A Day Out at Inveraray Jail

Did you know that we at Camera Obscura are part of Visitor Centres Ltd, so we’ve got friends and neighbours all over Scotland? One of our sister sites is the fascinating Inveraray Jail, where you can explore behind the scenes of a 200-year-old jail that closed in 1889 but has since been reopened to the public to showcase the secrets of a 19th century prison. You can learn all about our own history on the Our Story page on our website, but first let us tell you a bit more about Inveraray Jail…

Situated in the traditional town of Inveraray in the heart of Argyll, Inveraray Jail is one of the best-preserved Jail and Courtroom complexes in the world, and holds a dark history that lures curious visitors into the historic buildings. Step back in time and see what life was like for the men, women, and children – some as young as 7 – who were imprisoned here in the 19th century.

You’ll start in the Torture, Death and Damnation exhibition (sounds charming, doesn’t it?) Here you’ll learn about the many forms of gruesome punishment used on prisoners before the days of civilised courts, and you can even try out the real thumbscrews used when the prison was open. After this grisly encounter, you’ll move on to the Old Prison where a Warder will lock you up in one of the cramped cells formerly occupied by lunatics and children alike. When you’ve finished serving time, you’ll visit the County Courtroom and imagine you’re in the dock facing time in jail while you listen to real trials held in this room. Your final stop is the New Prison, where you can try out the whipping table, lay back in a hammock slept on by former prisoners, or learn about the most trivial crimes that some prisoners were locked up for. You can even compare the old cells to a modern day one!

During your tour you can listen to dramatic true tales from the characters in the Jail’s past brought to life with the free interactive audio guides, available in six languages. We recommend allowing 1-2 hours for your visit so that you see everything! After your tour you can grab some swag in the gift shop, which stocks a great selection of unique gifts and souvenirs. You’ll find disabled parking and some limited free parking directly in front of the Jail, but there’s a large town car park located just across the Main Street in the Avenue.

After you’ve explored the Jail, why not have a look around the charming little town of Inveraray that sits on the western banks of Loch Fyne, in the heart of Argyll? You’ll find even more history at Inveraray Castle and stunning scenery along the shore of the loch, not to mention some tasty food spots and independent shops stocking the finest Scottish products.

A little further afield are the beautiful Islands of Mull, Iona and Coll to name a few, which you can access from the bustling port of Oban. Head east to explore the spectacular scenery of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, or down south to get a real city experience in Scotland’s highest populated city, Glasgow.

Remember to read all about our own mysterious past on the Our Story page on our website and follow our social medias below to see what we’re up to today!


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