Burford is a picturesque little town in Oxfordshire and is also known as the Gateway to the Cotswolds, thanks to its positioning on the edge of the countryside. Dating back to the medieval era, the town retains its charm and beauty even to this day. Although only a small down, it has an iconic downhill High Street that leads down to the River Windrush and plenty of charming boutique shops, pubs, and cafes that have attracted historical figures and local celebrities over the years. In this guide, I’ll share where to stay in Burford, the top things to do, and where to eat and drink, whether you’re visiting for the day or the weekend.
Where is Burford?
Located just shy of 20 miles west of Oxford, Burford is perched on the edge of the Cotswolds. It’s often the first port of call within the Cotswolds that anyone driving from London or Oxford will visit. It’s close to the neighbouring Cotswold towns of Bibury and Bourton-on-the-Water. Learn more about the best Cotswold villages to visit.
How to get to Burford
Travelling to Burford by car is definitely the easiest way to get there. From Oxford, it takes around 30 minutes to drive via the A40. From London, it takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes depending on traffic. Once you get here, you may be wondering where to park. Luckily, there’s plenty of free parking throughout Burford. Your best bet is to follow Google Maps to Burford Car Park, which is located just off the bottom of the town, off Church Lane.
Although certainly not as convenient as driving, you can get the bus to Burford from Oxford. In fact, the Cotswolds are relatively well connected by bus – you just need to get your timings right. If you’re coming from Oxford, you can catch the S1 bus from George Street, get off at the Bus Garage, then hop onto the 233 to the Oxford Road Layby in Burford.
Things to do in Burford, Cotswolds
Burford is a sleepy little town that is well worth exploring and whiling away an afternoon spent enjoying afternoon tea or enjoying a glass of something cold in a Cotswolds pub garden. It’s a beautiful place that has retained its historical architecture for centuries. Here are some of my favourite things to do in Burford, Cotswolds:
Check out the town’s beautiful scenery
Walk up Burford Hill to see some of the Cotswold town’s gorgeous scenery. You’ll pass idyllic cottages and some adorable boutiques. There is some serious property p*rn in Burford! Plenty of the gorgeous character homes and cottages sell for millions of pounds, many boasting period features. Don’t worry, there are benches along the way where you can rest and take in the view. The hill links to the High Street, where you’ll probably want to spend most of your time in the town. As you’d expect for the Cotswolds, rolling countryside isn’t far from Burford. You may want to walk off your lunch with a walk in the Oxfordshire countryside. Simply walk down Sheep Street until you’re out of the town and turn right along the country lane. There’s a lovely little countryside track here, through fields and past some wonderful views.
Browse the independent shops
Burford certainly has some unique and unusual shops – there is the Oxford Brush Company, for instance, which specialises just in (as you can probably guess), brushes. There are also some beautiful antique shops – Burford Antiques Centre and Manfred Schotten Antiques sell some unique homewares. You’ll also find plenty of cute interiors stores selling trinkets and gifts. One of my favourites is Three French Hens for gorgeous birthday gifts, ornaments, and candles. Fear not, there are also some lovely foodie shops too in Burford. The Cotswolds Cheese Company has a wonderful array of cheese. In fact, they champion British cheese and stock well over 120 different artisan and farmhouse cheeses, with a focus on Cotswold cheesemakers. Pop in to browse their wonderful range, try some of their range, and pick some up to take home. It’s especially great for stocking up for the Christmas cheeseboard. Sweet lovers will love the aptly named Burford Sweet Shop – for well over a decade, it has been greeting locals with over two hundred types of sweets and handmade chocolates all from its Cotswold stone shop. Another of my favourite shops (and coincidently a favourite of David Beckham’s, too!) is Mrs Bumble’s Delicatessen. Packed with delicious local goods and produce, the deli also has a range of freshly baked pies, quiches, and cakes to devour.
Visit Burford Garden Centre
Burford Garden Centre is one of the biggest and best garden centres around, attracting thousands of visits from near and far each week. Both an independent and family owned garden centre, it’s a creative destination for high quality plants and trees, as well as anything else you might possibly need for your garden. It also stocks a great range of interior decor, clothing fit for the garden, gifts, and some gorgeous foodie eats and treats. You can’t visit Burford Garden Centre and not visit their incredible cafe – I often visit for brunch and it’s great value. I highly recommend the locally sourced scrambled eggs and smoked salmon.
