Burford is twenty miles west of Oxford and is considered the southern gateway to the Cotswolds. It is a beautiful old Cotswold town, famous for its sloping High Street, which runs down from the high Wolds, with beautiful views over the open countryside, to the willow fringed River Windrush, in the pretty Windrush valley. A fine three arched medieval bridge crosses the river at the foot of the hill.
In Anglo-Saxon times, Burford was the site of a fortified ford on the river Windrush. The town grew to be an important crossroads and a wealthy wool town, which is very popular with visitors today. The broad main street is lined with dignified old houses, ancient cottages and many shops, all of which appear little changed since Tudor times, as witnessed by the precarious angles the buildings have come to rest at.
There are wonderful little side streets to explore, as well as many old pubs, cafes and antique shops. The 15th century parish church of St. John Baptist is magnificent and is another sign of the wealth that the wool trade generated for the town.
Food & Drink
Burford has numerous places to eat and drink, with a range of cuisines and prices to suit most tastes and budgets. The list below is a small sample of the range of options available:
- The Bull at Burford (www.bullatburford.co.uk): The Brasserie at the Bull at Burford is a gourmet delight. According to the seasons, specialties range from the chefs homemade pork terrine or Asian seafood stew for starters to hanging kebab skewer specials to medallions of venison. Of the desserts the trio of caramel and the seasonal Eton mess are already a favourite on the menu. Since opening in June 2010, the Brasserie has been given 2 AA rosettes for Culinary Excellence and a special AA Breakfast Award;
- The Mermaid (www.themermaidburford.co.uk): Spanning two floors, this charming and charismatic restaurant maintains the original 18th century architecture, complete with traditional stone features and fireplaces, and old wooden beams and fittings. If you're a fan of intimate dining, you'll love the candlelit atmosphere upstairs, whilst there is also a conservatory area perfect for large families, and additional space in the general bar area. A varied menu is offered in the restaurant, with homemade food to suit all preferences and dietary persuasions. The award-winning bar has a range of excellent beers and local ales. Three real ales are always available, along with a changing guest ale.