Archive for cornwall

Cornwall by Car, Bus and Train

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 Bus Route Number 73 – an hourly bus service which honours senior citizen bus passes, 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 17, a Sunday service too.

Travelling By Plymouth CityBus 73

Polperro Harbour Explore Cornwall by busPlymouth Citybus 73 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.  New for 2015, a bus service from Liskeard to Padstow, so you can now easily reach the north coast without taking the car!

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?

Autumn Break Ideas in Looe

Autumn Hotel Breaks in Looe View fromm Polraen ConservatoryHere’s a few ideas for an autumn shortbreak in Looe. Cornwall takes on a charm of its own in autumn when fishing villages and tourist towns take a snooze in the run up to Christmas. But there’s still lots going on. See below.

Book one of our low season shortbreaks from £75 per person for a 2 night stay including Martin’s magnificent breakfast, ensuite accommodation, convenient free onsite parking and Wifi.

But what makes an autumn short break in Cornwall special?  There may be a slower pace, but there’s still lots going on.  Here’s a few reasons to book an autumn hotel break to Looe.

What’s On

Nov 13-19: Looe Literary Festival. World renowned authors, poets and creative thinkers will give talks in our lovely town. Guest speakers include ex British Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen and TV Science and History presenter Adam Hart Davis.
Dec 1-2:  Looe Festive Weekend.  Santa arrives in Looe with his reindeer; there’s a lantern procession, open air carol concert and a Santa Fun Run.
Dec 9-10: Christmas Fairs at Mt Edgcumbe and The Lost Gardens of Heligan  – a perfect opportunity to find unique Christmas gifts from artisan producers of food & drink, arts & crafts with entertainment and Christmas Carolling
New Year: Looe’s fancy dress and fireworks tradition turns the whole town into one brilliant party. We have two rooms left at Polraen for a minimum 3 night stay. Of course, Polraen is the perfect place to relax if you prefer to see in the New Year quietly.
January: The Camelia’s at Mt Edgcumbe are stunning and Cornwall’s mild climate gives us an early Spring when you can visit Cornwall’s beaches and National Trust houses and gardens before the crowds.

Reasons to Choose Polraen Country House

  • Our location: all the peace of the countryside with Looe 3 minutes down the road – our stress free ‘out of town’ location at Sandplace is perfect for Looe, Polperro and ideal for touring Cornwall
  • Relaxation: enjoy autumn colours and sounds in the peace and quiet of the Looe Valley. Hear the cough’ of a pheasant or the hoot of an owl – but no sea gulls!  Watch shadows lengthen across the garden against the backdrop of a wooded valley changing colour. See the mist rise from a dew covered lawn as the sun climbs above the Looe Valley countryside.
  • Great food: A choice of breakfasts from Eggs Benedict to the Full English or lighter alternatives. Of an evening, relax in Polraen’s hotel style facilities and take advantage of the the option to picnic in The Conservatory
  • Convenience: Easy access from an onsite car park with public transport to Looe, Polperro and beyond on the scenic Looe Valley train or bus.
  • Bedroom comfort: The comfort and cleanliness of our 5 well equipped 4 star Gold Award ensuite rooms. Our mattresses get rave reviews and we earn a thumbs up for ‘sleep quality’. Read our Reviews.
  • Our Reputation for hospitality: Feel at home in the warmth of award-winning family run hospitality from your hosts Gill and Martin Bridges. 

Call us on 01503 263956 to book direct.

These special prices are not available through online travel agents. Short break prices are based on a minimum 2 night stay. Call us to purchase a gift voucher! Or check room availability below:

 

 

 

New Year in Looe

New Year in Looe

For New Year 2018, click here

I 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.

What’s On December 2017

Dec 1-2:  Looe Festive Weekend. Over the weekend of Dec 1-2, Looe will be full of festive spirit. The weekend starts with a lantern procession and an open air carol service on Friday evening on the quayside. Santa arrives in Looe by train on Saturday at 2.55 pm with an afternoon of stalls, children’s entertainment and live animals, food, drink and Santa’s grotto with carols in the evening. And on Sunday, there’s a Santa Fun Run in costume.

