dartmoor prison tour


dartmoor prison tour

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dartmoor prison tour

  • Crime, justice and law
  • Prisons and probation

Dartmoor Prison

Dartmoor is a men’s prison in Devon.

Help us to improve this page. Give us your feedback in this 2-minute survey .

Book and plan your visit to Dartmoor

To visit someone in Dartmoor you must:

  • be on that person’s visitor list
  • book your visit in advance
  • have the required ID with you when you go

At least one visitor must be 18 or older at every visit. Maximum of 3 visitors will be allowed.

Most prisoners in Dartmoor are allowed up to 3 visits per month. You can check this with Dartmoor.

Contact Dartmoor if you have any questions about visiting.

Help with the cost of your visit

If you get certain benefits or have an NHS health certificate, you might be able to get help with the costs of your visit , including:

  • travel to Dartmoor
  • somewhere to stay overnight

How to book family and friends visits

Dartmoor is running a full visits schedule.

The maximum visit time is 2 hours.

You can book your visit online.

You can book your visit by telephone.

You can also register to use the secure video calls service.

Visits booking line: 01822 322 022

The booking line is open:

  • Monday to Friday: 10am to 12pm
  • Saturday: closed
  • Sunday: closed

Visiting times:

  • Monday: closed
  • Tuesday: closed
  • Wednesday: closed
  • Thursday: closed
  • Friday: 2:30pm to 4:30pm
  • Saturday: 9:30am to 11:30am and 2:30pm to 4:30pm
  • Sunday: 9:30am to 11:30am and 2:30pm to 4:30pm

To improve your experience, and maximise your time, please can we ask that visitors arrive at the establishment to book in from the following times:

  • Morning session: 8:30am to 9am
  • Afternoon session: 1:30pm to 2pm

How to book legal and professional visits

Legal Visits operate Monday to Friday from 9am to 3:15pm.

We can offer CVP (Cloud Video Platform) visits, telephone calls and in person visits.

Please contact 01822 322 408 or email [email protected] for more information.

Face to Face legal visiting times

  • Monday to Friday: 9am to 3:15pm

Video link visits

To have a secure video call with someone at HMP Dartmoor you need to:

  • Download the Prison Video app
  • Create an account
  • Register all visitors
  • Add the prisoner to your contact list.

Secure video calls at this prison can be requested by prisoners only.

You will receive a notification if a prisoner has requested a video call with you.

Face to face legal visiting times

Video visits time slots

Video visits are running in the afternoon on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. There are later slots available on Tuesdays, with the facility running until 6:15pm.

Getting to Dartmoor

Find Dartmoor on a map

The closest railway station is Plymouth which is around 16 miles from Dartmoor Prison. From there you can take a bus or taxi.

To plan your journey by public transport:

  • use National Rail Enquiries
  • use Traveline for local bus times

There is parking available onsite for visitors, including spaces near the front entrance for Blue Badge holders (to use this facility, please contact [email protected] in advance to arrange).

Entering Dartmoor

All visitors, aged 16 or older must prove their identity before entering the prison. Read the list of acceptable forms of ID when visiting a prison .

Booking in for you visit is done in the external visitors centre, this process will be overseen by both prison and Pact staff.

All visitors will need to be given a pat-down search, including children. You may also be sniffed by security dogs.

Dartmoor has a strict dress code policy, which means visitors should wear smart clothes (no vests, no low-cut tops, no shorts, no short dresses and no headwear, other than that worn for religious reasons).

Refreshments are available for purchase for during your visit; these can be ordered prior to your visit in the external visitors’ centre.

Unfortunately, late arrivals will not be able to purchase refreshment items.

There are strict controls on what you can take into Dartmoor. You will have to leave most of the things you have with you in a locker or with security. This includes pushchairs and car seats.

You will be told the rules by an officer at the start of your visit. If you break the rules, your visit could be cancelled and you could be banned from visiting again.

