BURFORD: 10+ QUAINT THINGS TO DO IN COTSWOLD’S MOST PICTURESQUE TOWN
Looking for somewhere really nice to go to in the Cotswolds and wondering if Burford fits the bill?
Well, Burford is a handsome town sitting enviably on the edge of the Cotswold hills, England with distinctive buildings and a long history, boasting some important historical visitors in the past. Crowned as the most picturesque town in the Cotswolds, this idyllic town is free of retail stores, dotted with old time sweet shops and tearooms, along with lots of stories. Burford is a haven for those who love to amble around antique shops. With quaint English inns and pubs, along with plenty of things to do in Burford and nearby, this town really is a lovely place for a day trip from London or a short-break getaway. An ideal destination for solo, couples and families alike who want to collect timeless memories by just relaxing in this peaceful town.
If this is the kind of escape you are looking for, then this guide is perfect for you. In this guide about things to do in Burford, I give you all the information you need to plan ahead, places to stay, activities to do, where to eat and drink as well as how to visit Burford with or without a car. I include my experienced tips along with places you could explore close-by as well. Just remember to book your place to stay well ahead of your visit. All the best places in Burford get exceptionally busy, and its not just during the high seasons.
If you are visiting England, the easiest way to visit Burford is on a guided tour. The best tour is this one here that combines a visit to other Cotswold villages that are worth visiting. It is also possible to drive to Burford as it is conveniently located via the M40 and A40. Get your car from Discover Cars if you are planning on driving in England.
Go to my travel pages about London, England, and Scotland for travel inspiration around the UK. There are several informative pages about travels in Lake Como, Milan, Verona and Barcelona also if you are extending your vacation to Europe.
TIP: If you are planning on visiting some of the English Heritage sites such as Stonehenge, Dover Castle, 1066 Battle of Hastings and Battle Abbey or Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, you may want to take advantage of the discounted Overseas Visitor Pass. This visitor pass is worth buying if you are visiting more than two of the over 100 sites covered by this scheme.
IN THIS GUIDE ABOUT BURFORD, OXFORDSHIRE…
Here’s an overview of what is covered in this article:
- Weather in Burford and The Best Time to Visit;
- Top Places to Stay when Visiting Burford;
- Where is Burford?
- Why is Burford Worth a Visit?
- The History of Burford: From Domesday to Present Day;
- What to do in Burford: Best Things to do in Cotswold’s Picturesque Town;
- Walks around Burford;
- Places to Eat & Drink In and Around Burford;
- Villages and Places to Visit Near Burford;
- How Much Time is Needed in Burford;
- How Far is Burford from London;
- Parking in Burford;
- How to Visit Burford Without a Car;
- Read More of My UK & Europe Guides;
- What’s New.
WEATHER IN BURFORD AND THE BEST TIME TO VISIT
Burford can be visited at any time during the year. Generally, summers are comfortable, partly cloudy with short days. Winters can be long, cloudy and very cold. Temperatures vary throughout the year from 1° C to 27° C.
The best time to visit Burford is between June to late August.
TIP: Always take a light jacket with you. England is known for its four seasons in a day!
Georgina: I prefer to travel off-season, so my visits to Burford and the surounding villages have always been in April/May or October/November. These times have been good for exploring. Just need to make sure to watch the weather closely and pick a day that does not rain if you want to enjoy some of the countryside walks. Even so, I am sure a pair of Wellingtons wouldn’t stop you in your stride.
