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“Excellent New Year's day outing”

Oxford Castle & Prison
Ranked #4 of 20 Museums in Oxford
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Oxford Castle & Prison explores the 1000-years of Oxford's History. Led by one of our costumed characters, the rich history of the castle with a prison at its heart will be revealed to you. Climb St. George's Tower and take in the stunning views before descending into the atmospheric crypt, along the 18th century prison wing and into archaic man-made mound.
Reviewed January 2, 2015

My wife, mother in law and I always try to get out and see something on New Year's Day to break the post Christmas blues. Normally we tend to go for a stately home and walk, but this year could not find anything of that ilk nearby (having moved into the area only recently). On a whim we decided to go the castle. A brilliant decision!

We went for a tour at 12 noon and were guided by Gypsy Elizabeth Boswell. Luckily there were only three of us so the tour was entirely personalised and incredibly interesting blending both excellent historical knowledge with a keen understanding of the rich narrative of the castle itself. Following the tour you are able to follow the exhibition through to the more modern elements of the Castle and Oxford prison, again thoroughly fascinating, with plenty to read and to do that will keep all ages amused.

I would definitely return again

Date of experience: January 2015
5  Thank novice_traveller2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Unlocked, General Manager at Oxford Castle & Prison, responded to this reviewResponded January 5, 2015

It is very gracious of you to add to your wife's comments. We really love getting these reviews and hearing what people thought of the attraction. We're aiming to climb back up the TripAdvisor ladder this year and we are putting a great deal of energy into making the experience even better, which will hopefully justify more great reviews like yours.

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1,320 - 1,324 of 1,988 reviews

Reviewed January 1, 2015

We are local to Oxford and were looking for something to do on our annual 'New Years Day' outing. Normally this consists of a visit to one of the local stately homes but, as these were closed for the winter, we were forced to try something new.

Having stumbled across a mention of this online, we decided to give it a go, not knowing what to expect. We were very pleasantly surprised!

Our guide 'Gypsy Boswell' greeted us and, with it being 12am on New Years day, we were the only ones on the tour. I'm normally a little wary of character guides but she was outstanding. The character was enough to give context to the tour but she was clearly not fixed to a rigid script and happy to adapt the discussion to suit. My husband is a history teacher and impressed with both the breadth and depth of knowledge which is often lacking in other similar experiences.

This place gives a great insight into some of Oxford's lesser known history and the experience is very immersive, though I wont be trading in my bed for one of theirs any time soon! Sadly my mum didn't fancy the steps to the top of the tower which are admittedly narrow but not overly lengthy. The view at the top is well worth it!

Overall - reasonably priced, enjoyable and informative. Highly recommended

Date of experience: January 2015
3  Thank Victoria M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Unlocked, General Manager at Oxford Castle & Prison, responded to this reviewResponded January 4, 2015

A personal tour, how lucky, and with your very own drunken thief. What better way to spend New Years day with your husband. As always I'm so pleased you had such a great time. Gypsy will be happy she was able to make it an enjoyable visit and that she wasn't tripped up by your husbands history knowledge.

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Reviewed December 30, 2014

nice for an hour or two - tours very good staff excellent and interesting that used to be a prison until recently - tours can get busy but earlier mornings are better

Date of experience: December 2014
1  Thank normanHertfordshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Unlocked, General Manager at Oxford Castle & Prison, responded to this reviewResponded January 2, 2015

Clearly a hard man to impress so I'm glad you enjoyed your visit and thank you for your review. You're right that it's quieter in the mornings but we never over subscribe our tours, so it wont ever be crowed once you get going. In fact the more people you have the better I think, it means there's less chance you'll be the one selected to go in the pillory.

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Reviewed December 20, 2014

My partner and I went on this not really knowing what to expect. My partner is an open hater of guided tours but agreed to do the tour as it was something I wanted to do. As it turned out he loved this tour. Our guide was fantastic and really knew the facts about the castle and responded well to the multiple questions my partner gave her showing clearly her passion and knowledge for the castle and oxfords history as a whole. Fantastic cannot recommend it enough!!!!

Date of experience: December 2014
2  Thank Nina2709
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Unlocked, General Manager at Oxford Castle & Prison, responded to this reviewResponded January 2, 2015

Thank you so much for your review, and it being your first one as well, I'm really pleased we delivered. I also like to hear the guides are being tested, the more questions they get the happier they are (I promise).

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Reviewed December 13, 2014

We found this place excellent value for money. It obviously has lots of free places in Oxford to compete with and so makes that extra effort. The tour guide was informative and witty and dressed for the part as a prison warden. He was not robotic and was happy to deviate from "his script" when we showed an interest in a particular story. This all took about 45 mins and then we spent another hour exploring the prison cells and the exhibition upstairs, which was full of even more information and history. This was all new info compared to the guide and so not repeated at all. The upstairs has some great activities for kids and lots of info for adults. Good value for money all around.

Date of experience: December 2014
1  Thank JenB1982
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Unlocked, General Manager at Oxford Castle & Prison, responded to this reviewResponded December 22, 2014

Mr Barker won't be happy that you had so much fun! I'm surprised he let you out to be honest but clearly you have a level of cunning that helped you escape.

I'm glad you did and were able to write such a lovely review for us. We are working really hard to stand out in the city and present its 1000 year history in a fresh and intriguing way, so I'm really pleased you got so much out of it.

Thank you

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