Visiting facilities

There is a visitors’ centre outside of the prison, there are locker facilities to store personal items prior to entering the prison. The staff in there can provide you with information and you can buy drinks and snacks.

There is children’s play area within the visits centre. Email: [email protected]

Family days

Family Days are operated through PACT. They can provide you with information and help.

Family visits take place once per month and there are two types of family visits. Child Centred Visits (CCVs) and Adult Only Visits (AOVs). CCVs are currently held 8 times per year and AOVs are held 4 times per year.

All applications to attend these visits must be made by the prisoner. Applications must be made using the PACT family visits application form, these can be found on the wings.

All applications for these visits are subject to approval by the Family visits committee, this is made up with representatives from various departments and its purpose to ensure fair and equal access.

Keep in touch with someone at Dartmoor

There are several ways you can keep in touch with someone during their time at Dartmoor.

Secure video calls

To have a secure video call with someone in this prison you need to:

How to book a secure video call

Read more about how it works

Phone calls

Prisoners across the site now have phones in their cells; however, they will always have to call you, and they will need to buy phone credits to do this.

They can phone anyone named on their list of friends and family. This list is checked by security when they first arrive so it may take a few days before they are able to call.

You can also exchange voicemails using the  Prison Voicemail service .

Officers may listen to phone calls as a way of preventing crime and helping keep people safe.

You can send emails to someone in Dartmoor Prison using the EmailaPrisoner.com . Through this service, family and friends can send a message which is printed out and delivered by prison staff by hand.

Once you have signed up, you will receive an activation link via email which you must click on in order to activate your account and send a message. You must buy a minimum of £5 credit in order to use the service, which runs at a cost of 40p per email and at no charge to the recipient.

You might also be able to attach photos and receive replies, depending on the rules at Dartmoor.

You can write at any time.

Include the person’s name and prison number on the envelope.

If you do not know their prison number, contact Dartmoor Prison .

All post apart from legal letters will be opened and checked by officers.

Send money and gifts

You cannot send gifts and parcels to Dartmoor. Instead you can send money and the prisoner can purchase approved items.

You can use the free and fast online service to send money to someone in prison .

You can no longer send money by bank transfer, cheque, postal order or send cash by post.

If you cannot use the online service, you may be able to apply for an exemption - for example if you:

  • are unable to use a computer, a smart phone or the internet
  • do not have a debit card

This will allow you to send money by post.

Gifts and parcels

Friends and families of prisoners are permitted to send books directly to their loved ones, or can order books from approved retailers, which can source and send the books on to prisoners.

For the full list of approved retailers, you can read the HMPPS Incentives Policy, Annex F .

Life at Dartmoor

Dartmoor is committed to providing a safe and educational environment where prisoners can learn new skills to help them on release.

Security and safeguarding

Every person at Dartmoor has a right to feel safe. The staff are responsible for their safeguarding and welfare at all times.

For further information about what to do when you are worried or concerned about someone in prison visit the Prisoners’ Families helpline website .

If you have any concerns about a prisoner at Dartmoor, contact the Safer Custody team

Arrival and first night

When someone first arrives at Dartmoor, they will be able to contact a family member by phone. This could be quite late in the evening, depending on the time they arrive.

They will get to speak to someone who will check how they’re feeling, ask about any immediate health and wellbeing needs, and answer any initial questions they might have.

Each person who arrives at Dartmoor gets an induction that lasts about 2 weeks. They will meet professionals who will help them with:

  • health and wellbeing, including mental and sexual health
  • any substance misuse issues, including drugs and alcohol
  • personal development in custody and on release, including skills, education and training
  • other support (sometimes called ‘interventions’), such as managing difficult emotions

Everyone finds out about the rules, fire safety, and how things like calls and visits work. Everyone also has a gym induction.


Up to 689 Dartmoor prisoners are accommodated at HMP Dartmoor. The majority of cells are singular accommodation, and they all have a toilet, sink and furniture.

