Those re-visiting the inimitable city of Oxford may well ask themselves how, on their first trip, they failed to visit Oxford Castle, that formidable Norman stronghold with its Saxon tower which predates the university.The answer is that from 1071 until 1996 it was the city’s main prison, and as such was opportunely ignored.
Thankfully, the castle has now been open to the public since 2006 under a different guise, while still remaining faithful to its history, The Independent reports. An area designated to inviting cafés, restaurants and a modern art gallery, lives alongside a museum, cleverly named ‘Oxford Castle – Unlocked’ where guided visits show the gruesome life that past inmates faced.
The one-time prison is also home to the Malmaison hotel, which claims to be a ’daring escape destination’. The luxury hotel offers you the choice of sleeping in an original cell complete with barred windows, albeit with chic features and decor, or a more conventional suite in the governor’s old house.
Either way it is certainly an original way to spend the night and the Oxford castle development is a premier addition to the wealth of fascinating sites that Oxford offers to visitors from both home and abroad.