Guided tour

Oxford Castle and Prison: Guided Tour

4.7 / 5

99 reviews

Activity provider: Oxford Castle & Prison
Guided tour

Oxford Castle and Prison: Guided Tour

Activity provider: Oxford Castle & Prison

From US$ 21.68 per person

Discover the varied history of Oxford Castle & Prison. Learn about its time as a religious site, a jail, and a university. Visit St. George's Tower, the crypt, the Debtors' Tower, and more with your costumed guide.

About this activity

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Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures are in place. Check your activity voucher once you book for full details.
Duration 1 hour
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Live tour guide


  • Climb the Saxon St. George’s Tower, one of the oldest buildings in Oxford, and enjoy its stunning 360° panoramic views of the city
  • Descend deep 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
  • Learn about the modern history of the site and its inmates in the historical Exhibition Wing
Full description

Step into 1,000 years of Oxford’s history with a costumed tour guide. Climb the Saxon St. George’s Tower, descend deep underground into the 900-year-old Crypt, explore the Victorian Prison D-Wing and Debtors' Tower, and scale the Mound of the 11th-century Motte-and-Bailey castle.

Built in 1071 and only closed in 1996, Oxford Castle & Prison is a site with so many fascinating tales to tell. From the modern day stretching all the way back to the barbaric medieval era. The site has links to the birth of education in Oxford, the famous legends of King Arthur, the valiant escape of Empress Matilda and the infamous modern-day cases of murderers and criminals. For hundreds of years, the site has held both famous and infamous residents, serving time as a religious site, a home for royalty, and a center of justice as the county jail. After your 50-minute tour, you will be led into the exhibition wing where you can explore at your own leisure.

  • Access to the Castle, Prison and Mound
  • Guided tour
    Not suitable for
    • People with mobility impairments

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    Meeting point

    Oxford Castle & Prison

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    Important information

    Know before you go

    • This tour is not recommended for people with limited mobility, please visit the Access Information page on the local partner's website for more information
    • The guided tour lasts approx. 50 minutes, after the tour you will be able to explore the exhibition and prison at your own leisure
    • Children under 5 years of age will not be permitted access to St George’s Tower due to health and safety regulations
    • Visitors unable to climb the tower may wait at the bottom with a guardian and watch the “Story of Oxford Castle” video, once the tour group returns from the Tower, you are then able to re-join your group as the tour continues
    Customer reviews

    Overall rating

    4.7 /5

    based on 99 reviews

    Review summary

    • Guide
    • Value for money
    • Service
    • Organization

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    Amazing tour around a site (that honestly I didn't know existed! I thought that Oxford was only the colleges and spires - my bad!) An incredible history that I recommend anyone to go to. Great for kids - I saw a local school bring 30 excited kids learn about children their age in Victorian times serve time there.

    March 31, 2023

    Visit date 28th August 2020. The tour guide Freya was very clear and knowledgable she was very professional with the covid precautions, sanitising handrails ahead of the party and ensuring the 4 small family groups stayed within thier own zones, in the more confined cells we were seperatated by discreet clear screens but still maintained 2 metres distance. The castle and prison has a varied history both historical and more recent.

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    March 31, 2023

    Brilliant experience from the booking experience to the customer service and tour itself. Site is very easy to use and very clear. I did have a question that was answered immediately on WhatsApp. How convenient! The tour was brilliant, the castle wouldn't have been the same without it. Our instructor Alister was superb!

    March 31, 2023

    Product ID: 160806