There are six residential units:

  • Granite Tor

It is a smoke-free site. Prisoners are integrated and live and work together in a supportive community.

Education and work

Prisoners at Dartmoor are encouraged to take part in meaningful activity and gain qualifications by enrolling into education and vocational training or work in one of the prison industries or domestic roles.

Dartmoor has a wide range of employment opportunities for prisoners. There is an emphasis on full-time employment, which is available in:

  • Desktop Publishing
  • Concrete Creations
  • Furniture manufacture

The prisoners can also study for NVQ or City & Guilds vocational qualifications while they work.

Education is available full or part time. Opportunities range from basic skills to Open University courses. Vocational training includes:

  • Dry lining, brickwork and plastering
  • Painting and decorating

Dartmoor works with Weston College.

There are also offending behaviour courses include thinking skills, alcohol and violence programmes.

There are resettlement services that offer advice on housing, debt management and help with finding employment.

Temporary release

Dartmoor prison does offer a ROTL programme, however the eligibility criteria is prohibitive to the majority of our prisoner.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends .

Support at Dartmoor

Family services at Dartmoor are provided by PACT .

Concerns, problems and complaints

In an emergency.

Call 01822 322000 if you think a prisoner is at immediate risk of harm. Ask for the Orderly Officer and explain that your concern is an emergency.

Problems and complaints

If you have any other problem contact Dartmoor .

If you cannot resolve the problem directly, you can make a complaint to HM Prison and Probation Service .

Inspection reports

HM Prison and Probation Service publishes action plans for Dartmoor in response to independent inspections.

Contact Dartmoor

Governor: Steve Mead Telephone: 01822 322 000 Fax: 01822 322 001 Head of Reducing Reoffending (Families Lead): Michael Walker Find out about call charges

Follow Dartmoor on Twitter/X

Princetown Yelverton Devon PL20 6RR

Secure video calls update.

Updated visiting guidance based on 1 April COVID rule changes

Added link to new safer custody information under Security and safeguarding.

Updated visiting information: Testing for visitors aged 12 and over.

Updated physical contact guidance

Revised visiting times added.

New visiting times and booking information added.

Prison moved into National Stage 3 framework and is now preparing to open visits for family, friends and significant others. We will update this page with specific visiting information as soon as possible.

Updated visiting information in line with new local restriction tiers.

Updated visiting information in line with new national restrictions in England.

Updated information about secure video calls.

Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

Updated survey link

Prison visits update

First published.

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  • Exeter and East Devon
  • North Devon and Exmoor
  • South Devon
  • Torbay Coast
  • North Cornwall
  • South Cornwall
  • East Cornwall and Bodmin
  • West Cornwall: Lizard and Penwith Peninsulas
  • Isles of Scilly

Dartmoor Prison Museum

  • by Hector Seymour

Table of Contents

Step back in time at dartmoor prison museum.

For a unique and fascinating day out, visit Dartmoor Prison Museum to discover the captivating history of one of the country’s most notorious jails. Located in Princetown in the heart of Dartmoor National Park, this small but intriguing museum provides a glimpse into life behind bars over the centuries.

With engaging exhibits and hands-on displays, the museum brings the grim reality of Victorian prison life vividly to life. It’s an exciting attraction for inquisitive minds that makes a novel day out for families. Here’s everything you need to know for an insightful visit to Dartmoor Prison Museum.

dartmoor prison museum gates

Getting There

The museum is easy to reach in Princetown, a picturesque Dartmoor village around 15 miles north-west of Plymouth.

If driving , there is free parking in the public car park opposite the museum.

Princetown has bus connections from Plymouth, Yelverton and Tavistock if you’d prefer to travel sustainably.

Opening Times

Dartmoor Prison Museum is open seasonally from early March to the end of October.

During the main season, the museum’s opening hours are:

  • 9.30am – 4.30pm Monday to Thursday
  • 9.30am – 4pm on Fridays to Sundays

It’s advisable to check the website before visiting as opening can be reduced outside of peak periods.

