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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 03 May, 2023

This former prison, built in the 18th century, once housed some of the most notorious criminals in British history behind its imposing walls. Today, is oiffers a fascinating glimpse into the dark and mysterious world of Georgian and Victorian crime and punishment, with real-life tales of intrigue, scandal, and daring escapes.

Sign up for one of the award-winning 2-hour heritage tours and hear all about arsenic poisoners, arsonists, murderers and the mutinous hanging crowds. Or try a 4-hour night-time paranormal investigation i.e. ghost hunt (18+ only).

If you’re really keen, you may even consider staying on-site at the 70-room, 5-star boutique hotel, housed within the jail’s walls.

Especially for under 12s

For younger visitors over 7, there’s an excellent 1.5-hour ‘Junior Jailers’ tour every Saturday morning, where kids will learn about the jail and inmates’ dark history in a more kid-friendly way.

Price from: £19
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 7+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The jail is just outside the town of Bodmin. There’s parking nearby, or a local bus will drop you a 10-minute walk away. Bodmin Parkway is the nearest station but it’s a taxi ride from there.

If you don’t want to join a tour, you can buy a self-guided ticket. Allow around 2 hours for a visit.

When to do it

The jail is open all year round, seven days a week.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Padstow Harbour Hotel

Padstow, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)[16.4 miles]

A luxury boutique gem, ideally located overlooking the picturesque coastal town of Padstow. Stunning sea views, easy access to beautiful beaches, and close to top attractions.

Official star rating:

Fowey Hall Hotel

Fowey, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)[16.8 miles]

Lovely country house family hotel, located in the beautiful town of Fowey, with five acres of landscaped gardens and woodlands. Close to the Eden Project.

Official star rating:

St Moritz Hotel

Trebetherick, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)[17 miles]

Lovely art deco-inspired boutique in a cracking location between the boating haven of Rock and the surfing hotspot of Polzeath. Great for families.

Official star rating:

Fowey Harbour Hotel

Fowey, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)[17 miles]

Luxury boutique hotel with heart-stopping views of the Fowey estuary, set in a beautiful restored Victorian building. Close to the Eden Project.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

A region of craggy cliffs, sheltered creeks, glorious sandy beaches and quintessential villages – rich in local life, pagan legend and delicious, locally-made food and drink.

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Eden Project

St. Austell, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)[12.8 miles]

Unique and fascinating ‘biome’ botanical gardens that explore the interaction between humans and plants.

Best for ages: 4+ | £33

Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Lanydrock House & Garden

Lanydrock House & Garden

Bodmin, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)[4.4 miles]

This impressive Jacobean mansion – completely refurbished in high-Victorian style after a devastating fire in 1881 – offers an insight into the lives of the wealthy Victorian Agar-Robartes family. There are 50 rooms to explore, plus spectacular gardens famed for magnolias. Staff dress up on Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays, enhancing the Victorian experience. Open daily.

Best for ages: 13+ | £18

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Fowey Valley Cidery & Distillery

Fowey Valley Cidery & Distillery

Lostwithiel, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)[8.4 miles]

A small family-run cidery that produces a range of high-quality, award-winning ciders. The cider is made using a blend of locally sourced apples, including rare varieties, and traditional methods. Book in for tours of the orchards and pressing facilities, followed by cider tasting. They also offer cider-making courses.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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vistiors take a distillery course at Colwith Cornwall

Colwith Farm Distillery

Lostwithiel, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)[9.1 miles]

This plough-to-bottle distillery, owned and run by the Dustow family, has mastered the art of transforming their potatoes into award-winning spirits, notably gin. You can book in for tours of the distillery and gin tastings, and courses to make your own custom bottle of gin.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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