Oxford Castle Unlocked

Oxford Castle Unlocked
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Visitors to 'Unlocked' will learn about the real people and events from the site’s turbulent past: the first Oxford teachings, the owners, visionaries, activists and inmates.

Visit St George’s Tower and embark on a historical journey spanning the 10th to 16th centuries. Find out about the events which shaped its history, from Empress Matilda’s famous escape across the frozen Thames to the ‘curse’ of the Black Assize, and climb the 101 steps to the top, where breathtaking views of the city await.

Below ground the Crypt of St George’s Chapel, with its beautiful Romanesque columns, has yet more secrets to reveal with historian Geoffrey of Monmouth its most celebrated character.

The 18th century prison buildings tell the story of the gaol over four centuries. Explore D Wing and its round Debtors’ Tower from cell to cell, where the changing times and prison conditions are told through the lives and words of real characters from the past.

Venue Type:

Museum, Castle or defences

Opening hours

Open daily from 10.00am (last tour 4.20pm). Please note the
attraction will be closed from 24th-26th December inclusive.

Opening times may be subject to change; for up-to-date information on admission prices and opening times, please telephone our information line on 01865 260666.

Open daily from 10.00am (last tour 4.20pm). Please note the
attraction will be closed from 24th-26th December inclusive.

Admission charges

Prices (valid until 31/01/18):
Adult £10.95
Child (under 15) £7.75
Senior Citizen / Student £9.25


  • English Heritage

Additional info

Full accessibility information can be found on the website. Toilets are available in the Castleyard Cafe.

Collection details

Architecture, Law and Order, Personalities, Religion, Social History

Key artists and exhibits

  • Geoffrey of Monmouth
  • Marshall William Smith
  • Mary Blandy
  • Jack Ketch
  • Anne Green
  • John Lilburne
  • Daniel Harris
  • Empress Matilda
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Victorian prison
  • Norman crypt
  • Saxon tower
Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Captivating Impressions

Pupils use their eyes, ears and imagination to explore the contrast between freedom and captivity for prisoners past and present and produce their own piece of creative art.

Clues from the Past

A 'hands-on' session including costume and mystery objects designed to familiarise pupils with how we know about the castle and prison, how the site changed and who lived there. (Group size: 1 class; Duration: 1hr; Level: KS2)

Mary Blandy

Pupils will take on the role of a witness at Mary Blandy's trial and use original evidence to decide if she deserved her fate in the case that scandalized the county in the 18th Century. (Group size: 1 class; Duration: 1hr; Level: KS2, KS3)

Then and Now

School workshop asking how we can find out about life in the past at Oxford Castle. Pupils use their senses to understand some of the differences between then and now on the site. (Group size: 1 class; Duration: 45 minutes; Level: Foundation and KS1)

How to obtain

For further information call 01865 260668 or email education@oxfordcastleunlocked.co.uk. Group booking line: 08702 411414.

Victorian Child Prisoners

School workshop exploring why children as young as 6 were imprisoned to do hard labour in the County Gaol. Pupils use objects, actual case studies and role play to investigate, debate and decide the answer. (Group size: 1 class; Duration: 1hr; Level: KS2

Oxford Castle Unlocked
Oxford Castle - Unlocked
44-46 Oxford Castle






01865 260666


01865 260667

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.