Tickets and Prices

Entry prices are:

  • Adults – £4.00
  • Children (3-18) – £3.00
  • Concessions – £3.00
  • Under 3 – free
  • Family (2 adults, 2 children) – £12.00

Tickets can be purchased on the door or online. Gift aid admissions and annual passes are also available.


Top Things To See and Do

Some of the main prison exhibits and interactive displays your family can experience include:

  • The Strangeways Gallery – detailing the harsh conditions and brutal punishments prisoners endured, including floggings. Real artifacts like straitjackets are on display.
  • The Executions Display – covering the execution process and Dartmoor’s infamous role in preparing prisoners for their death. It’s creepy but fascinating!
  • The Walled Garden – breathe fresh air in the former prison garden and see replica cells in the old Blockhouse.
  • The Nursery – highlights the plight of babies born inside the prison to inmate mothers. A sensitive subject matter for older children.
  • Hands-on Exhibits – try out a prisoner’s hammock bed, explore the dark solitary confinement cell and listen to oral history recordings.
  • Gift Shop – browse prison-themed souvenirs like replica uniforms, tin cups and washboards. The shop also sells local crafts and books.

dartmoor prison

Further Prison History Insight

To delve deeper into Dartmoor Prison’s notorious past, join one of the museum’s in-depth guided tours. These take place daily at 11am and 2.30pm (extra tours during peak periods) and give a gripping overview of the prison’s entire history, from its inception in 1806 right up to the present day.

Tours take around 75 minutes and cost £7.50 per adult and £2 per child, in addition to normal admission. Advance booking is recommended.

Dartmoor Prison – at HM Pleasure

“ Dartmoor Prison: In Her Majesty’s Pleasure ” offers a captivating exploration into the mysterious world of Dartmoor Prison. Authored by various contributors, this book delves into the rich history, untold stories, and unique aspects of the notorious penitentiary. From its construction in the early 19th century to its contemporary role, the narrative navigates through the prison’s evolution. The book sheds light on the lives of both prisoners and keepers, providing a comprehensive understanding of the institution’s impact on the local community and the British penal system. With a blend of historical research and vivid storytelling, it unveils Dartmoor Prison’s enigmatic past, making it a must-read for history enthusiasts and curious minds alike.

dartmoor prison book

The museum has toilets and a baby changing area on-site. The gift shop sells hot and cold drinks and snacks.

For meals, the village has pubs, cafes and takeaways a short walk away. Picnic tables outside the museum are great for eating a packed lunch.


Make a Day of It in Princetown

Discover Dartmoor’s dark past and natural beauty by making a day of your family trip to Princetown. The fascinating exhibits of Dartmoor Prison Museum set the scene for adventures across the remote and rugged moorland that surrounds this picturesque village.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I need to visit Dartmoor Prison Museum? – Generally, we say you should allow a couple of hours to get the best from the museum

Are dogs allowed? – Yes, dogs are allowed as long as they are well behaved and on a lead

Is the museum wheelchair accessible? – Yes, it is accessed via a ramp up to the front door but some exhibits and the toilet facilities are upstairs.

Other places to visit nearby

After exploring Princetown and the prison museum, head out onto Dartmoor itself. Follow one of the many walking trails around the village out onto the open moor to admire the sweeping views and famed tors. Let the kids climb over the granite outcrops and see if they can spot wild ponies!

