As mentioned in my last entry about the Pool Parc Asylum, I was in Ruthin. I felt that the town should get it’s own entry. I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I had hoped, but hopefully it will be enough to get the general jist of the place.
After the let down with the Asylum, my copilot and I decided we would explore Ruthin a bit. It’s an interesting little town, which is actually bigger than it seems, but keeps with a small area feel. The town center is on top of a hill, and the four or five streets splay downhill all around the roundabout at the top. It made wandering it a bit of an exercise!
We had heard that there was a tunnel which ran from the castle to the prison, built so that the royals could escape if they needed to. I don’t know how true that is, but we thought we would visit the prison just in case. The Ruthin Gaol, as it was called, was built 1654, and opened as a prison soon after, where it continued to be so until 1916. Sorry in advance for those of you who thought I found an amazing bit of urban exploration, this is just a little tourist spot.
For £5 for each adult, we were allowed to roam the place, which included an audio tour if we wanted it (we didn’t), recipes for the food they would eat and make, and little videos in certain rooms. Apparently it was co-ed, and also would put children in there as well. No one was allowed to talk. In fact, it was to be completely silence. People had to wear these leather masks when they went out into the exercise yards so no one could recognize anyone else and want to talk to them. If they spoke, they would be punished. Also, they had a dark room, which was their solitary confinement. They were locked in a completely dark cell for a few days or a few months in complete darkness.
We wandered the prison for an hour. Not that there is an hours worth of things to see (though, if you do read every sign and poster and do all the activities there are around, then yes, there is), but we spent some time horsing around a little bit. However, we did not see any tunnels….and we kind of forgot to ask the people we bought our tickets from. Oops!
We did also take a trip up to the Ruthin Castle–which is absolutely beautiful. We might have been accidentally a little bit naughty. We parked the car and had a look around the grounds. The castle has been converted to a hotel, and has everything from shaped estate gardens to a flock of peacocks and peahens. We wandered through some of the more historical bits, seeing the ruins, before wandering inside. We found the bar and had some coffee and a scone before looking up information on the castle, of course wanting to know more. We didn’t find out much, only that the rooms were seemingly cheap (considering they are in a freaking castle!): £130 per night, and that it is not open to the public. So while we had just let ourselves onto the grounds, we weren’t really supposed to be doing so. Oops again!
The people in Ruthin were quite friendly. I was taking pictures, which marked us as tourists, I suppose, and people were happy to stop and talk to us. Everyone in the shops were nice and friendly, and people on the streets were quite pleasant as well.
If you find yourself in North Wales, it is well worth it to check out Ruthin. It’s a beautiful drive to it, and you won’t be dissapointed if you’re after a pleasant day of light exploring.