This picturesque medieval wool town is located to the south of the golden Cotswolds. Its broad, tree lined, High Street runs steeply downhill from the A40 to the River Windrush. Packed with a mix of higgledy-piggledy historic stone and timber-framed houses, hotels, shops and tearooms - all 18th century or earlier. A pretty, triple-arched stone bridge, spans the river at the bottom of the hill, where a ford once provided passage in Saxon times.
Burford High Street © Travel About Britain
During the Middle Ages Burford thrived on the local wool trade. Much of this wealth was lavished on its local-stone built houses and mansions. Built in a range of styles, with slate roofs, gables and mullioned windows. The 15th-c Lamb Inn, in Sheep Street, is the oldest of the town's many old coaching taverns, including the nearby Baytree, the Priory, the Crown and the Bear Inn.
Burford Tolsey (toll house) © TAB
On the High Street, The Tolsey (a former 16th-c toll house, raised on stone pillars), was once used by local merchants to ply their trade. It is now an interesting little museum, exhibiting local history and craft work. Small markets still take place regularly under its arcades.
Along Lawrence Lane, near to the river, can be found the admirable old buildings of a 16th-c Grammar School (now a Boarding School). A fine line of almshouses in nearby Church Lane lead to the splendid Norman and Gothic Church of St John the Baptist. The church was the scene of a grim episode in 1649, when Cromwell's men trapped a group of mutineers inside and executed three in the churchyard.
Ample parking can be found in the car park, at the end of Church Lane. To fully appreciate the town, take your time to walk up and down the length of the High Street or follow the path along the quiet banks of the Windrush.
Visitor Information Centre:
|33 High St, Burford OX18 4QA - Tel: 01993 823558|