  • Buckland Abbey – 700 year old Cistercian abbey now a stately home with oak panelled rooms and Elizabethan gardens.
  • Plym Valley Railway – Scenic steam train rides along the Plym Valley’s tranquil nature trails and riverside paths departing from Plymbridge.
  • Lydford Gorge – Dramatic gorge with waterfalls and lovely nature trails along the River Lyd. Managed by the National Trust.
  • Burrator Reservoir – Picturesque reservoir on Dartmoor surrounded by woodland, great for walking, cycling, fishing and boating.
  • Tavistock Abbey – Impressive ruins of a 961 AD Benedictine abbey. Interesting to explore for history enthusiasts.
  • Morwellham Quay – Living museum that recreates a Victorian port and copper mine. Ride the mine railway and explore the farm.
  • Plymouth Gin Distillery – Opportunity to learn about gin production and sample spirits at England’s oldest working gin distillery.
  • Buckfast Abbey – Working Benedictine monastery with medieval church and tranquil grounds. Homemade produce for sale.
  • Pennywell Farm – Family friendly farm with animal encounters, tractor rides, indoor play and more. Great rainy day option.

Related posts:

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dartmoor prison tour

Dartmoor Prison Museum

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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


Dartmoor Prison Museum, Princetown

Dartmoor Prison Museum

Dartmoor National Park

In the early 1800s, Princetown's infamous jail was home to French and American prisoners of war. It became a convict jail in 1850, and today still houses around 640 inmates. Just up from the looming gates, this museum provides a chilling glimpse of life inside. Look out for straitjackets, manacles, escape stories and the makeshift knives made by modern-day prisoners.

In 2015, it was announced that the prison was likely to close within the next 10 years.

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Want to explore the darker side of social history? These 13 old prisons in the UK have opened their doors to visitors and put their grisly pasts on display. You can learn about the most notorious of criminals, the wrongfully imprisoned, the executed and the terrible conditions many of them lived and died in. Several of these prisons offer events such as ghost tours or even sleepovers in the cells. Read on to find out more.

Dartmoor Prison, Princetown, Devon

The gates to Dartmoor Prison

Photograph © Brian Henley

One of England's most famous prisons, Dartmoor has been a prison for over 200 years, situated on the windswept and foggy moors.

It was built to hold prisoners of the Napoleonic War, who started arriving in 1809. By 1813 they were joined by American prisoners, and the prison soon became overcrowded, leading to outbreaks of contagious diseases and thousands of deaths. In the Victorian Era it held convicts who were considered the worst criminals in the land, although it now houses only Category C prisoners - those who are preparing for release.

The prison museum is not your typical modern museum with stark lighting, gleaming surfaces and sterile out-of-context exhibits. It is a quirky, slightly ramshackle place which makes it all the more appealing. Exhibits include objects made by the prisoners out of bone, prisoner and guard uniforms, cells, items with secret compartments for keeping contraband hidden, handmade weapons such as knuckle dusters, shivs and shanks made from toothbrushes.

It is fascinating in a rather dark way and the fact that there is a sign informing visitors that the museum is sometimes staffed by prisoners, adds an extra frisson of interest to the whole experience.

Dartmoor Prison Museum website >>

Shepton Mallet Prison, Shepton Mallet, Somerset

A central corridor in Shepton Mallet prison

Shepton Mallet was built in 1610 when it was decided that the eastern part of Somerset should have their own House of Correction.

Men, women and children were all housed together for a variety of crimes, whether debtors, vagrants or just mentally unwell. Conditions were bad, with regular outbreaks of fever, jaundice, venereal diseases and many more unpleasant illnesses, with the bodies buried in unconsecrated ground just outside the prison.

Many executions were carried out in the prison whether by firing squad or hanging. Executioners included the famous Albert Pierrepoint, who executed about 600 people during his career. For World War II, the prison was used by the British and the American military, as well as safe storage for the National Archives from London, including the Magna Carta and the Domesday Book. The Kray Twins were held here in the 1950s after absconding from their national service.

The museum closed in 2013 and is now a tourist attraction, hosting not just sight seeing tours, but also ghost tours after hours, an escape room, and even the opportunity to spend the night behind bars, with free rein to explore the place at night.

Read about my Night Behind Bars at Shepton Mallet prison >>

Bodmin Jail, Bodmin, Cornwall

A noose hanging over a hole in the floor

Photograph © Bodmin Jail Attraction

Built in 1779 on the edge of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, the prison was ground breaking in prison reform at the time, with individual cells, separate areas for men and women and prisoners paid for their work.

