A Day Out at Bodmin Jail Cornwall


We went to Bodmin Jail at the weekend for a family day out, something we haven’t been doing enough of lately with how awful the weather was for most of the winter.



A Day out at Bodmin Jail Cornwall


Luckily although it was still not that great on Saturday, Bodmin Jail is all undercover so perfect even on a really rainy day. That’s part of why it has been in my things to do in Cornwall on a rainy day post for a while now.


Before I go any further I have to say if you are going to be visiting, wrap up in layers, it’s an old building and it does get cold. Wrapped up though, it’s fine and it really does add to the atmosphere. Sensible shoes for the stone steps are also a must in my opinion.


I know many will think that it’s a bit of a morbid place to visit, as people were hanged there, but history isn’t all about the happy moments and I love learning about all sides of it. Added to which, there really is something quite fun about going somewhere that is supposed to be haunted and proving how brave you are!


I was mostly brave….when Simon wasn’t hiding behind doorways to jump out at myself and the boys!


Bodmin jail or gaol as it used to be known, is made up of the most beautiful buildings. I can’t imagine anyone thinking our modern jails are beautiful, but the Bodmin one really is. I can see it appealing to lovers of architecture as well as history buffs, paranormal fans and families (individuals and couples too) looking for somewhere a little bit different for days out.



Bodmin Jail Cornwall

First sight of the jail is really so impressive and awe-inspiring, and then driving through the old arch gateway into the courtyard really feels like going back in time…. if you ignore the other cars in the car park. By the way on arrival don’t panic if the little car park is full, there is a bigger car park if you follow the signs.


After parking and entering the main building, you need to head in to the bar/restaurant on the right and pay for your entry to the jail. This confuses some people apparently, but it is something they are planning to change.


According to a member of staff, having a new owner means they are looking at everything and seeing where they can improve. It would be great to have a few more interactive things that children can get involved with, the boys did love the stocks in part of the jail though!


The bar area, where you can also eat is lovely. There is just a lovely warm welcoming feel to it, plus the bonus is if you have someone with you who doesn’t fancy going in to the jail for any reason, then you can leave them at the bar or in a cosy corner to have a drink – tea or otherwise!



Bodmin Jail

Si did try to suggest that maybe he would wait for us by the bar (typical man), but I didn’t let him get away with that. We all went into the jail, with the boys deciding they were Ghostbusters since Si mentioned that it’s meant to be haunted and the television show Most Haunted filmed there more than once.


They actually do Paranormal Ghost Walk nights there with a three course meal and an overnight experience in the jail – are you brave enough? Si really fancies this, I’m a bit more of a wimp but we’ll see who wins this one ha! *I actually ended up doing an After Dark Experience!*


Some parts of the jail are in much better condition that others, and for safety reasons you can’t enter the more derelict parts. There are places where you can still see in to them easily though, and there is a certain eerie beauty to them especially the part where nature is sneaking its way in.


Bodmin Gaol Cornwall

Walking around the jail, there are various cells with mannequins in that show you what crimes the people who were incarcerated there had committed. Some also show the punishments people were given. There’s one with a boy being flogged I pointed out to the boys…. just wanted to let them know how lucky they are!

Bodmin jail inmates

As you walk around the jail, you can also read loads of information on facts about the jail, the people who were forced to be there, and the ones who were executed. It really does show how much the times have changed. I found the information on children who were classed as criminals a little sad, but as I said earlier history isn’t all about the happy.

Children Bodmin jail

Walking around somewhere like Bodmin jail makes you so grateful for everything you have and the time that we live in. Growing up my family really didn’t have a lot of money, so who knows if I grew up back then maybe I too would have been jailed as a child for stealing to try to feed my family.


We ate in the restaurant at the jail whilst we were there, but I will save that for another post as this one is getting very long already!


We all really enjoyed the jail and I think the boys learnt a lot as we walked around, as well as gaining a bigger sense of gratitude for everything that they have – since they’re tweens we’ll see how long that lasts ;)


I’d definitely recommend a visit, though I would bear in mind it might not be suitable for small children who scare easily or anyone with a phobia of mannequins for obvious reasons! You also won’t be able to use a pushchair, due to the steps to get in to and around the jail


There are two areas where you can see how people were executed, but if you think that is too much for your children you can just avoid these two areas.


One is outside as you come out of the jail to the left and straight on and the other is upstairs somewhere I can’t remember exactly, but if you ask a member of staff when you arrive they can let you know. We found everyone to be really helpful and friendly, especially the lady who greeted us and who we paid for our tickets.


Our tickets cost £33 for the four of us, which I think is really reasonable considering you also get to know you are giving something back by helping to fund the upkeep and improvements to the jail.


