Historical & Paranormal Tour at Bodmin Jail, Cornwall

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Bodmin Jail

I don’t believe in ghosts. That’s something I’ve always told myself and others – partly because I’ve never experienced anything from the paranormal, and partly because the thought of anything ghostly scares me! So when Bodmin Jail in Cornwall invited us down for an overnight stay at Britain’s most haunted venue I wasn’t so sure! Staying overnight and exploring a jail I hadn’t visited before, with a group of people I didn’t know, – not quite for me on my first paranormal experience I don’t think.

History and Paranormal Tour

We opted to go on the 2 hour Historical and Paranormal Tour. The jail offers this every Friday and Saturday night at 6.30pm. The tour is advertised as “an in-depth guided paranormal jail tour through the history of this unique destination”. And this is exactly what we got!

We were met by our host Kirsten in the restaurant and gift shop area of the jail. Kirsten introduced herself and told us we were going to have a private tour around the jail – how exciting! Kirsten told us about her work and her role at the jail; she seemed genuinely really interested in all things paranormal and was full of awesome stories and facts.

Our tour started outside by the front entrance to the jail – I was glad we brought our coats as it was a chilly night indeed – the ghost stories only made the goosebumps increase! Kirsten told us about how the prisoners would have arrived at the jail back in the 1700 – 1800 hundreds. She explained some of the common crimes that would have led to the prisoners being imprisoned here which was quite enlightening.

This was taken during the day – it was much more scary at night time!

We moved on to where the medical section of the prison had been. Kirsten had lots of gruesome stories for this section of the prison! It was hard to believe that women would have given birth in this section of the prison whilst they were detained. Many children lived within the prison too – what kind of life must that have been?

Execution Pit

Next we spent time looking around the stables and the execution pit. Apparently there were 60 executions at the jail between 1735 and 1909. You can see a list of all the prisoners that were hung whilst at the prison.


It’s mad to think that an execution used to be a public display and crowds of people (up to 25,000!) would go and watch; as it was some sort of family attraction. Apparently, people used to be able to see the executions from trains that run from London to Penzance – trains would stop below the prison wall so passengers could witness the execution from their seats! Imagine that! It’s certainly not something I would have wanted to see – the thought of it really gives me the creeps. In 1868 the law was changed which ensured that executions took place in private.

Whilst standing by the stables Kirsten said she felt a presence.. definitely time for us to move on!

Inside the Jail

We moved on through to the entrance to the jail – we were actually the first people to be taken through the new entrance – how exciting! There are quite a few renovations and building works going on at the moment but this didn’t disrupt our tour – only added to it when we heard about how the builders will now only work in pairs due to mysterious going ons!

We entered the jail and went down to the ground floor. Here, Kirsten turned off her torch meaning it was pitch black! Kirsten asked us if it was ok if she shared with us if she saw any orbs or felt any presence of paranormal spirits. I reluctantly said yes.

As we stood in the pitch black being able to see nothing, I couldn’t help but feel a little nervous and let out an anxious laugh. I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face! Kirsten told us she could see a shadow in the doorway behind us. I couldn’t see anything myself but I think that’s because my eyes were closed out of fear!! I oddly felt a cold sensation behind my left shoulder, near to where Nathan was standing next to me. I didn’t think anything of it until a few minutes later Kirsten told us there was a presence standing behind Nathan – now that really freaked me out! Could I have witnessed a sudden drop in temperature that Kirsten had told us we could experience if a prison spirit was nearby!?

Nathan, who believes in paranormal stuff and ghosts more than me, said at times felt he could see shadows and explained he felt a funny sensation on his nose – not sure what that was about but Kirsten was very interested in it! Apparently, all those that attend the overnight stays at the jail are added to a private Facebook page where photos and stories are shared based on their experiences.

Exploring the Cells

Having spent enough time in the dark we carried on our tour looking at the various displays with manikins. Each display is accompanied by information boards telling you what is being depicted in the scene. I read these with interest in the dim torchlight. It’s amazing when you’re feeling a little spooked how the manikins look like they are moving or winking at you!

