Originally built for King George III in 1779, Bodmin Jail, a historical former prison closed in 1927 and situated in Bodmin on the edge of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, is one of the county’s most fascinating tourist attractions. Steeped in both social and architectural history, if you’re a history buff or just find the idea of exploring uniquely designed and, some say, haunted historical landmarks thrilling, then Bodmin Jail deserves to be at the top of your must-visit list this summer.
Offering a truly enlightening insight into Cornish penal life over the centuries, whether you’re exploring the depths of the jail spread over six levels, browsing the creative exhibitions which tell the spooky stories of the many offenders that were once imprisoned here, or marvelling at the jail’s unique design, architecture, and engineering, there’s more than enough to keep you and your family well entertained this upcoming summer holiday.
As a food and drink blog however, it’s hardly just the ghosts and gory details that draw us to this unique location. Housed in Bodmin Jail’s Old Chapel, the venue’s popular Governors Hall Restaurant is a truly impressive place to drink and dine. With its high vaulted gothic ceiling, leaded windows, period features and striking carved wood panelling, the restaurant boasts an atmosphere unlike any other dining venue in Cornwall.
After you’ve built up an appetite exploring the cold dank cells of the jail and visiting the Execution Shed, a fully restored, 4.5m deep Victorian hanging pit and the only one of its kind in the UK (also the site of the last man executed in Cornwall), take a seat in the impressive dining area and peruse the tempting menus featuring an enticing selection of home-cooked, freshly prepared dishes. From the head chef’s signature dish – loin of wild boar stuffed with apples, sage, and date mousse, to lunchtime delights consisting of scrumptious sandwiches and spicy fajitas, there’s more than enough choice here to keep the entire family happy.
Recently changing their all-day menu, guests can now tuck into the likes of pan-fried calf liver with onion and bacon, mustard mash, kale, and redcurrant sage butter sauce and corn-fed chicken stuffed with ricotta and served with parsnip puree, rosti potato, peas and braised leeks. The new menu also includes dishes like the incredible Thai red aubergine sweet potato and pepper coriander curry, the spiced falafel burger with salsa sweet potato fries, and the traditional jail ale beer battered cod and chips with mushy peas and tartare sauce. View the new menu here: http://www.bodminjail.org/governors-hall-restaurant/governors-hall-restaurant-menu/
Bodmin Jail also takes great pride in supporting local community and business, and that includes using local produce from incredible Cornish food and drink suppliers. Sourcing their meat from James Kittow, their fish from Fish For Thought, and their beer from Keltek Cornish Brewery, to name just a few of the Cornish producers Bodmin Jail supports, The Governors Hall Restaurant offers a truly authentic Cornish culinary experience.
Also, be sure to look out for our review of the restaurant in our recently released Cornwall Food & Drink Guide 2019.