Dec 9-10: Christmas Fairs at Mt Edgcumbe and The Lost Gardens of Heligan provide a perfect opportunity to find unique Christmas gifts from artisan producers of food & drink, arts & crafts with entertainment and Christmas Carolling

See more events at Looe Tourist Information Centre

New Year in Looe

New Year Fireworks in LooeOf course, New Year in Looe has become famous for its fancy dress and fireworks display. We’ve got some late availability at Polraen Country House over the New Year in Looe.  A superking room for a 3 night minimum stay for 2 people at £333.  So if you haven’t made plans for New Year’s Eve and fancy a short break away, come and join us in Cornwall. Book here.

Looe’s fancy dress and fireworks tradition turns the whole town into one brilliant party. You really are a bystander if you’re not in costume. There are two firework displays set off from the Banjo Pier. One at 6 pm to cater for families and of course the big one at midnight. Looe Beach is the busy venue due to its proximity to the town but one of the best vantage points is at Rock Towers at West Looe overlooking the river mouth and bay. We recommend booking a table at a restaurant so you have somewhere in town as a base and booking taxis in advance. Of course, Polraen is the perfect place to relax if you prefer to see in the New Year quietly.

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

Love Looe Logo

10 Reasons to Visit Looe in May and June

1. Best time to visit Cornwall

One of 10 reasons to visit LooeWe’ve selected 10 Reasons to visit Looe in May and June as they’re among the best months to visit Cornwall and Looe is the perfect touring base. Come ahead of the crowds. The hedgerows are full of wild garlic and campions. If you’re quick, be dazzled by carpets of bluebells in early May.  Visit historic houses when their gardens are bursting into colour. It’s also a key festival time when Looe celebrates its connection with the sea at the Looe Festival of the Sea and the Lugger Regatta. Come and savour the wonderful fish and seafood landed on Looe Quay.

3. Cornish Bluebell Walks

Looe Valley Dog WalkCome in early May to see bluebells everywhere! They’re spectacular in the Looe Valley, especially between Sandplace and Duloe. Follow a Looe Valley Walk from Polraen and return for a light lunch or afternoon tea in the new Conservatory Tea Room & Bar now open at Polraen Wed-Sun 11 – 4 pm. 

4. Cornwall beaches without crowds 

Enjoy it all ahead of the crowds – Just by avoiding the school holidays, you can escape to deserted beaches at Whitsand Bay, enjoy a leisurely lunch in some great seafood restaurants. Relax and listen to the birdsong. No queues. No stress.

5. Cornwall Gardens at their best

Polraen country house garden LooeAs May progresses to early summer, the gardens at Lanhydrock, Cotehele, Anthony and Mt Edgcumbe become a profusion of colour. Azaleas and rhodedendrons tower over exotic herbaceous borders. Be sure to visit Caerhays Castle – as it’s only open till the end of June. And the house on the Port Eliot Estate at St Germans only opens in the early part of the summer.

6. Visit Poldark Film sets

Loving the Poldark TV drama?  Come and see the REAL thing in Cornwall! Visit the filming locations.  A walk on Bodmin Moor is guaranteed to provide a sense of solitude and amazement – this is the country for those seeking views and wild walks and a sense of history and folklore. While the familiar Poldark backdrop of the Georgian port of Charlestown harks back to the times of wreckers, smugglers and merchants, when tin and copper were loaded on to tall ships.

7. Rockpool Rambles in Looe

Join expert volunteers from the Looe Marine Conservation Group to discover where to look, how to find and identify some of the wonderful and beautiful creatures and seaweeds that inhabit Looe’s amazing rockpools. May 28th 1.30 to 3 pm on Hannafore Beach. A free event suitable for all ages. There’s no need to book.

