Pentonville prison visiting information

Social visits

Mon-Sat: 09:15 - 11:15 & 14:00 - 16:00
Sun: 14:00 - 16:00

Booking information: All visits must be booked at least 48 hours in advance on either 020 7023 7251.

The visits phone booking line is open Monday to Friday between 08:15 – 16:45 (best time to phone in is currently 08:15 -08:45 and late morning and afternoon).

You may also book via email at socialvisits.pentonville@hmps.gsi.gov.uk. As many entitled visits can be booked at a time in this way and can be arranged for up to fourteen days in advance. 

When booking a visit, please provide the following information:

  • Full name and prison number of the prisoner you wish to visit
  • Full name, address and date of birth of each visitor
  • The relationship of each visitor to the prisoner (wife, son etc) 
  • Requested date and time of visit - for email bookings please give options in order of preference for each visit 

Additional information:

Visitor centre: There is a family-friendly Visitor's Centre run by Spurgeons, a national charity. Visitors are offered a warm welcome, information and support. For more information please go to www.spurgeons.org/hmp-pentonville, call 020 7609 3860 or email pentonville@spurgeons.org.

This building is situated about half way along the front of the prison. The centre aims to support families and friends of prisoners: they will advise you on visit times, property etc. The centre provides information on prison systems, welfare rights, advice and support in confidence.

It is open: 

Monday to Saturday from 08:30 - 16:30 (waiting area facility only between 12:00 and 13:00, reception closed)

Sundays 12:30 - 16:30, (waiting area facility only before 13:00, reception closed).  

There are lockers provided to store all unauthorised or personal belongings in the centre which take a £1 refundable coin.

Play area facilities: There is a children's play area in the Visits Room itself, which is currently open on Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday and Sunday afternoon and Saturday morning.

Refreshments: The visiting hall has a tea bar, which is subject to availability, where a range of refreshments are available. Please be advised that only £20.00 (in change) per person is allowed in the visiting hall.

Family Days: These are held approximately 6 times per year. Details of Family Days are published both on the wings and in the Visiting Centre.

Property: The rules relating to prisoners' property vary depending on whether they are convicted, civil, or unconvicted. Prisoners can purchase some items. Money can only be posted in as a postal order. When you are on your visit there is a Supplementary Property Officer for leaving certain items by prior arrangement. When on a visit a simple guide is that no food, no drink, and no drugs or mobile phones are to be brought into the prison.

Biometrics Identification system: HMP Pentonville currently uses a biometric identification system. All Social and legal visitors are required to provide Identification and /or letters of Introduction.

These are checked, confirmed and you are then enrolled onto the biometric system which involves taking a photo and a scan of your index fingers. Social visitors are also required to provide proof of address.

Accepted types of ID and proof of addresses are

  • Driving licence.
  • Passport (old passports are acceptable as long as photo still resembles you)
  • IND / Border agency ID cards.
  • EC identity card
  • Benefits book
  • Senior citizens public transport pass issued by a local authority
  • Employers or student ID card but only if this clearly shows the name of the visitor and the employer or educational establishment and has a photograph or signature which can be compared with the visitor appearance or signature and if the employer or educational establishment is known to exist.

If you are unable to provide one of the above staff may accept combinations of two of the following:

  • Birth / Marriage certificate
  • Rail or bus passes with photo
  • Bank / Building society credit / charge cards and statements
  • Employers pass or ID or student ID not acceptable under above paragraph
  • Bank / Building society credit / charge cards and statements
  • Utility bills (gas / electric)
  • Council tax Bill

You MUST bring all Identification with you on every visit BUT once enrolled onto the biometrics you will not be expected to show it.

The Main Gate: This is a wooden door at the front of the prison. Having enrolled onto the biometric system in the visitor centre you will make your way to the gate. You will then be directed to the Visits Area where you will be searched. You can at this time handover or receive any property that has been arranged for previously. Once this is complete you will be allowed into the main visits hall.

Official visits

Mon-Thu: 09:30-10:30, 10:45-11:45, 13:45-14:45, 15:00-16:00, 16:15-17:15 & 18:15-19:15
Fri: 09:30-10:30, 10:45-11:45

Booking information: Official/Legal visits must be pre-booked by either fax 020 7023 7003 or via email on legalvisits.pentonville@hmps.gsi.gov.uk Monday to Friday 08:15 - 17:00.

Please note there is no telephone booking facility for legal visits available at this time.

Additional information: One hour sessions are held in interview rooms. Two hour sessions are held in the visits overflow. The overflow area is not private. If you are going to discuss things that are of a sensitive nature please request an interview room at the time of booking your visit.

How to get there: HMP Pentonville is situated in North London.

  • Bus: There are bus stops on both sides of the road outside Pentonville. Routes 17, 19, 259 and 274 all stop here.
  • Train: If you are coming to London by train, Kings Cross is the nearest main line station. You can then catch the northbound tube on the Piccadilly line to Caledonian Road. Caledonian and Barnsbury Overground Station is on the Richmond and Stratford line. When you leave the station, turn right and Pentonville is about 5 minutes walk on the same side of the road.
  • If you are visiting by car, parking around the prison is restricted, and visitors are not allowed to park on prison property.
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