Lovely, small, secluded site near the pounding Atlantic surf
Some campsites have been quite a bit busier since appearing in Cool Camping, and that simple fact meant that Bob and Angela Harty, who own this unique site, were slightly reluctant to include Porth Joke in any publication that may potentially damage the seclusion and atmosphere of this hidden paradise. The truth is that it is already as busy as they want it to be, and securing a pitch here in mid-summer is less likely than a very big win on the lottery. But during the peripheral months of May, June or September – well, you never know.
So, what can you expect to find if your number comes up in the camping lottery and there is a vacancy? If you’re looking for easy access, shiny brand-new facilities and plenty of nearby entertainment or eating-out opportunities, then Porth Joke will disappoint. But, if a small, secluded slice of seaside heaven is what you seek then this out of the way place cannot fail to delight you.
The location, just four miles from Newquay (Cornwall’s capital of tack and tourism) is surprising. The site is along a narrow, bumpy, sandy track through the dunes and almost a mile from the nearest public road. There are no signs directing the blessed few to Porth Joke, and no indication, until you stumble on to it, that anything exists down this scenic road to nowhere. But there it is, a tiny campsite, sheltered by the dunes from the wrath of the Atlantic, which is just a few hundred metres away.
For a young family who want a simple seaside holiday in totally unspoilt surroundings and with nothing more than the sea, sand and surf to fill their days, then Porth Joke cannot be bettered.
It’s only when you get to Newquay that you wonder how somewhere like Porth Joke can be so near, and yet so very far away. The beach at Porth Joke has good surf, clean sand, is completely undeveloped and is never packed. Perfect.
Porth Joke won’t suit the masses, being all about the simple outdoor pleasures, but once you’ve camped here, those sweet memories will keep pulling you back for a whole lifetime.
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Great location, shame about the density of campers and showers
The write-up here says that the owners weren't sure they wanted to be included in Cool Camping as they didn't want the site to become too busy. They've obviously got over that point of view as were packed in guy-rope-to-guy-rope. It felt much the same as the festival camping we'd been to the week before. Also want to note that their own website describes unlimited hot showers in the stone barn. They're not. They're in cramped portaloo-style cubicles. The first 2 showers I had were ice cold, the third scalding hot which caused much upset to my child. All of the showers had such a wide spray that you had to move around in circles to get wet. I never understand why getting showers right is so hard for some sites! I wonder if this site can more or less do what it likes as it is unarguably situated just minutes from one of the best, most idyllic beaches I've ever visited. Loved Porth Joke.
Beautiful, friendly, relaxed and perfect for families
Having never been camping before we were a little nervous but a friend recommended Polly Joke and we thought we’d give it a try. We rang up on Saturday morning, and although they were full, they said they would squeeze us in that day. We’re a family of 2 adults and 2 little children (1 and 3). The campsite is beautiful - so tranquil and only 7 minutes walk from the stunning Polly Joke beach. On arrival the owners could not have been more welcoming or accomodating. We had the most wonderful time - it really was a slice of heaven. Facilities were basic, but very clean and plenty of hot water in the showers, plus a lovely little kitchen prep area. Big communal fenced sandpit in our field - our eldest loved playing with all the other children on site. Couldn’t have asked for anything else. All in all the perfect first-time experience. Thank you for a wonderful time - we can’t wait to come back!
Beautiful quiet and relaxed
There is something magical about this location - tucked away down a bumpy track, this campsite is relaxed, a short walk to the beautiful beach. we stay with friends every year we can - a real gem. Facilities basic but clean and the staff are friendly.
Stayed just a night on way west having read Cool Camping reviews beforehand. What a spot, we were the only ones on site - well apart from the rabbits and the owls! Pitched up in the top corner by the stream in our campervan 'Gipsy' and it was so quiet. The local beach is wonderful, the walks are excellent, Crantock is quaint with a good pub - Old Albion - and we will return for a longer stay after the school holidays. Facilities are basic but clean, functional and quirky. The owner is very friendly too. For us, this is camping as it should be - just about as wild as we like to get with our camper - brilliant!
