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Best known for its blond beaches, quaint fishing villages and wildflower-filled meadows, Cornwall is one of the UK’s most treasured holiday destinations. As well as its stunning coastline, the county offers top-notch gastronomy that goes beyond the celebrated pasty, cream teas laden with freshly baked scones (remember, jam first) and obligatory seaside fish and chips – think everything from new-wave independent eateries to Michelin stars, many of them located in impossibly pretty fishing villages and towns. For the ultimate weekend jaunt, drop anchor at one of Stay in Cornwall’s charming seaside cottages and make the most of the bountiful Cornish larder.
Huddled around a harbour with narrow winding lanes and whitewashed cottages tumbling along the coastline, Port Isaac is the perfect place to spend a leisurely long weekend. Heading up Cornwall’s culinary scene and boasting two Michelin stars, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw showcases the finest Cornish produce with fish that has been sourced straight from the waters just outside the dining room window. Based around a tasting menu, the food works in harmony with whatever’s been caught that day, but standout dishes may include gurnard with Porthilly sauce, fall-off-the-fork fresh turbot served with St Enodoc asparagus and lemon sole smothered in a tartare hollandaise. Just yards away from Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Pibbies self-catering cottage is ideally positioned to pootle home to. Mixing contemporary interiors with quirky design details, the three-bedroom cottage offers all the essential creature comforts. Plunder the artisan delis in Port Isaac before rustling up a picnic to enjoy on the nearby pebbled beach or make a dinner reservation at one of the village’s many hotspots. Book here
The jewel in Cornwall’s crown, Padstow has long been pulling in the crowds, thanks to its twinkling harbour brimming with smart eateries from celebrity chefs such as Rick Stein, and its proximity to sandy beaches and the lovely town of Rock, known for attracting well-heeled holidaymakers. Set in the heart of the Cornish countryside, Padstow Wagon House is an idyllic barn conversion equipped with an outdoor barbecue area, exposed stone walls and a cosy wood burner – perfect for when you want to whip off the wetsuit after a day spent surfing. All of Padstow’s popular sites are within walking distance, including Michelin-starred Paul Ainsworth at No.6 where favourite dishes include the chef’s take on a classic quiche Lorraine made with smoked haddock, and grass-fed short rib with cauliflower cheese and red wine sauce. For more casual dining, Ainsworth’s Italian restaurant Rojano’s in the Square is a real crowd-pleaser – particularly when the rigatoni pasta ragù tastes just like Nonna’s. Book here
A visit to Padstow isn’t complete without visiting The Seafood Restaurant, the first in Rick Stein’s Cornish empire and largely responsible for putting the postcard-pretty town on the map. Padstow’s most famous resident has since opened a flurry of restaurants, including St Petroc’s bistro and Stein’s Fish and Chips, a posh take on the British classic where the sustainably caught fish is battered in beef dripping. Joining the throng of restaurants is a cookery school, a pub and a bar stocking all of Stein’s favourite tipples. It’s little wonder the town is nicknamed Padstein. Immaculately presented in a Cornish country style, The Linhay is a striking period two-bedroom cottage perched on the outskirts of town surrounded by rolling green vistas – close enough to the thriving port town to enjoy the lively food scene but far enough away to enjoy the mellow sounds of the countryside. The open-plan living and kitchen space invites guests to pop the prosecco in summer or get snug by the wood fire in winter – either way, you’ll be swapping stories late into the night. Book here
Explore the warren of streets in the UK’s most southerly city and you’ll discover a heady mix of independent bookshops, artisan ice-cream parlours and hip coffee shops. Truro also hosts a string of festivals to pepper your summertime calendar, proving there’s much more to Cornwall than just its coastline. Tickling the outskirts of Truro (and far away from any traffic jams) is the one-bedroom Penarth Apartment – housed in a listed former workhouse and decorated in fresh, neutral tones with subtle nautical design touches. After meandering between the nearby quayside villages, be sure to embark on a trip to the well-regarded Driftwood Hotel restaurant, headed up by chef Chris Eden and renowned for its modern European menu. Seafood features heavily, which should come as no surprise considering that some of the best is plucked straight from the neighbouring Atlantic Ocean, and there’s an emphasis on sourcing the best possible produce. The restaurant draws crowds from near and far, so reservations are essential. Book here
Cornwall’s surfing capital is bordered by seven miles of gloriously golden beaches, a bevy of chilled cafés and upmarket bistros. One of the nation’s favourite seaside towns, this is the ideal place to soak up the sun and sea throughout the summer months. Amid the family-run bakeries and waterfront high-street restaurants is celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall, renowned for its pioneering program of recruiting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and for creating a new legacy of esteemed chefs. Set high above Watergate Bay, Fifteen is ideally enjoyed as a group – order frivolously and indulge in small plates of Looe dayboat squid, whipped Cornish cod’s roe and chargrilled West Cornish mackerel. Similarly blessed with outstanding views is Trevarrian Ocean View, a spacious 1930s house that will make you feel right at home. Situated on the crest of a hill overlooking the ocean, the property includes three bedrooms, three bathrooms and ample outdoor entertaining space – ideal for indulging good food and wine, and great company. Book here
Stay in Cornwall is a leading provider of self-catering cottages across the South West, with many properties just moments away from some of the finest restaurants in the country.
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