Bringing Oxford's hidden history to life...
A castle with a prison at its heart, the site has been a place of incarceration since 1071, continuing until the closure of Her Majesty’s Prison Oxford in 1996.
Visitors to Oxford Castle Unlocked will learn about the real people and events from the sites turbulent past: the first Oxford teachings, the owners, visionaries, activists and inmates. People like Marshall William Smith, the King’s prison keeper, who in the 1600s made Oxford Prison as feared and as notorious as Colditz; Mary Blandy a convicted murderess, who became an 18th-century celebrity; Jack Ketch, the public executioner and the man on whom the Punch & Judy hangman character was modelled; and Anne Green, who survived her own hanging and narrowly escaped being anatomised by an Oxford medical student in 1650.
Led by one of our costumed character guides, the rich history of the castle is revealed as you...
- Climb the Saxon St George’s Tower, Oxford’s oldest building, and enjoy its stunning 360° views
- Descend deep underground into the dark atmosphere of the 900 year old Crypt
- Explore the austere confines of the 18th century Debtors’ Tower and Prison D-Wing
Tours with one of our experienced costumed guides leave up to every 20 minutes from the admissions area in the Gift Shop. After your tour you will be inducted into Prison D-Wing and the wider castle site where you will be able to explore at your own leisure.
Preserving Oxford's Past
The guardians of this important historic site, Oxford Preservation Trust were awarded a £3.8 million grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the castle and buildings. Find out more about the important work undertaken by the Oxford Preservation Trust. The visitor attraction is operated by Continuum Continuum, a leading UK attractions group.