Organisers to use 40 tonnes of sand to create "blast" of a beach at Oxford Castle

By Ben Miller | 28 April 2014

A Norman castle and former prison is about to enhance Oxford's reputation for sandy beaches

A photo of children playing on a beach
The Beach is back in Oxford© Courtesy Oxford Castle
Built in 1071, it’s a fair bet there weren’t many tonnes of sand, palm trees, deckchairs, volleyball nets or peep boards at Oxford Castle nearly 1,000 years ago.

In The Beach, those elements are about to return to the Norman site. Tapas, cocktails, parties and beach games are proposed, following the inaugural success of the idea last year.

A photo of children playing on a beach
The Beach will be in Oxford Castle Quarter from May until September© Courtesy Oxford Castle
“It was enjoyed by so many people when it made its debut,” says Sam Pace, of the castle.

“We couldn’t wait to get started on The Beach for this year.

“Being a former castle and prison, the entire Oxford Castle site is designed to make coming and going quite tricky. So 40 tonnes of sand is a huge challenge.

“It’s a real team effort involving staff, tenants, local organisations and a very big lorry.

“Getting the sand out is just as tricky and involves a huge amount of work and strategic planning. But those weeks of beach life in between are completely worth it.”

Daily tours circumnavigate the castle and jail.

“Last year was an absolute blast,” says Pace.

“We had volleyball competitions, archaeological digs, barbecues, beach parties, sand sculpting competitions and two golf clubs racing to collect the sand at the end of the summer.

“There also seemed to be an unofficial competition of who wore the worst Hawaiian shirt.”

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