A beautiful haven
My husband and I spent an idyllic week here over the summer holidays with our 3 girls aged 1,4 and 6 years.
The campsite is nestled away with beautiful sunrise and sunset views over the dunes. Basic facilities but the toilets were always clean and well maintained. Polly Joke beach is a short walk away and never seemed to get busy, we enjoyed a few bbq and campfires on the beach , real memory making time together.
The site itself is spacious and has the added bonus of a natural sandpit which was a big hit with the children. We are looking forward to our next visit!
Lovely Get Away
My partner and I stayed here in June (out of school holidays) and it was so peaceful. It's just a 15 minute walk from the beach and you can walk a circular route around the headland to a nice pub. Real feeling of getting away!
Best location ever!
Easily the best location for a proper escape. Just a few minutes walk along a flat path to the stunning Porth Joke beach where the sunset can be utterly magical. Photographer's heaven!
The site itself is lovely...a great barefoot camping experience. Basic but clean amenities and lots of hot showers - they are in little portaloo style huts but really clean (i.e. not too many creepy crawlies!).
Totally informal layout of the site which is lovely as you can just rock up and pitch. Most areas of the site are sunny late into the evening, if the sun is actually shining that is!
Generally plenty of space although we did visit out of the school holidays. Lots of surfers when we were there and it's absolutely perfect for them!
Not too far to walk up to the bar that's a surprisingly good find in the bigger campsite back at the top of the road. And the walks in general from here are wonderful...we ventured up and over the cliffs across Crantock beach and over into Newquay. Fistral Beach and back is a lovely walk that only takes a couple of hours.
thx to Bob & Angela for their hospitality and their kindness. Very very very beautiful campsite with a splendid beach (10min on foot).
Roberto from Switzerland
Porth Joke Campsite
We originally found this site through the cool camping website and booked on its recommendations. The area is absolutely beautiful and there are lots of lovely walks in the area for a family like ourselves who like to park up the vw campervan for the duration of our hols and explore the area on foot. Porth Joke is the most immediate beach, but would urge you to take the journey back up the hill to cross over the field and walk over the sand dunes to Crantock - the most beautiful chilled out beach with little van selling ice creams etc pootling along it at regular intervals to satisfy the kids! The campsite itself the first year we stayed was really chilled out but I have to say the toilet/shower facilities were not very desireable at all - dirty and cold - we don’t mind ’cool’ (if you want ’cool’ go to Henrys campsite on The Lizard). Despite the toilet facilities we enjoyed the site for its locations for 2 nights so decided to stay the extra night and paid for the extra night and made a point of saying how we enjoyed it when paying the owners....only to be questionned when we left that "You have to pay you know, it’s not free!" By the man who runs it...flabbergasted and extremely angry I went to speak to the woman who agreed yes we had paid....well needless to say we will NOT be staying there again! The year after (2011) we stayed at Higher Moor the next site up and ooooh what a difference a few hundred yards make...I’m not going to gush about it too much as don’t want to spoil it but we are staying there for 2 week this year so that speaks for itself! In 2011 staying at Higher Moor we walked past Porth Joke and the ’family campsite’ seemed to have turned into the Rock Fraternity’ with noisy youngsters ruining the site leaving rubbish out for the seagulls to masacre and ruining everyone elses holiday - how pleased we were that we weren’t staying there again! Sorry but allowing them to get away with this is not ’cool’ in my books!
Porth Joke Campsite
I have been staying in the campsite for 18 years and it has been absolutely perfect and I wouldn’t have changed one thing about it. It is located less then a miles walk to the beach, close to Newquay, good facilities and the owners are lovely too. Plus it being inexpensive is great! The one reason it is unique and different to most campsite is that there would be no camping in the middle so there are only tents around the outside. This means games such as football, cricket, rounders, tennis which the whole campsite got involved in. This holiday has the most memories to date. My whole childhood summer was built around going to Polly Joke. This was all fine up until we went in 2011. The first week started out as there were only a few tents in the middle, this changed on the second week when car after car came through the gates. By the start of the second week the whole campsite was packed full of tents leaving no room for any of those games which we enjoyed on previous years. The only space left was a walking route to and from the toilets. It was safe to say it was not a fun holiday compared the 17 years of perfection. When we got home we thought we would send a letter to the owners putting across our upset and disappointment about how we and plenty others thought that this campsite is perfect just how it is. We then received a phone call from the owners saying how we are no longer allowed to come back and our booking for summer 2012 has been taken away. After 18 years of loyalty we had been kicked out in a blink of an eye.
