You could be forgiven for not having visited Hannafore before, the bright lights and draw of Looe are strong with its narrow bustling streets, busy fishing community and small sandy beach but, oh, how you are missing out…
Hannafore Beach lies just half a mile east of Looe. The quiet road runs alongside with refreshingly unlimited parking along its edge, no charges and no time limits, a reflection of the general pace of life at Hannafore.
The beach itself is perfect for families, comprising mainly of sandy shingle it has a rocky reef uncovered at low tide with fascinating rock pools to explore and a beautiful view of Looe Island. Well behaved dogs are welcome too.
Looe Island is the dominant feature on the horizon, a nature reserve preserved by The Cornwall Wildlife Trust. It is one of only a few inhabited islands off the Cornish coast. Accessible by boat, it is possible to visit the island and enjoy the wildlife, if you’re lucky you may even be escorted by a school of dolphins, or watched by a grey seal. Twice a year, when the moon is closest to the earth and the tidal range is at its greatest, the tide is low enough to allow visitors to walk across the seabed from Hannafore to the island. This has become quite a ritual, last year 1000 people made the trip across and back. August 12th is the next of these perigean spring tides.
I was lucky to visit on a lazy hazy sunny morning, the sea was sparkling, a family had chosen their spot on the beach and were organising their nets and rock pooling equipment ready for the day’s activities, dog walkers strolled down the promenade, a kayaker peacefully paddled past, some keen (elderly) tennis players were playing a gentle match on the tennis courts and the little kiosk was open for business already serving ice creams and cream teas to happy day dreamers.
Hannafore Beach Kiosk is sat right above the sandy shore, it is a pleasure – run by Barbara who genuinely loves Hannafore Beach – it is an unpretentious little kiosk serving the best of Cornish fayre and everything one needs for the perfect beach trip… including a mean cone…
Barbara has lived around Looe for about 35 years and always loved Hannafore in particular, “it’s just so calm and peaceful and you can’t beat that view out of the kiosk window” said Barbara. “I meet such lovely people too, it’s a very friendly and sociable place”.
Barbara has built her business around an ethos of serving simple food using good local suppliers, she calls it ‘good plain cooking’, serving cream teas, homemade cakes, pasties, freshly made sandwiches and Callestick Farm ice creams. When it comes to ice cream Barbara is a purist, she serves it the classic way with a flake or fudge stick to accompany but she does advocate a dollop of clotted cream on top for that extra indulgence. Clotted Cream Vanilla is their most popular flavour but they stock a good range of 11 flavours and Barbara is one for trying new flavours as often as she can “I don’t keep anything the same, I like to try new flavours all the time because people like the variety… and so do I… I have to go to slimming club now it’s ice cream season again”.
Barbara’s favourite flavour at the moment (although it changes regularly) is Orange & Cointreau and who would she share a chat with over her Orange & Cointreau cone? George Clooney. No need for explanations here (not sure it was really about the chat).
Hannafore Beach Kiosk, Marine Drive, Hannafore, West Looe, PL13 2DJ Tel: 01503 263606