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Burford is a beautiful small town on the southern edge of the Cotswolds. Its long high street starts at a river crossing and slowly winds uphill with lots of fabulous buildings full of shops and pubs at the lower end and continuing upwards to a quieter residential end but with some really stunning houses at the top end. Every building seems to be remarkable in some way!
Not suprisingly Burford is often said to have the "prettiest high street in the UK". The buildings and shops look little changed from Tudor times and as each one is different the High Street is fascinating to explore.
At the lower end of the high street a three-arched bridge crosses the charmingly-named River Windrush. Near to here, behind the main street is the 15th century church of Saint John the Baptist. It is an attractive church both inside and out and even features in one of L S Lowry's paintings.
Inside the church you can admire the original church clock which dates back to 1685 and was made by a local man.
There are lots of charming pubs and tea-shops in the town making it a great place to stop for refreshments when exploring the Cotswolds.
There is a small museum housed in the 16th century Tolsey building. The Tudor building is raised on stone pillars and used to be a meeting place for wool merchants who gathered in the space under the building. It is now a museum of Burford's cultural and industrial past.
Burford celebrates an annual Levellers day to celebrate an event which took place in Burford in 1649. At a point in the English Civil War when the king was dead it was feared that the gentry were going to grab everything for themselves despite the years of fighting the soldiers had given. A group called the Levellers formed with a view for a democracy to replace the old systems. They sacked the old officers and marched to Burford with Cromwell chasing after them.
Cromwell promised peaceful negotiations but entered Burford with 2000 soldiers and overthrew the Levellers. Over 300 of these were locked in the church and you can see carvings they made during this time in the church. Three were taken out and shot and the bullet holes can be seen in the church wall.
The Levellers day event takes place every year in May and includes a procession through Burford and music and stalls.
Burford also hosts a Biennial festival with a Cotswolds Heritage day, music and theatre.
Places to visit nearby
Burford is about a 20 minute drive from the charming Cotswolds villages of Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter. Bourton on the Water and its various attractions, such as Birdland and the Bourton Model Railway Museum, is also nearby as is the lovely town of Stow on the Wold which is home to Englands oldest pub.
Photos of Burford
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Map of Burford and places to visit
Burford places to visit
See more places nearby in the Oxfordshire guide