SUMMER is coming to an end but there is still time for a trip to the beach for Oxford residents and visitors.

About 4,500 people have visited the free Oxford Beach since it opened at the Castle Quarter in May.

Umbrellas have been a more frequent sight throughout a damp August but businesses at the castle are hoping for an Indian summer before it closes on Sunday, September 14.

Castle operations manager Sam Pace said: “We had a lovely Indian summer last year, so we extended the time we kept the beach until October because we didn’t want to waste the good weather.

“The last month has been tough but it’s also made for sandcastle building. Even when there’s rain there’s little ones making castles.”

The beach, which has 50 deckchairs as well as buckets and spades, has been used for summer activities such as barbecues, Caribbean parties, live music and an Oxford United educational programme.

Visitors have also been given tours around the castle by a group of guides based on historical characters including prison governor Daniel Harris, who led penal reform in the city.

The 38 tonnes of sand needed to create the beach will now be donated to schools, nurseries and golf courses.

Ms Pace added: “It’s been a fantastic summer – we’ve had some great sunshine and welcomed new visitors to the castle.

“The last one was the first time we did it and it was brought back by popular demand. We’ll almost certainly be having it again next year.”

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