Museums in Leeds

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United Kingdom
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Leeds City Museum
Leeds City Museum offers an exciting, fun and interactive day out for all the family. There are six galleries for you to visit. Come and find the Leeds Tiger in the Life on Earth Gallery or get interactive by camouflaging yourself. Discover the mummy of Nesyammun in the Ancient Worlds Gallery or try a game of Greek Gods and Goddesses Top Trumps. Explore the history of Leeds in the Leeds Story Gallery, from the first archaeological finds to changing community displays reflecting people’s lives in the city today. Investigate the varied collections of Leeds Museums and Galleries in the Collectors Cabinet Gallery.
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Royal Armouries Museum
Explore the national museum of arms and armour, with objects from across the world and through time over five floors of stunning displays. Experience daily live performances, including combat demonstrations, object handling sessions and talks. Check out the weapons and armour of warriors through the ages from early medieval knights to the modern-day soldier. Discover treasures from around the globe - explore the Ottoman Empire, the Wild West, Europe, Japan and India. Wonder at the fabulous arms and armour of the Japanese shoguns, the royal houses of Europe and the kings and queens of England including Henry VIII who reigns supreme in our Tournament Gallery.
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Abbey House Museum
Explore the galleries at Abbey House Museum to find out what life was like in Victorian Leeds.Be transported back to the 19th century and stroll the Victorian streets with the authentically recreated shops, pubs and houses. Abbey House Museum has a new exhibition each year, which is inspired by a theme from the museum’s collection, along with exciting events running throughout the year.Make sure to visit our what’s on page to find out more about the range of events and exhibitions at Abbey House Museum.
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Goddards House and Garden
On the edge of the racecourse, just a stone’s throw away from the centre of York, sits Goddards, the home of the Terry family (think chocolate orange.) Noel Goddard Terry was the owner of the famous chocolate-making company Terry’s of York. His family house was designed by architect Walter Brierly in the Arts and Crafts style, with four acres of gardens designed by George Dillistone. Relax in Terry family home, recreated with a warm atmosphere where you can sit down and pour yourself a sherry in the Drawing Room, or take a leisurely stroll around the garden rooms. At Christmas time the house is dressed as the Terry family might have once enjoyed it and you're invited to make yourself at home. There's a special pre-bookable lunch on the menu in the Dining Room for seasonal get together with friends and family. The house has selected rooms displayed to give glimpses into the family home and working chocolate factory. The garden includes yew-hedged garden rooms, bowling green, wilderness gardens and plants for every season and is an oasis for wildlife. New additions include an orchard and fragrant garden, following the original planting styles from archive plans. Families can enjoy the games and play as the Terry family once did.
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National Railway Museum York
Take a trip to York and enjoy free entry at the award-winning National Railway Museum. Home to iconic locomotives and an unrivalled collection of engineering firsts, the museum celebrates the past, present and future of innovation on the railways. Get up close to icons of the rails including Mallard, the world’s fastest steam locomotive. Climb onboard the Japanese bullet train, discover how high-speed rail travel began and journey back in time to experience the working life of a station. You can visit Queen Victoria’s favourite saloon, explore over 200 years of history and find out how railways shaped our world. Watch turntable demonstrations, climb on board historic carriages and find out fascinating facts from our experts in daily talks and tours. Ride on the miniature railway and try our explosive science shows and hands-on family fun activities throughout the school holidays.
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York Art Gallery
Spot the L.S. Lowry’s, Turner or Hockney and surround yourself with some of the best ceramic art in the world at one of the UK’s best regional galleries. Seascapes rose in popularity as a subject for artists around 1790 and can include anything from oceans and beaches to coastlines and nautical scenes. Over the centuries artists have been fascinated with telling the story of our relationship with the sea and, as an island nation, with a rich maritime history, this is especially important to our past stories. The gallery is also currently hosting some other amazing exhibitions The National Gallery Masterpiece Tour, Sounds Like Her, Michael Lyons: Ancient and Modern & Lucy Rie: Ceramics and Buttons. See The Triumph of Pan by Nicholas Poussin as part of the National Gallery’s Masterpiece Tour 2019. Alongside this striking canvas, we will be showcasing a wide range of works from York Art Gallery’s collections which explore the themes in Poussin’s work.
