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Jamaica Inn & Museums (Launceston)

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6 Reviews

Bolventor, Launceston, Cornwall PL15 7TS. Tel: +44 (0)1566 862 50
Fax: +44 (0)1566 861 77.

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    6 Reviews
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      08.01.2012 02:09
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      A great place to visit.

      Jamaica Inn, Cornwall


      The Jamaica Inn is situated in the middle of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall. It can be spotted and accessed from the A30 which is the main road passing through the county. The usually bleak Moor sets the perfect scene for the famous Inn, which is bursting with history and atmosphere. The Inn is well known for being one of the most haunted buildings in the UK with its many tales of ghosts and smugglers from years gone by. Jamaica Inn was built in 1750 as an Inn for travellers. Due to the isolated location of the Inn, in the middle of the Moor, it was an attractive stopping point for travellers and was a great place for smugglers to hide anything illegal. It is thought that Jamaica Inn got its name from smugglers who loved to store and hide rum there. Years and years of history fill the Inn with character and visitors love to soak up the atmosphere and hear about its past tales.


      Many tourists flock to the Inn each year to visit the location of Daphne Du Maurier's classic novel, Jamaica Inn. I first read the novel after visiting the Inn and it definitely put a new perspective on it for me and fuelled my mind with ideas and a new interest in the Inn. When I read the book, I could almost see it playing out at the Inn and I could imagine the bleak Moor which made the book a lot more enjoyable and realistic. I definitely recommend reading the book to get an idea of how life possibly could have been at the Inn.


      I have never stayed overnight at Jamaica Inn, mainly because I daren't. I imagine that I would get no sleep whatsoever staying in one of its allegedly haunted rooms. There are plenty of en-suite rooms available though for the braver visitors. There is a museum at the Inn where you can learn everything you need to know about the history of the place, Daphne Du Maurier and smuggling. There is an impressive collection of smugglers artefacts to be seen, some of which date back 300 years. The museum is incredibly interesting and educational; anybody interested in the Inn would definitely enjoy browsing around here. The museum is not very big but it sure has a lot packed into it but unfortunately it isn't free to enter. As the Inn lies only a few minutes off the A30 it is within great reach and is the perfect place to stop for a drink or something to eat. The Inn serves drinks, meals and snacks in its bars and it is a pleasant place to dine. I have stopped at the Inn a few times for food and I would say that the quality is pleasing but not outstanding. The food is quite expensive and from what I remember, the menu is very traditional. Jamaica Inn caters for all kinds of celebrations and has function rooms to hire for weddings, christenings, parties and conferences. There is a lovely gift shop at the Inn also where you can buy all sorts of memorabilia to remember your visit such as; playing cards, pencils, books etc. There is a good variety of treats available to buy. Special events are held at the Inn such as paranormal investigations which sound fantastic but terrifying.


      I have visited the Inn many times. It became a tradition when I was younger to stop at the Inn for a quick drink and nosey around every time we ever drove past it. When I was a kid, it was exciting to stop at the Inn then when I got a little bit older and I found out more information about it I used to dread stopping as I was freaked out by how haunted it appeared. When I was about 17 years old, I read the novel by Daphne Du Maurier and I was eager to visit Jamaica Inn again with fresh eyes. Ever since then I have always been interested in the Inn and have enjoyed spending time there. The atmosphere of the Inn is quite special, I always feel curious wandering around there, as if I am going to see something or experience something spooky. I would definitely recommend Jamaica Inn as a great place to visit. I do not think the Inn is suitable for family stays but there is a play area for children. The Inn is definitely thought provoking and you can really get lost in the history of it. When you visit the Inn remember that nothing is better than Jamaica Inn itself; the expensive prices reflect its reputation. I definitely would not recommend going for just the food or the museum, the best thing about the Inn is the Inn itself and all that has happened there over the years. I have always experienced very good customer service at the Inn, in the bar, shop and museum. The Inn is very old and this is obvious when you first enter the building as there is a certain smell, which could only be found in a very old pub.


