Oxford Castle & Prison

Oxford Castle & Prison
44-46 Oxford Castle

About Oxford Castle & Prison

Oxford Castle and Prison is a unique and fascinating experience that offers visitors a glimpse into the city’s history and heritage. The castle and prison complex, which dates back to Norman times, is located in the heart of Oxford and has been transformed into a popular tourist attraction.

The castle was originally built as a motte-and-bailey castle in the 11th century and was later converted into a prison in the 18th century. The prison was in use until 1996 and housed some of the most notorious criminals in Oxfordshire’s history. Today, visitors can take a guided tour of the castle and prison, which includes access to the cells, exercise yards, and other areas of the complex.

One of the highlights of a visit to Oxford Castle and Prison is climbing the Saxon St George’s Tower, which offers panoramic views of the city and its surrounding countryside. Visitors can also explore the castle’s crypt, which is one of the oldest surviving parts of the complex, and learn about the history of the castle and its role in the city’s development.

In addition to the castle and prison, the complex also includes several restaurants, bars, and shops, making it an ideal destination for a day out in Oxford. The castle and prison are open year-round, and guided tours are available daily.

Take a guided tour

Take a guided tour today and let the characters reveal their fascinating stories entrenched in the building’s 1000-year history. Led by a costumed character guide, the rich and fascinating history of Oxford and its castle and prison will be revealed, as you…

CLIMB the Saxon St. George’s Tower, one of the oldest buildings in Oxford, and enjoy its stunning 360° panoramic views over the historic city of Oxford

DESCEND deep underground into the atmospheric 900-year-old crypt, the only surviving remains of St. George’s Chapel

EXPLORE the austere confines of the 18th-century Debtors’ Tower and Prison D-Wing

MARVEL at the mound of the 11th century Motte-and-Bailey castle, and discover its vaulted Well Chamber

EDUCATE yourself about the modern history of the site and its inmates, in our historical Exhibition Wing

After your tour, you will be inducted into the castle’s prison and the wider site where you will be able to explore at your leisure.

Visiting Oxford Castle and Prison is an unforgettable experience that offers visitors a fascinating insight into the city’s past. It’s a must-do for anyone interested in history, architecture, or just looking for a unique and memorable day out in Oxford.

Opening times

Oxford Castle & Prison is open daily from 10.00am to 5.30pm with the last tour at 4.20pm. The Gift Shop, Castleyard Café and Mound are open till 5.30pm.

Getting there

By rail
Oxford rail station has regular links to London (60 minutes) and all major UK cities.

By bus
Oxford has frequent bus services into the city centre.

By car
Car parks can be found at Westgate Shopping Centre, Oxpens, Worcester Street and Gloucester Green and are all a short walking distance from Oxford Castle & Prison.

By Park & Ride
Oxford has five Park & Ride car parks, with frequent bus links into the city centre. The closest Park & Ride are Seacourt and Redbridge, bus rides take approximately 10 minutes and their frequency is up to 10 minutes.

Good to know

Oxford Castle & Prison opened on 2 June 2006 and allows visitors to learn about the real people who lived and died throughout the site’s 1000-year-old turbulent past. The site has been used as a place of incarceration since 1071, continuing until the closure of HM Prison Oxford in 1996.

The old buildings have been preserved and are now open to the public revealing a time capsule – allowing the buildings to tell their story. Oxford Preservation Trust is the guardian of this historical site. The visitor attraction is operated by Continuum Attractions, a leading UK attractions group.

More from The Oxford Magazine