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  • Writer's pictureGabriella Walker

North Norfolk's Derelict Prison - Bridewell House Of Correction

In my eyes, there’s nothing more intriguing than derelict buildings. Trees and plants bursting through windows and doorways as Mother Nature takes back what’s rightly hers.


I’d started to put together a list of derelict / abandoned places across Norfolk. From the more obvious and well-known derelict boat off the Blakeney coast path to the much more spooky and slightly more dangerous (and illegal) to explore Former St Andrews Asylum.


We visited St Andrews Asylum last summer. We didn’t go in but even just skirting the perimeter sent shivers down my spine, thinking of everything that happened in that building. It sadly went up in smoke after an arson attack in Oct last year. I’m so grateful I got to see it before it disappeared. It’s also made me realise I’m not keeping these things to myself for any period of time either. Especially when the next one I’ve found you’re actually allowed to enter. In fact, you’re even given the key!


📍 Bridewell House Of Correction, Little Walsingham, Walsingham NR22 6BN


🗝 Ask at the ticket office for the snow drop walk / Abbey Ruins at Walsingham Abbey - High St, Walsingham NR22 6BP (or from the Shirehall Museum out of season)


If you’ve ever headed to Walsingham Abbey for the snowdrop walk, you’ll most likely have seen Bridewell House of Correction and not even know it was there.


The prison was built in 1787, enlarged in 1842 and housed its last inmates in 1861. The main large building has four storeys whilst the older building has only two storeys. Both wings retain many of their original fittings including padded cells and original cell doors. There were also (although now no-longer there) several treadmills that the prisoners were forced to work on to grind corn.


The large four storey building that housed the treadmills? The big mill building in the main public car park in Little Walsingham that you absolutely can’t miss (that is now the incredible Holt Antique Furniture Ltd).


The two storey part of the prison where the cells remain is behind Holt Antique Furniture (to the left down a ramp and then all the way to the bottom and on the right through a very spooky looking courtyard).


The key you’ll get from Walsingham Abbey will unlock the padlock on the wooden door / gate that keeps the building secure. 


Once you’re in, you can explore to your heart’s content. Just don’t get a fright from Mary Bunting as you walk into the first cell like we did 😂



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P.S. A huge thank you to the amazing Helena & Jon who own Little Blood just down from the prison and told me about how to get the key. They are some of the nicest people I've ever met, have the most incredible shop of collectables and curiosities and you absolutely NEED to visit them.

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