TOP PLACES TO STAY WHEN VISITING BURFORD
The best places to stay in Burford are ideally situated to explore the best areas of the Cotswolds and to experience the best in a country retreat. I suggest the following places based on hundreds of customer reviews and my own visits to these places. My go to for accommodation has always been Booking and I use them primarily for their flexible booking conditions which I am sure you would agree, is one of the best there is among accommodation providers. Here’s my take on Burford’s hotels:
- The Lamb Inn is one of those timeless places in the country where you find yourself in an old-time sitting room, grandfather clock, warm fires in old stone fireplaces and snoozy armchairs. It exudes a warm sense of history and a relaxed mood. The Lamb has been a country inn for 300 years, and offers 17 bedrooms, three weaver’s cottages dating from the 15th century, along with a brewery next door. This is a place where you can take your tea on the lawn in blissful calm. A family friendly accommodation where your canine is welcomed to stay also. Includes WIFI. Located in Sheep Street. BOOK YOUR STAY AT THE LAMB INN
- The Bay Tree has a more boutique-chic appeal. This wisteria clad property is also located on Sheep Street, a quiet side street. It offers everything you’d want from a country retreat: cosy rooms, a bright restaurant extending to a walled garden, warm colours throughout and comes complete with flagstone floors, roaring fires and contemporary furnishings. BOOK YOUR STAY AT THE BAY TREE HOTEL
- The Angel, Witney Street at Burford is a beloved pub with rooms, traditionally styled with vintage furniture and exposed stone. It isn’t fine dining here but serves up award-winning pub fare. BOOK YOUR STAY AT THE ANGEL, BURFORD.
- If you prefer to stay a little out of Burford, stay at The Thyme in the postcard pretty Southrop, situated at 12.8 km (8 miles) from Burford. Thyme is a cluster of honey-stoned properties, with a strong sustainable ethos offering hotel rooms, self catering cottages, cookery school classes, spa facilities, tithe barn dining for celebrations and corporate events. cocktail bar, restaurant, village pub and gardens. Their 31 rooms are named after flowers and plants. BOOK YOUR TIMELESS STAY AT THE THYME.
WHERE IS BURFORD?
Well known as the “Gateway to the Cotswolds”, Burford Oxfordshire is a small medieval town situated just 3 km (2 miles) from the Gloucestershire boundary, on the hills of the Cotswolds. With the sanctuary of the River Windrush at its foothills, the town is surrounded by beautiful vistas of open English countryside and stunning villages of the Cotswolds.
Burford is set within a short drive of Bibury, a quintessential village in Gloucestershire and, about 30 km (19 miles) west of Oxford, the City of Spires.
Brilliantly located in the Cotswold’s heartland, Burford offers easy access to Cirencester, Cheltenham, Stow-on-the-Wold and Moreton-on-Marsh. More on how to reach Burford is further down this article.
The Cotswolds is a region of gentle hills and woodland in the central southwest of England, earning the coveted designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The enchanting landscape of smoothly contoured rolling hills and steep-sided valleys, overlooking honey-coloured stoned houses, and the adorable little villages all makes this beautiful region highly attractive and a travellers’ as well as a photographers’ paradise.
**The Cotswolds covers an area of six regions in the central southwest of England: Gloucestershire; Oxfordshire; Warwickshire; Wiltshire and some parts of Somerset.
Want to know more about England’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty?
Read my Complete Guide to the Isle of Wight, famed for coastal scenic beauty, historic monuments and dinosaur fossils discovered to this day. Includes 35 Epic Things to do along with a super 5-Day Itinerary to relish at this beautiful destination in Southern England.
WHY IS BURFORD WORTH A VISIT?
Burford is a canvas of Englishness from times gone by and it is as quintessential as an English town gets. An absolutely picturesque town where little has changed over the centuries. Burford’s richness lies in the unbroken parade of ancient shops and Georgian houses along the graciously sloping High Street from the Wolds to the three-arched medieval bridge over the meandering River Windrush at the foot of the hill. The view from the top of the hill, looking down street towards the river is one of the most photographed scenes in the Cotswolds.
Burford High Street is adorned with a rich variety of stone and timber-framed buildings, historic houses, a beautiful array of boutiques, cafes, teashops, pubs, and restaurants on both sides of the street. Much of the town’s historic architecture is untouched, with its own tale or two to tell. The street showcases the changing uses over time from grand houses to little shops.
Houses here are made from the warm honey-coloured Cotswold stone, distinct to this region, adding to the specialness of the town. There are beautiful alleys and side roads waiting to be explored also.