If you’re looking for more places to go in Cornwall, I have a post with over 100 places to go in Cornwall, one with things to do in Cornwall when it’s raining and another with places to go in Cornwall all year.


Stevie x


*Our entrance was refunded after our visit, but no staff members working at the time we visited were aware we were coming for the purpose of a review, and all thoughts and opinions as ever are my own and honest*

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  1. 1 March 2016 / 4:45 pm

    This looks like a great day out. We love Cornwall and are always looking for new things to do when we visit – I think in a couple of years when our kids are slightly older this will be a great day out for us as a family x

    • 1 March 2016 / 6:04 pm

      Definitely Donna, and if you’re down here in the future the restaurant would be a great place to meet blogger friends ;)

      Stevie x

  2. 1 March 2016 / 11:23 pm

    Wow, what a brilliant day out. I agree, £33 sounds like great value. This is definitely on my list for next time we are down in that area. I actually find places like jails quite fascinating, after all they are of such historical significance. I visited Robben Island when we were in South Africa, such an eye-opener and it sounds like Bodmin has its own fascinating tales to tell too.x

    • 2 March 2016 / 9:45 pm

      You’ve been to so many places Nat you could write a blog post just with the list! :) Obviously if you come to Cornwall you’re contractually obliged to visit me as well ;)

      Stevie x

    • 3 March 2016 / 1:41 pm

      If there’s a heatwave it’s also lovely and cool when you’re in the jail ;) …. I’m hoping for somwhere in between the two!

      Stevie x

  3. 4 March 2016 / 8:01 am

    Looks really interesting,I’m a wimp with things like this though they always give me the creeps lol.Does make you appreciate that times have changed though doesn’t it x #picknmix

  4. 4 March 2016 / 10:24 am

    Wow! This would have been just our cup of tea before we had Oscar. Don’t think it would appeal much to a toddler, but maybe when he’s older. Love the educational aspects, although the pictures of the children were incredibly sad! Congrats on being chosen as an ambassador for the organisation #picknmix

  5. 4 March 2016 / 11:32 am

    What a cool place to visit! I’m really into my crime history, so this is my kind of day out! :) #picknmix

  6. 4 March 2016 / 11:43 am

    This place looks really interesting and excellent value at £33 for a family! My husband and I love going to places like this. #PickNMix

  7. Jodie Allen at Makeup to Motherhood
    4 March 2016 / 4:18 pm

    I have never visited here but this kind of history really interests me. Definitely my kind of day trip. I hope one day I can visit! #PicknMix

  8. AmyLovestoSew
    5 March 2016 / 4:57 pm

    Oh this looks great, and I do love a cosy corner to eat and drink at these places. If we find ourselves in Cornwall, I suspect my husband would be soaking up the history, and I’d be parked up with a brew – thats the usual drill anywhay! #picknmix

  9. 5 March 2016 / 7:41 pm

    What an interesting place to visit. I don’t think that I would be brave enough to do the overnight thing though as I would be terrified xx

  10. 8 March 2016 / 12:57 am

    This is a great post Stevie. Thanks for sharing. As a history graduate I can really appreciate why this is an interesting and important place to visit. Beautiful building. No money in the world would persuade me to stay overnight though! Lol! Kathy x #PicknMix

  11. Sarah Admissions of a Working Mother
    8 March 2016 / 1:55 pm

    LOVE places like this, where you can interact with the history. Your boys must love it! #PicknMix

  12. 8 March 2016 / 2:41 pm

    I visited the jail years ago now and found it really interesting. There was one part of it that I found particularly spooky and we visited during a very hot summer and it was still spookily cold inside. It’s definitely on my list to return to once the boys are a bit older. Although Kyle would love it now. xx

  13. Steve Curtis
    27 July 2017 / 10:41 am

    Just wondering if lts suitable for my girls who are 7 and 9 both tomboys but the younger one does scare easier than the other, thanks for a great blog, cheers Steve

    • 27 July 2017 / 11:30 am

      Hi Steve, during the day it isn’t as scary as you’d imagine. Though the mannequins downstairs could cause an issue if she scares easily as some are a little creepy. The best bet if possible is to make sure you have an extra adult with you in case one child wants to go outside and wait and one wants to stay in :)


  14. Steve Curtis
    27 July 2017 / 12:46 pm

    Thanks Stevie appreciate the prompt reply think it’s the seal sanctuary for us this time as weather is good perhaps next year when the kids are a year older many thanks, Steve

    • 27 July 2017 / 1:03 pm

      I loved that place as a child, I’m actually planning to take my to there this year. Springfields at St Columb Major and Paradise Park are also perfect for that age. Have a great summer!