      Jamaica Inn is open all year round to dine and stay at and the museum is open all year except January.
      You are looking at a minimum of £100 per night for a double room at the Inn.
      There is a small charge to enter the museum also.


      Address: Jamaica Inn, Bolventor, Launceston, Cornwall, PL15 7TS
      Telephone: 01566 86250
      Website: www.jamaicainn.co.uk


      Thank you for reading : )


      Review also on Ciao under luceey.

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      03.02.2010 14:20

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      Brilliant stop-off place with lovely souveniers

      I've been to Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall a few times and just love it. The book by Daphne du Maurier is my most favourite novel. The first thing you hear is the creaking, eerie pub sign! The shop is excellent, it's quite large and you can buy all sorts of souveniers, Daphne du Maurier's books, refreshments, toys, etc. I also visited the Daphne du Maurier Museum there, you can see the Sheriton writing desk where she penned her many fantastic novels and biographies.

      Also, something that has now disappeared, Potter's Museum of Curiosities - a fasinating museum of taxidermy. The sort of place that has three-eyed dogs, lambs with six legs and such like. What a shame it has now gone, it was very interesting to visit.

      You can stay at Jamaica Inn, it is said to be rather haunted so not something I would like to do myself! Overall I would say Jamaica Inn is well worth visiting, if only to peruse the shop!

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      03.08.2009 16:09
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      Learn all about smuggling and Du Maurier at Jamaica Inn - a decent day out in Cornwall

      On a cold, grey, wet, blustery morning, the dark building loomed on the peak of Bodmin Moor. It stood isolated and bleak; a true haven for smugglers past.

      Streams of water fell down our faces despite the hoods and hats. Rain soaked our clothes and the occasionally groaning could be heard as someone stepped into deep puddles or was splashed by passing cars.

      Thus began our exploration of Jamaica Inn...


      ~~~Jamaica Inn~~~

      Jamaica Inn was originally built in 1750 as a coaching inn and acted as a staging post for people to change horses for the long journey across the moor. A coach house, stables and a tack room were added to the Inn towards the end of the eighteenth century.

      It was built at a time of heavy smuggling and, indeed, it has been estimated that around half of the brandy and a quarter of all tea being smuggled into the UK was landed on the nearby coasts. Jamaica Inn was ideally situated to serve smugglers and their contraband.

      In the early twentieth century, the novelist, Daphne Du Maurier, was often inspired by Cornwall as settings for her novels and indeed, she went on the write one that was appropriately named "Jamaica Inn".

      Nowadays, the Inn comprises a hotel (with pub), a gift shop and a museum, dedicated to both Smugglers and Daphne Du Maurier.


      ~~~The Gift Shop~~~

      The Gift Shop contains a wide variety of items for purchase, from fridge magnets, mugs and tea towels to t-shirts, teddy bears and model campervans. There is obviously an emphasis on smugglers, pirates and Daphne Du Maurier.

      The cost of items in the shop is typical of many gift shops, e.g. bookmarks were around £1.50 and magnets, approximately £1.99. No offers were available, so if you wanted one of Du Maurier's novels it would cost the full price.

      I thought the shop was pleasant and could satisfy a range of tastes within the context of souvenirs. The shop was staffed by one lady, who was very pleasant and welcoming, so there were no complaints on the customer service level.

      My only gripe was the PDQ machine (which is not really the shop's fault, I hasten to add). I don't know whether it is because it is in the middle of nowhere, but it took a long time for the machine to properly authorise payments - my payment took almost ten minutes, which caused a long queue! I'd recommend having cash to spare just in case.


      ~~~The Hotel and pub~~~

      I did not stay at the hotel so cannot comment on the facilities here, although you are probably looking at £65-80 per night (at least) and there are quite a number of local places to visit.

      Even so, we did enter the pub for refreshments. In our case, it was cream teas. I found the food delicious and the surroundings lovely and comfortable (the Inn has kept much of its character in the dark wood, beamed ceilings and, outside, the cobbled courtyards).

