A visit to the Clink Prison Museum, London

by Jan

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

Read this article for the ultimate guide on a visit to the Clink Prison Museum.  Find out about getting 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

It’s easiest to 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.

We also passed 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.

You can go aboard this magnificent vessel for £5 each (or £15 for a family of 4).

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

Today the museum has been built on the site of the old Clink prison, next to the ruins of Winchester Palace.

There are lots of small rooms.  Inside the Clink, you can learn the gory details of the prison’s gruesome history and its grim inmates.

The Clink is very atmospheric.  The prison rooms are small and dark and you can hear the sounds of dripping water and wailing prisoners.

You can also learn about the ghastly methods of torture employed at the time.

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 that will 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 instruments.

There is a rodent trail for children to follow and count the number of (fake) rats they can find in the Clink.  Children with the correct answer can earn a lolly.

Clink Prison, information for kids, London England

Practicalities

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.  This is a 10-minute walk.

Entrance costs

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

The cost for a family of 4 is £18.  This includes a downloadable photo of your family in a cell!

Top tip:  If you travel by train on a weekday, take advantage of the 2 for 1 offer at the Clink with SW Trains.

What else can you do near the Clink Prison Museum?

St Pauls Cathedral and Millennium Bridge, London, UK

There are plenty of attractions on Bankside within walking distance of the Clink Prison Museum.  We continued to see the Globe Theatre and the Tate Gallery, then crossed the millennium bridge to see St Paul’s Cathedral.

Shakespeares Globe Theatre, London, UK

We hope you enjoyed reading about a visit to The Clink Prison Museum.  Please feel free to comment below.

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