It doesn’t get much more quaint, or quintessentially ‘Cotswolds’ than the beautiful town of Burford. Situated in North Oxfordshire, its sloping High Street leads from the high Wolds, with beautiful vistas over open countryside, via a traditional parade of shops and townhousesdown to the willow-fringed river Windrush at the foot of the hill.
“Burford is a beautiful Cotswold town surrounded by equally stunning villages. The main street is flanked by historic houses and a wonderful array of boutiques, cafes, restaurants and pubs. The town has a wonderful welcoming feel to it – we love it.” Francesca Sharvell.
Burford’s position on the river Windrush meant it became the site of a fortified ford in Anglo-Saxon times. The town grew to be an important crossroads and very wealthy wool town. It was also voted 6th best place to live in Europe (Forbes magazine, 2010).
Burford’s historic architecture is largely unspoilt – with much of the town’s housing stock hewn from honey coloured Cotswold stone.
Butcher, baker, candlestick makers… all the traditional wares are covered on Burford High Street, brimming with independent stores – from booksellers to florists and the foodie mecca that is the Cotswold Cheese Company.
La Bulle offers gorgeous leatherware while Slate Clothing offers an edit of stylish womenswear.
The High Street and its surrounding off-shoots are peppered with great eateries. Lynwood & Co Cafeis the perfect coffee pit-stop – or book in for an afternoon tea treat at Huffkins, serving up a cuppa on the High Street since 1890 – they know a thing or two about a cucumber sandwich.
20 minutes away the Cotswold mothership, Daylesford Organic Farm which is home to a fabulous deli, interiors shop, restaurant, cookery school, a spa and is a day out in itself – be it for muddy carrots, a manicure or a bite to eat from their popular British ‘field to fork’ menu.
Upton Smokery offers – unsurprisingly – a range of smoked meats and fish. The Firehouse restaurant is great for kids, with big sharing tables, a relaxed atmosphere and fab family-friendly BBQ menu.
If you’re looking for a place to rest your head, The Bay Tree Hotel nestled down a quiet side street in Burford itself offers everything you’d want from a country retreat – replete with flagstone floors, roaring fires and contemporary furnishings.
Pic credit: The Bay Tree Hotel
Foodies should book into The Angel at Burford– an award-winning gastro pub with rooms, the walled garden is a sun trap in the summer while in the winter months the proper comfort food menu and well-chosen wine list will keep you well fed and watered.
Pic credit: The Angel
Thyme is a destination all of its own ‘a hamlet within the village of Southrop’ the enclosed collection of restored historic buildings feels like a cosseting escape from the daily grind. With a strong sustainable ethos, they offer hotel rooms, self-catering cottages, cookery-school classes, spa facilities, tithe barn dining for celebrations and corporate events, cocktail bar, restaurant, village pub and gardens…. you may never leave.
The Cotswold Wildlife Park is close by, a guaranteed children-pleaser of a day out. All the ‘favourites’ are there – from giraffes, to zebras, lions, primates and penguins. Set in gloriously landscaped gardens with the Victorian manor house as a handsome backdrop.
Burford Garden Company is well regarded in The Cotswolds for a fantastic range of plants, garden furniture as well as decorations and homewares – all beautifully presented and with a fantastic play area to keep the smaller shoppers happy.
Although one of the smaller Cotwold towns, the area is surrounded by quaint villages such Aldsworth, Hatherop with renowned Hatherop Castle school, Little Barrington and Southrop. It is brilliantly located in the ‘prime Cotswold’ heartland, with easy access to Oxford, Cheltenham, Stow on the Wold and Moreton on Marsh.