Belmarsh is a high security prisoner’s prison in southeast London.
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Book and plan your visit to Belmarsh
To visit someone in Belmarsh you must:
- be on that person’s visitor list
- book your visit in advance
- have the required ID with you when you go
A visit can be booked up to 2 weeks in advance.
Contact Belmarsh if you have any questions about visiting.
Help with the cost of your visit
If you get certain benefits or have an NHS health certificate, you might be able to get help with the costs of your visit, including:
- travel to Belmarsh
- somewhere to stay overnight
How to book family and friends visits
Telephone booking line: 0208 331 4760 or 020 8331 4750
Find out about call charges
The booking lines are open Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 3pm
You can arrive up to 1 hour before the time of your visit to go through security and check in.
Parking is limited so please arrive with plenty of time to park or use local transport.
All visits must be booked in advance. Only those visitors whose details have been listed on the Prisoner’s Authorisation Contact List (as provided by the prisoner) and those who are named on the booking will be allowed entry into the prison.
Prison staff cannot add visitor(s) to a Prisoner’s Authorisation Contact List without the consent / authorisation of a Prisoner.
- Tuesday to Thursday: 9:15am to 10:45am, 2:15pm to 3:45pm
- Friday: 9:15am to 10:45am
- Saturday: 9:30am to 11:30am, 2:15pm to 4:15pm
- Sunday: 2:15pm to 4:15pm
How to book legal and professional visits
Face to Face legal visiting times
- Tuesday to Thursday: 9:15am to 11:15am and 2:15pm to 4:15pm
- Friday: 9am to 10:30 am
- Saturday, Sunday and Monday: Closed
Any authorised electronic equipment such as laptops, must have a visible factory printed serial number for entry. Please query any issues with the booking team.
You can book face-face legal visits by calling 0208 331 4750 or email email@example.com. The booking line is open Monday to Friday 9:30am to 3pm.
Video link legal visiting times:
- Monday to Friday: 9:30am to 11:30am and 2:30pm to 4:30pm
To book legal visits via Video link, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Booking must be through a CJSM or email account. You will be asked to provide proof of identification at point of booking with a CAT A prisoner. You will also require I.D at appointment time for CAT A and all other prisoners.
Getting to Belmarsh
The closest railway stations are Woolwich Arsenal and Plumstead. From Plumstead, you can walk to Belmarsh, or from Woolwich Arsenal you can take a bus.
To plan your journey by public transport:
- use Transport for London journey planner
- use National Rail Enquiries
- use Traveline for local bus times
There is a visitors car park with spaces for Blue Badge holders.
All visitors, aged 16 or older must prove their identity before entering the prison. Read the list of acceptable forms of ID when visiting a prison.
All visitors will need to be given a pat-down search, including children. On your first visit, you will have your photo taken. You may have your fingerprints taken and an eye scan. You may also be sniffed by security dogs.
Belmarsh has a strict dress code policy, which means visitors should wear smart, family-friendly clothes (no ripped clothing, no vests, no low-cut tops, no shorts, no short dresses, no sports team clothing, no watches, only minimal jewellery, no offensive slogans and no headwear, other than that worn for religious reasons).
Refreshments are available during your visit.
There are strict controls on what you can take into Belmarsh. You will have to leave most of the things you have with you in a locker (you will need a £1 coin) or with security. This includes pushchairs and car seats.
You will be told the rules by an officer at the start of your visit. If you break the rules, your visit could be cancelled and you could be banned from visiting again.
There is a family-friendly visitors centre run by the Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT).
Visitors should arrive to the visitors centre to book in for a visit. There is a tea bar in the visitor’s centre outside the prison and a full tea bar inside the main visits hall.
There is also a small play area in the visits centre and a larger staffed creche area in side the main visits hall.
Prisoners’ property can be handed in on a visit by application.
PACT Telephone: 0208 317 3888
Belmarsh is running 1 family day session per month.
Keep in touch with someone at Belmarsh
There are several ways you can keep in touch with someone during their time at Belmarsh.
Secure video calls
To have a secure video call with someone in this prison you need to:
- Download the Prison Video app
- Create an account
- Register all visitors
- Add the prisoner to your contact list.
How to book a secure video call
You can request a secure video call with someone in this prison via the Prison Video app.
You will receive a notification when your request has been accepted.
