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Things to see and do around Polperro, Looe and Whitsand Bay

Visitors walking on the coast path between Polruan and Polperro, Cornwall
Visitors walking on the coast path between Polruan and Polperro, Cornwall | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

There are many places to visit and explore around Polperro, Looe and Whitsand Bay, from great surfing beaches to idyllic fishing villages. Find out what each location has to offer, the wild beauty, activities you can enjoy including surfing, fishing and rock-pooling, and how to stay safe if you’re planning a day out on the beach.

Discover things to see and do around Polperro, Looe and Whitsand Bay

Places to explore


The ancient and unspoilt fishing harbour of Polperro is nestled within a steep-sided valley. The village has the Chapel Cliffs on one side and the Warren on the other; both on the South West Coast Path and with a network of footpaths to explore.

Down on the front at the harbour mouth you'll find a natural swimming pool that can be reached via a stone staircase and winding your way down. There’s also The Net Loft which we offer out for exhibitions and small community events.

The Net Loft

This restored building has been used for boat building, storing sails and pilchard nets in the past. The Grade II building may also have been used as a lighthouse, as it’s ideally situated for a beacon. Having once stood empty at the edge of the harbour, it’s now available for the community and we welcome ideas from everyone for its use.

The upstairs is one open room, punctuated by the stairwell to the lower floor (which is just storage and not accessible to the public). Facilities are simple; lighting is powered by the solar panels on the roof and from all the windows around the building.

Please get in touch if you would like to be part of the Polperro Net Loft team, or if you would like to use the space for an exhibition or other community event.

Call the ranger team on 01726 870146 or email


Looe is a busy fishing port, with dayboats catching the fish you can buy in the local fishmongers. The beach at East Looe is popular with families but if you want a bit more peace then head to Hannafore and explore the rocky nooks and crannies on the beach as well as having a front-row view of Looe Island.

Views of Sharrow Beach in Whitsand Bay, Cornwall
Views of Sharrow Beach in Whitsand Bay, Cornwall | © National Trust Images/George Taylor


Sharrow at Whitsand Bay on the Rame Peninsula is a great surfing beach, often with RNLI lifeguards in the main season. The beach has miles of golden sand, making it an ideal place for a family day out, for picnics, swimming and surfing. Look for the grotto here too.

There are no National Trust car parks along this stretch, but above Sharrow is a council car park (app or card payment only) and further up the lane on the main road is further parking.

Trethill Cliffs

Just along from the tiny fishing village of Crafthole lie the Trethill cliffs. Heading south-east the coast path weaves through them, before taking you around Tregantle Fort where you can descend down to the beach or stay up high on the South West Coast Path.

Bodigga Cliffs and Struddicks

Two stretches of coastal land between Seaton and Millendreath which the South West Coast Path running through.

The cliffs around Bodigga are quite unstable and so the coast path here runs inland slightly, up the lane which was part of the main east-west route through Cornwall in medieval times.

Follow the walking trail at Struddicks for a short, but demanding stroll around this wild landscape.

Struddicks circular walk


Head west from Hannfore in West Looe or walk down from our small car park at Hendersick and you'll find Portnadler beach. As it’s off the beaten track this bay is peaceful and a good rock-pooling spot. Look over to your left and you'll see Looe Island, and on the right is the headland of Hore Point.

Coastal path weaving over the cliffs at Polperro, Cornwall
Coastal path weaving over the cliffs at Polperro, Cornwall | © National Trust Images/John Miller

Talland Bay

On the coast path between Looe and Polperro lies Talland Bay. Access is via narrow winding lanes and once you arrive parking can be tight, so it's an ideal place to reach by foot along the coast path.

Explore the 13th-century church just up the hill as well as the multicoloured rock on the beach, making it a picturesque place to go rock-pooling. Remember to check the tide times to avoid getting cut off.

Beaches activities around Polperro, Looe and Whitsand Bay


The south coast of Cornwall is not always thought of for riding the waves but the long bay at Whitsand, which faces south-west, is very popular with surfers.
• Break - 7km of beach breaks
• Swell - SE to W
• Wind - North-easterly
• Tide - All tides


Sharrow at Whitsand Bay has seasonal lifeguards and many miles of wide open beaches when the tide is out.


Dig out your rod and reel and head for the coast or jump on one of the boat trips from Looe and Polperro.

Children finding a crab whilst rock-pooling on the beach at Poldhu Cove on the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall
Children finding a crab whilst rock-pooling on a beach | © National Trust Images/John Millar


With so many beaches, from Whitsand to Polperro, you're spoilt for choice for where to go rock-pooling. Once the tide has ebbed back you'll find a world in miniature to explore. Under the seaweed forest look out for starfish, snails and small fish as well as molluscs, barnacles and ammonites.

‘50 things to do before you're 11 ¾’

Grab a ‘50 things to do before you're 11¾’ book and get going on your very own adventure.

50 things to do before you're 11¾ | Visit | National Trust


Geocaching is a great way to combine technology with a good old-fashioned treasure hunt. We've hidden caches all around, so all you need is a GPS device or smartphone to get started. Every time you find the treasure trove, choose something from the stash and leave something else for the next person.

Register on the geocaching website and then record each find.

Have a safe day out

Everyone loves a day out on the beach or by the coast, whatever the weather. Remember to keep safety in mind though

  • Check the tides so you don't get cut off
  • Check the surfing conditions
  • Consult the weather and bring sun protection and hats, or waterproofs and a change of clothes
  • The coast paths can get muddy so stout footwear is advisable
  • It's not always obvious how fragile the cliffs are, so be aware around cliff edges from above and from below
  • Currents and winds can make swimming hazardous; keep within your limits
  • Keep children supervised
  • Keep dogs under close control around livestock and other people
  • Let your dog off the lead if you feel threatened by livestock or horses and avoid getting between farm animals and their young
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