Clink Prison Museum

Price £8

The Clink operated as a prison from 1144 to 1780 and it is now run as a museum highlighting its gruesome past.

The Clink operated as a prison from 1144 to 1780 and the Clink Prison Museum is now operated on the site as a museum highlighting its gruesome past.

Although it is reputed to be England’s oldest prison, this is not really the case as the White Tower in the Tower of London has operated as a gaol around 150 years before the Clink accepted its first inmate. However, the Click is possibly the world’s most famous prison with the term ‘the clink’ becoming a slang term for prisons around the world.

What to see at Clink Prison Museum

Despite its location inside one of the world’s oldest and most famous prisons, this is a tacky attraction run along the same lines of the London Dungeon and the London Bridge Experience.

The museum is an unusual juxtaposition of serious historical exhibits with a tacky haunted house-style horror show, and unfortunately, the kitschy aspects of the attraction outweigh any historical exhibits.

The historical exhibits portray the lives of some of the characters associated with the Clink and also tell the story of the prison’s history including its relationship with the nearby Winchester Palace. However, this is overshadowed by the dank cells that feature mannequins dressed as prisoners, a soundtrack of moaning with authentic unpleasant smells and a torture chamber where you can handle torture equipment.

While aspects of the museum are interesting, the overall way it is presented is tacky and considering the museum’s grim theme and the fact that many former inmates were kept in horrible conditions simply for disagreeing with the bishop, it seems distasteful for an attraction like this to try to romanticise torture.

Visiting Clink Prison Museum

The Clink is located on Clink Street in Bankside. The closest tube station is London Bridge, which is around a six-minute walk away and Borough, Mansion House and Cannon Street tube stations are not much farther away.

Nearby attractions include the ruins of Winchester Palace, the Golden Hinde, Southwark Cathedral, Borough Market, The Old Operating Theatre Museum, View from the Shard, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Tate Modern.

The Clink Prison Museum is not wheelchair accessible.

It is a small museum and most people only spend 30–60 minutes here.

After visiting the Clink, it is well worth visiting ruins of the nearby Winchester Palace, which is free and will only take 10 minutes or so.

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