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Jorvik Viking Centre
At JORVIK Viking Centre you are standing on the site which revealed some of the most astounding discoveries in modern archaeology. Your first experience at JORVIK is an exploration of the Coppergate Dig, with a fully immersive display taking you back to the 1970s. Travel around 10th century York, experiencing what it was like living in the city. The sights, sounds and even the smells of the Viking Age are brought vividly back to life as you journey back 1,000 years. Get up-close with some of the most beautiful and rare Viking artefacts in the world, from delicate earrings and socks to frying pans and padlocks and even a fossilised Viking poo! Dig deeper into the Viking story of York using the latest in cutting-edge technology located throughout the centre and the opportunity to handle real artefacts whilst talking to our friendly Viking hosts.
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York Castle Museum
Welcome to the award-winning York Castle Museum - come and immerse yourself in over 400 years of York's past. Come and see hundreds of years of York’s history in one place – from recreated Jacobean dining rooms to infamous Victorian criminals and all the way to the Space Age and the swinging Sixties. Just as Britain is set to break up with the European Union, York Castle Museum brings a collection of stories and symbolic possessions to the city which relate to the ways we fall out of love. Always heartfelt, sometimes humorous and often deeply moving, the collections from the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia, will be enriched with objects from York’s collections which illustrate a key moment in a relationship breaking down. Step onto the cobbles of our Victorian street to meet the local characters, visit the authentic shops and discover the weird and wonderful collections from this bygone era - from luxurious costumes to tasty traditional sweets and the pharmacist's unlikely 'cures'. From the luxury of the rich to a darker world of poverty and disease, see how York's 19th Century residents lived, learned and entertained themselves.
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Treasurer's House
Nestled behind York Minster, all is not as it first appears. At one time divided into three houses, in the late 1800s wealthy Yorkshireman Frank Green created his version of a historic house to showcase his important collection. Find out about both sides of the story as he demolished parts of the house not to his liking, yet transformed a house of declining fortunes into a handsome property, with lavish interiors grand enough to entertain the future King, Edward VII. Treasurer's House is the first house to be donated to the National Trust complete with its contents. The remarkable collection includes antique furniture, ceramics, textiles and paintings from a 300-year period, collected by Frank Green as he travelled the world. At Christmas time see every room decorated with floral and fruit garlands, twinkling glittery remnants of a 1920s party alongside gifts and garlands. The award winning Christmas pudding scone is a popular addition to the festive menu. Little ones can book to don a hard hat and head out over the roof to see the man in red in his attic grotto.
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National Football Museum
Whether you’re a die-hard football fan, planning a visit with your family or on a weekend break to the great city of Manchester, enjoy a visit to the world's biggest and best football museum. Delve into the social history and culture of the much-loved sport, with fascinating objects and exhibitions showing how football became the game of our lives. Test your skills at everything from penalty kicks and clever tricks to shot-stopping and commentating, and get your hands on some of our top silverware! The museum has a range of tours and trails available every day, with a host of family-friendly activities running across weekends and throughout the school holidays.
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Manchester Art Gallery
One of the country's finest art collections in spectacular Victorian and contemporary surroundings. The gallery's £35 million transformations has enabled the collection to be presented to visitors in imaginative new ways. Highlights include outstanding pre-Raphaelite paintings, craft and design and early 20thC British art. Exciting exhibitions programme, there is a wide range of events, from talks and tours to hands-on activities for both children and adults. Superb visitor facilities include 2 cafes, large shop and full disabled access. For those with younger children, try one of our explorer tool belts for family groups with children aged three to six. There are plenty of tools to help you explore the gallery including binoculars, magnifying glasses, spot cards and much more.
