A weekend break in Looe: Cornwall’s hidden coastal gem with the tastiest seafood/
Unspoilt, hidden and brimming with delicious food, Looe is a tranquil Cornish seaside town, the perfect getaway from busy city life. As someone who loves to travel off the beaten track, I was excited to explore a part of Cornwall that few seemed to know.
Located in south east Cornwall, I took a train from Paddington, London to Liskeard which took about four hours, then walked across the platform to catch the Looe Valley Line to my destination. The 30 minute train ride is one of the oldest and most scenic routes in the UK, the views over the coast were truly stunning.
I was immediately struck by how bright and beautiful it was.
The highlight of the studio was the outdoor pool on the balcony.
I stayed in the Upper Deck Studio and was immediately struck by how bright and beautiful it was. The room is greeted with a bottle of bubbly and is incredibly spacious with a large king size bed and framed by a large picture window with stunning views of the Cornish countryside.
In addition, the bathroom was fully stocked with Bramley toiletries, which left me feeling very spoiled when I could pamper myself with luxurious bath oils. Although no breakfast is served, there is a small kitchenette in the room that has everything you need to prepare meals.
The highlight of the studio was the outdoor pool on the balcony, which is huge and had a private, beautiful view of the countryside. In the evenings I enjoyed a warm bath while gazing at the stars in the sky and it was the most peaceful I have felt in ages.
I went to the bar in the hotel for a quick cocktail and enjoyed Cornish gin with tonic before heading out.
The Gate is near the historic fishing village of Polperro and where I ventured out on the first evening. Quietly even on a Friday night, I admired walking along the pier before heading to The Blue Peter Inn where I enjoyed the freshest crab linguine I’ve eaten and my partner tucked into some hearty fish and chips.
The second day was spent walking through the beautiful old fishing village of Looe and exploring the restaurants, shops and cafes where I finally had my first proper Cornish pie from the Cornish Bakery. The perfect summer location for a walk along the coast, I saw lots of families crabbing along the pier.
Even though it was a Saturday afternoon, Looe beach was still spacious enough to find a quiet spot to sunbathe. The sand felt soft and the sea felt refreshingly cold against the sun.
There were also plenty of water sports and although I didn’t partake in them there were plenty of kayaks along the sea front and seemed like a great way to see the city.
Chef Benjamin Palmer opened The Sardine Factory in his hometown of Looe four years ago.
The highlight of the trip was dinner at a Michelin guide restaurant, The Sardine Factory which was opened by the award-winning chef and Masterchef: the professionals quarterfinalist, Benjamin Palmer. “I’m a Looe boy,” Palmer told me. “I’ve always wanted to open a restaurant in my hometown and champion elegant Cornish seafood.”
A former sardines factory, the restaurant was buzzing with a lively atmosphere and it was clear to me that it was the top restaurant in town for a good meal.
Using fresh, sustainably sourced seafood is at the heart of Chef Ben’s ethos and the menu focuses on the best local produce.
For starters, I got fresh Porthilly oysters that tasted like the ocean in my mouth. I also enjoyed a new creation; The Cornish taco, and it’s the perfect bite-sized mix of flaky fish fingers with tomato jam. The Cornish sardines also arrived on our table and I was shocked at their size as they were much bigger and thicker than the small fish I was used to in London.
A selection of the food I ordered.
Other highlights include the Sardine Factory chowder with a rich texture that would be great on a winter night. The main was the Cornish fish of the day John Dory and it was wonderfully juicy and topped with lemon brown butter and prawns for some extra crunchy goodness.
Unable to leave without dessert, I ordered Strawberry Bakewell pie, the perfect sweet note to end the evening, while my partner ordered the Affogarto, which is Ben’s favourite.
No trip to Looe would be complete without a visit to The Sardine Factory and it is the ultimate restaurant for seafood lovers. I left Looe with the intention of leaving every holiday; fully rested, relaxed and with a very full belly.