Inveraray Jail, a Model Prison of its Time

  • Posted: Nov 08, 2014
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Inveraray Jail In August 2010, I traveled from France to Scotland with my family and had a nice one-week road trip in the Highlands of Scotland with accommodation  booked in advance through VisitScotland. Given my interest for “all things crime”, I particularly loved visiting Inveraray Jail on account both of its historical value and the very modern and interactive scenography of the exhibition. Great for adults and kids alike. Travelling to Scotland in the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson, Conan Doyle or Ian Fleming will naturally lead you to the Scottish Highlands, where beautiful landscapes of moors, lochs and castles await you.

Driving through the Scottish Highlands

Itinerary overview: From Edinburgh, we headed north to Pitlochry and stopped for a few hours to visit the treasure-filled Blair Castle, then on to Inverness, the must see base camp for Loch Ness and its unfathomable mysteries. We then headed south west and spent the night in the lovely town of Oban on the west coast, the following day we then visited Inveraray Jail on the road down to Glasgow.

Located between Inverness and Glasgow, Oban is a most pleasant seaside resort full of Victorian charm. It is also a port town in the shape of the most perfect horseshoe with ferries leaving for the Islands of Kerrera and Mull. Walking around the town, we were surprised to find a large “pipe band” rehearsing on a car park… An unexpected and fantastic outdoor concert!

In Oban, I strongly recommend to stay at “Alt Na Craig House”, a Victorian-style Bed & Breakfast with a garden, large and comfortable rooms fit for families or small groups and a wonderful panoramic view of the bay.

alt na craig house oban

Alt Na Craig Bed & Breakfast, Oban ©SKTV

Inveraray Jail

Inveraray is located 52 km south east of Oban. Here you can visit Inveraray Castle, the ancestral home of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll since 1746, but you should also keep some time to visit Inveraray Jail, a model prison of the 19th century built on the western shore of Loch Fyne.

It’s an interactive and educational journey back in time where a mischievous prison warder welcomes you at the entrance, then you can attend a trial in the original courthouse, before getting thrown into jail, where you can discover the daily life of the inmates, and the general layout of the prison and the cells (you can even try lying in one of the hammocks!) and even learn about some of the corporal punishments that were used on the prisoners.

peter campbell jail

Peter Campbell, aged 40, murdered his aunt by cutting her throat and severely injured his mother on January 11th 1844 © SKTV

inveraray jail

Try the hammocks ! ©SKTV

The former 1820 prison housed men, as well as women and children, and petty thieves including madmen and serial killers. Today, you can visit both the Old Prison and the new buildings added in 1848, following The Prisons Act of 1839.

The Prison shop is full not only of postcards and souvenirs, but also of all sorts of prison-related items, from board games to gadgets fit for all ages.

Don’t miss this original experience on your next trip to the Highlands of Scotland.


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This article was written by SKTV, a French blogger who loves police TV shows, mystery novels and police museums. Go to her website to read “Inveraray Jail, prison modèle des Highlands” in French.




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