It's hard to escape the crowds in this holiday hotspot. Unless you know where to go, says Andy Lynes

To enjoy Cornwall's starry culinary scene, you don't have to suffer the crowds. Savvy food tourists can enjoy all the superb seafood, organic produce and excellent restaurants this county has to offer away from the holidaying hordes – in the secluded seaside village of Porth.

A 15-minute drive from Newquay, this Cornish seaside retreat has a stunning sandy beach, a couple of pubs, café, general store – and peace and quiet in abundance. Yet despite the tranquil setting, it's just a five-minute cab ride to Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall restaurant at Watergate Bay, while Padstow and Rick Stein's restaurants, cafés, delis and cookery school are less than 15 miles away.

Rising star Nathan Outlaw's recently opened fine-dining restaurant and seafood grill at the St Endoc Hotel in Rock is equally accessible, as is former Michelin-starred chef Paul Ripley's delightful gastropub The St Kew Inn near the village of the same name.

Our family stayed at Clipper Cottage, a newly restored fisherman's house right by the beach that has been given a New England-style makeover with lots of cool white walls and wooden flooring. Although it wouldn't look out of place in the pages of a stylish living magazine, little touches like the wood-burning fire and comfy sofas in the living room make it a truly relaxing space to be in.

The rooms

Three of the four spacious, stylishly decorated bedrooms feature very comfortable white cast-iron beds and high-quality en-suite bathrooms. A fourth bedroom contains a zip and link bed that can be set up as a double or twin, and has a separate loo. The cottage offers masses of space, with two large outdoor decked areas, a big conservatory with a generously sized dining area and a chic yet inviting lounge.

The food and drink

The well-equipped, roomy kitchen is the perfect place to whip up a gourmet dinner from local produce bought at the twice yearly farmers' market at Watergate Bay organised by Fifteen Cornwall restaurant, or from the Padstow Farm Shop (01841 533060; padstowfarmshop.co.uk). If you're travelling down to the cottage after work, make sure you don't go hungry by ordering a hamper from Food4MyHoliday (food4myholiday.co.uk), full of local goodies to be delivered on your arrival.

The access

Although not specially equipped, the lack of steps and a ground-floor bedroom make the property suitable for people with limited mobility. Pets are permitted. Children are welcome – a travel cot and high chair are supplied.

The extras

Don't forget to pack your surfboard (there is a secure storage area for it at the cottage) and take advantage of some of the UK's best breakers at Newquay. New surfers can sign up for a half or full-day introductory lesson at the Xtreme Academy at Watergate Bay (01637 860543; watergatebay.co.uk), which also offers kite surfing and traction kiting for the more adventurous. Or you could go horse riding and take in the scenery at the same time with a lesson from the Newquay Riding Stables (01637 872699; newquayridingstables.co.uk), which accept adults and children aged from four years of age. For a more sedate outing, walk the scenic South West Coast Path from Porth beach to Newquay.

The bill

A weekend stay at Clipper Cottage starts at £472 in total. Beach Retreats (01637 861005; beachretreats.co.uk) is currently offering 15 per cent off a week's stay up to and including the week commencing 17 April 2010. Andy Lynes' car hire was provided by Europcar.co.uk, which offers two-day weekend car hire out of Newquay for £76.

The address

Clipper Cottage, Porth Bean Road, Porth, Cornwall TR7 3LU.

*****

WIN! A two-night break for two in Edinburgh

We've teamed up with Hotels.com – the world's leading hotel booking website – to offer a two-night break for two in Edinburgh. Enter our prize draw and you could be the lucky winner of two nights' B&B in a deluxe room at the five-star hotel, The Scotsman. Just email your name, address, and telephone number to ios@hotels.com, putting Hotels.com Prize Draw in the subject line, to reach us by noon on Friday 16 April 2010. The winner of the weekend in Munich was Kim Christie from Surrey.

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