In a nutshell
A former jail on the edge of the town, built in 1779 by prisoners of war. Inside the gloomy and imposing granite building there are six floors of chilly cells, life-size models of inmates, and grim tales of crimes and punishment. Thanks to its grisly past, it claims to be one of the most haunted attractions in the UK, with a resident medium and a cast of ghosts. In short, it’s the perfect attraction if you want to scare your children with some real-life horror stories. The jail is in the midst of a £30m development that will add a 63-bedroom
hotel within the two original prison wings, and a new £8.5m attraction and education centre.
As a jail famous for its long-drop execution pit and replete with nasty detail, it’s low on fun facts. But one of the more innocent information boards describes the 43rd rule, which stated that “all prisoners, except debtors, should have a tepid bath once in every three months”.
Best thing about it
Depends how much you love gory details and sad stories. It gives a real insight into the squalid conditions and cruelty that prisoners, including children, faced – sometimes for minor misdemeanours like stealing honey.
What about lunch?
The usual suspects of jacket potato (£4.95), soup (£4.25) and sandwiches (from £4) are served in the Tea Room in the gift shop, which also serves “breakfast in jail” – with porridge (of course!) for £1.90, bacon or sausage baps (from £2.50) or a full-fry-up (£6.95). The Governor’s Hall is a full-service restaurant with a menu of classic British fare: slow-cooked mutton with an ox-cheek pie and celeriac puree (£10.50); jail-ale beerbattered fish and chips (£9.95); or vegetarian dishessuch as butternut squash risotto (£8.95).
Exit through the gift shop?
Yes, with a chance to pick up some pilchards or other Cornish delicacies: clotted cream fudge, sea salt, plus T-shirts in convict stripes, and “I braved Bodmin Jail” hoodies and tea towels.
Parking is available in the town centre. The jail is a 20-minute walk from Bodmin General station, which is on the Bodmin and Wenford heritage steam railway (you can combine the two attractions in one day). You will need a taxi if you travel from the mainline station, Bodmin Parkway (four miles away), where trains arrive from Penzance, Plymouth and Paddington.
Children under 10 should enjoy some aspects of the attraction, if not all of it.
9.30am-6pm. Restaurant noon-9pm.
Value for money
We rushed through the jail because my son (eight) and niece (seven) were a bit too young for it but it’s good value if you can take your time. Adult (16+) £10, over 65 £8.50, 5-15 years £7.50, family (two adults/two children) £32. After Dark tours (8.45pm-5am) cost £80 and include a three-course meal. Other events include scary film screenings and historical tours. It’s not wheelchair or pushchair-friendly.
7/10. It’s open to children of all ages and younger children will enjoy the ghost stories and discovering what prisoners ate (bread, gruel and sometimes scouse, a mutton stew), but in my opinion it’s better suited to older kids. We whisked the children past the more gruesome tales to avoid having to explain more serious crimes.
The Guardian original post
Posted: 9th January 2019 By: Tara Jones
We are delighted to announce that we have achieved a Silver award in the small attraction of the year category at last night’s Cornwall Tourism Awards . A big thank you to our entire team for helping us achieve this great accolade and to the judges for spending time behind bars.
Watch a short video of the Cornwall Tourism Awards 2018
Posted: 2nd November 2018 By: Tara Jones
Posted: 5th October 2018 By: Tara Jones
Bodmin Jail have been shortlisted!
Bodmin Jail have been shortlisted in the final three of the Small Attraction of the Year category, for the Cornwall Tourism Awards 2018/19.
We are absolutely delighted that are our hardworking Jail Team have pulled together to provide top-notch customer service and such great all-round experience for our visitors.
The Finalists be presented with their Gold, Silver, or Bronze Award, at the black-tie Cornwall Tourism Awards Ceremony in Truro Cathedral, on 1st November 2018.
We wish all the other finalists in their categories the best of luck on the night!
