Wentworth Prison: 5 jails to visit that are open to travellers

The new Prisoner Cell Block H spin off airs tonight on Channel 5. If, like us, you can't get enough of dramas set in cells, step inside one for the ultimate rush...

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Wentworth Prison: 5 jails to visit that are open to travellers
Written By
Jade Bremner

If the wait for the second series of Orange is the New Black is killing you, Wentworth Prison (starting 28 Aug, on Channel 5) may just ease your withdrawal symptoms. Prisoner Cell Block H, Australia’s most famous correctional centre, will open its gates once again in a re-imaged drama filled with drug smuggling convicts, murderers and violent inmates.

If you've ever been curious about the chill that inmates feel when their cell door slams shut for the first time, or wondered about the grizzly goings on when hundreds of convicts are put in a room together, take a trip to one of these prisons, now open to the public...

1. Alcatraz, San Francisco, USA
This unsavoury penitentiary held notorious criminals including mob boss Al “Scarface” Capone, the last Great American Train Robber Roy Gardener and George "Machine Gun" Kelly. Although the island is now a lot more pleasant – it’s a hot spot for rare flowers, plants and marine wildlife – visitors can tour the cells, dining hall and even sit on the revolting toilets once use by prisoners – all while listening to horror stories, courtesy of a guide. The brave can also enroll in a night tour, carried out by ex-prisoners of Alcatraz, alcatrazcruises.com


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2. Robben Island, South Africa
This prison has an entirely different feel, that of oppression, false imprisonment and discrimination. Here visitors can learn more about the facility’s most famous inmate – anti-apartheid campaigner Nelson Mandela – who was locked up here for 18 years. He famously said it was "without question the harshest, most iron-fisted outpost of the South African penal system." robben-island.org.za


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3. Old Melbourne Gaol, Melbourne, Australia
Some of Australia’s most famous felons were locked up and executed here, including murderer Frederick Bailey Deeming and bushranger Ned Kelly. Exhibitions include the death masks used to execute criminals between 1845 and 1924, plus the scene of 133 hangings. As well as daily tours, the former prison also doubles as a wacky wedding venue. oldmelbournegaol.com.au


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4. Tower of London, UK
Built by William the Conqueror in 1078, this grand eerie castle sits in the centre of London, and is famously known as a torture and execution site. In the Tower, visitors can get up close to a cruel device called a torture rack, used to cause excruciating pain as it stretched prisoners. Inmates had their ankles and their wrists tied to a flat board while it was cranked by a warden. It's believed that Guy Fawkes was tortured here, while other prisoners over the years include Anne Boleyn, William Wallace and east London gangster duo – The Krays. hrp.org


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5. Hostel Celica, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Take your experience one step further with a night behind bars at a former military prison. This bizarre hostel has transformed the a detention centre into 20 dorms, which each sleep up to 12 honorary inmates. No two cells are the same either, they have been creatively worked over by different architects. However, each one comes complete with its original prison bars on the doors and windows. hostelcelica.com


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