This new attraction located within the D-Wing of the former prison, is a fantastic introduction to the history of Oxford - (the city not the University) - and the stories of some of the Prison's former inmates.
As you walk through the tiny cells and atmospheric prison corridors, you hear all about the real people and events from the site’s turbulent past: the first Oxford teachings, the owners, visionaries, activists and inmates.
People like Marshall William Smith, the King’s prison keeper, who in the 1600s made Oxford Prison as feared and as notorious as Colditz; Mary Blandy a convicted murderess, who became an 18th-century celebrity; Jack Ketch, the public executioner and the man on which the Punch & Judy hangman character was modelled; and Anne Green, who survived her own hanging and narrowly escaped being anatomised by an Oxford medical student in 1650!
After your tour of the Prison there is the chance to climb the 101 narrow steps of the Saxon St George's Tower and enjoy the spectacular 360 degree panoramic views of the Oxford skyline.
Oxford Castle, (off New Road), Oxford, OX1 1AY
T: 01865 260666
Beamish Open Air Museum, located between Newcastle and Durham, is a fantastic attraction – a full day out for families of all ages. Step back in time as you discover what life was like 100 or 200 years ago.
Restored trams and period double-decker buses take you around this vast site as you hop on and off to visit the different attractions. There is an early 20th century Town Street, complete with shops, pub, bank, houses, a Masonic Hall and even a sweet factory. Elsewhere there is a Colliery Village with a drift mine you can take a tour into. There is also the fantastic Pockerly Waggonway - where you can ride along behind replicas of three of the world’s most famous steam engines - Puffing Billy, Steam Elephant and George Stephenson's Locomotion 1.
Other attractions on site include Home Farm - a working farm with animals and Pockerley Manor a grand Georgian manor house set in beautiful Gardens. There is also a range of events that take place throughout the year which are included in the admission price.
Beamish Open Air Museum, County Durham, DH9 0RG
tel: 0191 370 4000;
Vegetarian & vegan restaurant, with fantastic and imaginative dishes. Neither me nor my partner are veggies/vegan but have eaten here twice as the food is simply great, especially the pasta dishes. Leave room for dessert too as they are sublime!
Always busy so best to book ahead.
56-58 St Mary's Street, Edinburgh,
(Off the Royal Mile and the Cowgate): tel: 0131 556 5888;
The amazing 170m tall viewing tower in Portsmouth has fantastic panoramic views over the harbour and out towards the Isle of Wight. It also has Europe's largest glass floor on its first viewing deck ,which kids and adults alike can't get enough of... so long as you've got the nerve to take the first step on it!
Located on the fab development of Gunwharf Quays with is bustling bars and restaurants with plenty of outdoor seating in the summer and great shops to keep mums quiet too!
Spinnaker Tower, Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, PO1
A warren of underground streets and houses hidden beneath Edinburgh's Royal Mile. Costumed guides take you around this amazing site, revealing the stories of the former residents. Very eerie and supposedly very haunted. Great for adults and older kids alike.
Mary King's Close, off the Royal Mile;
Bookings: 08702 430 160;
Fantastic accommodation at very reasonable rates. The location is second to none, just a stone’s throw from the Old Town Square and located just off Parizska Street (Prague's mini Knightsbridge with Hermes, Louis Vuitton and more).
The price includes free airport transfer and our driver was prompt and extremely courteous, despite speaking fractured English he pointed out places of interest as we approached the city centre.
Accommodation consists of self-contained apartments, ours was nice and spacious, very clean and toasty warm (we stayed in January!). Only minor point was that the bathroom was a tad small but a nice big shower made up for this.
The apartments are located in a listed building which has links to Franz Kafka and I recall reading in the info pack in the apartment that it is due to be renovated to restore some of the fabulous orginal features in the currently, rather dark entrance hall.
Better prices sometimes available on laterooms.com
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