This wonderfully unspoilt town of today leaves a mark on anyone who has lived or visited here. Burford has a wonderful welcoming feel and you will absolutely love it here.
THE HISTORY OF BURFORD, OXFORDSHIRE IN THE COTSWOLDS: From Domesday to Burford Today
Burford town has an extensive history dating back to the Anglo-Saxons. Burford takes its name from the amalgamation of the words “burh” which means a defended town and “ford” which means a river crossing. The town’s position on River Windrush meant that it became a fortified fort during the Anglo-Saxon era.
Built on a fairly steep hill, the exact beginnings of a settlement in Burford are unknown, but there is an entry in the Domesday Book of 1086 that shows there were 200 people living here at that time.
When Burford became a town…
Burford began as an agricultural village. The town grew to be an important crossroad and was the first Cotswold town to be granted a market charter. Again, there is no record of its exact date but it is believed that around 1090, during the reign of William Rufus, Burford was granted the charter by Robert Fitzhamon.
With the charter, it now meant that Burford could hold markets, rent out their property and lease out their land. It was typically removed from the feudal system that existed at that time. Adopting the coat of arms of Robert Fitzhamon, the town was managed by a merchant guild and headed by an Alderman.
The independence granted by the charter changed the face of the village, bringing traders to the village and the population grew. By now, Burford acquired “town” status and became frequented by travelling tradesmen. A demand for lodgings increased and people began renting out rooms in their properties. The architecture of the town changed, with the rise of “burgage” properties. These are typically houses with small frontage, situated on long and narrow plots of land. Some of these lodgings are still standing today.
During the 14th through to the 17th century, Burford thrived as a wool trade centre. This heyday period also marked the construction of many interesting buildings along the High Street that exist to this day.
Churches and Royalty
The affluence of the town can be seen in Burford’s historical churches. The best known is St John the Baptist, Burford’s parish church. Construction of this church began in 1175, although what is seen today is the restoration carried out in the late medieval period. The old priory, which is now a Benedictine monastery is renowned as the meeting place for Charles II and his mistress, Nell Gwynn. Their son went on to become the Earl of Burford.
The English Civil War and post war…
May 14, 1649 was a gruesome day during the English Civil War for the quaint town of Burford. More than 300 men, “Levellers” from the radical political movement were resting at St John the Baptist when they were surrounded and captured by Oliver Cromwell’s army of men. Three of the Leveller’s leaders were executed in the churchyard on May 17. Bullet holes and carvings by the prisoners can be seen on the walls today.
Following the war, the Elizabethan era saw the return of agriculture with sheep farming being prioritised for the prospering wool industry. In the 18th century, other trades took centre stage as well: leather tanning and breweries.
Burford’s geographical position in the north/south and east/west crossroads ensures that the town became an important trading place and a wealthy wool town.
In the 19th century, a Victorian railway was proposed to run through the town However, the railway was diverted and built near the town of Charlbury. Consequently, Burford went into a decline and suffered a dip in trading activity, but bounced back in the 20th century with the onset of the motor industry.
Legend has it that an apparition of a local landowner, Sir Lawrence Tanfield and his second wife, Elizabeth Evans seen in a fiery coach flying around town brings a curse upon all those who sees it.The couple were notoriously harsh to their tenants. When they died, the locals began a tradition of burning their effigies and the apparition started soon afterwards. The story goes that it all ended when a local clergyman trapped Lady Tanfield’s ghost in a corked glass bottle and threw it into River Windrush. During droughts, people fill the river from buckets, ensuring the bottle did not rise above the surface and free her spirit. Burford observed this tradition for two centuries.
Today, Burford has been a town for almost 1000 years and continues to attract traders. The town’s history of Records and Charters can now be seen at the Tolsey Museum, Burford High Street. A Mayor and town Council have replaced the Alderman.
Burford’s geographical position in the north/south and east/west crossroads ensures that the town is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Cotswolds. People come here to admire the old Cotswold stone, the Tudor architecture and Georgian fronted houses along with the medieval bridge and church.
