Getting to the island

Getting to the Island

Jon Ross

Each year, trips run from March until around the end of September

***UPDATE***

The health and wellbeing of the public, volunteers and staff are of utmost importance to Cornwall Wildlife Trust, and we have been keeping a close eye on government advice in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Putting people’s health at the forefront we have made the decision to cancel our events and volunteer activities until at least the end of May. This means that unfortunately boat trips to the island are cancelled until June 2020.

Visiting the island

All visits are weather and tide dependent. The crossing via a small passenger boat takes 20 minutes and you will have about two hours to explore.

Please note that visits can only be made on official, organised trips (details below). Access to the island and its foreshore is managed for the benefit of wildlife. Please help to keep Looe Island Nature Reserve special. Craft such as boats, jet skis, kayaks/canoes and paddle boards etc as well as snorkelers/divers and swimmers are therefore asked to respect the no landing sign. The use of drones (UAVs) is not permitted over or near the nature reserve.

When you can visit

The small passenger boat (Moonraker) can access the island up to two to three hours either side of high tide, in daylight hours and in fair weather. Trips cannot take place at low tide or in rough seas. Each trip has space for 11 passengers.

At present there are no trips to the island owing to the Coronavirus precautions.

Where to get the boat

Board the boat from the floating pontoon, near the RNLI lifeboat station slipway in East Looe. There is an island trips information board on Buller's Quay which is alongside the RNLI slipway close to the junction of Church End and River View in east Looe. The boatman will advertise upcoming trips on this board. You can reserve a place on a trip by signing up in the bookings notebook which is located alongside the board. 

Cost of getting to the island

2 Hour Public Trips (sign up on quayside in East Looe):

  • Return boat fee: £7 per adult and £5 per child (aged 10 or under), please pay to the boatman.
  • Landing fee: £4 per adult and £1 per child (aged 10 or under), please pay to the person that welcomes you to the island.

Guided Walks
£25 (includes tour, optional slide show, boat and landing fees) per person - please see more here.

Access around the island

Access to the island involves climbing over the side of the boat onto a small landing trolley. Care is also needed to negotiate the swash of the waves which can cover the trolley. After walking across the sand and shingle beach there is a simple sloping path up to the Tractor Shed. There are some steps around the buildings. Elsewhere some paths are steep, uneven and slippery, so we recommend wearing appropriate footwear. For more information and advice for wheelchair users you should contact the warden.

The path around the whole island is less than one km long and can be comfortably walked in around 30 minutes. 

Facilities on the island

Once landed on the island, visitors will receive an introductory talk and are guided to the tractor shed where they are offered a copy of the trail guide and shown to the start of the path around the island.

The tractor shed acts as a small shelter and visitor centre with information on wildlife. The visitor's book is held here and a small range of items are available for sale.

From the tractor shed visitors can follow the self-guided trail which is a waymarked path around the island. This leads past Smugglar's Cottage, Island House and Jetty Cottage out onto the cliffs. From there the path heads uphill to a small turf-roofed bird hide and then onto the summit which marks the spot where a Benedictine chapel once stood. The return path heads down hill crossing through coastal grassland and woodland. Visitors can also explore the Island’s gardens or visit the grave of Babs Atkins, whose body was laid to rest in one of the meadows.

  • Please note that refreshments are not available and the water supply is not safe for drinking.
  • A compost toilet is available for public use and is located alongside the Tractor Shed.