A visit to the Clink Prison Museum, London

by Jan

Kids and adults alike will love a visit to the Clink Prison Museum. Here you can discover the truth about the gruesome history of London’s most notorious prison.

In this guide we share what it’s like to visit the Clink Prison Museum in London.  Find the best way to get to the museum, the history of the place and what to expect on a visit.  You can also discover practical information for your trip and other things to do on the Southbank.

The route to the Clink Prison Museum

Walking map to the Clink Museum, London, UK

The easiest way to get to the Clink Museum is take the underground to London Bridge tube station. From here it’s a leisurely walk past Borough Market and the grounds of Southwark Cathedral to the Clink.

You’ll also pass the Golden Hinde , which is moored in Cathedral Street.  The Golden Hinde was the first English ship to circumnavigate the globe (1577-1580), under the captainship of Sir Francis Drake.  The pirate ship is now a museum and open daily to the public.

Admission to the Golden Hinde is £6 per person (or £18 for a family of 4).  Once aboard, you can do a self-guided tour or follow one of the tour guides.  At weekends they offer short history sessions for families.

Winchester Palace

After 5 minutes, you will come across the ruins of Winchester Palace in Pickford’s Wharf.   The Palace was built in the 12th Century for the Bishops of Winchester.  This was so they could stay in comfortable lodgings in London.  In its time, it was one of the most important buildings in London.

Winchester Palace, Pickford's Wharf, London, UK

The history of the Clink Prison Museum

The Clink, Blue Plaque, London, UK

Upon completion in 1144, Winchester Palace held two prisons, one for men and one for women.  It later became known as the Clink.

The Clink became one of the most notorious prisons in London.  As well as being the home to the petty criminals and drunken vagrants of the Bankside area, this prison housed some more prominent religious figures.

It came to the end of its days as a prison in 1780, when Lord George Gordon released all of the prisoners and burnt the London prison to the ground.

Since the demise of this medieval prison, the name Clink now appears as the slang for jail or prison in the urban dictionary.

A visit to the Clink Prison Museum today

The current museum stands on the site of the old Clink prison, next to the ruins of Winchester Palace.

Once inside you’ll do a self-guided tour through the maze of small, dark rooms.  A collection of exhibits, models and written history describe the events from within the medieval prison.

You’ll discover some of the most gory details of the prison’s history and its grim inmates.  And with the distant sounds of dripping water and wailing prisoners you could almost imagine you were there.

One of the best things to see in the Clink is the gruesome collection of torture instruments and devices.  Not for the feint-hearted!

Entrance of the Clink Prison Museum, London, UK

What is there for children at the Clink?

In the stocks, Clink Prison Museum, London, UK

The Clink has a series of child-friendly information signs, with facts which appeal to a younger audience.

Children can get very close to the models and exhibits.  Furthermore, children may touch nearly all of the prison exhibits.  They can have fun sitting in the stocks or lifting some of the torture devices.

To make the museum more fun for children, there’s a rodent trail to follow.  How many (fake) rats can you find?! Plus there’s a prize lolly for all correct answers.

Clink Prison, information for kids, London England

Practical information for your visit to the Clink in London

How to get to the Clink Prison Museum

The nearest tube is London Bridge underground station.  From there it is a 5-minute walk.

Alternatively, you could go to London Bridge train station or take the MBNA Thames Clipper up the river to Bankside.  From here, it’s a 10-minute walk.

Admission to the Clink

The Clink Prison Museum is open every day from 10am.

The cost for a family of four is £23.  This price includes a downloadable photo of your family in a cell.

How long does it take to visit the Clink?

Allow about 1 hour for your visit to the Clink Museum.  It’s only small, but there’s plenty to read and look at.

What else can you do near the Clink Prison Museum?

St Pauls Cathedral and Millennium Bridge, London, UK

One of the best things about a visit to the Clink is that there are so many nearby attractions on Bankside.  You could visit  the Globe Theatre and the Tate Gallery, or cross the Millennium Bridge to see St Paul’s Cathedral.

Another fun place to visit with kids is the Tower Bridge.

Shakespeares Globe Theatre, London, UK

We'd love to hear from you!

We hope you enjoyed reading about a visit to The Clink Prison Museum?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments box  below.

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