Scottish tourists line up to be “locked in” prison after lockdown

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A SCOTTISH tourist  destination is preparing to reopen to visitors after months of lockdown.   

Stirling Old Town Jail has benefited from investment to transform the visitor experience, as well as tales from ‘The Tollbooth’.

The Tollbooth is a nearby jail which was known as “Britain’s worst prison” until its prisoners were relocated to the ‘friendlier’ ‘Old Town Jail.’

Stirling Old Town Jail - Tourism News Scotland
The tourist destination, Stirling Old Town Jail, is reopening after months of lockdown.

The Old Town Jail will mark its reopening by allowing people to go ‘Scott-Free’ – anyone whose first name or last name is Scott will be able to enter the visitor attraction without paying next weekend. 

For 400 years, Stirling’s prisoners were kept in the “woeful conditions” of the old Tollbooth Jail.

Following pressure for improvement and prison reform, the new purpose-built Stirling Old Town Jail was opened in 1847 and was used as the only military prison in Scotland from 1888 until 1935. 

The attraction offers visitors an insight into the history of crime and punishment in Stirling and an opportunity to see what life was like behind bars hundreds of years ago. 

Stirling Old Town Jail - Tourism News Scotland
The tourist attraction gives people information on the old law system and how life in jail used to be.

Founder Geoff Morrison said ”We are excited to be able to welcome visitors to safely discover the vibrant history of Crime and Punishment in Stirling.  

“We have been immensely proud of the team’s achievements over the last few years in putting the Jail back on the map and the support from Stirling Council has been instrumental in enabling us to build upon the continued success of the attraction.”

Following the successful application to the Scottish Government Town Centre Fund distributed by Stirling Council, the attraction has undergone a significant refurbishment.

This has allowed visitors to experience a host of new features safely, in-line with government guidance. 

This investment is part of a strategy by Stirling Council to ensure the city continues to be a must-visit destination for tourists. 

Old Town Jail - Tourism News Scotland
Stirling Council has invested in the prison to make sure that the city remains popular among tourists.

Stuart Oliver, Senior Manager for Economic Development and Communities, said:  “Stirling Council continues to invest in Stirling’s city centre and this support for the Old Town Jail will help ensure the city continues to be a must-visit destination for all.

“Tourism is vital to Stirling’s economy and as the sector reopens in line with Scottish Government guidance, I encourage visitors and residents to come along and enjoy our wide range of world-class historic attractions, especially the enhanced experience of the Old Town Jail, in a safe and secure environment.” 

The new self-guided audio tour enables visitors to have an interactive, but socially-distanced, visit featuring a series of new stories about the City’s past and life in the original jail, including rediscovered excerpts from the original Governor’s journal. 

The upgraded attraction will feature the Jail Break Escape Room in the Governor’s Office, which opened up last summer before restrictions forced the attraction’s closure. 

Inmates will be up against the clock to discover which of the crooked guards have been trafficking stolen goods through the prison.

The team has worked with interpretive and design business Studioarc to develop the new displays and with students from Forth Valley College to create an audio tour.

Other features include a “Scene of the Crime” exhibition and 360-degree views of the city from the observation tower.