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People's History Museum
People’s History Museum (PHM) is the national museum of democracy, telling the story of its development in Britain: past, present, and future. The museum provides opportunities for all people to learn about, be inspired by and get involved in ideas worth fighting for; ideas such as equality, social justice, co-operation, and a fair world for all. 2020 will mark the tenth birthday of PHM being in its home on the bank of the River Irwell in city-centre Manchester; a site that combines a restored historic building and magnificent contemporary extension. It is from this location, with two permanent galleries, a state of the art conservation studio, a changing exhibition gallery, archive and study centre and extensive learning and community spaces, that the national museum of democracy invites people to discover over 200 years of ideas worth fighting for.
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Science and Industry Museum
The Science and Industry Museum in Manchester is a place full of amazing objects and world-changing ideas. Visit the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway station and the world’s first railway warehouse, built in 1830. Find out how our revolutionary railroad changed Manchester and the world forever. Be inspired by the wonder of science, enjoy live demonstrations of historic working machinery, take part in fun science shows and lots more.
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Ordsall Hall
Ordsall Hall is Salford's 'hidden gem'! Dating back over 600 years, it is one of the region's finest examples of an Elizabethan black and white half-timbered manor-house. Wander back through time soaking up the atmosphere of our fully-furnished Great Hall and Star Chamber Bedroom. Get the low-down on Tudor lifestyles; maybe reminisce in our Victorian showcase and kitchen; or unearth the wealth of new discoveries to be made in our exciting and informative family events and exhibitions programme. It's all happening at Ordsall Hall!
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IWM North
IWM North is part of Imperial War Museums – the world’s leading museum of war. Its unique purpose-built exhibition space gives powerful voice to the extraordinary experiences of ordinary people forced to live their lives in a world torn apart by conflict. Walkthrough a timeline of history from the First World War to the present day. Explore a vast collection of over 2,000 objects, each one with the power to move, surprise and inspire – from the First World War field gun that fired the opening British round on the Western Front, to the twisted rust-ridden steelwork retrieved from the rubble of the World Trade Center in New York. And immerse yourself in the award-winning 360-degree cinematic Big Picture Shows that bring a broad range of perspectives into poignant focus, reflecting not only on the immediate effects of war but also on what happens when the guns stop firing. This is a place where every object on display, every contemporary work of art and every special exhibition is designed to live long in the memory. This is IWM North.
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Manchester United Museum
The Manchester United Museum & Stadium Tour offers a behind the scenes look at the world’s most iconic stadium; Old Trafford
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Dunham Massey Hall
A house filled with treasures and stories, an ancient deer park and a garden for all seasons. Dunham's Lost Years: a Victorian Tale of Love and Abandonment. See the House transformed to revisit its Victorian past. Meet the 7th Earl and his new wife, skilled circus performer Catharine Cox. See their story of love, status and scandal played out throughout the House and discover how they altered the course of Dunham's history forever. The plantsman's garden, one of the finest in the North West, is a tranquil oasis with something to delight in all seasons. The herd of fallow deer wander amongst the tree-lined avenues in the ancient Deer Park. The Park is also home to the fully restored 400-year-old working sawmill powered by overshot water.
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Bilsthorpe Heritage Museum
In the early 1900s, Bilsthorpe village's population was approximately 200 and slowly declining. Then coal mining arrived in Bilsthorpe in the 1920s and considerably changed the landscape and social development of the village. When the mine closed in 1997 social changes had to be made due to unemployment and the loss of the common bond of the mine, which united them. Bilsthorpe Heritage Society began after the mine closed and was formed by a handful of residents who had the foresight to collect artefacts and memorabilia from the local mine and surrounding area before it was lost in time. This was so the history of mining not just in Bilsthorpe but across the industry could be preserved for future generations.
