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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.


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

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