We climbed the spiral staircases to the other wings of the prison. Here we found out lots more about prison life and about some of the prisoners that resided here. I won’t go into too much detail about the stories in case you go on the tour for yourself – I don’t want any spoilers!

Kirsten was great in answering all our questions and appeared to know so much about the prison and its history. She told us lots of stories about the paranormal activity she has witnessed during nighttime tours of the jail and also gave us information about how the overnight stays work – I was even tempted to book one up! On reflection, I’m still not sure I could handle it but I know we would be in safe hands with Kirsten and her paranormal partner Paul.

Hotel Controversy

Whilst we were walking around we spotted some of the building works which are going ahead to make a hotel at the jail. Can you imagine staying within the jail knowing all the gruesome encounters that went on –  I don’t think I’d sleep! I reckon it would be pretty cool though and something to tick off your bucket list – I mean how many people can say they’ve stayed in a jail which happens to be the most haunted hotel! We even saw where there would be a room right next to where people used to be hung over the side of the building – imagine sleeping well knowing that!

The building of the 63 roomed hotel has caused some controversy locally. I remember seeing some articles in the media about it, with some locals being unhappy about the proposed idea. I guess you can get married at the jail so why not stay the night there too!  I think some people are worried it will ruin the attraction but I’m undecided. They are currently creating the hotel from two derelict cell blocks so nothing I assume none of the current exhibition will be disrupted.

I will be really intrigued to see how it looks and what the decor is like – I mean how do you decorate a room in a prison! I can’t imagine how much a nights stay will cost but I’m sure it would be a night to remember – especially if you combine it with one of the jail’s overnight tours! Maybe we will get invited back sometime!

We Survived!

After two hours our tour had come to an end – I couldn’t believe how fast the time had passed. I was relieved we had made it out without any dramas! My head was full of interesting ghost stories and prison facts – what a brilliant tour.

Nathan and I both really enjoyed the tour and it was something a bit different to do on a winter Friday night. We were talking about our experience for days and recommended it to all our friends. I think £25 per person is a reasonable price fun and memorable night out.

There is also a restaurant and tea room at the jail and they run many special events.  I liked the sound of the tapas night they were holding the same week we visited. The jail also offers scary cinema nights and during the day people can visit the jail and walk around at their own pace exploring the exhibits. There’s a well stocked and fun gift shop too. Check out the Bodmin Jail Facebook page for the latest info and events list.

Big thanks to all the lovely staff at Bodmin Jail and special gratitude to Kirsten for guiding us around and sharing all her knowledge with us. You never know, we might be back!!

***Whilst the tour was provided to us on a complimentary basis, all thoughts and opinions within this post are my own***

Would you be brave enough to visit the jail? Take a tour and stay overnight? What do you think of a hotel being built within the jail? Let me know your thoughts below 🙂

86 Responses

  1. I think I’d be brave enough to visit the jail. Staying overnight is a different story! HAHA Sounds like a fun experience though! I’m intrigued.

  2. I’m with you on that not sure how I would have felt seeing an execution from my train seat but I bet the paranormal tour was so interesting!

  3. Uuuuuuuuuum nope. I wouldn’t be able to stay there. Miss scardy pants here would be seeing ghosts around every corner. Although I would love to do the tour, during the day, with my husband, and one of my cats, so they can warn me if there’s a spirit.

    1. Haha thanks for your comment Michelle, made me smile when you referred to yourself as Miss scardy pants! Yes in the day sounds like a good idea for you! With a nice tea and cake writing for you at the tearoom at the end!

  4. Paranormal activities make me tremble.. I’m so afraid of ghost and haunted mansions. though it’s intriguing, hearing ghost stories will ruin my good night sleep. Maybe I need to immune myself by listening to ghost stories more..