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Madame Tussauds Blackpool
Madame Tussauds Blackpool offers a celebrity experience unlike any other. Mixing the best of British with international stars, there really is something for everyone. Take to the floor and meet the stars of Strictly! Tess and Claudia join judge Craig Revel Horwood in the Brand New Strictly Come Dancing experience only at Madame Tussauds Blackpool! Fans will meet the new Tess and Claudia wax figures and enjoy three new areas of fun, where activities include lifting a replica of the famous glitterball trophy, busting a move on a Strictly inspired dancefloor and even raising a scoring paddle from behind a re-creation of the Strictly judges’ desk. Madame Tussauds Blackpool’s Strictly Come Dancing immersive experience offers fans of all ages to chance to add some ballroom brilliance to their visit to the attraction.
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Nottingham Natural History Museum
Since Wollaton Hall opened to the public in 1926, it has been home to the city’s natural history museum. On display are some of the best items from the three-quarters of a million specimens that make up its zoology, geology, and botany collections. Natural Connections Gallery explores the relationship between the natural world and ourselves. One of the central themes in the gallery is extinction, and a number of extinct and near-extinct species are on display. These include a passenger pigeon and a flightless parrot from New Zealand – the kakapo. Recent additions to the gallery include the extraordinary duck-billed platypus, a giant anteater and a rare maned sloth. Other popular exhibits include an orangutan skeleton, a hippo skull and a Humboldt penguin, together with many other mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, insects, and fossils. Mineral Gallery showcases some of the 5,000 specimens that make up the rock and mineral collection. It includes some the original Nottingham Naturalists’ Society collection and fine displays of classic minerals from the North of England (early 20th century) and Cornwall and Devon (19th century). You can also get up close to some giant ammonites – fossilised coiled shells of ancient squid-like sea creatures.
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Nottingham Contemporary
Nottingham Contemporary is one of the largest galleries of contemporary art in the UK. The gallery hosts regularly changing exhibitions of international art. Nottingham Contemporary is set in an iconic building, designed by the award-winning architects Caruso St John, in the heart of the city centre. Alongside the exhibitions, Nottingham Contemporary runs a full programme of events, including talks, film screenings, music and performances. Free drop-in family activities take place every weekend and throughout school holidays. The café, Ottar at Contemporary serves a seasonal, ripe, and varied menu, as well as award-winning chocolates and a selection of delicious cakes.
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William Booth Birthplace Museum
Discover the life and work of William Booth – Nottingham’s most famous preacher and social reformer and founder of The Salvation Army – at The William Booth Birthplace Museum. Travel back in time to William’s home as it would have appeared in 1829 and explore how William turned his vision into reality.
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Green's Windmill
Green's Windmill in Sneinton was built by the father of notable scientist and mathematician George Green in 1807. Today the working Mill is a popular museum and science centre, which teaches new generations of children about the valuable work of George Green. Sadly, the mill was badly damaged by a fire in 1947 but was later restored by Nottingham City Council in the 1980s. The windmill began milling again in December 1986 and the giant sails can still be seen working to this day. George Green was a mathematical genius who developed new ways of doing mathematics, which has helped scientists to understand the world around us. Test your brainpower with the hands-on experiments in the Science Centre which explore electricity, magnetism and light, ideal for young children.
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World Museum
From the sea to the stars, a visit to World Museum reveals millions of years of the Earth’s history through thousands of exhibits and hands-on activities. Travel to distant continents and ancient civilisations in the amazing galleries. The Museum’s brand new Ancient Egypt: A journey through time gallery takes visitors on a 5,000-year adventure to the land of the pharaohs, and reveals one of the UK’s most significant collections of Egyptian objects. There’s no better place to come face-to-face with the past and delve deeper into the myths, mysteries and rituals surrounding the ancient Egyptian afterlife than in the gallery’s atmospheric Mummy Room. Discover the wonders of the natural world in the award winning Clore Natural History Centre. This is the place to get your hands on more than 20,000 of the most unusual items from the huge collections, from a hippopotamus skull to a mammoth tooth. There’s also the Weston Discovery Centre, which offers a range of activities and interaction to provide a fascinating insight into human history throughout the ages.