Burford celebrates many old traditions to commemorate events of the past which attract visitors as well. Levellers Day is celebrated on the Saturday nearest to May 17. The event is held to celebrate the Leveller’s ideals of democracy, equality and religious freedom and has been taking place since 1975. Marked by debates, singing, dancing and a parade. Cotswold Heritage Day is another event that Burford celebrates, marked by arts and crafts, food stalls, dancing and music throughout the town.
Burford attractions, alongside many of the quaint things to do in Burford enchant many visitors to the town. Burford has also been voted sixth best place to live in Europe (Forbes Magazine, 2010).
The latest census carried out in 2021 places Burford with a population of 1522.
WHAT TO DO IN BURFORD: BEST THINGS TO DO IN BURFORD
The sloping High Street from the top of the hill to the willow-fringed River Windrush is a snapshot of Burford’s rich history. Notable Architecture and Buildings at Burford Town Centre are included here. Here is my selection of the best quaint things to do in Burford:
Stroll Burford High Street
Stroll the beautiful High Street, you don’t have to buy anything. The High Street offers a greater variety of styles and period architecture than most Cotswold towns. Distinctive examples include half-timbered buildings such as the Tolsey building, 15th century houses and Baroque style townhouse which is now a Methodist church. The oldest chemist shop in England is situated in this street also.
Brimming with independent stores, ranging from booksellers to florists, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers, antique shops, along with all the traditional wares, are covered on Burford High Street as well.
Burford is famous for its antiques. Go to Gateway Antiques that specialises in 17th to early 20th century English furniture and decorative items, while Burford Antiques offer a range of vintage and contemporary furniture.
Burford Town Centre is peppered with a variety of eateries, pubs and hotels. Head to the foodie mecca, the Cotswold Cheese Company, or a quick stop for coffee at Lynwood & Co Cafe. If you have more time, book a quintessential Afternoon Tea at Huffkins, who have been serving up since 1890.
View or Visit the Oldest Pharmacy in England
#124 High Street Burford is a famous address and proudly stands as England’s oldest pharmacy. Originally a village public house, the building was leased in 1734 as an apothecary to provide locals with traditional remedies for their ailments. For 289 years, Reavley Pharmacy has been serving a loyal base of customers.
Inside, there are Victorian cabinets and drawers marked with ancient ingredients and a prescription from 1899.
Make Time for The Tolsey
#126 High Street Burford is home to Burford Tolsey Museum. Situated midway along the high street, it is a striking Tudor style architecture built in the early 1500s of black and white timber fronted building raised on stone pillars with open space underneath. This medieval building played a key role in Burford’s history as a market place for the wool trade. The open space underneath was a meeting point for the wealthy wool merchants who collected and paid their taxes here. These days, it is simply known as The Tolsey and carefully displays a collection of the town’s archives, social history archaeology, history and anthropology.
Explore the offshoots to Burford High Street: Sheep Street, Priory Lane and Lawrence Street.
The Picturesque Sheep Street
Next to The Tolsey, off the high street is Sheep Street. Walk along this street which leads you past a lovely row of terraced cottages on your left and the charming Bay Tree Hotel on your right. You will come to Lamb Inn, the oldest inn in Burford.
Sheep Street leads you onto Priory Lane.
Take a short walk along Priory Lane to the old priory, presently a private Benedictine monastery. Steeped in history, the priory carries a tale or two as the secret meeting place of Charles II and his mistress, Nell Gwynn.
Turn off the high street at Lawrence Street. A short walk down Lawrence Street leads you past Burford School, founded in 1571 and takes you to an impressive open green space, Church Green before the gates of St John the Baptist. Across the green space is a row of beautiful almhouses constructed in 1457 by Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick.
Warwick Almhouses, Burford
The Warwick Almhouses were founded by Henry Bishop of Burford in 1457 and rebuilt in 1828. These almhouses were built on land donated by the Earl of Warwick and licensed by him as he was the Lord of the Manor.
