Oxford Castle and Prison
Oxford Castle & Prison is a 1000-year-old castle which also served as a prison for over 800 years. The visitor attraction opened on 2 June 2006 and gives visitors the opportunity to learn about the real people who lived and died throughout the site’s turbulent past. Visitors are able to walk through the ancient buildings and experience the stories that connect the real people to these extraordinary events.
Why are Oxford Castle and Prison great for School Trips and Educational Visits?
Step inside and do 1,000 years of time...
Enrich your tour of the historic Castle and Prison with a hands-on workshop delivered in the Key Learning Centre by our friendly and knowledgeable learning team. There is a large selection of cross-curricular workshops available to choose from at Oxford Castle & Prison, using the 1,000-year history of the Castle and its environment to engage your class with a range of topics. We are also happy to tailor these to meet your learning objectives.
Workshops offer a mixture of activities including:
- Evidence handling
- Literacy development
- Practical problem-solving.
Suitable for KS1-KS5, sessions can be linked directly to the national curriculum: history, geography, citizenship, literacy, design technology, art and many more. All workshop prices include a guided tour of Oxford Castle & Prison, and time to explore the Castle Mound and wider site. A free familiarisation visit is available for all group organisers, along with our free Teachers’ Pack, with essential visit information and ideas; devised in collaboration with practising teachers.
What activities are available during group visits?
King of the Castle
What was it like to live inside the walls of a mighty medieval castle? In this interactive session, pupils will use their senses to understand some of the differences between ‘then’ and now, at a site that has been an important local place for over 1,000 years. Suitable for Foundation Stage and KS1 and can also be adapted for KS2.
Empress Matilda and the Great Escape
Develop pupils’ storytelling using costume and original objects to recreate an episode with a famous character from Oxford Castle & Prison’s history. Suitable for KS1 and KS2.
This popular collage-making workshop is a great way for all ages to create an artistic response to their experience of visiting the Castle and Prison. Older pupils may wish to explore the feelings evoked by the prison setting, while younger ones can enjoy illustrating some of the stories of our Castle characters—we’ll clear up the mess! Suitable for KS1 and KS2.
A chance to get creative by taking inspiration from the amazing views of the Oxford skyline from the Castle Mound and St. George’s Tower. Pupils will use viewfinders to compose their sketches, before making their own relief prints to take back to school where you can create a colourful panorama around your classroom. Suitable for KS2 onwards.
Centuries of Crime and Punishment
From pillories to porridge! Pupils will explore the theme of crime and punishment over a wide period of time. Using objects, documents and costume, they can find out more about changing attitudes to crime and how criminals have been captured and punished over the years. Suitable for Year 4 onwards.
Clues from the Past
A ‘hands-on’ session, including costume, documents and mystery objects, designed to familiarise pupils with different types of historical evidence—how we know about the Castle and Prison, how the site has changed over the course of time and who lived there. Suitable for KS2.
Mary Blandy on Trial: Villain or Victim?
Pupils will learn how a court case works and re-enact the trial of notorious poisoner Mary Blandy, by using original evidence to decide if she deserved her fate in a case that scandalised eighteenth-century society. Suitable for Year 4 onwards.
How do you build and attack a castle? Pupils will work in teams to consider shapes, materials and forces to find the strongest structure and most successful attack weapon in this practical workshop. Suitable for KS2.
Oxford Use aerial photographs to explore changes to the city and discuss the social and environmental consequences and compare the past with what you can now see from the top of St. George’s Tower!
What size groups do you cater for?
Maximum 30 children per educational workshop, however for special requirements please contact us on the enquiry form below.
Do you offer on-site classroom facilities?
Is there first aid on site?
Do you offer access for visitors with disabilities?
Yes, we have a lift within the attraction and an access ramp into the gift shop. Unfortunately, due to the site's historic nature, we don't have disabled access to St.George's Tower.
Need more inspiration?
We are bursting with ideas on places that deliver first class teaching both outside the classroom and as in-school workshops. Here are a few similar suggestions, or head to our tailor-made trip form and let us know how we can help you!