We spent a lovely few days away in our motorhome to the Cotswolds with friends and based ourselves in Woodstock at a temporary holiday meet organised by the Camping and caravan club in Woodstock.
This turned out a great location as we could walk into the town of Woodstock to catch a bus to Witney one day and Burford the next. Burford was an hour’s journey going all around the local villages, but it was well worth it. Woodstock is a great town for the buses as from here you can also get to Oxford and Cheltenham. And of course, you can also change at Oxford to go out to other places. Our friends visited the Bicester Designer Outlet which was a short drive away but you could get a bus from Oxford. You pick up the buses from the Marlborough Arms in Woodstock.
Table of Contents
- 1 Burford High Street
- 2 St. John the Baptist’s Church
- 3 Open Garden
- 4 Burford Shops
- 5 Burford Cotswolds Pubs
- 6 Burford Antiques –
- 7 Madhatter Bookshop
- 8 Tolsey Museum, Burford
- 9 Huffkins Tea Rooms
- 10 Burford Cotswolds Photo Gallery
- 11 How to get to Burford
- 12 Parking in Burford
- 13 Burford Guide, Walks and Cycle Ride Free Downloads
- 14 Burford Cotswolds Accommodation
- 15 Campsites Burford Cotswolds
Burford High Street
As we approached Burford on the bus from the top of the hill, we had a lovely view of the tree-lined main high street below and the beautiful surrounding countryside. It was very impressive and picture-perfect. The only thing that spoilt it a little was the traffic and cars parked on both sides of the road, making it difficult to photograph the beautiful buildings.
Burford often referred to as “The Gateway to the Cotswolds.” is a small medieval town on the River Windrush in the Cotswold hills in West Oxfordshire. The town is full of lovely old sand-stone houses which have attractive Tudor and Georgian frontages.
The road is lined with specialist independent shops, antique and art shops along with plenty of cafes, restaurants.
We headed first for the town’s three-arched medieval bridge at the north end of town to take a look at the River Windrush before heading just off the high street to the church.
St. John the Baptist’s Church
The church is the oldest building in Burford and is one of the larger churches in this part of the Cotswolds. The construction of the original church started in 1175 and was finally completed in 1500 with the addition of the church spire. There are date carvings over the doors and archways. Wealthy wool merchants funded it.
An interesting fact: In the past, it was used as a temporary prison – and, a merciless execution site by Oliver Cromwell after the English Civil War. Cromwell personally executed several rebel soldiers in the churchyard for their refusal to follow orders. The church is a Grade I listed building.
The exterior architecture of the church is impressive to see as well as the interior which features a fan-vaulted ceiling, beautiful artwork, carvings and eye-catching stained glass windows.
The church is FREE to visit and receives over 100,000 visitors every year, which makes it one of the top ten visited churches in the UK.
We walked through the gardens surrounding the church admiring the lovely views of the surrounding countryside and taking in the peaceful feeling compared to the hustle and bustle of the high street.
Just round the corner, just before the car park and public toilets are the Open Garden. (Small garden centre which is inside someone’s garden) Where you can buy plants. The payment for the plants works on an honesty system. Just pop the money in the owner’s letter or money box.
There are lots of lovely shops to browse around in Burford High Street where you can buy souvenirs. One we spent quite a while looking in was the Three French Hens. It’s full of postcards, door stops, signs (which we spent ages reading and laughing about), candles and much more.
There are art galleries, clothes shops – one, in particular, the Oxford Shirt Company is more of a clothes department store for men and women. The store goes back quite a long way and is interesting to look around.
Burford’s Christmas Court is a Christmas shop open all year round.
We brought sweets from the vintage Burford Sweet Shop where they sell bonbons, liquorice, pineapple cubes, toffees and lots more from the jars lining the walls.
Burford Cotswolds Pubs
There is no shortage of pubs in Burford the most popular is The Cotswold Arms, but there is also The Royal Oak, The Mermaid Inn and The Angel. We stopped off in one of the pub’s sun courtyards for lunch with half a pint of locally brewed beer.
Burford Antiques –
at the George
If you love antiques, then you will enjoy browsing around the antiques at the George which is in the middle of the High Street. It is over three floors, and you will find everything from wooden furniture to ceramic plates. The George used to be an Inn and is where Charles II brought his mistress!