      Prices in the pub vary, and I personally feel items are slightly on the expensive side. Our cream teas cost £3.95, which included two scones, jam, clotted cream, and a cup of tea. This wasn't too bad, but a penguin biscuit bar cost 85p!


      ~~~The Museum~~~

      The museum is worth a visit, particularly if you are a fan of Du Maurier, as the emphasis is largely on her, although part of it is focused upon smuggling.

      The first half of the museum is a 'story' where scenes are set and people press the buttons for narrations regarding the scenes. I thought this was good, although children under 5 may get bored easily. The narratives were slightly too long.

      The second part is what you typically envisage when thinking 'museum': exhibit cases and photographs. These were full of interesting artefacts and information. For example, smugglers used to cut out the centre of potatoes, place their contraband inside, pin the potato together and then roll it in soil to cover the crease. The Daphne Du Maurier element explores her life and influences, and even includes scarves and jumpers she wore.

      I found it all fascinating.

      Unfortunately, the museum isn't free and an adult ticket costs £3.95. Children under 5 go free, but if there are a few of you, it soon mounts up. We did debate going in and while we were discussing it, we became aware that another family were doing the same thing. The museum is not very large and having spent money in the pub and gift shop, paying for the museum seemed a little too much, particularly in these trying times.

      However, having been into the museum, I am glad that I did go round. I do think I would have regretted not having seen all of Jamaica Inn while I had the chance.


      ~~~Recommend?~~~

      Definitely. Jamaica Inn is worth a visit and you can discover plenty of information about smuggling and Du Maurier. Moreover, it is really only a half-day visit, so you can combine it with something else to make the most of the days.

      As I mentioned, my only feeling is that some of the prices seemed unnecessarily high at times.

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        25.01.2006 14:35
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        Beautiful old coach house on the moor near Dozemerry pool (king arthur)

        Jamaica Inn is an old coach house high upon Bodmin Moor and is the perfect place to stop off for a drink or a bite to eat on the way into or on the way out of Cornwall.
        With its great history relating to Daphne du Maurier's novels the coach house attracts many visitors and travelers.
        Many come to the coach house to see the museum based on Daphne du Marurier but I tend to go up there because of the perfect views over Bodmin Moor. Nearby there is a short walk that takes you to Dozmery Pool which is supposed to be linked with King Arthur and the lady of the lake – and the panoramic views are spectacular.
        The coach house offers bed and breakfast, has a restaurant and an excellent bar menu all of which is home cooked food. There is a very cozy lounge bar which in the winter is warmed with a comforting log fire.
        I would recommend Jamaica Inn to anyone visiting the county if they wish to explore any of the moor areas or take in some history.
        The Inn can be found just off the A30 at Bolventor, midway between Launceston and Bodmin in Cornwall, Jamaica Inn is conveniently situated and easily accessible from the M5, Devon and Plymouth. Telephone number: - 01566 86250

