B is for BURFORD

Cotswold Life|May 2020

B is for BURFORD
Tracy Spiers take a wander around the streets – and letters – of the Oxfordshire town of Burford
Tracy Spiers

It is one of England’s most picturesque towns and is known as the Gateway to the Cotswolds. Set on the River Windrush, Burford is beautifully formed, has a unique history, plenty of retail independence, has a plethora of foods to taste, opportunity in terms of activities and events to see and experience, stunning surrounding countryside to explore on foot and is a destination as well as a launch-pad from which to venture out to other Cotswold gems. Taking its name in acrostic form, I will attempt to unpack this town’s characteristics and hopefully entice you to visit this timeless, charming place for yourself.

B for BEAUTIFUL CHARACTER

With its quaint medieval bridge, stunning old stone houses and attractive Tudor and Georgian frontages, Burford definitely scores top marks for its beauty. It is full of character and as one drives into its famous broad High Street, it is as if the modern world is left behind due to the timeless quality of this place. I famously wrote in one feature about Burford that its buildings seem to defy the laws of graffiti. My spell check let me down for what I meant to write was gravity. Many buildings seem to slant at funny angles making those enjoying a quiet cup of coffee to think something stronger might have been added to the caffeine and they weren’t seeing straight. Straight lines don’t exist here which adds to the character.

One of the town’s 16th-century buildings is The Tolsey, once the meeting place for medieval merchants. The Tolsey Museum is a charming amenity celebrating the town’s social, cultural and industrial past. The Warwick almshouses and the Grade 1 listed Church of St John the Baptist with its amazing tombs with bales on top are worth looking at too. The central part of Burford’s High Street, originally the commercial heart of the town, contains some striking buildings. Many are of medieval origin and include former coaching inns and prominent merchants’ houses including Greyhounds, built for a wool merchant in the 15th century and now a popular B&B.

Burford is a place where one can easily feel in another time and place and if one lets the imagination take over, one can picture the town in medieval days.

U for UNIQUE HISTORY

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May 2020