Wednesday, 20 July 2016

A Visit To Oxford Castle Unlocked And The Castleyard Cafe Review

My family and I were asked by if we could do a blog for her. Of course we would do something for my best friend. Vicky what beauty products would you like us to try? (I have a teenage girl.) Nope, fancy a trip to Oxford Castle?

Is there castle still standing?

Wow yeah why not? I love history. You never know it might help the kids with a school topic. So a booking on the tour and voucher for the newly refurbished and renamed café, ‘Castleyard café’ all booked for the 17th of July.
Never been to oxford before, so checked out TripAdvisor and google. Wow there is a castle and OMG it was used as a prison till 1996. This is going to be a great day.

Husband and I check out all the local car parks and thanks to google and people reviewing the car parks we found the best car park. Oxpens, (Oxpens Rd, Oxford OX1 1RQ ) price wasn’t too expensive, but £12.00 for 4-6 hours on a Sunday, we thought was ok. Machine even takes notes so you don’t need to carry around pound coins. After a nice five, seven minute walk, (depending on your pace and kids ages) and there you are in the centre and right outside the café.

Having two hot and hungry little boys we went to the Castleyard café first. Wow, it looks tiny from the outside but inside its light bright and very spacious. The cake and pudding table got my eye straight away! There are plenty of seats and if the café is busy there is a tall bookcase with books, plenty to keep the children entertained while your order is being made. The coffee was very hot and wet. We didn’t have long to wait and god bless the staff they were very patient with us while the boys understood that there was no fast food.

Mike had chicken and mushroom pie with mash. This pie was amazing. Huge pieces of chicken and mushrooms sliced in half. The sauce was creamy and smelt delicious.


My daughter’s salad with couscous, she also had the classic sandwich

The ‘healthy’, chicken and avocado. This was amazing. Filled me up but had enough space for ice cream. Don’t we pudding fans always have space!

Anson my youngest with a ‘classic’, BLT.

The ice cream was a blessing on this hot day. My sons and I tried Jude’s chocolate mini tubs. Perfect for little ones and chocoholics. Plenty of flavours to choose from but we are die hard chocolate fans I’m afraid. Kirstin and mike had cornetto’s. The rest rooms were very clean. On the main floor there is a disabled w.c with baby changing facilities and a mix use w.c downstairs which can be accessed via a lift to the key learning centre. 


After filling ourselves up on what we must say was truly the best sandwiches we have ever eaten.It was time for the kids to burn off their built up energy and time to explore before our tour. We had a quick walk around the area. There has been a clever and very sympathetic development to the area. Plenty to explore easy access to town and plenty of bus stops nearby.

The castle shop was very smart and very reasonably priced. Plenty for all ages and plenty for the tourist. Tour books were available to buy, at £3.95; this is one of the cheapest we have bought. Very well written and defiantly worth buying. (we have bought a few from our trips to English heritage sites)

Our tour was with a lovely welcoming young lady whose character was hung in the prison. Mary Blandy

.The tour starts in the tower. St George’s tower. This I’m afraid is where if you have young children or children who are young at heart I wouldn’t take up the steep stairs. If you have mobility problem or have problems with tight small places stay at the bottom and watch the video they have made. Being mildly acrophobic I thought I would try the stairs. I struggled but with the help of my husband and being last in the queue we made it up and down. The view is worth it but coming down the 101 stairs I found very difficult. The rest of the tour has stairs but there are lifts for these floors.

The crypt, the prison cells and the museum are fun. Plenty of participation. Dressing up, having a go in the ‘piles’. The children all found something different that they liked and found funny in each section of the tour. My boys loved the rats.

The tour lasted an hour, we had chance at the end of the guided tour to go back and look at the crypt, the D wing of the prison and the museum. Then if you want there is the original mound and bailey castle to explore. Which if on a beautiful day is amazing.


Oxford Castle Unlocked is open daily from 10.00am to 5.30pm (last tour 4.20pm). Standard admission prices until 31 January 2015: Adult: £10.25, Concession: £8.45, Child: £6.95, Family (2 adults, 2 children): £32.95

The café has free Wi-Fi for their customers, passwords available from the café staff. For mums who are breastfeeding, this is a feeding friendly place.

I would highly recommend the café to any of my friends and strangers. My boys have talked nothing but nope stop, on how lush and giant their sandwiches were. They are already planning on us going back and seeing more of the Oxford. We all give the Castleyard café 5/5. The tour 4.5/5.

Thank you to Being Tilly's Mummy and the The Castleyard  Cafe/ Oxford Castle Unlocked

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