Our Top 10 Days Out from Looe are based on positive feedback from guests at Polraen Country House Hotel in the Looe Valley. Fond memories of previous holidays in Cornwall often draw people back to revisiting favourite haunts, but recent TV programmes should inspire you to explore the variety Cornwall has to offer.
Is it the beaches, tin mining heritage and wild scenery you saw on the period TV drama Poldark? The clifftops and stunning views seen by Julia Bradbury on her walks? The quaint villages and laid back lifestyle of Doc Martin fame; fresh Cornish produce used in casual and fine dining with Rick Stein or Cornish fishermen fighting to keep their fishing tradition alive in ‘This Fishing Life’. Whatever interests you, whether you prefer to tour by car or have an adventure on public transport, we’ve chosen ten day trips from Looe to help you plan the most amazing holiday exploring Cornwall.
1. Looe Polperro Walk
Catch No. 73 bus from Sandplace in the Looe Valley from right outside Polraen Hotel to Hannafore, West Looe (6 mins). From here you can set out on the South West Coast. This 9 km cliff top walk along a spectacular section of rugged Cornish coastline brings you to the small village of Polperro. Polperro has a smuggling history and is a chocolate box photo opportunity as it slowly comes into view. On the way, stop for a swim at Port Nadler and a bite to eat at Talland Bay. Return by boat to Looe or bus all the way back to Polraen.
2. The Eden Project
The Eden Project (33 mins by car) needs little introduction as a world renowned attraction, set in a disused clay mine near St Austell. Each biome has its own climate housing plants from equatorial, Mediterranean and temperate climates and it has also become a concert venue.
3. Visit Fowey
Drive to Polruan (30 mins by car) parking at the Coastguard Station on the clifftop overlooking amazing views of the river before you cross to Fowey on the foot ferry. This is a lovely way of combining a visit to Fowey with a short boat trip on the river. Alternatively, avoiding steep climbs and boat trips, you can take your car across to Fowey on the ferry from Bodinnick. It takes 15 cars and runs daily every 10-15 minutes.
4. Lost Gardens of Heligan
Explore The Lost Gardens of Heligan (52 mins by car) – an amazing garden restoration near Mevagissey. Get lost in 200 acres including a jungle valley garden, walled kitchen garden and amazing rhododendrons and azaleas. Round out the day by stopping at the Georgian port of Charlestown with its Shipwreck Museum & tall ships — a backdrop used in many TV period dramas like Poldark.
Wander the Victorian rooms at Lanhydrock (25 mins by car) — ‘the finest National Trust house in Cornwall’ set in 450 acres of parkland. The kitchens, nurseries and servants quarters are straight out of ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ having been refurbished with all the mod cons of the day after a terrible fire in 1881. This magnificent country house has so many amazing rooms it’s always a good bet for a rainy day.
6. Cornwall by train
Take your pick of several destinations using cheap day return tickets on Great Western Railway. Leave the car in Polraen’s car park at Sandplace and travel by train on the Looe Valley Line to Liskeard, connecting with mainline services to St Ives; Falmouth via the cathedral city of Truro; Penzance, Cotehele & the Tamar Valley via Plymouth. If you want to shorten your journey time, drive to Liskeard for mainline services parking your car for £1 for the day. Let the train take the strain!.
7. Whitsand Bay
Whitsand Bay boasts 3 miles of uncommercialised sand beaches from Rame Head to Portwrinkle. Not the easiest of beaches to reach, accessed via steep cliff paths, the drive alone along Whitsand Bay is worth the journey for the stunning views. At the end of the Bay, visit the pretty villages of Kingsand and Cawsand, and Mt Edgcumbe Country Park overlooking Plymouth Sound.
8. Tintagel Castle
Shrouded in myth and legend, King Arthur’s medieval castle at Tintagel is almost a pilgrimage for some when they visit Cornwall. You can cross to the North Coast in 1 hour and combine your visit with pretty villages such as Boscastle or Port Isaac then head further along the North Coast to Padstow of Rick Stein fame, before heading back to Looe via Wadebridge.
9. Bodmin Moor
For a total contrast in scenery, expect granite tors and rock formations at the Cheesewring & Hurlers – fantastic walking terrain. The landscape reflects the industrial heritage of this once great tin mining county. Perhaps stop for lunch at the famous Jamaica Inn or a spot of ghost hunting at Bodmin Jail.
Known as the Ocean City, a lovely day can be spent in Plymouth wandering the old streets near Sutton Harbour where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for America from the Mayflower Steps and Sir Frances Drake finished his game of bowls before facing the Spanish Armada. Be sure to take a boat trip and visit the National Marine Aquarium – biggest in the UK.
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. So we are more than happy to assist guests with more suggestions on things to do, places to visit and how to get there.