Information about Burford
Situated 18 miles west of Oxford, the medieval town of Burford is considered the “gateway” to the Cotswolds and one of England’s prettiest villages. Its high street slopes from the high Wolds down to the Windrush valley, where it meets the river Windrush, flanked by willows. At the foot of the hill, a medieval triple-arch stone bridge crosses the river.
Burford prospered thanks to its wool trade, and the town still preserves much of its original appearance, with ancient stone cottages and shops standing at drunken angles, a famous 15th century parish church and side streets full of traditional English pubs, tearooms and antique shops to explore. Burford is also home to the oldest chemist shop in the country.
Where to stay in Burford
The choice is wide for hotels in Burford and neighbouring villages, alongside bed and breakfasts, inns and pubs with rooms for the budget traveller, as well as self-catering cottages. A good range of accommodation can also be found in Windrush, five miles west, and Shipton-under-Wychwood, four miles north, for example. Or you could go further out and choose one of the hotels in Stow-on-the-Wold or Bibury, both 10 miles away.
Different types of hotel
The standard of hotels in Burford and surrounding areas is generally high whatever your budget may be. Burford hotels with character and charm are available for under £100 a night right in the centre, such as the boutique-chic Bay Tree Hotel on the High Street or the award-winning Lamb Inn on Sheep Street for a warm, relaxed mood. Alternatively, you could go to a hotel in Cirencester, eight miles away, such as Barnsley House, for a daily rate exceeding £200 for a more luxurious setting, including a pool, a spa and magnificent gardens.
Walkers and cyclists may find it convenient to stay at a bed and breakfast with walk and cycle paths nearby and good food. Beware, however, that bed and breakfasts have a restricted number of rooms. It is advisable to book well in advance, particularly during the high season.
Pubs and inns in and around Burford will also offer good ale, fine wines, a romantic log fire in winter, in addition to comfortable rooms. You’ll get the best of both worlds: the experience of staying in a historical stone building while having access to all the modern facilities.
Families and groups of friends travelling together may want to consider a self-catering accommodation. They can be as luxurious as a 5 star hotel, with heated pool and gym, yet with home-like comfort and quintessentially English decoration. Some self-catering cottages are also dog-friendly.
What to do during your stay in Burford
While in Burford don’t miss a visit to the well-preserved St John the Baptist church, a Grade I-listed building and one of the top 10 visited churches in the country for its centuries of history. The Tudor market house Tolsey, which overlooks the town’s main medieval market area, was a focal point for the town’s wool trade but is now a museum housing many interesting local historical documents. Also worth seeing on the High Street is England’s oldest pharmacy, Robert Reavley (124 High Street), which first opened in 1734, and the 15th century almshouses on Church Lane.
A fantastic day out with the family would be a visit to the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens, two miles south of Burford, containing the UK’s largest privately owned zoological collection. You can see rhinos grazing on the manor house lawns and take a stroll along the Giraffe Walkway to literally see eye to eye with the giraffes.
Blenheim Palace, in Woodstock, about 17 miles away, is a monumental country house in English Baroque style, designated a Unesco World Heritage Site. It is home to the 11th Duke of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Enjoy the magnificent interiors with gilded state rooms, the amazing porcelain collection, painted ceilings and striking stonework in this Grade I-listed building.
If you enjoy William Morris’ textile patterns, his well-preserved country retreat Kelmscott Manor, with an interior décor and furniture in Morris’ distinct signature, is worth a visit. He loved this house as a work of true craftsmanship in organic harmony with the surrounding countryside. The beauty and seclusion of the place, which inspired Morris’ work, can still be felt today. The house is 10 miles south of Burford.
Many of the beautiful Cotswolds towns are only a short distance from Burford and would make perfect day trips, such as Chipping Campden (20 miles), Broadway (22 miles), Stow-on-the-Wold (10 miles) and Painswick (30 miles).
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