8. Festival of the Sea June 4 – The Lugger Regatta 9-11 June

Photo Courtesy of Looe Festival of ood and DrinkCelebrate Looe’s connections with the sea. Alongside the Raft Race on June 4, the Festival of the Sea is an educational day of fun filled family activities and entertainment which takes place on Looe’s quayside. We show our respect for the sea and the livelihood it provides to a fishing community like Looe. So join us to celebrate the sustainable fisheries of Looe and its wonderful marine life.

With the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Looe Marine Conservation Group, find out how crabs and lobsters are caught, have a go at mackerel line fishing and learn about the wealth of environmentally friendly seafood available in Cornwall. Chef demos, BBQ, stalls, a crabbing competition, puppet show, dancing etc Lots of marine organisations take part including the National Marine Aquarium, the Fishermens Mission, RNLI. And the heritage continues the following weekend with famous Looe Lugger festival when historic fishing vessels return to Looe. 

9. Looe Island Visits

Book a trip across to Cornwall’s only island nature reserve, just off the coast of Looe. See the seals. Spot the nesting birds. Escape to an island for a few hours……….Boat trips can be booked along the quayside and guided walks are bookable in advance via the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

10. Come by train – get a free cream tea

Top quality guest accommodation in chocolate box historic houseCome to Polraen Country House by train with Great Western Railway in May and June and get a complimentary cream tea in the new Conservatory Tea Room & Bar at Polraen. It’s easy to reach Polraen – just a 300 metre walk from Sandplace Station on the Looe Valley Line – a branch line from the main London-Penzance service to Liskeard. Then you can explore Cornwall using cheap day returns to St Ives, Truro, Plymouth, Falmouth or Penzance. Polraen has both bus and train links so you can leave the car behind in our car park!

Tempted?

Check Availability Polraen Hotel Looe Cornwall

 

Cornwall Spring Flower Show at Boconnoc

Cornwall Spring Flower Show Boconnoc

Come for the Cornwall Garden Society Spring Flower Show on the stunning Boconnoc Estate near Lostwithiel April 1 and 2. This year Radio 4 will be recording Gardener’s Question Time. We try to go every year.  If you need accommodation, you can book a 3 night Spring Break near Looe from £99 pp.  Or come at Easter with 10% off our room rates.

Book Direct

A visit to the Cornwall Spring Flower Show

Sat 6th April 2013 – 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. It’s 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.

Boconnoc Estate

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. There are also 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 to eat and drink of course, plenty of 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. I always manage to find a new space for a new arrival! I think it’s best to set a budget before I go next time………… I 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…..

Spring Breaks 3 nights for the price of 2 offer 

Take advantage of our April 3 nights for the price of 2 offer on double and twin rooms and enjoy a short break from £99 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.

South East Cornwall Walking Festival 2013 September 14-21

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.

 

 

Help for Heroes Lifting Spirits in the Looe Valley

At our charity fundraising night at Sandplace in the Looe Valley, we raised £454.50 for Help for Heroes – the British charity providing direct, practical support to wounded, injured and sick service personnel, veterans, and their families. 1940’s crooner Andy Marshall entertained local residents during a Gourmet Bangers and Mash meal at a community based fundraising event ‘Crooning for Christmas’.

Help for Heroes Crooning for Christmas Event at Polraen, Looe, CornwallThrowing the doors open in aid of Help for Heroes, we decided to support this worthy cause  for the second year running. Our hotel, Polraen Country House Hotel at Sandplace, is an ideal venue to host a community party, and we were supported by fellow Sandplace residents including Adam Grundy and Caroline Foster, (seen here with 1940s Crooner Andy Marshall, dressed as a Land Army Girl).

Planned some time ago to foster community spirit, the event brought out the best of British in the face of adversity as it couldn’t have taken place at a better time to help lift the spirits of local residents. The previous two weeks had been a frustrating time for everyone in the Looe Valley.  An unprecedented combination of scheduled roadworks and a landslide in Looe following recent heavy rains had isolated communities severing bus routes and creating traffic chaos on the back lanes as we were  forced to cope with ‘rat run’ detours. We’re pleased the scheduled roadworks on the A387 are now complete and the road is now fully open between Widegates and Sandplace. Not only was this event for a really worthy cause, it helped us to send out a strong message that businesses in the Looe Valley are open for business as usual, including Sunday roast lunch. We’re particularly relieved the public transport is back on track. The Looe Valley train is running and the 573 bus has resumed a service from Looe, detouring via Widegates and Morval to reach Sandplace, Duloe, St Keyne and Liskeard.