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          21.10.2001 04:26
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          'Twas a dark windswept eve, there is a howling moan and the rain is drumming incessantly on my windscreen. Then cresting the brow of the ridge I see the warm inviting glow of lights atop of a lonely hill. As my car slowly made its way up the steep incline I could eventually make out the sign, drenched and almost unreadable in the car's lights as they reflect off the sign in the torrential downpour. Jamaica Inn stands in its forbidding majesty. I wander beneath the porch; a welcoming fire greeted me the inviting atmosphere of the Smugglers Bar called out. Okay so I let my imagination run a little, but 'who doesn't' in Cornwall? ****************************************** Travelling the A30 one can hardly miss the signs for Jamaica Inn. It is on the bleak Bodmin Moor and has been a Coaching House for over four centuries, welcoming travellers into Cornwall. Today sees a very different Jamaica Inn to those of yesteryear. Jamaica Inn was built in the mid-eighteenth century, on Bodmin Moor and served travellers using the new main road between Launceston and Bodmin, now the A30. Jamaica Inn has played host to millions of weary travellers, and also to less wholesome patrons. The bleakness of the surrounding area and the isolation allows the mind to wonder. It is easy to imagine smugglers and ghosts, mixing and plotting their next adventure. Men who came by stealth at night, by torchlight, silently their unloading wagons in the courtyard, to hoard the contraband smuggled furtively ashore from the north and south coasts. The Inn on the Moor by Rose Mullins contains more history of the Inn and the surrounding Moor. An 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'. But
          today, alas some would say, those days gone, the Inn, no longer shelters any smugglers, it still extends a warm welcome to thousands of visitors. There can be found comfortably refurbished bedrooms; Mr Potter's Museum of Curiosity, and the recreation of Daphne du Maurier's study Daphne du Maurier immortalised the Jamaica Inn, originally known as the New Inn in novel of the same name. During the early 1900s Jamaica Inn was used as a temperance house, but there have always been spirits of a different kind at Jamaica Inn. On a moonlit night, when all is still, the sound of horses' hooves and the metal rims of wheels turning on the rough cobbles of the courtyard can be heard! **Coach Parties** Stage coaches and coaches of all sizes are always welcome at Jamaica Inn, as there is plenty of free parking. To book a visit or find out about special coach parties rates, telephone the Reservation Manager. **Pedlars Food Bar** In days gone by, John Burton and his brother ran the Inn but there was little comfort or food to be had! This is a bar which offers a wide selection of Cornish food from delicious Traditional Pasties to Cornish Cream Teas. The food that will warm any hungry belly! There is also wide choice of accommodation, food and drink on offer, as well as good service. **du Maurier Restaurant** For the more leisurely meal, dine in romantic candlelit. However advanced booking in the summer months is advised to avoid disappointment. End the romantic evening with a stay in one of the Inn's romantic four-poster en suite bedrooms. Your mind can wonder to the bygone years, of smugglers and pirates, heroes and heroines?.. I will leave this to your own imagination! You may even see one of the Inn?s spectral residents. Daphne du Maurier's death in 1989 was a great loss to both the world of literature, with some of her books being turned into successful films. Plus to
          Cornwall in general, (her home can be found in Fowey). A memorial room has now been created at the Jamaica Inn, which is full of memorabilia, including her Sheraton writing desk on top of which is a packet of du Maurier cigarettes named after her father, Sir Gerald and a dish of Glacier Mints, her favourite sweets The novel Jamaica Inn was her first big commercial success. During her career she wrote a total of thirty-eight books, but it is her Cornish-based books that remain the most popular with her readers. **Mr. Potter's Museum of Curiosity** Kittens enjoying a cup of tea, guinea pigs playing cricket and rabbits learning to read and write are just some of the extraordinary exhibits found in Mr. Potter's Museum of Curiosity. This is a unique Victorian Museum, which was originally opened in 1861, by its founder Walter Potter, in the West Sussex village of Bramber. Born in 1835, Walter Potter first began to show an interest in taxidermy as a teenage hobby. He began with his own pet canary when it died, this is displayed in the Museum and progressed from there. Taxidermy was originally the means by which collectors and explorers could preserve the birds, insects and animals they had discovered from all over the world. Taxidermy in the Victorian era began to be a popular method by which people could keep their pets after death. Most Victorian homes would hold their share of stuffed animals. (I really cannot understand the attraction). The collection was purchased by the owners of Jamaica Inn in the1980's and has grown considerably. People will people donate and loan artefacts to the museum. It now includes dolls' houses, smoking memorabilia, Victorian toys and weaponry. There are many curious oddities from across the globe, including a gruesome collection of 'freaks of nature'. The Museum is set on two floors and laid out in true Victorian fashion, cluttered! *Cost* Adults £2.50 Childr
          en, OAPs, Students £2.00 **Ghosts** The ghost Society has made an in-depth investigation during the past year, at Jamaica Inn. It has compiled a report based on its findings. The areas of substantial interest to the investigation were, The Smuggler's Bar, Stable Bar, The du Maurier Restaurant, and upstairs in the bedrooms, in particular Bedroom 4. The timeless character of Jamaica Inn still remains unchanged. So for an experience, next time you are in Cornwall, visit Jamaica Inn. You never know what you may find there. **For Further Information** Jamaica Inn Bolventor LAUNCESTON Cornwall PL15 7TS Tel: 01566 86250 Fax: 01566 86177 Email: enquiry@jamaicainn.co.uk *Or visit* Wedsite: www.jamaicainn.co.uk

