The Tolbooth Museum
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The Tolbooth Museum

The Tolbooth Museum
4.5
Speciality MuseumsHistoric Sites
Temporarily closedClosed until further notice

Top ways to experience The Tolbooth Museum and nearby attractions

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles345 reviews
Excellent
152
Very good
154
Average
32
Poor
5
Terrible
2

Paulo C
Sao Paulo, SP85 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
This amazing "secret" place, at Union Street invites their visitors to a journey to the Middle Ages where they can experience many interesting history contents, the real prison and real artifacts used during the old days. It's a free admission and if you're lucky, you can have a guided tour just for you! The staff is very gentle and provides a lot of information about Aberdeen and also from Scotland history. A must visit while in Aberdeen!
Written November 27, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SBok
Aberdeen, UK128 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Stayed in Aberdeen for years and had no idea this place even existed on Aberdeen's main street.
It's next to the Court house. Free entry.

You can go into the cells where they held Jacobite prisoners and have a look at Aberdeen's Guillotine blade.
Written July 10, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

George B
Aberdeen, UK1,538 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019 • Solo
This can be found just beyond the Sheriff Court on Union St.
It is small but really interesting to see the history of crime and punishment in Aberdeen over the centuries. Steep stone staircases with rope handrails need care especially for young children.
Good examples of the punishments meted our centuries ago with people being sent to the colonies for years in many cases.
Funny that the rich citizens could negotiate a key to get out during the day but needed to return at night.
Staff are really helpfully here.
Well worth a visit here and suggest it could be combined with the Maritime Museum really nearby.
Written October 10, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Joan F
Vancouver Island, Canada146 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Couples
Very helpful staff. Saw it mentioned online and decided to check it out. Interesting history of crime and punishment from aa out 1100 onwards
Written May 25, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks for your review, glad you enjoyed your visit!
Written June 11, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Ian R
Aberdeen, UK89 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2017 • Family
Its a nice way to spend 2 hours which gives you a fascinating view into Aberdeens crime and punishments past. Exhibits are well presented and with sufficient detail. It is not a place to visit if you have mobility issues. The spiral stairs are tight and steep. Best of all it's free.
Written July 14, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks for your review, glad you enjoyed your visit!
Written July 19, 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

George B
Aberdeen, UK1,538 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2017 • Solo
The Tolbooth Museum can be found on Union Street just beyond the court buildings and the entrance is on the left just before the lane named Lodge Walk. The stairs are really tight and you need to be mobile to climb the 86 steps in total over two floors which have a rope handrail to hold onto. Suggest it is not suitable for young children or people with mobility issues.
The Wardhouse is superb and really brings it home to you the horrendous conditions endured by prisoners of the then Burgh of Aberdeen.around and from the 1700s. very barbaric indeed.
Very interesting to see the stories told of 4 people that detailed their crimes and their punishment which included in some cases banishment to the colonies.
What made me laugh was where rich people could come out during the day and had their own key about 20cm long to get back in at night. I spent about half an hour to cover all adequately.
Suggest if you are out of town also go to the Maritime Museum in Shiprow which is 5 minutes walk away as both are FREE.
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Written January 18, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your review, glad you enjoyed your visit!
Written January 19, 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

judywork1957
San Francisco, CA95 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2016 • Friends
We were originally just planning to fly into Aberdeen, stay the night and leave early next morning. Our plans changed and we suddenly found ourselves with a much longer stay in a city we knew very little about. The local tourist office suggested this museum as a starting point since it was just across the street from them anyway. This little museum was an excellent introduction to the history of the city! Bonus points for it being free, but I have to say that I would have happily paid for the tour. We thought it was self guided and were about to start up those medieval steps when an older gentleman showed up to give us a tour. It was obvious he enjoyed doing it. He was interesting, provided added insights and the tour probably took a little longer because he was so full of stories and information along with sharing info about other sites in Aberdeen with us. This tour is not practical for anyone with mobility issues as the steps were extremely narrow, a bit difficult to manuever and there is really no other way to feasibly transport mobility impaired people up to the cells. It would be a great tour for older children to spur more interest in history.
Written April 18, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tess C
Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2015 • Family
A free museum in Aberdeen detailing the old prison... Got an amazing one-off tour from Doug.. he was so entertaining and made the history come 'alive' with his witty jokes and amazing. Sence of humour.. well worth a visit!!
Written January 23, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DaveJC
Stowmarket, UK808 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2013 • Solo
Many Aberdonians simply walk past the Tolbooth, including me an exiled Aberdonian!

Grabbed the opportunity of visiting this small but interesting museum and it's free!

Access is from Union Street Mon-Sat and after entering the Victorian style of the Sherriff's Court building you find yourself struggling up a narrow stone spiral staircase holding firmly on to a rope as you climb those same steps that prisoners did back in the 17th Century (except they had no rope to hold onto).

The Tolbooth was the place that taxes were collected as well as being a gaol and a place of execution. It was until recent years the City Council's archive store but since restored to its former grisly past.

Well-informed, friendly and entertaining guides will show you a room containing a model showing the development of Aberdeen, a large room containing the City's Coat of Arms, and a debtors cell which is far luxurious than the two cells above this. The same cell contains the Aberdeen Guillotine Blade (English used Axemen to execute, Scots used the guillotine).

Another flight of spiral stone stairs take you to two cells - one containing three dummies of Jacobite Prisoners as captured by the English and one recites his tale of battle and capture. The other cell shows the reconstruction of a successful escape from the Tolbooth during those dismal times.

It is an amazing place, but unfortunately is not disabled accessible due to its construction.

Finally the weblink for here should be http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/tourism_visitor_attractions/galleries_museums/art_tolbooth.asp and not the one given by Tripadvisor as it links you to the Toolbooth Restaurant!
Written September 21, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

InvestigateTravel
Aberdeen, UK31 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019
Been here a couple of times and it is a nice stop if you've not been before. It doesn't take long to see it all and it's nice to look at the pictures of what Aberdeen looked like many years ago.
Written January 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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