  5. Goodness, what an interesting history of Bodmin Jail. I’m not sure how I feel about an overnight stay but I think that my mum and her sister would love it! I might suggest that they spend their next holiday together in Cornwall and take in this fascinating place. Kirsten and Paul sound like great guides with a wealth of knowledge and interesting facts.

  6. This looks so scary, you are super for braving this I think I would be too scared but I bet it is really interesting to find out all the history of the place!

  7. Sounds like an interesting place. My hubby would love to see this since he’s into ghosts and stuff.

  8. Oh this sounds like so much fun! I love Cornwall but had never been here before, if I get to go again I’d like to check it out. I like historic tours such as these – interesting and a little spooky! I wonder what the builders were experiencing!

  9. Great to know the history of this jail. It indeed sounds scary to me to stay at the hotel built in the jail where so many people were executed but It would be interesting to visit this place as a historical site. Kirsten sounds so nice and I am glad you were able to complete the tour without dramas. You did give me goosebumps when you mentioned that you felt a cold sensation in the dark room.

  10. wow this was really interesting to read… although i think the idea of staying in a haunted place like this over night would be a once in a life time experience. I’m the opposite to you and do believe in things like this and so don’t think i’d cope. But was interesting to read about your time there bet it was a really surreal experience being there and to hear the stories etc.

  11. How brave of you to even think of spending the night. This place is rich with history and it must have been fascinating learning about how people use to live. It doesn’t look eerie from the photos and makes the perfect back drop for a Scooby doo movie =)

  12. I do believe in the paranormal, so I’d love to do the tour. It sounds like a blast. I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to stay overnight! I definitely wouldn’t get married there!!

  13. I have lived in Cornwall all of my life and I have never visited Bodmin Jail. My dad used to want to take us when I was small but I was always such a scaredy cat. I would definitely love to experience this paranormal tour. Although if any torches were turned off, I’d probably be a bit of a mess haha. I’m definitely putting this on my bucket list for this year. x

  14. Oh how cool! This is definately up my street! I love these type of things, although I’d probably have to alone as the hubby is boring like that ha!

  15. It sounds like a nice experience! I don’t believe in ghosts or anything paranormal really. There is always some kind of explanation for everything. However, prisons are often (especially in the past) places where people are treated inhumanely and places that gather a lot of suffering and negativity, it is a good thing to have turned it into a touristic attraction.

    Nati | Polished Polyglot

    1. I was on that mind too but the tour did make me wonder and think more about the paranormal – there did seem to be some occurrences that we couldn’t quite explain!

  16. I’m not going to lie, I am such a wuss when it comes to places like these. I am always like oh no, creepy!! Haha. I love looking at other people visit them but I do not think I could ever visit myself, haha!

  17. Oh, that architecture is really impressive. It seems that you really had a great experience there in Bodmin Jail Cornwall. and it looks scary thou!!

  18. This is one of the rare post where I pause to read thoroughly rather than speeding /skimping through the words, because it got me really curious! It’s a place I’m not sure if I would wanna stay. Yes to experience, no because I don’t want any following me back home!

    1. Aww thanks Tiffany, that’s such a nice comment! I totally get where you are coming from! Although our guide told us that they don’t follow anyone home or else she would be seeing loads all the time! That was enough to reassure me!!

  19. I am sat here thinking gosh, would I have the courage to do this tour because I am pretty easy to freak and I don’t do ghosts ever. Thanks for the overview though as its not something I would do because I am chicken lol

  20. Very cool!! I’m honestly sure I’m brave enough for this but I think I’m satisfied reading it! Thanks for the details describing your team!

  21. I absolutely adore adventures and excursions like this – so would definitely be up for it! I did a ghost walk in Edinburgh once, it was brilliant – and have also done the Jack the Ripper tour in London 🙂 x

  22. That is so wicked and creepy at the same time. I love going to places that have history to it and being haunted gives it another fun factor.

  23. This sounds such a fun tour. I’m like you in that I’ve never really believed in ghosts but do like a good ghost story to get those goose-bumps going. The history sounds fascinating, if a little gory and your photos are fab – great review 🙂

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