Video call timings
- Tuesday to Thursday: 11:30am to 12:00pm, 4:30pm to 5pm
- Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: Closed
Prisoners have phones in their cells but will always have to call you. They have to buy phone credits to do this. The phones are inactive after 10pm, but available at many times during the day.
They can phone anyone named on their list of friends and family. This list is checked by security when they first arrive so it may take a few days before they are able to call. This can take longer depending on individual cases.
You can also exchange voicemails using the Prison Voicemail service.
Officers may listen to phone calls as a way of preventing crime and helping keep people safe.
You can send emails to someone in Belmarsh using the Email a Prisoner service.
You can write at any time.
Include the person’s name and prisoner number (or date of birth) on the envelope. You must also write your own name and address on the back of the envelope.
All post, apart from legal letters, will be opened and checked by officers.
Send money and gifts
You can use the free and fast online service to send money to someone in prison.
You can no longer send money by bank transfer, cheque, postal order or send cash by post.
If you cannot use the online service, you may be able to apply for an exemption - for example if you:
- are unable to use a computer, a smart phone or the internet
- do not have a debit card
This will allow you to send money by post.
Gifts and parcels
Prisoners are not allowed to have parcels sent into Belmarsh unless there is an exceptional circumstance.
Prisoners are able to buy items from catalogues of approved suppliers.
Friends and families of prisoners are permitted to send books directly to their loved ones, or can order books from approved retailers, which can source and send the books on to prisoners.
For the full list of approved retailers, you can read the HMPPS Incentives Policy, Annex F.
Life at Belmarsh
Belmarsh is committed to providing a safe and educational environment where prisoners can learn new skills to help them on release.
Security and safeguarding
Every prisoner at Belmarsh has a right to feel safe. The staff are responsible for their safeguarding and welfare at all times.
For further information about what to do when you are worried or concerned about someone in prison visit the Prisoners’ Families helpline website.
Arrival and first night
When someone first arrives at Belmarsh, they will be able to contact a family member by phone. This could be quite late in the evening, depending on the time they arrive.
In some cases, a phone call can be made by a member of staff at the prisoner’s request.
They will get to speak to someone who will check how they’re feeling and ask about any immediate health and wellbeing needs.
Each person who arrives at Belmarsh gets an induction that lasts about a week. They will meet professionals who will help them with:
- health and wellbeing, including mental and sexual health
- any substance misuse issues, including drugs and alcohol
- personal development in custody and on release, including skills, education and training
- other support (sometimes called ‘interventions’), such as managing difficult emotions
Everyone also finds out about the rules, fire safety, and how things like calls and visits work.
Around 900 prisoners are accommodated at Belmarsh, across 4 main units, made up of single, double and triple cells.
Education and work
Prisoners in Belmarsh can access education, workshops and gym activities.
There is a detoxification and drug support service that can continue to offer support after release through community links.
Prisoners are offered help to resettle by working with agencies in the following areas:
- children and families
- finance, benefits and debt
- attitudes, thinking and behaviour
- victims of domestic violence
- victims of sex work
- mentoring in custody and on release
There is a listener scheme for prisoners at risk from suicide or self-harm.
There is a support group for foreign nationals and they can get advice on immigration law.
Prisoners can apply for Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) and will be assessed individually in accordance with the strict regulation framework.
Organisations Belmarsh works with
We have strong links with Spark Inside and SwitchBack who offer mentoring and coaching services for young prisoners in our care. Through the Gate continues this support after release.
The Shannon Trust helps by training prisoners to work with others to improve their reading skills.
Support for family and friends
Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.
The Family and Significant Other Lead at HMP Belmarsh is Governor Twomey who can be contacted via email@example.com
Support at Belmarsh
The Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) offers support, information and guidance about prison visits to friends and family.
Telephone (PACT): 020 8331 4682
Problems and complaints
If you have a problem contact Belmarsh. If you cannot resolve the problem directly, you can make a complaint to HM Prison and Probation Service.
HM Prison and Probation Service publishes action plans for Belmarsh in response to independent inspections.
Governor: Jenny Louis
Telephone: 020 8331 4400
Monday to Friday, 7am to 8pm, weekends, 7am to 5pm
Fax: 020 8331 4401
Find out about call charges
Twitter: Follow Belmarsh on Twitter
Safer custody hotline
If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a prisoner in Belmarsh, call the safer custody hotline and leave a message. Someone will call you back within 24 hours.
Telephone: 0208 331 4844
Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm, weekends from 8am to midday
In an emergency, call 0208 331 4781 or 0208 331 4866.