Immortalised in Daphne du Maurier's eponymous tale of smugglers, rogues and pirates, this historic coaching house has welcomed travellers crossing Bodmin Moor for nearly 300 years. Full of legend, mystery, romance and even, according to folklore, the odd friendly spirit, Jamaica Inn is set in one of the most evocative moorland locations in Britain.
The Inn is more than just a stop-off for weary travellers, it’s an ideal base for visiting anywhere in Cornwall or Devon in a day and be back in time for dinner. It is also home to an award-winning restaurant and hotel, great ales in its ‘olde worlde’ bars, souvenir shop and the fascinating Smugglers’ Museum where tales of wreckers, murderers and villains are brought wonderfully to life!
The Smugglers Museum
The Smugglers Museum houses one of the finest collections of smuggling artefacts in the country. Featuring 'The History of Jamaica Inn', an educational and historical theatre show, the Museum brings alive many of the myths and legends associated with Jamaica Inn and Cornwall, including tales of wreckers and smugglers over the past 300 years.
Smuggling evolved when customs dues were first introduced in the thirteenth century, but there was no form of law and order until the fifteenth century and even then it was negligible. Goods such as silks, tea, tobacco and brandy were more frequently smuggled into Cornwall than anywhere else in England.
Cornish smugglers were not a violent breed, but very cunning. A famous eighteenth century economist defined a smuggler as: "A person who, though no doubt highly blameable for violating those of natural justice and who would have been in every respect an excellent citizen, had not the laws of his country made that a crime which nature never meant to be so".
So, smuggling became accepted and most took part in the proceedings - even the revenue men were quite amenable to the odd bribe! Smuggling around the Cornish coast was comparatively simple as there were few men to enforce the law and even when a smuggler was caught, he was usually dealt with leniently by the presiding magistrates, most of whom were willing recipients of the smuggled goods.
Jamaica Inn is also open for food daily for details click here