Posted: 3rd October 2018 By: Tara Jones
Our Head Chef, David, has created an absolutely delicious signature dish for you to try next time you visit the Jail!
Dine in the historic opulence of our Governors Hall restaurant, serving from noon to 9pm. We recommend booking a table in advance: just give us a call on 01208 76292, or reserve a table online
Posted: 27th August 2018 By: Tara Jones
Some would say that travelling is the best education. Among a vast array of learning opportunities, travel stands out as a fun, memorable experience that expands our minds and fuels our passion.
The growing appreciation for travelling as an instrument in learning can be seen in how more and more families are integrating educational spots into their holiday trips. According to Michele Perry, a travel expert, more than half of travellers across the globe include educational activities in their vacation plans. If you’re planning a trip of excitement and learning for your family, this is how you can start:
Do Your Research
Most adults tend to have years of learning under their belt that equip them to understand and contextualise new information. Children, on the other hand, have little of that. Sit with your child and involve them in the research for the most intriguing sites in the next country you’ll be visiting. But rather than walking your children through a long lecture about the past, allow them to see and experience history themselves during your trip.
Book Accommodation that Connects You with Locals
Staying in an expensive hotel will add unnecessary costs to your trip expenses. Instead, search for accommodation options that are located near both the locals and historical sites. Most locals are knowledgeable about the area and can help you move around more safely and easily. Immersing yourself in the local culture and conversing with local residents will give you a richer, more authentic experience that is difficult to replicate.
Purchase Your Tickets Online
Many historical sites require entrance tickets, especially well-maintained tourist spots. The line for entrance fees can be quite long if you purchase tickets on the day of your visit, while some tourist sites do not accept walk-in guests. To prevent any hiccups, purchase your tickets online.
Document the Trip
Always bring a camera wherever you go during your trip to historical sites. Photos of your travels are memorabilia that you can keep for years to come. When your children grow older, they will have something to look back on, whether it is an album of printed out photographs or a digital gallery of your experience. Just be sure to follow rules or regulations regarding camera usage at all times.
Start Your Adventure at Bodmin Jail
Bodmin Jail, also called Bodmin Gaol, is historical prison on the edge of Bodmin Moor that is nearly three centuries old. What was once an abandoned 18th-century prison has become one of South West England’s most bone-chilling, spine-tingling attractions. It is the perfect site to visit for a family day out in Cornwall because of its haunting history and in-depth guided heritage tour.
Let your children in on the haunting stories, beautiful architecture and rich history that made Bodmin Jail what it is today. Get in touch with us to book your tickets.
Posted: 23rd July 2018 By: Tara Jones
We are delighted to confirm our next guest speaker for our Paranormal Conference being held at the Jail this coming November.
Jason focuses chiefly on beliefs in witchcraft and popular magic from the early modern, to the modern era; particularly at a regional level, as well as how belief in the supernatural world relates to early science.
Originally from West Cornwall, Jason is currently the Director of the Army Medical Services Museum, Ash Vale, Surrey. He is an independent researcher with Master of Arts degrees from the Universities of Exeter and Leicester.
His publications include The Cornish Witch-finder: William Henry Paynter and the Witchery, Ghosts, Charms and Folklore of Cornwall, and Tammy Blee’s Cabalistic Agency: Witchcraft and Popular Magic in History and Interpretation (forthcoming 2016) – along with numerous contributions to journals, including Folklore, Cornish Studies and the Journal for the Academic Study of Magic.
Tickets are now on sale for our Paranormal Conference, BOOK HERE
Posted: 17th July 2018 By: Tara Jones
The Goth subculture began in England during the early 1980s as an offshoot of the Gothic rock and post-punk music genres. Its signature dark, mysterious and dramatic aesthetics takes inspiration from 12th Century Gothic art and architecture, as well as 19th Century Gothic literature and horror films.