Must Visit Burford Parish Church
St John the Baptist Church is Burford’s parish church and is one of the most striking examples of ancient buildings. One of Cotswolds “wool churches” was built between 1175 and 1500, probably on the site of an earlier church. A Grade I listed building, the church welcomes over 100,000 visitors annually. The slender spire is a landmark of Burford and a small carving on its side is said to date pre Christian, to c.100 A.D.. The most admired features are to be found inside the church.
The work around the West door is said to date from 1175, along with the wood and ironwork are original also.
Inside St John the Baptist Church
Inside St John the Baptist, the nave and aisle seems a perfect combination of height and light and exudes a sense of sereneness. On the north side of the north aisle, look for the memorial of Edmund Harman (1569). Specifically, a carving on the front of the memorial. It is thought that this carving is the earliest example of native South Americans in the UK. Another notable carving to look out for is inside the font. A well preserved inscription that reads: “Anthony Sedley 1649 Prisner“.
A plaque on the exterior wall on the south side of the church is dedicated to the three Levellers who were executed by the Cromwell army while their followers were forced to watch.
St Catherine’s Chapel
A monument inside St Catherine’s Chapel is one which you will either hate or be okay with. The memorial is dedicated to Sir Lawrence and Lady Tanfield. Sir Lawrence was Lord of the Manor in Burford, and Chief Baron of the Exchequer to Elizabeth I. He was reviled locally for his high-handedness, greed and corrupt practices. Indeed, for two centuries after his death, Burford residents gleefully burned an effigy of Lord Tanfield and his wife each year. Lady Tanfield took over St Catherine’s Chapel, and there erected an astonishing memorial, which is ostentious. That said, the carvings are beautiful.
The Great House, Burford
An impressive 17th century stone house which has remained unchanged, situated at 30 Witney Street. A Grade II listed building, it is extraordinarily large and grandeur, the Great House looms over its modest neighbours in the humble Witney Street, which was once the main entry into the town from the east.
The Great House was built for Sir Lawrence Tanfield and his wife who were much disliked in Burford. The property has belonged to the Cotswolds Inns and Hotels Group since 1998.
Widford-St Oswald’s Church, Burford
Sitting in splendid isolation, in the midst of the open fields of Windrush Valley, in the deserted medieval village of Widford. No exact dates of its origin are attributed but it is mainly 13th century with evidence of 11th century Saxon or Norman influence attributed to its dividing wall, a chevroned corbel and a plain rough font.
The nave has early 19th century box pews, two areas of uncovered Roman mosaic and several 14th century wall paintings.
In the Middle Ages, Widford was a large village but what remains today is a single 16th century manor house alongside a handful of houses. The field surrounding St Oswald’s shows the lumps and bumps, outlines of former buildings. The main village of Widford was destroyed by the Black Death in the 17th century.
Widford-St Oswald’s Church is located about 3 km (1.9 miles) from the Great House via Witney Street and takes about 35-40 minutes. The walk is easy, on grassy paths along the picturesque banks of River Windrush and is one of the popular local walks.
The Medieval Bridge and A Walk along River Windrush
A lovely 3-arched medieval bridge crosses the River Windrush and a walk across the bridge rewards you with some truly beautiful views of the watermeadows and St John the Baptist spire. Walk along the meandering willow-fringed River Windrush and enjoy a little quiet time.
Summary of Top Things to do in Burford, Oxfordshire:
- Stroll Burford High Street;
- Visit the Oldest Pharmacy in England;
- Make Time for the Tolsey;
- Wander the Picturesque Sheep Street;
- Explore Priory Lane;
- Walk along Lawrence Street;
- Walk by the Warwick Almhouses;
- Visit Burford Parish Church;
- Take a look at the Grest House, Burford;
- Visit Widford-St Oswald’s Church;
- Visit the Medieval Bridge and Take a Walk along the River Windrush.
WALKS AROUND BURFORD
If you want to see more of the Cotswolds countryside, several circular walks from Burford visit the surrounding villages of Fulbrook, Swinbrook, Widford and Shilton.
