Ruthin gaol is the only purpose-built Pentonville style prison open to the public as a heritage attraction. People can spend time exploring its nooks and crannies and learn about life in the Victorian prison system. See how the prisoners lived their daily lives: what they ate, how they worked, and the punishments they suffered. Explore the cells including the punishment, ‘dark’ and condemned cell. Find out about the Welsh Houdini and William Hughes who was the last man to be hanged there. It ceased to be a prison in 1916 and was used as a munitions factory during the Second World War, before becoming home to the Denbighshire Archives, who remain based there to this day. Suitable for all ages. Audio guide available. Children’s crafts and activities available. You can hire Ruthin Gaol for events, parties and meetings for up to 60 guests. We are open April until September please (see website for details).
Ruthin is one of those small Welsh towns that not everyone gets to hear about, well not as much others in Denbighshire anyway. However, when you start to scratch away at the surface, Ruthin has just as much to offer as any other town or area in Wales. Steeped in history, Ruthin’s Gaol offers a great insight into the penal system of the Victorian age and as you make your way from cell to cell, there is an eerie feel that just transports you back to the days when this old Gaol would have been full of reprobates and maybe even worse types of prisoners, including tales of the ‘Welsh Houdini’ . I really had a great experience whilst being shown round. Although not the biggest prison tour you can go on, there is so much history to learn and whilst you are visiting the prison, I would highly recommend a visit to its sister site, Nantclwyd Y Dre a medieval house also in the town centre.