Bodmin Jail to reopen as visitor attraction next month

One of Cornwall’s leading historical sites, Bodmin Jail, is undergoing a £8.5m redevelopment and is set to reopen on 1st October as an attraction and visitor experience.

The unveiling marks the biggest attraction opening for 2020 in the South West and includes a new ‘Dark Walk’ experience - the first of its kind in the region. Combining the latest technology and theatrical effects, the Dark Walk has been developed by Sarner International, an award-winning design and audiovisual studio, and will treat visitors to an immersive and interactive discovery of Cornwall’s most haunting histories. 

Visitors will be transported to life within the walls of the 18th century prison where they will learn the reality of smuggling, mining and the everyday hardships of the jail’s most infamous prisoners. 

The cinematic visual experience also delves into the myth of the Bodmin Beast, and through CGI effects, takes visitors on a journey through Cornish history.   

As well as significant investment in the Cornish visitor economy, the redevelopment also represents substantial works to preserve the heritage and ecological importance of the building which was originally built in 1779 for King George III. As part of this more than £250,000 has been spent on wildlife conservation including installing new bat houses and roosting boxes.

“The new attraction is one of the most exciting redevelopments in the region in recent times. Such is its historic and technological significance, it is projected to attract annual visitor numbers in the region of 200,000 and will have huge positive economic impact on Cornwall’s tourism industry, especially when we reach a post-Covid stage,” said Martin Lyall, general manager of Bodmin Jail Attraction.