Porth Joke Campsite
I have been going to this site since I was 2 years old (I am now 30!) and it remains my favourite holiday destination of all time! It gets a bit mental there in the high season but, if you can go out of school holidays, it is idyllic. No phone signal, no neighbours and a beach that can only be reached via a footpath make for a rural getaway that is hard to beat. At night, the only sounds you can hear are nature and the sea. Within easy reach of attractions, you will never be short of things to do if you get bored of the beautiful beach. Nature lovers will also love the abundant rabbits! The owners are really friendly and the facilities are basic but all you need. There are also some cottages to rent on the same site and, having also stayed there a couple of times, can highly recommend them!
Porth Joke Campsite
This is a great campsite if you want to get away from it all, not use the car, get no mobile phone signal and to relax. Lovely setting surrounded by National Trust Land and with few buildings or disturbances. Two small fields, apparently fully booked but by no means busy when we were there over half term. Facilities are simple but good. If anything the showers were too hot for me, although my husband thought they were just right. Because of the way they are organised there are rarely queues. Very relaxed and very friendly. Nice beach, good for bodyboarding and sandcastles 10 minutes walk in one direction. Small shop/bar/takeaway food on another campsite 10-15 minutes walk the other. Steep walk up the hill into West Pentire to a pub with sea views that does food. - Car park next door to the campsite can get busy, but doesn’t affect the campsite. - Quite a windy place, seemed to be windy on site even when not windy elsehwere. - Very dry, so even when it rains (as it did for 12 hours straight when we were there) the ground dries out quickly and there aren’t muddy puddles or squelchy ground. - Nowhere near a main road, so no traffic/background noise at all except for the surf on a quiet night. - Its not the flattest of campsites although most of the fields are flat enough. Because of the ’book a whole week at a time’ policy they seem to have during the school holidays there was less of a constant change over of people that you can get on other sites. I liked that because it meant it felt more relaxed and less like you didn’t know who would have put up a tent right next to you when you got back from a day out.
Porth Joke Campsite
In brief: I loved this site. Great for families or for others looking for a quiet few days in the middle of nowhere. First things first, the signs for this campsite actually call it "Polly Joke". Porth Joke is the beach a few minutes walk further down the path. The campsite is Polly Joke. Odd name, eh? I have no idea what it means and sadly didn’t think to ask the owners when I met them. It’s a lovely site though. Small and quiet and out of the way. The beach is beautiful. We arrived in the early evening and went to watch the sun go down over the sea. Really wonderful. The current owners have been there for 40+ years and said that there was camping there even before WWII. Apparently it’s one of the oldest campsites in Cornwall. The official review says that it’s hard to get a pitch here. That may be true in high season, but on the Royal Wedding long weekend (29th April - 2nd May 2011) the site was relatively empty. We had no trouble booking a pitch and had plenty of space. I’d say the site was probably only half-full. The site is probably best for families. It’s deliberately low key and being too raucous would be unwelcome. The kids from various groups seemed to all be playing together when we were there, which was nice to see. The toilet and washing facilities are just fine. They have new gas-powered showers that were playing up when we went but hopefully will work better as they get used to operating them. There’s not much in terms of entertainment nearby (which suited us just fine). There’s a shop back in the main Treago Mills campsite further back from the beach. There’s a pub about 10 minutes walk up a farm track along the coast. It’s got good beers but the food isn’t great. One note: there are signs up around the site saying something like "Contrary to what is written in the latest copy of Cool Camping, camp fires are NOT allowed on this campsite". A couple of people set up campfires on the weekend we were there and were not stopped but... well, if the owners are nice and don’t want you to do it, why not respect their wishes?