Explore a 17th Century dungeon on Warwick Victorian Evening!

Visitors to this year’s Victorian Evening in Warwick (Thursday 29th November) will get a rare opportunity to explore the original 17th Century dungeon that lies beneath The Old Shire Hall on the town’s Northgate Street.

The atmospheric dungeon visits will be part of an open evening that is being held at the unique historic venue – formerly the location of the County gaol and used as the County Crown Courts up until 2010.

Follow in the footsteps of centuries of prisoners and head down the well-trodden steps into the darkness of the dungeon to see the original posts that prisoners were tied to while exposed to the elements from above.

You can also delight in the sights and sounds of Bhangra dancing sessions with a live dhol drummer in the building’s splendid Grade I listed The Great Hall, which will be decorated ready for Christmas.

Then discover the two original octagonal courtrooms, complete with their stunning high-domed ceilings, and the Regency-style Grade II listed Judges’ House with its extensive portrait collection.

There will also be fabulous face painting, marvellous mulled cider and magnificent mince pies to enjoy.

Entry to the Open Evening, which includes the opportunity to look around The Great Hall, courtrooms and Judges’ House, is free with a charge of £3 per adult for a dungeon visit (children under 16 accompanied by a paying adult go free).

Dungeon visits must be booked in advance as there are limited spaces, with visit times at 4.45pm, 5.15pm, 5.45pm and 6.15pm. The rest of the venue will be open to visitors between 4.30pm and 8.30pm.

The site of The Old Shire Hall has a long and fascinating history, being home to the Warwick Assizes from the late 15th century. In 1542, The County Gaol moved to Northgate Street and in 1576, Shire Hall followed. In 1694, the Great Fire of Warwick tore through the town and between 1753 and 1754 in was completely rebuilt to include courtrooms, a Gaol and Military Barracks.

Judges’ House was built between 1814 and 1816, with final Crown court sessions being held as recently as 2010.

The venue, which is managed by Warwickshire County Council, is now a unique weddings, conferencing and events venue, with upcoming events including ‘A Wizard Christmas’ themed party nights.

For more information on the Victorian Evening open event and to pre-book your dungeon visit call 01926 736350 or email oldshirehall@warwickshire.gov.uk.

Unfortunately the dungeon is not accessible for pushchairs, wheelchairs or people with limited mobility. If you have any queries about access to the rest of the venue, please use the contact details above.

For more information on The Old Shire Hall, visit www.theoldshirehall.co.uk, or you can follow on Twitter @oldshirehall or Facebook /TheOldShireHall.

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