Known as one of the sickest and most controversial museums in the United Kingdom this dark tourist attraction in Gloucestershire is grotesque yet eerily fascinating. Here’s our Littledean Jail review.
Littledean, A beautiful village in Gloucestershire which I’m sure complains until the cows come home about this disturbing yet necessary museum.
Littledean Jail looks phenomenal, its surroundings are beautiful, it’s in a wonderful condition and even the grounds are well looked after. It’s like a picture postcard in every sense of the word yet the second you step inside that jail it’s safe to say you wouldn’t want ANY of those pictures on ANY of your postcards!
The second you step inside it almost feels like an antique shop or a junk shop in terms of how items are scattered absolutely everywhere. There’s posters on the ceilings, items as far as the eye can see and very little of them are labelled only the individual few.
it’s so big and expansive and it’s absolutely full of things to look at to the point where you could easily spend 2-3 hours in here and you will still miss something, that’s an absolute guarantee.
A blend of oddities, movies, SAS memorabilia and then much darker stuff including KKK history, executions, true crime, gangstas and even celebrity scandals.
It’s all kind of littered all over the place and there isn’t specific sections for each thing they’re all sort of cobbled together to the point where it gets a little hard to keep up.
One picture shows a grotesque murder and right next to it is a Harry Potter poster, it’s a bit weird. Right next to a cabinet of KKK robes there was a Glen doll from Seed of Chucky, it’s all a bit scattered and a bit nuts.
There’s so much to see that it’s only when you closely take a look at some of the images do the more gruesome details appear.
Littledean Jail has been documented as adding more offensive things to already offensive displays. A little black child being led with a noose around its neck for example in model form, something that isn’t needed but has been added purely to offend those who have entered.
During my particular visit I definitely didn’t see too much of this where they’ve gone out of their way to offend me, the items on display already paint a very dark picture of history with the holocaust area being genuinely chilling.
It’s a similar walkthrough experience that you would get inside Auschwitz but here there are so many photos of the disgusting events that took place at the camps and it was a heavy atmosphere to be surrounded in.
Genuinely heartbreaking but whilst people may be offended by the images on the walls (this attraction even warns you before you come in to avoid if you are sensitive) it’s a history that needs to be told and not hidden and shied away from.
These exhibitions go to the extremities of executions all the way to racist objects, crime and corruption and more. There’s sections on the Black Lives Matter movement as well as politics and even crime throughout history including two used guillotines that stand outside the jail before you even enter inside.
The one thing that didn’t make much sense to me was the over reliance on framed items. The whole upstairs of the jail is signed movie posters and autographs which are great but each autograph is plastered with newspaper clippings of bad things that celebrity has done along with risqué (usually topless) photos of said celebrity.
I didn’t really see the need for any of that. This is a jail and celebrity scandal for the sake of adding a few boobs to proceedings made no sense. There was an adults only room full of sex toys and rude photos and that should have been it but the whole upstairs was littered full of unneeded clippings.
What I did find fascinating was the true crime section. I’ve never see a UK attraction that has this much true crime memorabilia and it was as chilling as it was fascinating.
A clown costume supposedly worn by John Wayne Gary, a hand written letter from Charles Manson and prison drawings from Richard Ramirez not to mention Ted Bundy documents and a rare Jeffrey Dahmer written prison letter (they’re super rare).
Other items were added for pure offensive factor such as a tracksuit worn by Jimmy Saville that I kind of wanted to just tip over and stamp on a few times but that’s why they’re in there, to get a reaction out of people. It’s a dark museum and it’s not snowflake friendly, it’s raw and brutal and absolutely needed as an eye-opening history lesson. The good, the bad but in here, mostly ugly.
The Kray Twins items were fascinating to look at in addition to infamous prisoner Charles Bronson’s worn clothing and prison artwork (he’s actually very talented). There were some dark items or items such as a shovel supposedly used by Fred West to bury bodies with the words ‘undoubtedly used to bury bodies’ written on the display.
Some items did make me raise my eyebrows slightly on their legitimacy when even the wording on the labels makes it seem as though they’re not entirely sure themselves.
What I didn’t understand was the jail allowing children inside. Littledean Jail is NOT FOR CHILDREN and despite warnings of adults only areas and the 18+ area for the executions section it means nothing as just down the corridor they’re openly out on display for people to see.
A young boy was in there when we visited (parents of the year award nominees I’m sure) who turned to his dad and said ‘Dad, this is disturbing’ he must have been only 10 years old, if that.
I’ll say this one last time. DO NOT BRING YOUR CHILDREN TO LITTLEDEAN JAIL!
There’s no real flow to the exhibits they’re just thrown absolutely everywhere and there’s no denying the money spent on these items (and picture frames come to that matter) but if there was more organisation this could be so much better than it is currently.
Items so rare and so fascinating such as the gangsters artefacts and the true crime memorabilia will always be a talking point. Dahmer was one of Netflix’s most popular series ever and we are fascinated with dark history and these gruesome tails.
Just having the items laid out in a better manner would draw people in. Having sections clearly labelled and navigated instead of this jumble sale approach would allow people to appreciate the items even more.
Only having a few items labelled and the others completely unknown was quite disappointing for me as I wanted to know where they were from, I wanted to know what association they had to the topics they were surrounded by but no context was given.
The entire floor upstairs was just too overwhelming to the point we just kept walking past this sea of newspaper not even bothering to read them anymore. It was just too much, too cluttered and therefore under appreciated.
Littledean Jail is not for the faint of heart, it’s not for the squeamish or the sensitive it’s hard-hitting and quite frankly wonderful. It just needs a little finesse and organisation so that it can be better understood.
The work the owner has put into this place has to be commended, it shocks you in the worst possible way but opens your eyes to the horrors that go on in the world around us.
There’s no shying away from history at Littledean Jail and whilst so many people may not like such a taboo attraction it’s absolutely needed. It’s a wake up call on the world and for dark tourist attraction lovers, you won’t find a better one in the United Kingdom.
Visit the official Littledean website at https://www.littledeanjail.com/
Check out my video of Littledean Jail below: