Polly Joke Beach

In Brief

Suitable for: Families, hikers and nature lovers
Location: Just outside West Pentire village, about four miles away from Newquay
Parking: Two pay and display car parks in West Pentire. National Trust members may opt to park at Crantock and take a slightly longer walk
Dog friendly?: Yes, all year

Porth Joke, better known as Polly Joke, is, well, no joke at all. It’s actually a sandy beach that sits in a pint-sized and fairly narrow bay between Crantock Beach and Holywell Bay, about four miles from Newquay on Cornwall’s rugged north coast. Sheltered to the east by the West Pentire headland and to the west by Kelsey Head, Polly Joke is an idyllic little spot that gets popular at the height of summer.

You’ve got to walk for a few minutes from the village of West Pentire to get to Polly Joke but it’s worth it as it’s beautiful. There are no facilities at this beach and there are also no lifeguards, so if you’re staying on the sands for the day, make sure your picnic is packed and that you’re safe out there in the big blue. For those who love a good surf, the bay picks up decent swell but it is narrow, so it’s advisable to head east or west to the bigger beaches at Crantock or Holywell for a better time on your board.

To the rear of Polly Joke, there’s a valley with a small stream that slopes up towards a huge area of sand dunes. There are walking tracks that lead to nearby Holywell Bay from here. The whole beach is popular with hikers due to the beauty on show.

Polly Joke is famous for its poppies. In late spring and early summer every year, the headland over the beach gives visitors one of the most memorable natural scenes in Cornwall as the poppies bloom and create a gorgeous red carpet. Read more about that here. All in all, we reckon this little Joke is a Cornish gem of a beach, whatever the season. It’s certainly been amusing us for years.