Together the three museums tell a sorry and interwoven story of Law and Order in times past. Malefactors would be incarcerated at the Prison or Police Station before being taken to the Courthouse for trial. If a custodial sentence or transportation were imposed a family might be deprived of its breadwinner, perhaps leading to its remaining members being forced to seek the 'relief' of the Workhouse.

Joyce and Girl

Workhouse Museum & Gardens

The grim atmosphere of the Workhouse Museum has been carefully maintained in order to give visitors a sense of what life in a Victorian Workhouse could have been.

Kids dressed as prisoners looking around the corner

Prison & Police Museum

Sit in a prison cell, hear the door slam shut and imagine the harsh conditions of Victorian prison regimes. Try on prison uniforms, imagine the horror of being set in the pillory, strapped in a restraint chair or hung in chains.

Kids take part in an enacted trial

Courthouse Museum

Stand in the dock and be sentenced, find out about the people who were transported to Australia for stealing as little as a pair of boots and see a cat o'nine tails as used on the transport ships in the exhibition.

Opening Times

The Workhouse Museum is currently open daily from 11am to 4pm.

The Prison & Police and Courthouse Museums are currently open daily from 1pm to 4pm.

Full opening times
A man with a bindle and a flat cap is given directions
Plan Your

Maps, directions and opening times, plus other things to do in Ripon


I thought it was really fun to find out what it was like to live in a workhouse!

ESME - Aged 10 - from LEEDS