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British Music Experience
The British Music Experience tells the story of British Music through costumes, instruments, performance and memorabilia. Whatever age you are, and whatever you are into, there is something here for you.
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Merseyside Maritime Museum
Submerge yourself in Liverpool’s historic seafaring past at the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Located in the heart of the Albert Dock, it’s the ideal location to explore and uncover the development of the world famous port. Boats, paintings, ship models, ship wrecked objects, uniforms and more. Merseyside Maritime Museum brings Liverpool’s nautical history to life. Discover the city's pivotal role as the gateway to the new world.
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The Beatles Story
The award-winning ‘The Beatles Story’ is the world's largest permanent exhibition purely devoted to telling the story of The Beatles’ rise to fame. Located in the Fab Four’s hometown of Liverpool on the stunning UNESCO World heritage waterfront at the Albert Dock, The Beatles Story takes visitors on an immersive journey through the lives, times, culture and music of the world’s greatest band. Join The Beatles on their journey; first conquering Liverpool, and then the world, through recreations of key locations from the band’s career including The Casbah Club, The Cavern Club, and Abbey Road Studios. A must for any music fan, The Beatles Story features an impressive collection of fascinating memorabilia including the band’s original instruments, John Lennon’s New York piano, Ringo Starr’s drum kit, rare album sleeves, photography and original lyrics.
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Royal Albert Dock
With the iconic Royal Albert Dock Liverpool being one of the prime locations to visit during a visit to Liverpool, visitors can take advantage of the impressive retail and leisure offering at the Dock, world class museums and attractions and some of the city’s finest independents. Visitors to Tate Liverpool will find British and international modern and contemporary art, activities for families as well as a Tate café and shop. Uncover objects from the Titanic, find out about life at sea and learn about the port of Liverpool at Merseyside Maritime Museum. The International Slavery Museum tells the untold stories of enslaved people and learn about historical and contemporary slavery. At the award-winning The Beatles Story, the world's largest permanent exhibition purely devoted to the lives and times of The Beatles, visitors can find everything they need to know about four lads from Liverpool who shook the world.
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Museum of Liverpool
The Museum of Liverpool is the world’s first national museum devoted to the history of a regional city and the largest newly-built national museum in Britain for more than a century. In 2018, it will mark 10 years on Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site waterfront and 10 years of representing Liverpool’s unique and interesting history.
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Belgrave Hall & Gardens
Belgrave Hall is a historic house, providing an oasis of peace and quiet in a busy city. The hall was built in the early 18th century in what was then a small village three miles from the town of Leicester. Now city traffic passes, almost unnoticed, just beyond the garden walls. Edmund Cradock, a hosiery merchant, built Belgrave Hall but died soon after its completion. The Hall has had several owners over the years, including John Ellis – a wealthy businessman who was responsible for bringing the railways to Leicester. Visitors can explore Belgrave Hall and the beautiful surrounding gardens on special event days. From April to September the gardens are open every Wednesday and the first full weekend of the month, with additional special events open to the public. Visit the website for more details on specific open days.
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National Space Centre
The award-winning National Space Centre is an out of this world experience for the whole family! With six interactive galleries, the UK’s largest planetarium, world unique 3D SIM ride and iconic 42m high Rocket Tower, there really is something for everybody to enjoy. The rocket tower is pretty impressive for people of all ages, as it towers 42m into the air and its semi-transparent “pillow” design can be seen as you approach the Centre from any direction! It is home two rockets: Blue Streak and Thor Able, as well as a Gagarin Experience, Apollo Lunar Lander and real Moon Rock. Each year the National Space Centre hosts many special weekends which in the past have included celebrations of Star Wars, LEGO and Daleks. School holiday periods are always exciting, as the Centre adds plenty of workshops and talks into the mix, so advanced booking is advised. A visit to The National Space Centre wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Cargo Bay Shop to pick up a souvenir as a memento of your journey to outer space. The shop boasts a full range of fun and interactive space toys, books, games and telescopes.
