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Jamaica Inn

Listed under Unusual Places to Stay in West Country, United Kingdom.

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It was built in 1750 with the quite innocent purpose of offering rest and sustenance to travellers on the dismal turnpike across Bodmin Moor, but what with Daphne Du Maurier’s immortalisation of it in her spine-chilling novel of shipwrecks, romance and murder and the legends of highwaymen and smugglers that seem to stick to places shrouded in sea fog and miles from anywhere, Jamaica Inn has understandably taken on a reputation for being formidably spooky. Once you’ve spotted the traditional tin sign creaking in the breeze, depicting a lowering, bearded pirate, complete with parrot, eye-patch and backdrop of a barque foundering on moonlit rocks, you might well expect a little supernatural activity.

Despite the addition of some newer rooms, a children’s play area and modern conference facilities to cope with demand, the inn certainly doesn’t skimp on atmosphere. Perhaps sadly, the unbearably creepy Victorian taxidermy collection (which included such enchanting scenes as twenty stuffed kittens at tea and some guinea pigs immobilised in the middle of a game of cricket) was sold for more than £500,000 in 2003, but there’s still a fantastic museum of smuggling artefacts and a memorial room containing some of Du Maurier’s possessions, including her typewriter and desk, the inn doesn’t skimp on atmosphere.

Original features are brought to the fore in the tastefully decorated bedrooms – you’ll find antique furniture, some four-poster beds and lots of exposed beams – and the same goes for the restaurant, with its old wooden tables and chairs, heavy beams worn to a smooth sheen and intriguing, historic maritime and equestrian objects nailed to every spare patch of wall. There are also wonderful views.

However, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that the resident ghosts are the inn’s biggest draw. Four phenomena have been reported in all: a tall, cloaked man in a tricorn hat who stalks the corridors and walks through doors, a stranger murdered under mysterious circumstances who pops back in to finish his drink or sits sadly on the wall outside, the rattling of invisible horses’ hooves and coach wheels on the courtyard cobbles, and whispered conversations at the bar in Cornish. Stay if you dare!

Written by  larapiegeler.

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