Revealed: There’s a ‘tropical paradise’ beach in Cornwall regarded as ‘the best’, with ‘warm waters and attractive surf instructors’. But there’s a catch…
It’s been declared the ‘best beach in Cornwall’ by ‘both the Cornish people and frequent visitors to the county’.
‘Unspoilt’ Porthemmet Beach is situated on the county’s northern coast.
It’s said to have ‘very warm waters’ and to look ‘more like a tropical paradise’ than a conventional British beach.
Not only that, but it’s also billed as a surfing hotspot with ‘a host of (very attractive) surf instructors’.
But there’s a catch – Porthemmet Beach is entirely fictional.
Porthemmet Beach has been declared ‘the best beach in Cornwall’. But there’s a catch – it’s entirely fictional
The actual beach that appears on the website is Makapu’u Beach on the eastern end of the Hawaiian island of O’ahu. Image courtesy of Creative Commons
One giveaway is that the word ’emmet’ is used in Cornwall to refer to holidaymakers, but that was never likely to be picked up by those outside the county.
Incredibly, it’s a ruse that’s been running since 2007, with the beach website garnering more than 150,000 views in that time.
It caught out Tripadvisor user ‘Bnimo’, who previously wrote in a forum: ‘I’ve read that Porthemmet Beach is beautiful and the only beach in Cornwall that allows nude bathing. I will be staying in Fowey for two weeks in May. Will the water be warm enough to swim then?’
It’s billed as a surfing hotspot with ‘a host of (very attractive) surf instructors’
User ‘BellaHampshire’ took the query seriously, and replied: ‘The water in May will still be pretty cold and not for the faint-hearted (like me) although some folk down here swim all year round – so up to you.’
Others, however, took to the forum to correctly identify the beach as fictitious.
It’s no wonder the original website has fooled people – it’s quite informative. Detailed sections also describe the dolphins that visitors might spot and the ‘beautiful’ coral reef they can dive in.
The site claims that Cornwall’s most famous musicians are frequent visitors and that bathers can pick up Cornish pasties near the beach, noting: ‘Be sure to pronounce it “parsty” unless you want to be laughed at.’
This fake beach has been catching travellers out for years thanks to the convincing website that has been set up to advertise it (above)
Elsewhere, giving readers directions to the beach, the website says: ‘It should be noted that there is a private joke in Cornwall whereby locals will pretend to not know where Porthemmet Beach is. Don’t be fooled, every Cornish person knows about this beach, they are just having some fun.’
A Porthemmet Beach gift shop has even been set up online, selling everything from boxer shorts to fridge magnets that read: ‘Porthemmet: The best beach in Cornwall.’
The BBC revealed the mastermind behind the website is local teacher Jonty Haywood from Truro. He told the broadcaster: ‘My main aim was to create a countywide prank, something that Cornish people could amuse themselves with. The national publicity has kind of given away the joke to lots of people outside Cornwall.’
The actual beach that appears on the website is Makapuʻu Beach on the eastern end of the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu, which explains its tropical appearance.
Even though more than a decade has passed since the Porthemmet hoax’s inception, the joke doesn’t look set to be losing steam just yet.