• {alt_text}
  • {alt_text}

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. Turn the crank, carry out shot drill or work the treadmill.

Book tickets

Visit all three museums to walk in the footsteps of past generations - open 7 days a week. Full opening times →

Our new exhibition, Rogues & Vagabonds, explores the historic and contemporary homelessness across all three museums.  Get a combined ticket and look out for the logo to trace the story across the workhouse, courthouse and prison.  One of the main roles of early police constables was to police and prevent vagrancy and Ripon House of Correction was established to punish and reform vagrants and petty criminals.  Discover how vagrants were treated by the police and how they were punished in Gallery 3 of the Prison & Police Museum.


The Prison & Police Museum is housed in the former Ripon Liberty Prison, which later became Ripon Police Station. It is a fitting setting to explore the history of Yorkshire policing and the harsh realities of the Victorian prison.

Step through the gate into the prison yard, where you can “lock up” your friends and family in the pillory or experience the whipping post. Enter the museum, where our galleries are housed in the original atmospheric prison cells, with their white-washed walls and barred windows.

Downstairs you’ll discover the history of policing in Yorkshire, from the Anglo-Saxons to the formation of professional policing. Police uniform, insignia and transport are all displayed, with the chance to sit on an original police motorcycle.

Tread the stone stairs, worn by the feet or prisoners, to the first floor (or take the lift), where crime and punishment is the theme. Experience the isolation of our empty cell, turn the crank, and learn about other types of punishment, including transportation or the birching chair. Try your hand at detective work with our photo-fit challenge and learn about the science of fingerprinting.

To experience the harsh world of the Victorian prison, we recommend spending at least an hour and a half in the Prison & Police Museum. Why not combine it with our Courthouse and Workhouse, with a joint ticket?


Adult (16+) £7.50
Concession £7.00
Child (6-15yrs) £5.50
Child (5yrs and under) FREE
Our museum tickets are all valid for 12 months. Ripon Museum Trust is a registered charity and our annual tickets and donations are eligible for Gift Aid.

Did you know?

Vagrants were still housed here in the 1960s; many local people still remember them sitting on the wall outside waiting to be let in.


Scary, interesting and a great museum

Carrie Parker, Thornton in Craven