The Clink was established in 1144 as one of the earliest (possibly the earliest) prison in England. Of course its name is now famous far beyond its original Southwark location and it’s now a tourist attraction – one which is well worth a visit, for all the family.
History is always appealing to children if it’s horrible, and of course that’s true of The Clink, which has rooms full of gory tales, not to mention rats and some marvellous implements of torture! It’s got a great atmosphere, but isn’t the kind of place to give you a heart-attack (unlike the London Dungeons, which was far too scary!)
The Clink gives a real idea of what is was like hundreds of years ago, when you could be banged up for defaulting on a debt, and stay there for years. There were some particularly gruesome stories (the prisoners thrown into a pit, in the dark, which was flooded by the Thames each night) and lots to read. I loved the story of a Catholic who made a daring escape via sliding down a rope (worthy of a Hollywood film). My only gripe is that the individual audio stories are quite difficult to make out and probably need to be louder.
The museum is quite hands on and genuinely informative. It would be lovely if there was an actual trail for kids to do to find out facts etc, as it’s not the kind of place you can spend a long time at (probably an hour or an hour and a half). However, do make sure you get involved and try to count how many rats and mice you see on your tour. You may be rewarded with a lollipop!
The Clink is open all year around. More information from the website