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Bodmin Jail to close for six months

Bodmin Jail to close for six months

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:24am 8th October 2019. (Updated at 11:33am 8th October 2019)

One of Cornwall's much-loved attractions is closing for six months.

Bodmin Jail will shut from early November, so the on-going £40million re-development and preservation project can finish.

Bosses say it is set to restore this important heritage asset to its former glory. 

The current visitor attraction will close its doors from Monday 4th November, with the restaurant and gift shop remaining open for diners, pre-booked events and weddings only until 1st December 2019. 

During the closure, all special events, including After Dark Paranormal Events, will be suspended, returning in May 2020.

It is estimated that the new visitor attraction and hotel will generate around 50 new jobs in the local area once it opens fully.

"This is an incredibly exciting time for Bodmin Jail and Cornwall as a whole, with this being the biggest current private investment South of Bristol. 

"Closing the attraction is an operational necessity at this point, in order to complete the construction work for our brand new visitor attraction and historic hotel. We look forward to opening our doors in May next year as one of the top attractions in the region."

Martin Lyall, General Manager at Bodmin Jail

Bodmin Jail - new attraction
This is what the new attraction will look like. Credit: Twelve Architects

How will Bodmin Jail be different when it reopens?

The brand new £8.5million immersive visitor experience, which is due to re-open on the 1st May 2020, has been developed by international visitor attraction experts Sarner and sees the introduction of the new 'Dark Walk' experience and a complete re-design of the existing attraction spaces.  

Four linked experiences will take guests on a journey through an interactive, educational, fun and punishing depiction of life in the 18th and 19th century and provide them with entertaining and informative history of the region, the jail and its former inmates. 

Ghostly voices from Cornwall's murky past will appear alongside highway robbers, smugglers, miners and tales of the Bodmin Beast, using the latest technology and theatrical effects to allow visitors to experience the life and death within the prison walls and Cornwall as a whole.

The 4-star boutique hotel, which is due to open in late 2020, is being built within the walls of the Grade II listed building, retaining original features including bars on the windows, original brickwork and the original guard tower. 

It has been designed with a view to retain and enhance the unique atmosphere and sense of history that exists in the ruins of the jail. The old cells are being used to create 70 spacious bedrooms with three cells to a room in the original civil, naval and women's wings, alongside an exciting new restaurant concept.

Bodmin Jail - new attraction
This is what the new hotel will look like. Credit: Twelve Architects

Charity Open Day before the closure:

On Sunday 3rd November the Jail invites locals and enthusiasts to join them for a Charity Open Day with free entry for all to raise funds for the Jail's chosen charity, Cornwall Hospice Care. 

Visitors will get a chance to say goodbye to the current attraction, as well as the opportunity to own a piece of Bodmin Jail by bidding on selected memorabilia picked from the original jail and attraction in a silent auction, with all money raised going to the charity that runs two adult hospices in Cornwall. 

The auction, which opens online on www.jumblebee.co.uk at 9am on Monday 21st October, gives anyone interested in owning a real piece of Bodmin Jail a chance to bid.

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