An Unmissable Visit to Oxford Castle and Prison

Oxford City & Oxfordshire | Magazine 

oxford castle and prison

Oxford Castle and Prison is a historic landmark that dates back to the 11th century and is located in the heart of Oxford city centre. The castle and prison offer a unique glimpse into the area’s rich history and provide a range of activities and attractions for visitors to explore. In this article, we’ll provide a guide to visiting Oxford Castle and Prison and some of the activities and attractions on offer.

History of Oxford Castle and Prison

Oxford Castle and Prison was built in 1071 by William the Conqueror and was used as a royal fortress for many centuries. The castle and prison have since played a key role in the history of Oxford, serving as a courthouse and a prison until 1996. Today, the castle and prison have been restored and transformed into a popular tourist destination.

Activities and Attractions

Oxford Castle and Prison offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors to explore, from guided tours and interactive exhibits to escape rooms and ghost hunts. Some of the highlights include:

Spectre Ghost Tours

The Spectre Ghost Tours at Oxford Castle and Prison are a unique and spooky walking tour by Dr Charles McGhoul, paranormal enthusiast. This 90-minute walking tours offers a mix of ghostly tales, legends and stories, with fun illusions and tricks along the way for all the family.

The Medieval to Modern Oxford Castle Walking Tour

A fascinating 1.5-mile (90 minute) walking tour taking in some of Oxford’s most famous landmarks including; Christ Church, Radcliffe Camera, Oxford Town Hall and The Bear. Led by expert guides, this tour provides a unique and informative way to explore Oxford.

Medieval Tower

Climbing the 101 steps to the top of St George’s Tower at the Castle is a must-do experience for visitors to Oxford. However, it’s not for the faint of heart, as it involves climbing a steep and narrow spiral staircase that winds its way up the inside of the tower. The climb is well worth the effort, with panoramic views of the city and its surroundings, and a unique glimpse into the area’s rich history and culture.


Located in the basement of the prison, the crypt is an eerie and atmospheric space that offers a fascinating insight into the area’s rich cultural heritage. Visitors can see the vaulted ceilings and stone walls that have survived for centuries and imagine what it must have been like for the prisoners who were held there. The crypt is open to the public and is included in the guided tours of the prison. Visitors can explore the space and learn about the many stories and legends that surround it.

The Castle Mound

The Oxford Castle Mound is believed to have been constructed by the Normans in the 11th century, following the conquest of England by William the Conqueror. The mound was initially used as a strategic fortification and was the site of a Norman motte-and-bailey castle, which played a significant role in the history of the city. The mound is a popular tourist attraction, with visitors climbing to the top to take in the views of the city.

Jailbreak Escape Room

The Jailbreak Escape Room is set in the prison’s D-Wing and challenges participants to escape from their cells before the guard’s return. The game is designed to be challenging but not too difficult, with a mix of puzzles and clues that are designed to be solved by a team working together.

The experience is designed to be immersive, with the prison setting and props adding to the atmosphere and tension of the game. The puzzles and clues are challenging, but not so difficult as to be frustrating, and there are plenty of hints and clues available to help you along the way.

The Jailbreak Escape Room is a fun and engaging activity that is suitable for aged 12+ and all skill levels. The game takes around an hour to complete and is an excellent way to spend time with friends or family while exploring the history of Oxford Castle and Prison.

Interactive Exhibits

Oxford Castle and Prison features a number of interactive exhibits that provide a hands-on experience of the area’s rich history. Visitors can try on medieval armour, learn about the life of a prisoner, and explore the castle’s many secrets and mysteries.

Oxford Castle and Prison is a must-see destination for visitors to Oxford. With its rich history, interactive exhibits, and range of activities and attractions, the castle and prison provide a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re interested in exploring the history of the castle and prison, testing your problem-solving skills in an escape room, or experiencing the supernatural side of the castle and prison, there is something for everyone at Oxford Castle and Prison.


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