Smugglers Museum

Smugglers Museum

Probably the finest collection of smuggling artefacts in the country, featuring ‘The History Of Jamaica Inn’ an educational and historical theatre show that recounts many of the myths and legends associated with Jamaica Inn and Cornwall including tales of wreckers and smugglers over the past 300 years.

Enter into the evil yet romantic era of smuggling in Cornwall and see what is probably the finest collection of smuggling artefacts in the country. 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.

Smuggling became a very common occupation in Cornwall, aided by the fact there there were few law enforcement officers and even if smugglers were caught they were likely to be treated with leniency by judges who were probably good customers for the smuggled goods. Many of these smugglers stopped and Jamaica Inn while transporting their goods further inland for dispersal to customers.

The museum exhibits are incredibly fascinating, from a 1798 ‘wanted’ poster to porcelain figurines of smugglers. One of the most interesting items that caught our eye is a smuggler’s ‘scuffler’, an iron tool used to make prints of a horseshoe in the sand, pointing the wrong direction to fool pursuers.

The smuggling museum is incredibly interesting. The exhibits trace the history of smuggling from the (occasionally) romantic story of the 18th century smugglers on the Cornish coast to modern ‘drug mules’ trying to smuggle illicit drugs through international airports. The lengths taken by smugglers to hide their contraband goods is quite incredible, and the displays show some of the most amazingly clever devices for hiding smuggled goods in a wide variety of ways.

If you are a fan of Daphne du Maurier you will love the museum. If you know little about the author’s life but want to learn more about smuggling you’ll love the museum just as much!


Jamaica Inn




PL15 7TS

Tel: +44 (0) 1566 86250