The Old Town Jail now open May-November each year! Join us on a journey through the grim and gruesome history of Crime and Punishment in the Royal Burgh.
Stirling Old Town Jail Crime & Punishment Self-Guided Tours
The brand new self-guided audio tour provides an intriguing and socially distant insight into the history of crime and punishment in Stirling. Simply pick up your handset and hear the story of crime and punishment in Stirling as you explore the cells, new ‘Scene of the Crime’ exhibition and stunning observation tower.
Price £8.50 adults and £6.50 child / concession (under 5yrs free)
It’s best to book ahead here - but you can book on arrival too.
And then there’s the VIEW…! From our OBSERVATION TOWER visitors can enjoy some of the best views of the historic Old Town and surrounding countryside – taking in the Tolbooth, Holy Rude Church, National Wallace Monument, Trossachs National Park and, of course, Stirling Castle…making the Old Town Jail a great place to start exploring the sights and stories of Scotland’s ancient Royal Burgh and newest City!
Stirling Old Town Jail
A little after dawn on 11th November 1847 a pitiful parade of petty thievery was marched from the dank and dismal depths of Stirling’s Tolbooth Gaol – condemned as ‘The Worst Jail in Britain’ only a few years before – across St John Street, and into the New County Jail – better known to modern visitors as the OLD TOWN JAIL.
Each prisoner was fed – a rare luxury for those incarcerated in the Tolbooth. Each convict was assigned their own cell, according to William Brebner’s ‘Separate System’, to encourage reflection and repentance, and every effort was made to reform and rehabilitate Stirling’s rogues. A palace compared to the Tolbooth, conditions were grim by modern standards – a strict regime of solitude, labour, coarse food and discomfort. Stirling’s prison until 1888, it served as Scotland’s only MILITARY DETENTION BARRACKS until 1935.
Re-opened in 1996, the Old Town Jail became Stirling’s first 5-Star VISITOR ATTRACTION. After a brief closure, the Old Town Jail re-opened in 2015 as an independent visitor attraction.
Frae a’ the bridewell cages an’ blackholes,
And officers canes wi’ halberd poles,
And frae the nine tail’d cat that opposes our souls,
Gude Lord deliver us.