A popular Cotswold Walk is the Burford Walk. This 9.6 km (6 miles) circular trail starts from Burford High Street, and takes you on easy grass paths on open farmland along River Windrush to St Oswald’s Church. It continues to the top of the valley, to the village of Fulbrook, and returns you to Burford. This route can take up to 3 hours with plenty of photo stops. Just so you know, this route has some gates and cattle grids.
For more walks in and around Burford, and in Cotswolds, go here for a map and directions for popular and off-beat walks >> Ordnance Map and guide to 28 Walks in the Cotswolds which is very helpful.
PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK IN AND AROUND BURFORD
When it comes to eating out, my choices have centred around restaurants that offer some green food menu which uses fresh, locally sourced produce, and organic food. Meat from animal friendly farms and fish and seafood from sustainable farming or fishing. With this in mind, I share my selection of places to eat in Burford. From award winning restaurants to cosy cafe comforts that offer a diverse range of dishes. These places are absolutely wonderful to go to, each with its own unique setting and tradition.
The Lamb Inn
You get the best of all worlds at The Lamb Inn, an award winning restaurant in Sheep Street as well as a hotel (already mentioned above as one of the top places to stay in Burford) where you can indulge in absolute bliss.
While excelling in customer service and exquisite dining, The Lamb Inn prides itself in taking local ingredients and turning them into delicious meals, creating traditional English dishes with a contemporary twist. Try the Cannon of Lamb or the Slow Roasted Autumn Squash and Sage Ravioli.
The charming dining room is light and airy, and overlooks a courtyard terrace.
The Bay Tree Restaurant
Featuring original leaded windows, glagstone floors and tapestries, the Bay Tree is an exceptional hotel + restaurant. The dining room is warmly lit and the kitchen serves up a wide variety of seasonal meals. Take a look at their menu here. As mentioned above, The Bay Tree is a top place to stay in Burford
The Mermaid, Burford
Set in a warm cosy atmosphere, serving up wholesome traditional hearty meals is the captivating Mermaid restaurant at Burford High Street. Located within an 18th century building, the restaurant retains some of its original fireplaces, and old wooden beams. Serving up real and local ales with English meals, fish, pies and everyone’s favourite, Sunday roast.
The Angel, Burford
The whole family is invited here including your canine. The Angel located at Witney Street, is housed in a 16th century coaching inn and is well loved by the people of Burford. Whether a quick pint, or a delicious meal of fish & chips, steaks or pies, all food are sourced locally to create a seasonal special. Offers several rooms for a quintessential stay in Burford, as mentioned above.
OTHER PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK IN BURFORD: The Spice Lounge for traditional Indian and Bangladeshi within a lovely, warm and relaxed setting; Try the New Dragon Inn located within a Grade I listed building offering Chinese cuisine at an affordable price. Both are located at Burford High Street.
Daylesford Organic Farm, Moreton-in-Marsh
If you want to try somewhere outside of Burford town centre, Daylesford Organic Farm is a really nice place to go to. Home to a fabulous deli, a restaurant offering a field to fork menu and a spa!
Upton Smokery, Burford
Located just outside of Burford town centre, Upton Smokery is a great place for families with kids. Unsurprisingly, the restaurant offers a range of smoked meats and fish. The Firehouse restaurant is great for kids and comes with a big sharing table. It exudes a relaxed atmosphere and offers a fabulous family friendly BBQ menu.
VILLAGES AND PLACES TO VISIT NEAR BURFORD
Although Burford is one of the smaller Cotswold towns, the area is surrounded by quaint villages and makes a superb base to stay for exploring the majestic Cotswolds.
Villages such as Aldsworth, Hatherop, Little Barrington and Southrop are all within reach as are the famous Cotswold village, Bourton-on-the-Water and Bibury, described by William Morris, as the most beautiful village in England.
Then there is Northleach in the West, a hidden gem tucked into a picturesque valley with an ancient market place, a museum and a remarkable wool church.
Just a short distance in the East, you’ll find the market towns of Witney, and Woodstock, home to the resplendent Blenheim Palace.
TIP: You can visit Blenheim Palace along with other Cotswold villages on this day trip from London.