The prison was completely re-developed by 1861 and included a chapel and a debtors' jail, until 1869 when imprisonment for debt was abolished. From 1887, part of the jail was used by the Royal Navy, who were there until 1922. Over the years there were 55 executions on site, 8 of them being women.

The last prisoner left in 1916, and the jail was decommissioned in 1927.

The jail has been open as a tourist attraction for some time, but was recently overhauled and now has a lot to offer the visitor, including an immersive 'Dark Walk Experience', Ghost Tours, After Dark Tours, Scary Cinema and even a hotel being built in the site for visitors. The jail has the only original Victorian hanging pit left in the country (pictured), the Naval prison cells, an in depth look at the stories behind the administration of the prison and overall it looks like a fantastic place to visit.

Bodmin Jail Website >>

Shrewsbury Prison, Shrewsbury, Shropshire

A cell inside Shrewsbury Prison

Photograph © Shrewsbury Prison

Built in 1793, Shrewsbury Prison was built to replace the prison in the castle, which was crumbling so badly that prisonners could escape by removing bricks from the walls. Known as 'the Dana' after Rev Edmund Dana, a local vicar and magistrate, the prison was a place of execution for many years, with public hangings which attracted large crowds.

The prison was decomissioned in 2013 and is now open to visitors, with a wide variety of tours and events on offer. Guided tours by ex-prison officers during the day or after dark, tours underground of the original prison, escape rooms, a 'prison break' event, nights spent in the cells, ghost hunting, live music, even axe throwing; it is all on offer here.

Shrewsbury Prison website >>

Clink Prison Museum, Southwark, London

The outside of the Clink Prison in Southwark

There has been a prison on this site in Southwark, London from 1151. Owned by the Bishops of Winchester, the prison was part of the estate, and included heretics as well as local criminals.

No-one is quite sure how the Clink got its name - whether from the clinking of the chains the prisoners wore, or of the cell doors slamming shut, but it has now become a universal term for prisons.

This one became the most notorious of prisons, with massive amounts of corruption and prisoner degradation. By the 16th century, the prison largely held people who disagreed with the Bishops, and after that mainly held debtors. After a decrease in numbers, the prison burnt down in a riot in 1780 and was never rebuilt.

The museum is built on the original site, and contains just a single wall left from the original building. It covers over 600 years of history with a self-guided tour which looks at the assorted inmates, debauchery of the Southwark area and artefacts connected with the prison.

Read about a visit to the Clink Prison Museum >>

Littledean Jail, Gloucester

This one is best avoided by children and those of a sensitive disposition, as the warnings on their website will attest. Describing their museum as politically insensitive and bizarre, there is a huge rage of items on display. Exhibitions look at Witchfinders, Satanism, the SS and the Holocaust, the KKK, instruments of punishment and torture, police memorabilia and a whole host of other subjects. It is not all the dark side though, as their subject matters include the bravery of the SAS and people like Violette Szabo of the S.O.E .

Littledean Jail was built in 1791, and little has changed since it was first built. It has held all manner of prisoners, including children as young as 8, and is believed to be one of the most haunted prisons in the country. It was also used as a police station and a court for 20 years from 1854.

Read the website before you go to make sure you want to - reviews on Trip Advisor range from 'fantastic' to 'absolutely disgusting', so make sure you know what you are getting into.

Littledean Jail website >>

Gloucester Prison, Gloucester

Inside a prison cell in gloucester Jail

Built in 1792 as a County Jail, this men's prison has been renovated and added to over the years, including the addition of a Young Offenders Wing in the 1970s.

It was the site of many an execution, with the last one taking place in 1936. By the early 2000s it had a reputation as being seriously overcrowded, as well as bad conditions for the inmates and subject to repeated flooding.

The prison closed in 2013 and its re-development is still under discussion. In the meantime however, it is open to the public for guided tours and a variety of events.

