading to the mass movement of goods and people. The first tin plated can was made in 1810 revolutionising food storage and preservation. Meanwhile, social impact was reflected in choral singing, temperance religions and Methodism, the brass and silver bands which became synonymous with mining communities. The tin barons, the wealthy investors, filled the gardens of their Cornish country estates with camelias and rhodedendrons brought back from the Empire leaving the legacy of exotic flora and fauna which you can find in Cornwall’s gardens today.

We often get folks from across the UK and from abroad searching their family history, researching their Cornish surname, visiting graveyards to seek out the resting place of past generations. And now, I can help encourage visitors to get a real sense of the ‘hidden Cornwall’ that many don’t get to discover, by visiting some of the 18 attractions, many of them wet weather places, most free to enter.

What a fascinating day it was and I’ve already had a very interesting talk over a pint in the bar with a guy from Walsall, who spent 3 years in South Africa in the diamond mines after studying at Camborne School of Mining. Just goes to show, you’re never too old to learn…….. So take a look at the Polraen Cornish Mining Heritage page to plan an interesting day out discovering the extraordinary and hidden Cornwall.