Halfway along the road is an old building which was constructed at the turn of the 18th-century. Within the building is Robert Reavley, who claims the title of one of the oldest pharmacies in the UK. It has been in business for well over two centuries.
This two-room shop is beautiful and quirky. The shelves are stacked with both books and hats, which is an unusual combination.
Tolsey Museum, Burford
Also, halfway down the high street is the Tolsey building. This 16th-century black and white timber-framed building was once the meeting place for wool merchants that would come here to pay their taxes and discuss their respective guilds.
The building is now dedicated to the Tolsey Museum.
Full of local treasures and information about the local buildings the museum is upstairs and in a small area.
There are lots of interesting old things relating to Burford, including old documents, old industry tools for quarrying rope making, brewing, saddle making, bell making etc.
Its really interesting and tells lots of stories about local life, from witchcraft to buildings to highwaymen.
Volunteers run the museum, and it is open daily 2 to 5 pm from April to October (not Mondays). Free admission.
Huffkins Tea Rooms
Huffkins is a historic tea room and bakery in the Cotswolds that has been in business since 1890. There are six branches in the Huffkins chain, but the original was founded in Burford by Mr Titcomb. No visit to the Cotswolds would be complete without visiting the tearooms for a cream tea.
Interesting fact: Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges and even the Royal Palaces sell Huffkins baked goods.
We found so many lovely places to photograph in the side streets running off the main road which were worth exploring besides the restaurants and shops along the main road. Many of the cottages we saw had flowers, ivy, plants, and greenery of all kinds growing on or outside their cottages – It is was so pretty.
Burford Cotswolds Photo Gallery
How to get to Burford
Burford is in Oxfordshire and is 18 miles west of the city of Oxford. a 40-minute drive.
Burford is 22 miles southeast of Cheltenham and about 2 miles from the Gloucestershire boundary.
You can get to Burford by:
Burford by Car
If you are driving or you have a hire car with a sat nav, then the postcode to input is OX18 4QU. From Oxford, you can take the A40.
Burford By Bus
You can get the Stagecoach service 233 to Burford from Woodstock and the Swanbrook coach service 853 from Oxford.
Burford by Train
There is no train station in Burford, but the stops of Charlbury and Shipton are nearby.
Parking in Burford
The large car park in Burford is FREE and is located just off the high street. It is near Church Lane and on the river. All the towns in Oxfordshire Cotswolds offer free parking.
There are public toilets next to the car park which charge 20p.
Burford Guide, Walks and Cycle Ride Free Downloads
Download the Burford Guide here
Also, there are two other walks centred on Burford that are available to download:
Several free downloadable cycle rides pass through Burford, including
Burford & the Windrush Valley a 26-mile circular tour
The Windrush Valley Cycle Route a waymarked 17-mile route between Witney and Northleach.
Burford Cotswolds Accommodation
Burford is the perfect location to base yourself when visiting the Cotswolds as it’s effortless to explore both the northern and southern boundaries of the Cotswolds from here.
Burford Travel Lodge
A40 Burford roundabout,
Burford OX18 4jf
Tel: 0871 984 6018
Clean and comfortable rooms which are a good size. Very good value.
Friendly helpful staff. Next to a Starbucks.
Great location with less than a 10-minute walk into town or a 2 -minute drive. It is at the top of the Burford hill. Only negative is that it is that if walking into town you have to navigate two lanes of traffic at the side of the major roundabout to reach the top of the hill. I would suggest taking the car and parking it in the large car park at the bottom end of town.
This is a dog-friendly hotel.
Good location for exploring the Cotswolds.
Inn for All Seasons
The Barringtons, Burford, OX8 4TN
Excellent location. Friendly, helpful staff, Good food in the restaurant. Clean rooms nicely decorated.
Check Availability here
Campsites Burford Cotswolds
Blandon Chains Caravan and Motorhome Club Site
Oxfordshire OX20 1PT
Tel: 01342 327 490
This club is a member site only – You may be able to join on-site.
This is a lovely little site which is great for exploring the Cotswolds. It has a bus stop outside which goes into Witney and Burford. There is also a bus that goes to Oxford and Cheltenham. The bus service is excellent (half-hourly). Pick up the bus from the roundabout on the main road.
The site is right next to Blenheim Palace.
A well laid out site with nicely spaced level pitches. Grass and hardstanding pitches. The campsite is kept spotless.
Short walk into the pretty village of Woodstock.