Visitors can take guided tours which are family friendly or which included more details on the executions, paranormal activity and violence. Various paranormal groups run ghost hunts in the prison, as do Salvation-Z - a live action Zombie survival experience, or combat games.

Read about a visit to Gloucester Prison >>

National Justice Museum, Nottingham

A Victorian courtroom in the National Justice Museum

A Victorian Courtroom Photograph © National Justice Museum

The National Justice Museum is in a Grade II listed building, on a site which has been in use as a court since 1375 and a prison since 1449. The current building was a Victorian police station, gaol, courtroom and execution site, making it a one stop shop for the judicial process. Executions were held on the front steps of the building, with the last public execution held in 1864 of a Richard Parker, who shot both of his parents after a drunken row.

The building ceased use as prison in 1878, but continued as courts and the meeting place of the County Council until 1991. It opened as a museum in 1995 and objects on display include the cell door of p laywright Oscar Wilde, the bath from the Brides in the Bath murder case, gibbet irons, force feeding equipment used on Suffragettes and conscientious objectors and the dock from Bow Street Magistrates Court, which was used in notorious cases such as the trials of Oscar Wilde, Roger Casement and the Krays. T here are over 40 000 objects and archives, making it the UK’s largest collection relating to law, justice, crime and punishment.

National Justice Museum website >>

Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast

The central hall in Crumlin Jail

Built in 1845, 'the Crum' in North Belfast was a County Gaol for men, women and children, who were often imprisoned for offences such as stealing food and necessities.

Executions were carried out in public at the gaol until 1901, when an execution chamber was built inside. 17 executions were carried out in the prison, including the final one in all of Ireland in 1961. The prison had some well known prisoners from the Troubles, and two prisoners were killed when a IRA bomb went off in one of the wings. The prison closed in 1996.

The prison is now not just a tourist attraction, but hosts concerts, live events and party nights. Tourists can do the Crumlin Road Gaol Experience, a self-guided tour around the building which includes the tunnel linking the courthouse on the other side of the Crumlin Road to the hanging cell, the historic holding cells and the graveyard.

Read about visiting Crumlin Road Gaol >>

York Castle Prison, York

A basic prison cell in York Prison

Photograph © Visit York

Part of York Castle Museum, there has been a prison on the site for nearly 1000 years, with a castle built for William the Conqueror in 1068, which included a prison.

The site is still in use for criminal justice, with York Crown Court held in the 18th century court and people are still held in cells here, including those accused of the most serious crimes.

The prison buildings were built in the 18th century, and visitors can explore the original cells. Conditions were terrible at the prison, with 15 to a cell sleeping on bare floors and living off bread and water. Many of the Keepers of the prison were as corrupt as the inmates, and they made as much money as they could off the prisoners. The most notorious prisoner held here was the legendary highwayman Dick Turpin, who was found guilty of his crimes at York Court and sentenced to death at the gallows.

The museum is part of a visit to York Castle Museum, which looks at many aspects of life in historic York.

York Castle Prison Museum website >>

Prison & Police Museum, Rippon

The exterior of Rippon Police and Prison Museum

Photograph © Rippon Museums

There has been a prison on this site since 1684, when a Workhouse and House of Correction was established for putting the poor to work and punishing those who had broken the law. In 1816, it was incorporated into the new Liberty Prison, which is the current museum building. Prisoners were held in cells on the ground floor, with debtors on the floor above them. Inmates had to do hard labour and worked for 10 hours a day, walking the treadwheel amongst other tasks.

The prison later became the police station, until it became a museum in the 1980s, one of three in the area which also include a workhouse museum and the courthouse, giving a fantastic look at poverty and justice in the region. The prison museum includes a look at policing from the Anglo-Saxons onwards, as well as an exhibition in the prison cells about life in a Victorian prison.