Visit Minster Lovell Hall, a set of delightful 15th century ruins in the picturesque setting of the River Windrush. A tranquil spot, ideal for afternoon picnics.
TIP: Minster Lovell Hall is owned and managed by English Heritage. Become a member today and enjoy free and unlimited access to over 400 historic properties. Here’s Why and How + my discount code >> English Heritage Membership benefits.
Visiting from abroad? Go here to tap your benefits with English Heritage Overseas Visitor Pass.
Take a trip to the Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens, about 3 km (2 miles) south of Burford. An expanse of 160 acres of glorious parkland on a historic estate with the Victorian manor house as a handsome backdrop. Home to rhinos, zebras, giraffes, lions and so much more. Visitors can enjoy strolling through the walled garden that contains a tropical house and an enclosure for Humboldt penguins. Walk through the Reptile House, and the Invertebrate House. There’s a Farmyard Barn, a narrow gauge railway and an Adventure Playground which would make a young child’s day!
HOW MUCH TIME IS NEEDED IN BURFORD?
Depending on your itinerary for Burford, you can spend as little as three hours or make it a six-hour day so you can explore unhurriedly. At a minimum, you’ll need at least two to three hours to explore the High Street from the top of the hill to the medieval bridge, take in the beautiful architecture, walk down Sheep Street, visit the St John the Baptist Church and the Warwick Almhouses. If you want to do the offbeat circular walk, which can take another two to three hours, then you are looking at spending most of a day here.
Therefore, if you have the time, Burford is best for a day visit. Otherwise, two hours is adequate to experience the best of this picturesque Cotswold town in Oxfordshire.
HOW FAR IS BURFORD FROM LONDON?
By Road, the distance is about 119 km (74 miles) and takes approximately 2 hours via the M40 and A40.
There are no train stations at Burford. See below for ways to travel to Burford without a car.
PARKING IN BURFORD
Burford is very busy and car parking can be awkward. Finding a space along the High Street can be challenging. Instead follow signs to the designated free car park area on the east of the High Street.
HOW TO VISIT BURFORD WITHOUT A CAR?
You can get to Burford without a car by train, bus, private taxi or with a tour group.
BY TRAIN TO BURFORD
There is no train station at Burford. The nearest railway station is Charlbury Station. Shipton Station is slightly closer but it has limited service.
Both Charlbury and Skipton are stops on the London to Oxford or London to Worcester lines. Trains depart London Paddington Station twice an hour.
Charlbury is situated 14.5 km (9 miles) northeast of Burford. Skipton is located 8 km (5 miles) north of Burford. Once at Charlbury or Skipton, you can take a taxi to Burford. Just remember to pre-book your taxi, so you don’t have to wait too long for one.
Take Stagecoach service 233 from Woodstock or Swanbrook Coach services 853 from Oxford.
IN A TOUR
The easiest way to visit the Cotswolds if you are in London or in South East England and do not wish to drive, is to join a tour group. This option is especially useful if you want to save time and money, while maximising your experience of the Cotswold. In addition you can alleviate the stress of public transport and navigating the motorways in England. Also, you can make the most of your trip by ticking off a few of the quintessential English villages. A day trip from London organised by tour providers visits several popular villages and towns in a day. I have gone on several of these tours and find it really useful for first experiences. Many times, I return for longer visits to villages I want to explore deeper and stay a couple of days.
If you’d like to see more of Cotswolds in a day while you save time and money, take a look at the following tours that have received plenty of positive reviews:
TOURS FROM LONDON
TOURS FROM OXFORD
READ MORE ABOUT UK & EUROPE GUIDES
About the UK:
THE COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND
You may like to read some of my articles about Italy, Spain and Amsterdam in The Netherlands:
With its very long history, medieval bridge, beautiful Georgian frontal houses with warm coloured stones and a picturesque street showcasing English architecture through centuries, Burford makes for an essential visit. I hope this guide has given you all the information you need to make your trip to Burford, Oxfordshire in the Cotswolds a timeless experience.
Have a great time exploring Burford.