ONE of life's simple pleasures is to rediscover a lost treasure; you come across an old trinket at the back of a drawer, give it a clean and a polish, and hey presto, you have a fascinating object you really want to put proudly on display. So it is with the charming Rhins of Galloway village of Portpatrick. Here's why it's one of those Scottish seaside gems that deserves to sparkle in the sunlight once more.

1. It's a great place to recharge the batteries

Portpatrick was briefly in the spotlight earlier this year when Boris Johnson floated the idea of a bridge to Northern Ireland, but whether you think that's pie in the sky or jam tomorrow, it has a lot going for it right now. It's a pretty collection of pastel-coloured houses clustered around a fine harbour. Stroll along the seafront, then check out the disproportionately high proportion of fine restaurants and bars.

2. It's ideal for keeping the children (and grown-ups) amused

This has been a summer which has seen large numbers of families enjoy the simple pleasures of the beach; no jetskis, paragliding or ghetto blasters, just old-fashioned bucket-and-spade-and-ice-cream good times. Plenty of anglers too. Stroll a few yards from the beach, and check out the challenges of the undulating 18-hole putting green. Keen golfers are catered for with the Dunskey 18-hole and the Dinvin nine-hole courses.

3. It's fighting back, and looking to the future

A lot of Portpatrick's smaller properties have been bought as second homes and holiday lets, disadvantaging local first-time buyers. A population that was once in four figures is now nearer the 300-400 mark. But the village is standing up for itself. The picturesque harbour, once near-derelict,has been saved by the locals, purchased through the Portpatrick Harbour Community Benefit Society for around £150,000. Its restored harbour sheds are now a community hub, and the village is now a favourite watering hole for yachtspeople.

4. It makes a great base

Aside from the gentle cliff walks around Portpatrick, the Southern Upland Way starts here and continues for 212 miles. For less strenuous excursions, a short drive will take you to the Galloway Forest Park; start from the Kirroughtree Visitor Centre. Other attractions include the nearby Logan Botanical Garden, an outpost of the Royal Botanical Garden in Edinburgh.

5. You can enjoy a bit of the city buzz beside the sea

We stayed at the four-star Mount Stewart Hotel, a refurbished mansion sitting in a elevated position with spectacular sea views. Since purchasing it in 2003, owner Diane Hunter has painstakingly created a welcoming boutique hotel replete with six stylish rooms, all individually designed and superbly fitted out (several of which can be converted to family rooms), and a rather fine restaurant.

We stayed in the Macdonald room – just about big enough to be a suite – which boasted king-size bed, large flat-screen TV, a marvellous view over to the Northern Ireland coast and a walk-in shower with body jets with which this unwary traveller managed to soak the bathroom floor before getting to grips with the controls. All the rooms are individually heated; ours was nicely snug as the evening chill set in outside.

Its Belvedere Restaurant specialises in local produce – lobster and crabs are caught in Portpatrick waters. We enjoyed lamb shank with a mint and red win jus and baked cod in a garlic chive and butter sauce; desserts were a pink gin and white chocolate cheesecake and apple tartin. Diane is rightly proud that all desserts are home-made. The menu is reasonably priced: starters around £6, and mains £14-£16.

Staff at the Mount Stewart, says Diane, have all been trained on the latest in gins and cocktails; I confess I was happy with the decent pint of IPA on offer.

Just being introduced as we visited where a hot tub and a sauna for the exclusive use of guests; book by the half-hour or hour, and it's all included in the B&B rate. The hotel also has adjoining self-catering.

The Mount Stewart Hotel, South Cliff, Portpatrick DG9 8LE, 01776 810291,