Alcatraz – five years on

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I was last in San Francisco in 2009 as part of the Sheriff’s Commission looking at world class attractions. One of those attractions was Alcatraz. It gets 5,000 visitors per day – around 1.5 million each year. The general rule of thumb test as to whether you were world class suggested one million people was the threshold.


It is a fascinating place – taking around 2.5 hours to complete the short ferry crossing, audio tour and trip back. The audio tour is excellent and keeps you interested. The cost was $30 each – £19 approximately. So it’s not cheap but I wouldn’t complain about value for money.

But the real issue here is when you stand back and think about it – I can’t help but wonder why Nottingham Castle can’t replicate this. I never have. Not back in 2009 and not since.

I’m invited this week to a grand launch at the Castle – so it will be interesting to see how far we have come…


* It’s basic. there’s no cafe – there is a shop.

* It has a short history – accepting that it was infamous in that time

* It is full of legends – The Birman, Al Capone et al.

* It’s run by volunteers – all enthusiasts.

So why haven’t we been able to transfer this to Nottingham Castle:

* It’s not basic – there’s a cafe and a shop (both are terrible)

* It has a long history

* Er … Robin Hood, The Sheriff of Nottingham?

* No it’s not.

We must be bale to make something of this? I live in hope. But don’t hold my breath.

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