34. The Old Prison, Northleach

The Old Prison, just outside Northleach, has a rich history. Pictures courtesy Cotswolds Conservation Board.
The Old Prison is also home to the Lloyd Baker Rural Life Collection.The Old Prison is a fascinating 18th Century building in the Cotswold market town of Northleach and a historic visitor attraction.

A visit to the Old Prison offers you a unique glimpse into life in the Northleach House of Correction, one of four houses of correction in Gloucestershire.

Built in the 1790s, this was once a fine example of a model prison used to inspire better care and rehabilitation of prisoners throughout Britain and further afield.

It even served as a blueprint for London's Pentonville Prison. The keeper's house, female cells, police station, court room and front facade and perimeter wall still survive.

Over the years the building has seen many changes of use, including a police station, petty sessional courtThe Cotswold Lion Cafe is housed within the Old Prison. and, more recently, a heritage centre.

The Old Prison is also home to "Escape to the Cotswolds", the visitor centre for the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Visitors can find out more about the beautiful Cotswold landscape and how people have helped shape it over thousands of years.

Through imaginatively designed information panels you can learn about the dinosaurs that first roamed the area, how geology has shaped the landscape, how the wealth of the area came as a result of the 'golden fleece' of the Cotswolds sheep and how so many people have left their own marks in the landscape.

Visitors can find out about the Cotswolds' Neolithic burial chambers and Iron Age hill forts, its Roman roads and villas, medieval churches, right up to the present day conservationists who are helping to look after the place for our future generations.

Also housed in the Old Prison is the Cotswold Lion Cafe which offers a wide range of delicious home-made and locally-sourced lunches, sandwiches, soups and cakes along with speciality teas and coffee.

As well as a range of events and activities available throughout the year, you can also book your own private group tour of the Old Prison, or guided walk or themed talk with a wide range of topics available.

Visitors to 'Escape' will also have the opportunity to take a look around the unique Lloyd Baker Rural Life Collection - the largest publicly owned regional collection of agricultural bygones in the country.

More information

The Old Prison
Fosse Way, Northleach, Gloucestershire GL54 3JH
The Old Prison, Escape to the Cotswolds visitor centre and the cafe are open daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm.
01451 862000
www.escapetothecotswolds.org.uk/things-to-see/aonb-visitor-centre
© Loving The Cotswolds. 2017.