Skip to main content
Rainy Day Activities Ruthin Gaol, Denbighshire
Opening times: Daily; March-September 10:00-17:00 (closed Tuesdays)
Prices: Adults £5, Children £4, Under 5s free

Combine history with a pinch of terror with a visit to Ruthin Gaol. It’s the only purpose-built Pentonville-style prison to have opened as an attraction to the public and in it you can learn all about what daily life was like in a Victorian prison.

You won’t find any inmates in there nowadays - Ruthin Gaol ceased operations in 1916, but there are still plenty of nooks, crannies and interactive activities to explore as you discover what the prisoners would have eaten, the kind of jobs they did, and the punishments they received.

Over the years a number of interesting characters have called the prison home, including William Hughes – the first and last man to be hanged there for murdering his wife in 1903. Another infamous inmate is John Jones – aka Coch Bach y Bala or the Welsh Houdini. Jones managed to escape from the prison twice during his incarceration. The first time he managed to simply walk out of the prison with some other inmates whilst guards were eating their supper but was captured shortly afterwards. His second attempt was much more daring when he climbed out of the window using a rope made of bedsheets, though he was caught once again.

And as if Victorian prison life wasn’t scary enough, Ruthin Gaol is also said to be haunted. An alternative day out, definitely not for the faint-hearted!

 

Banner Image Source: CC-by-SA 3.0 by Arwel Parry.

Image Source: CC-by-SA 2.0 by Jeff Buck.

Location

Ruthin Gaol is found on Clywyd Street, Ruthin just off the A494. 

Join the Conversation

Somewhere you've never been? What is Nearby?

Rapid Horizons River Dee 1 Rapid Horizons

If you and the family decide that you really want to make a splash, then be sure to check out Rapid Horizons. Found in the coastal resort town of Llangollen, Rapid Horizons takes you on a fun and thrilling exploration of the lovely River Dee.

Ruthin Craft Centre 2 Ruthin Craft Centre

Located in the historic market town of Ruthin, the Ruthin Craft Centre (or ‘Canolfan Grefft Rhuthun’ as it’s known in Welsh) is funded by the Arts Council of Wales as part of the Denbighshire County Council.

Vale of Clwyd in NE Wales Denbighshire

The county of Denbighshire in North Wales is a beautiful one, filled with a wide variety of natural wonders, as well as plenty of man-made attractions to boot. Denbighshire sits right at the top of Wales, bordering the Irish Sea, and is so easterly as to come as close as twenty miles to the English border.

Pentre Bwaau Large Cottages

These cottages sleep 8 people or more, the perfect place for large family gatherings or groups of friends. Find somewhere for your large group here.

Llandudno Promenade Town Cottages

Find somewhere to let in town. Towns offer the convenience of shops, restaurants and other ammenities whilst you're never far from the countryside.

Vale of Clwyd in NE Wales Cottages in Denbighshire

Find a cottage in the North East of Wales. Home to the Clwydian Range, Llangollen, Ruthin and Denbigh. Find a base to explore this hidden gem of North Wales.