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The Guildhall
The Guildhall is a historic building and the oldest building still in use in the city. It was Leicester’s first police station and between 1876 and the 1900’s and saw many unsavoury characters pass through its doors. The Great Hall itself was built in about 1390 as a meeting place for the Guild of Corpus Christi (a small but powerful group of businessmen and gentry) and it’s also believed that Shakespeare performed here during Tudor times. Over the years it has had many uses, including housing one of the oldest public libraries and serving as the Town Hall. After restoration, the Guildhall was opened to the public as a museum in 1926. Today the Guildhall is best known as an excellent performance venue, attracting acts from across the country, and as a museum where visitors can step back in time and come face to face with Crankie Gemmie and Emma Smith, two of Leicester's notorious pickpockets who can be found lurking in the Victorian police cells. The museum is also home to the Medieval Leicester galleries. Through objects and activities, visitors can walk the streets of medieval Leicester and uncover a world both familiar and very different to our own!
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New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester's original museum, has wide ranging collections and displays spanning the natural and cultural world. A family friendly day out, the galleries include Ancient Egypt, Dinosaurs, Wild Space, The Den gallery for the under 5s, the Victorian art gallery, Arts & Crafts gallery and a modern and contemporary art gallery. The first floor galleries include World Arts, Picasso Ceramics: The Attenborough Collection and Leicester's internationally renowned collection of German Expressionism. The museum welcomes a vast array of temporary exhibitions, featuring works from the collections, touring exhibitions from national museums and a programme of contemporary art and craft displays.
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Royal Air Force Museum (RAF)
The Museum has a fabulous array of annual events and there is something for people of all ages. Aircraft and artefacts in the Museum collection are used to theme events that are educational and engaging, but above all are great fun! For families, there are lots of holiday activities for you to get hands-on and work together. For enthusiasts, the Conservation Centre Open Week is an absolute ‘must-see’ and the Open Cockpit Weekends allow people access to some of the aircraft. Popular annual favourites include the RAF Cosford Air Show and the Large Model Air Show. These events are held in June and July respectively on the airfield and admission charges apply.
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Shrewsbury Prison
The current prison buildings are Victorian, built in 1868 but there has been a prison on that site since 1793. The prison was decommissioned by the Ministry of Justice in 2013 and is now open to the public as a tourist attraction offering a variety of tours including guided and self-guided The guided tours are led by ex-prison officers who showcase just what life was like, day and night, for prisoners, officers and visitors. During the two hours they shine a light on what really happened, from the Victorians to the 21st century, behind the high prison walls. Tours take in two wings (one is particularly haunted) the exercise yards, the segregation cells, healthcare and the execution room including the condemned man’s cell and the executioner's room.
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Shrewsbury Castle
The castle stands at the top of a hill and was built as a defensive fortification for Shrewsbury, which was otherwise protected by the River Severn. Founded by Roger de Montgomery in 1074, the castle has undergone many transformations, the last one being by Thomas Telford who 'modernised' the building in the 18th century. Climb the walls of the castle for amazing views and some people watching from high above the town. The grounds are free to visit and perfect for picnics too. The Castle houses the spectacular collections of the Shropshire Regimental Museum Trust including pictures, uniforms, medals, weapons and other equipment from the 18th Century to the present day. One of the prize exhibits is the baton of the German Admiral Doenitz, captured by soldiers of the King's Shropshire Light Infantry at the very end of World War II. Doenitz had been nominated as Hitler's successor. There are also stories about the British burning down the White House in 1814. The displays include a brief history of the castle through the centuries.