It’s that spooky time of year and there can be few places spookier than Bodmin Jail – a place once known for its public executions. Dubbed one of the UK’s most haunted places, staff at the former prison will be celebrating Halloween week not just with additional ghost-themed events, but also with the announcement of a 4% increase in summer visitor numbers and shortlisting success in the Small Attraction of the Year category of the 2018 Cornwall Tourism Awards.
Given all that is going on at the Jail as construction work progresses on the 63-bedroom hotel that will open in autumn 2020, such achievements are especially significant. A large proportion of the building is covered in scaffolding and parking is limited – challenges that General Manager Martin Lyall and his team have been confronting with gusto.
“We knew we’d have to work even harder to remind people that we’re very much open and have a lot to offer,” said Martin. “That’s been achieved by introducing new exhibition space, keeping our admission price the same and investing commitment in our Governor’s Hall as both an excellent restaurant and a wedding or conference venue.
“Our figures show that July was challenging thanks to the heatwave that understandably drew people to the beach, but August was a record-breaker and September was very good too. Those results, on top of being chosen as category finalists in the Cornwall Tourism Awards, are a real testament to the efforts of everyone employed here.”
As well as the ever-popular After Dark nights that are led by the Jail’s resident medium, scary movie evenings and other super-creepy activities, Bodmin Jail’s Halloween week will also be marked by the tourism awards evening in Truro Cathedral – spookily held on 1 November, All Saints Day.