Looe: 425km (264 miles) SW of London, 32km (20 miles) W of Plymouth; Polperro: 463km (271 miles) SW of London, 9.5km (6 miles) SW of Looe, 42km (26 miles) W of Plymouth

The ancient twin towns of East and West Looe are connected by a seven-arched stone bridge that spans the Looe River. Houses on the hills are stacked one on top of the other in terrace fashion. In each fishing village are good accommodations.

The old fishing village of Polperro, surrounded by cliffs, is one of the handsomest villages in Cornwall, with parts of it harkening back to the 17th century. The village is reached by a steep descent from the top of a hill from the main road. You can take the 7km (4 1/2-mile) cliff walk from Looe to Polperro, but the less adventurous will want to drive. However, in July and August you're not allowed to take cars into town unless you have a hotel reservation, in order to prevent traffic bottlenecks. A large parking area charges according to the length of your stay. For those unable to walk, a horse-drawn bus will take visitors to the town center.

The neighboring settlements of Lanreath and Pelynt are two Cornish villages with accommodations for those seeking lodgings outside Polperro. Like many Cornish villages, they're steeped in legend -- ghosts, headless horses, and the like -- and actually date back to the Domesday Book of 1086. The tiny villages are relatively devoid of attractions and sustain themselves by farming and summer tourists.

Fishing and sailing are two of the major sports in the area, and the sandy coves, as well as East Looe Beach, are spots for sea bathing. Beyond the towns are cliff paths and chalky downs worth a ramble. Looe is noted for its shark fishing, but you may prefer simply walking the narrow, crooked medieval streets of East Looe, with its old harbor and 17th-century guildhall.