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            31.01.2001 19:06
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            We arrived into Cornwall on our annual holiday, there was a place called Jamaica Inn, which really caught my eye. In the second week my Mum and Dad came to stay with us in our farmhouse, which we had hired for 2 weeks. My Dad mentioned the fact that he was interested in going to the Jamaica Inn he had seen it too. We decided to go for a meal there the day my Mum and Dad were leaving to go home. We walked in, expecting to find a smugglers inn; instead we were greeted with a canteen style self-service food bar. Don’t get me wrong, the food was lovely, and they did kids versions of the adult menu, they also did the normal Children’s meals Chicken Nuggets etc… On the Jamaica Inn site there is are Museums, which we didn’t have enough time to look round, we did visit the gift shop and came out loaded with goodies, the shop has lots of Nautical and smuggler novelty gifts. They also have accommodation available from £25 per person per night. Many coaching Inns have passed into obscurity, along with the highwaymen and smugglers who frequented them, but today Jamaica Inn is standing high and isolated on Bodmin Moor, with cobbled courtyards, beamed ceilings, roaring fires and real ale. We ate in the Pedlars Food Bar, which serves sumptuous hot and cold Cornish dishes, while the Du Maurier Restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere and a reputation for succulent steaks and local fresh fish. Dare to stay overnight in a four-poster room and even if our resident ghost doesn’t materialise you’ll enjoy an en-suite bathroom, colour television and tea making facilities. Jamaica Inn is a popular meeting place for business functions, celebrations and weddings; they can cater for up to 200 people, from finger and fork buffet to full waitress service and also disco parties. Explore the past, enter Daphne Du Maurier’s Smuggler’s at Jamaica Inn, and ex
            perience the novel ‘Jamaica Inn’ in tableaux, sound and light, encounter plucky Mary Yellan and arch villain Demon Davey, the vicar of Altarnun. You’ll be captivated by probably the finest collection of smuggling artefacts in the country. Daphne Du Maurier once stayed at Jamaica Inn. In 1930 she spent a night there, and the setting of the infamous Bodmin Moor, the atmosphere and the legends, stirred her imagination to create one of her best known novels, Jamaica Inn. Daphne Du Maurier was entranced by Cornwall, by romantic windswept moorlands of the type which surround Jamaica Inn, by mysterious creeks and the Cornish people themselves. Although her passing in 1989 was a great loss at Jamaica Inn you can still relive a moment of her life. The Dame Daphne Du Maurier memorial room features her Sheraton writing desk, with memorabilia such as the Du Maurier cigarettes, named after her father, and a dish of Glacier Mints, her favourite sweets. Picture her tapping out another chapter of mystery and romance at the vintage typewriter. Mr Potter’s, Museum. At Jamaica Inn they have recreated on of the last truly Victorian Museums dreamt up by the famous taxidermist Walter Potter. Over 10,000 eccentric exhibits from all over the globe, rub shoulders in the Mr Potter’s quaint make believe world. You’ll see rabbits learning to read, watch kittens at a tea party, and you may even find out who killed Cock Robin. The Jamaica Inn is Located in a stunning setting halfway between Bodmin and Launceston, just off the A30 at Bolventor. Look out for the Brown signs to Jamaica Inn and Museums. Open all year, small admission charge for certain facilities.

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