In the heart of Cornwall, the old county town of Bodmin has plenty of attractions, especially for those who love history!
When you think about Bodmin, you may just think of the moors that surround it, but this Cornish town is steeped in history from its tin-mining past, and there are lots of other attractions nearby to add to your bucket list.
Where To Stay in Bodmin
There are a range of different accommodation options in Bodmin, from hotels to campsites, but below is a recommendation for a hotel I’ve actually stayed in:
Bodmin Jail Hotel
This famous 1700s jail was recently renovated into a modern, luxury 70 room hotel, and it is a truly unique experience to stay here! Even just driving into the car park behind the towering prison walls feels thrilling, but inside it really has the wow-factor.
The hotel has kept the original features such as cell doors, internal balcony corridors, and barred windows, making it really feel like a prison inside. However all the decor is modern and the rooms (made from 3 cells knocked together) are very luxurious, so it’s also a comfortable place to stay.
Bodmin Jail Hotel has a fine dining restaurant on site in the converted chapel, which looks amazing! Or a more relaxed dining experience in the Jolly Hangman Tavern.
They’re also dog friendly too!
*I was invited here for a complimentary press stay but all opinions are my own – this hotel is SO cool.
How To Get To Bodmin
The great thing about Bodmin is how easy it is to get to. If you’re driving, you’ll find Bodmin just off the A30 (Cornwall’s main road), or there’s also a train station just outside of town called Bodmin Parkway, which has a line up to London, stopping at various places on the way and going further into Cornwall to Penzance as well.
Things To Do in Bodmin
Visit Lanhydrock House
This National Trust estate features a beautiful Victorian manor house, gardens, and over 1000 acres of sweeping woodlands and fields to explore as well.
There’s a large car park, cafe and children’s playground onsite here, and dogs are allowed to walk around the grounds & woodlands as well, making it a great place to bring the whole family during your visit to Bodmin!
Get spooked at Bodmin Jail
The historic prison is not only a newly renovated hotel, but also an attraction for those wanting to experience the dark history of this jail (around 55 executions took place here over the years)!
You can even take part in their ‘Dark Walk’ which brings some of the gruesome tales to life with theatrics. Find out more on the Bodmin Jail website.
The Bodmin Jail attraction does not allow dogs so do bear that in mind!
Cycle the Camel Trail
The Camel Trail is probably the best known cycle route here in Cornwall, known for its 18 miles of (fairly) flat pathways (mostly free of traffic!) and beautiful views. The most well known part of the route is from Padstow to Wadebridge, but you can also join from Bodmin via the wooded Camel Valley too.
There are plenty of pubs and places to stop along the way (you can also just walk it with the dogs if you don’t fancy a cycle!), and you can hire bikes from various places along the trail too, including from Bodmin.
Explore Bodmin Moor
There are so many places to explore around Bodmin Moor that would probably warrant another blog post, but this is Cornwall’s largest official ‘AONB’ (Area of Natural Beauty) so there’s good reason for that.
You can climb large rocky tors (‘Brown Willy’ is the highest point in Cornwall), visit quarries & lakes, find medieval ruins and prehistoric stone circles and much more. Of course this is naturally a wonderful place to take dogs for long hikes!
Eat at The Jamaica Inn
This 18th century smuggling inn at the edge of Bodmin Moor is famous for its dark, historic past, and still houses lots of artefacts from this era in its museum. The Inn has also been made famous by Cornish author, Daphne Du Maurier, who named a whole book after this place.
Today it features a pub and rooms to stay in. A fair warning that the service here (in our experience) is not very good – with the owner being famously rude (just take a look at the hilarious TripAdvisor reviews/responses 😅) – BUT it’s certainly an experience and a cool piece of history to see. There’s also a farm shop on site, and it is dog friendly as well.
Learn about Bodmin’s history
If history is more your thing, as well as Bodmin Jail, there are a few other museums of interest in the town. Explore Cornwall’s army past at the Bodmin Keep museum (there’s even a piece of the Berlin wall here), or learn more about the town’s tin-mining history at the Bodmin Town museum (although please note, at the time of writing this, this small, community-led museum is currently closed).
Bodmin Keep museum (also known as the Cornwall Regimental Museum) is dog friendly, but I couldn’t find this information about the Bodmin Town museum. Do leave a comment below this post if you know the answer :)
Walk around Cardinham Woods
Cardinham Woods is lovely woodland just outside Bodmin and situated really close to the A30. There are a variety of different length routes you can choose from to walk around while you’re there, take a picnic, and of course it’s a great spot to bring dogs too.
Experience Bodmin & Wenford steam railway
Another one for the history lovers, the Bodmin & Wenford railway offers a fantastic steam train experience, of about 2 hours long if you take the full line. You can also purchase tickets for dogs and bring them along with you too.
Visit a Cornish brewery
If you love craft beer, why not support a local brewery with a visit for a coffee and to grab some Cornish brews. Harbour Brewing Co are located just outside Bodmin and are also the creators of the brand new ‘High Point Drinks’ brand. These guys have created non-alcoholic aperitif and digestif drinks which are totally delicious when made up with your favourite mixers or into cocktails.
Head along to their brewery for a taste!
Discover lakes, waterfalls & quarry pools
Despite not being near the coast, there are still plenty of beautiful ways to get in or near the water around Bodmin!
Go for a walk or go fishing at Colliford lake, try watersports at Siblyback Lake, go for a swim at Goldiggins Quarry (The Girl Outdoors has a great guide on this!), or visit the beautiful Golitha Falls.