Rippon Prison and Police Museum website >>

The Old Gaol Museum, Buckingham

The exterior of The Old Gaol in Buckingham

Photograph © Buckingham Old Gaol

Built in 1748, this Gothic prison provided terrible conditions for the inmates, who lived in damp cells with no heating, lights or bathrooms, and who were fed on just bread and water.

The prison housed local convicts, although one in three were just poachers, often held for the smallest of crimes.

Over the years, the prison has been used as a Police Station, Fire Station, ammunition store and an air-raid shelter. Faced with demolition in the 1980s, the prison was bought by a charitable organisation, and it now houses the local museum as well as the Old Gaol.

The museum focuses on local history, spanning time from the Ice Age to World War I. It is also home to the Lenborough Hoard of 5,000 Anglo-Saxon silver coins as well as a permanent exhibition dedicated to Flora Thompson, author of Lark Rise to Candleford .

Buckingham Old Gaol Website >>

Dorchester Prison, Dorchester, Dorset

dartmoor prison tour

A Victorian prison built in 1885 on the site of a much older prison, Dorchester was closed in 2013 and is now awaiting its fate from developers.

In the meantime, you can take guided tours from Ed who is still a serving prison officer and who used to work there. He provides a fascinating insight into the life of this prison, showing you round this now crumbling site. There were several executions here, including that of Martha Brown who is said to still be haunting the prison, and whose execution was watched by Thomas Hardy, inspiring the hanging he wrote about in Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Visitors can also join paranormal nights and airsoft combat games within its walls.

Read more about visiting Dorchester Prison >>

Want to delve even deeper into prison history? Try the Prison History website which looks at UK prison history from 1500 - 1999.

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Dartmoor Prison Museum

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Dartmoor Prison Museum, Princetown

Dartmoor Prison Museum

dartmoor prison tour

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Joanne P

Dartmoor Prison Museum (Princetown, England): Hours, Address, Free, Top-Rated Attraction Reviews - Tripadvisor


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    WELCOME TO DARTMOOR PRISON MUSEUM. Visit us and learn about 'life inside' one of the world's most famous and notorious jails. Our museum attracts more than 35,000 visitors every year from all over the world. Some of the artefacts and documents on display will surprise you but will certainly enable you to form an opinion about prison life.

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    About us. Dartmoor Prison Museum is located yards from the iconic Dartmoor Prison itself. Set in the wilds of Dartmoor the Museum is based in the old Prison farm dairy and is spread out over two floors with numerous different galleries to explore. It tells the story of over 200 years of prison history from its opening in 1809 taking in French ...

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    Please contact 01822 322 408 or email [email protected] for more information. Face to Face legal visiting times. Monday to Friday: 9am to 3:15pm. Video link visits. To have a ...

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    Yelverton. Devon. Princetown. PL20 6RR. T: 01822 322130. E: [email protected]. Unlocking the history of one of England's most famous prisons, Dartmoor Prison Museum reflects the heritage of HMP Dartmoor from Prisoner of War Depot to the present day. The interesting collection of artefacts provides a unique insigh....

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    To delve deeper into Dartmoor Prison's notorious past, join one of the museum's in-depth guided tours. These take place daily at 11am and 2.30pm (extra tours during peak periods) and give a gripping overview of the prison's entire history, from its inception in 1806 right up to the present day.

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    Dartmoor Prison Museum. 674 reviews. #1 of 11 things to do in Princetown. History Museums. Open now. 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM. Write a review. About. Museum now reopen, please see timings for details.

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    Decided to visit the Dartmoor Prison Museum whilst on the moors for the day and really enjoyed it. First of all we encountered the man who takes your money (£12 family ticket - very reasonable) and he was very pleasant and told us how many prisoners they currently have and also explained what the categories mean. ... It's a 30 min to 1 hour ...

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    HM Prison Dartmoor is a Category C men's prison, located in Princetown, high on Dartmoor in the English county of Devon.Its high granite walls dominate this area of the moor.The prison is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, and is operated by His Majesty's Prison Service.. Dartmoor Prison was given Grade II heritage listing in 1987.

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