Guided Tour

HEAR THE STORIES ON A GUIDED TOUR

Next availability: Tomorrow, 2pm

Your guide will bring the prison to life through a no holds barred tour of this historic and fascinating building.

Join a guided tour, led by a guide with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the prison’s history who will shine a light on what life was really like for prisoners, officers and visitors.

Tour Overview

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Your two-hour visit will include exploring:

Two traditional Victorian Prison wings. B Wing, the largest wing, had the capacity to hold 94 prisoners as of 2001 but experienced much overcrowding in the years before. C Wing was purpose built in 1848 to hold women and children into the early 1900s  but played an important and top secret role during WWII. Wander the landing as officers did for the past 400 years and discover what it was like to be locked behind the steel doors.

Next, you will head to the Hard Labour Yard to learn about the hard and often pointless forms of hard labour implemented during the 1800s to keep prisoners from idleness. The Tread Wheel building can also be seen from here; one of the most physically demanding forms of Victorian Hard Labour known to the prisoner population.

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The Gate Lodge

Some of the oldest parts of the prison can then be found in and around the old Gate Lodge and Governor’s Office. From the 1600s until the 1990s, this side of the prison was the main entrance and so has seen much development over the centuries. An example of one of the original cells has recently been uncovered and can be explored in this area (as long as you don’t mind getting on your hands and knees).

Walk the large exercise yard overlooked by three wings and the old Governor’s House.

Shepton Mallet Prison Guided Tour

The Execution Room

Follow in the footsteps of the many men who made their way from the condemned cell to the execution room. The condemned man’s cell was where the prisoner spent his last days prior to execution.

A total of 25 men were executed within the grounds of the prison between 1889 to 1945, most taking place within this room and often under the supervision of Albert Pierrepoint. Learn about their crimes as well as some of the controversies surrounding their convictions.

You can even visit the final resting place of seven of the executed men and the site of two military firing squad executions.

The guided tours are very popular, so we advise booking in advance. They run at 2pm Monday to Friday and 11am and 2pm at the weekend and during school holidays.

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