O3 Gallery

Price guide: Free

Oxford Castle, New Road, Oxford, Oxon, OX1 1AY

Price guide: Free

O3 Gallery Below Malmaison Hotel
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By Adrian Mourby, your Oxford expert

I write for Classic FM, Evening .... Read more
#19 of 21
expert-rated things to do in Oxford
Expert overall rating:3.4 out of 5
Value for money:
Recommended for:
Backpackers / Students, Culture vultures, Art, Design and architecture, Escaping the crowds

Expert review of O3 Gallery

From Prison Tower to One of Oxford’s Trendiest Galleries

Oxford Prison was famous for its starring role in both The Italian Job and the TV series Porridge. When the goal was decommissioned part of it became a Malmaison hotel, quite a lot of it became restaurants and the rest was absorbed into Oxford Castle – Unlocked, a 40 minute “visitor experience”. One small tower that used to be a craftwork room in the days when Oxford still had inmates has become a gallery of contemporary art with particular emphasis on artists with Oxford connections.

The space is small, circular and split on to two levels (presumably so the gaolers could make sure nothing illicit was being fashioned below). Pictures are hung on metal wire that runs from floor to ceiling. The average visit shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes but the gallery represents a pleasant break from shopping or an alternative to meeting in one of the many bars nearby.

Recent exhibitions have included winners of the Cotswold Scene photographic competition, a Summer Show by Rona (the artist who created a monochromatic copy of the famous Bullingdon portrait) and textile art by Amanda Hislop.

The staff tend to be artists themselves and claim O3 is Oxford’s friendliest gallery. It’s certainly been welcoming every time I’ve popped in.

Expert tips: 
If you’re in Oxford for any length of time get on the mailing list and you get invited along to the private view and meet the Mayor!
Should you want to fortify yourself beforehand the area immediately outside O3 is a warren of places to eat: the Malmaison brasserie, Café 1071, Prezzo, La Tasca, The Real China, Pizza Express, Krispy Kreme, The Swan & Castle, and The Living Room.

More information on O3 Gallery :

Price guide:
Art gallery, Historic site
Oxford Castle, New Road, Oxford, Oxon, OX1 1AY
01865 246131
Months open:
All year round
Opening times:
Tues-Fri 12noon-5pm Sat-Sun 11am – 4pm Closed Monday
Free tags / Keywords:
Local art, Contemporary art

Have you been to O3 Gallery ? Would you recommended it?