Today, Goth weddings are becoming a more popular choice for brides and grooms-to-be. If you are thinking of planning your own macabre ceremony, here are the essentials to make sure your Goth wedding is a howling success:
For the bride, putting together an outfit is fun. There are several vintage shops and Goth boutiques all over the UK that sell period dresses at affordable prices. Goth brides usually go for leather corsets, black lace sleeves, elaborate chokers and satin gloves. Stilettos adorned with spikes or black heeled boots are the perfect footwear for your Goth wedding attire. Ask the make-up artist to draw attention to your eyes and lips with autumn hues or dark purples and black. Top off your entire outfit with a gorgeous black fascinator that partly covers your face or a long black veil to add to the effect.
A three-piece black suit is usually the wedding attire for the groom during Goth weddings. The devil is in the detail – use a cane, silver accessories or long key chains to add life to the groom’s outfit. Have the hairdresser give the groom a neat, slicked back hairstyle for a polished look.
Have your guests wear cocktail dresses and formal suits in black to complement the theme of the wedding. For the ladies, let them wear accessories with an accent colour, usually red or violet. For the gentlemen, tinted ties are a creative way to inject colour into their attire.
A Goth-inspired cake should be one of the most memorable elements of a Goth wedding. Speak to a good cake designer about your ideas. Large, elaborate cakes with dead rose fondants and skull-shaped icing looks stunning in wedding photos.
Mode of Transport
Traditional white vehicles with ribbons don’t fit the aesthetic of Goth weddings. If you want a suitable vehicle for your ceremony, hire an all-black carriage pulled by (black) horses. To complete the image, have the coachman wear a top hat and a leatherette coat reminiscent of The Scarlet Empress. Alternatively, have the bride and groom ride off on a big black motorbike.
For a Gothic wedding, the venue has to be genuine. Haunting and historical buildings provide the ideal backdrop. Bodmin Jail, also called Bodmin Gaol, is a 240-year-old historic prison on the edge of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall. What was once an abandoned 18th Century prison in the heart of Cornwall has become one of South West England’s most bone-chilling, spine-tingling attractions.
With our Gothic high vaulted ceiling and period decor, Bodmin Jail truly is a unique wedding venue for your special day. If you would like to discuss your wedding plans with a member of our team, feel free to get in touch with Laura, our Wedding & Events coordinator. Call us on 01208 76292 today.
Posted: 16th July 2018 By: Tara Jones
We are excited to confirm Brian Sterling-Vete as guest speaker for our Paranormal Conference, to be held at the Jail in November.
Brian was born in Manchester, England, and is a former Stuntman, BBC TV news veteran, TV Broadcaster, Guinness World Record Holder, Author, and Internationally recognised Martial Arts Instructor. He has also worked on the first season of Star Trek – TNG, and co-stars in the new horror movie “Geist” due for release later this year.
Brian has had a life-long interest in all aspects of the paranormal, while at the same time, mostly thanks to his BBC TV News background, he remains as neutral, balanced, scientific and objective as possible.
He has participated in over 1000 investigations throughout the United States and in the United Kingdom, and is a regular guest speaker on the Dark Matter Digital Radio show “More Questions Than Answers” with Adrian Lee.
Brian has recently published his latest book – ‘Paranormal Investigation’ The Black Book of Scientific Ghost Hunting and How to Investigate Paranormal Phenomena, and will be book signing on the night.
On July 1st, 2017, Brian was one of the 6-person team in the now famous Redwood Falls UFO incident which Minnesota MUFON has said is “One of the most significant UFO encounters of recent years.”
Posted: 3rd July 2018 By: Tara Jones
It’s Fathers Day on Sunday 17th June!
Notoriously the most difficult member of the family to buy gifts for – why not treat Dad to delicious meal in our Governors Hall restaurant; we’ll be offering a great deal for two from our Steak & Shank menu, which includes a bottle of house wine!
Posted: 30th May 2018 By: Tara Jones