We owe a lot of thanks to Andy Marshall, 1940’s crooner, a brilliant talent with an amazing voice, who generously travelled up from St Columb Major near Newquay to Croon for Christmas at Polraen. Thanks Andy!

 

Crooning for Christmas in aid of Help for Heroes

Crooning For Christmas in aid of Help for HeroesOnce again, our Sandplace community here in the Looe Valley in Cornwall felt it was time to foster some local community spirit. So we’re throwing the doors open at Polraen Country House on Friday December 7th for a Looe Valley community fundraising night in aid of Help for Heroes. Having raised over £440 for the Help for Heroes charity last year at a similar event, this year we fancied some live entertainment so we’ll be ‘Crooning for Christmas’ with all proceeds from the evening going to ‘Help for Heroes’once again.

Why Crooning for Christmas? Well on a recent visit down to Truro for the Cornwall Food & Drink Festival, I discovered a very talented guy called Andy Marshall singing some Frank Sinatra favourites and it occurred to me that he was just the ticket for an event at Polraen Country House. Talking of tickets, at just £12 per head, the night includes a Gourmet Bangers ‘n Mash meal, with live entertainment from 1940’s Crooner Andy Marshall and a prize draw for Sunday Lunch for 2 at Polraen. Raffle tickets will also be available on the night.  Tickets must be purchased in advance from Polraen (first come first served with only 40 available so please book soonest on 01503 263956).

And now to give credit where credit is due. The effort involved in organising this has been shared among a few Looe Valley residents including this brilliant poster by Adam Grundy. We don’t necessarily want it to be a ‘one off’, so along with Derek, Terry and Caroline, we’ve agreed that if it’s well supported by friends and neighbours, Martin and I are quite happy for our facilities at Polraen to be available for other such good community based causes. Sometimes just for fun and to socialise, perhaps on other occasions to discuss topics that affect our community and the Looe Valley.

We’re open to ideas. Oh and if you can’t come, please donate a raffle prize from the larder or wine rack or donate via our Help for Heroes Charity page. Hope to see you.

 

 

Looe Raft Race at Festival of the Sea

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

Looe Food Festival Accommodation – Special Offer

LOOE FESTIVAL OF FOOD AND DRINK: 23 AND 24 JUNE

Check availabilityA great weekend for foodies to take a shortbreak in Looe and we have two rooms available at Polraen Country House at short notice!

This year sees the very first Looe Festival of Food and Drink open it’s gastronomic doors to Looe and South East Cornwall. Whether it rains or shines, you’ll be able to sample delicious Cornish food and drink, talk to local food producers and learn how to cook something new and delicious with cooking demonstrations from top chefs from our best restaurants. Everything will be under cover in a custom designed marquee on the Millpool car park beside the Looe River.  The festival is free to enter and there’ll be plenty of tasters.

Photo Courtesy of Looe Festival of ood and DrinkAt Polraen Country House, we have a double and a king available over this weekend (£87 – £96 per night with extra nights available). So you can enjoy our quiet location with free parking and free WiFi at Polraen Country House in the Looe Valley, waking up to our full range of breakfast choices using local produce relaxing in the conservatory overlooking our award winning garden. Then you can head into town to literally ‘graze’ on tempting tasters from land and sea in the marquee tents at the Festival throughout the day (Sat & Sun).   We’re just 5 minutes from Looe and the sea with convenient bus and train links on the Looe Valley line so if you fancy sampling some of the local beer and cider, you don’t need to worry about taking the car.  You can add extra nights for a  longer break with optional evening dinner Mon-Fri.

So don’t wait, don’t hesitate, don’t bother to look up the weather forecast, just BOOK NOW now before it’s gone