Shrewsbury Prison Then and Now
How it all Began…
Shrewsbury Prison is known as the world’s most interactive prison. A heritage led, world class tourism experience that began inspiring, immersing, educating and engaging visitors through a journey behind bars in 2015.
Shrewsbury Prison was built in 1793 and was decommissioned in 2013. Since its closure, we have made it our mission to preserve, protect and promote the history and heritage of this momentous, 200-year-old building by shining a light on prison life from the Georgian era to modern day.
Shrewsbury Prison, known as The Dana, was originally constructed by Thomas Telford. Williams Blackburn, an architect who designed many prisons, also played a part and was influenced by the ideas of John Howard, a renowned Prison Reformer. John had suggested many ways in which sanitary conditions in English prisons could be improved.
Howard visited the prison in 1788 and disliked some aspects of the design, such as the size of the interior courts. Thomas Telford took responsibility for these changes and Shrewsbury Prison was finished with a bust of John Howard sitting proudly above the Gatehouse. He gives his name to Howard Street where the prison is located.
Today the prison offers many tours, activities and events to suit all interests and tastes.
Our Guided Tours bring the prison to life with no holds barred and our Ex-Officers with encyclopaedic knowledge of the building and those that were incarcerated here, share real stories and experiences. Self-Guided Tours offer visitors the time to explore and discover at their own leisure with plenty of information points throughout the site and CELLfie opportunities to have ‘mugshots’ taken. Learn about the dark and paranormal history from the second most haunted prison in the world on one of our Ghost Tours. These are the only tours where we cannot guarantee what you will see or hear. This is also the only tour where we take you down into the Georgian Tunnels located below the prison, where many
Georgian prisoners would have been packed into a small dark space with improper living standards.
Activities provide a fun, adrenaline-charged day out in an exciting atmosphere. Choose between iCombat laser games, Archery Wars, Kids Archery, Axe Throwing and two different themed, state-of-the-art Escape Rooms. The Cell escape is a fun-filled, puzzle-based, race against time to make your way to freedom whilst The Hole provides more of a challenge as you are handcuffed in complete darkness.
Hen parties, Stags dos, birthday celebrations or just a bit of group fun have many different event options to select from and can be paired with activities, food and drink. Prison Break is the world’s largest escape game and the ultimate escape from a real prison. Night Behind Bars allows guests to do the time without committing the crime. Some prefer to stay in their cells, whilst others go hunting for the paranormal in the dead of night. Our officers are available 24/7 to answer any questions and look out for good behaviour.
We even have an on-site restaurant offering freshly baked cakes, food, and barista-style hot and cold drinks.
We are proud to hold a Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice 2022 award and for the 5th year running, meaning millions of Tripadvisor travellers place this attraction in the top 10% worldwide!