Have afternoon tea in Burford
It doesn’t get more quintessentially British than having an afternoon tea while out in the Cotswolds. Thankfully, Burford has a couple of great afternoon tea spots for you to do just that:
Afternoon tea at Huffkins Burford
Huffkins is a bakery and tea rooms located in the heart of the town in a stunning listed building. When the sun is shining, you can relax in the medieval courtyard and soak up the rays. Well known for its afternoon tea, you can enjoy a selection of finger sandwiches, warm scones with clotted cream and preserves, as well as a handmade cake selection and your choice of hot drink. You can eve take away a Huffkins hamper full of baked goodies for your loved ones as a souvenir.
The Priory is a tea rooms in the centre of the town in a beautiful 17th century building. It also has a number of cosy guest bedrooms if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Burford. Open 7 days a week, here you can find one of the most delicious cream teas in the town. Choose from their afternoon tea featuring a sandwich and cake from the selection, plus a scone, clotted cream, jam, and a pot of tea, or their cream tea with a scone and a pot of tea. There’s a tasty assortment of home baked cakes too – carrot cake, toasted teacakes, and rich fruit cake to name but a few for the ultimate afternoon tea in Burford.
Pubs in Burford
You can’t visit Burford without visiting a pub for a pint. Thankfully, there’s a great range of pubs in Burford for you to choose from. Grab a table and relax with a drink and a delicious pub meal.
One of the best pubs in Burford, The Angel is an award-winning gastro pub in the heart of the medieval town. A family run pub, it packs bags of Cotswold charm and serves delicious food and drink just off the High Street. In fact – the pub won Cotswold Pub of the Year in 2015, 2016, and 2017. There’s an impressive selection of wines, ales and lager, and spirits. There’s some great food at The Angel too – you can’t go wrong with the shortcrust pie of the day with winter vegetables, creamed mash, and red wine jus. As well as being the perfect cosy spot in the winter, there is a lovely sun terrace for the summer months. The Angel at Burford has some lovely guest rooms if you’d prefer to relax over a few drinks and stay the night.
A Grade II listed family owned pub in Burford, The Royal Oak has a relaxing bar and restaurant featuring a log fire and oak beams. There’s a great range of ales and craft beers on the menu, and in the summer you can relax with a Pimms in the sun trapped beer garden. There are plenty of walking routes nearby, making it the perfect refreshment pitstop for before or after your walk. There’s a wonderful Sunday roast menu, and the chicken and Cotswold ‘nduja pie is to die for. Don’t miss the sticky toffee pudding for afterwards! Furry friends are welcome at The Royal Oak, too.
A charming Cotswold pub, The Highway Inn dates back to 1480. Complete with original fireplaces and a medieval courtyard garden, it’s a retreat from the bustling High Street. With a belief in simple homemade British food and an informal and friendly atmosphere, The Highway Inn is a great place to grab a drink. Using local, artisan suppliers wherever possible, The Highway Inn has a great range of ales from Hook Norton Brewery, and some boutique gins and vodkas to sample. The pub is also one of the best places to eat in Burford. Enjoy some delicious pub grub whether you’re visiting for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Their braised beef short rib with grain mustard mash and seasonal vegetables is a delicious winter warmer after a long stroll in the Cotswolds. If you’re looking to explore the area, check out the rooms at The Highway Inn – they have 11 rooms, each unique and with its own character.
Where to stay in Burford
Although the Cotswolds can occasionally come with a price tag, Burford actually has a wide range of great hotels, no matter what your budget. Below, I’ve summarised my pick of the best budget and luxury accommodation in the town:
Budget hotels in Burford
The Fox Inn at Barrington
Just 2 miles from Burford, the Fox Inn is set right on the banks of the River Windrush in the Cotswold countryside. Offering unique boutique rooms at reasonable rates, it’s a cosy place to stay after an evening sipping G&Ts by the roaring log fire. Enjoy a home cooked breakfast made from local ingredients.
The Prince of Burford Hotel
Offering a friendly welcome and a relaxed atmosphere, former 18th century inn is the perfect pitstop for exploring the Cotswolds. The hotel even has its own ensuite coffee shop so that you can enjoy a freshly brewed coffee in the morning to start your day in the countryside.
Luxury hotels in Burford
Burford House Hotel
A beautiful 17th century Cotswold stone inn with original period features, Burford House offers six boutique bedrooms above its cosy bar. A full English breakfast is included in the price, and you’ll find antiques and traditional art throughout the property.
The Lamb Inn
A historical Cotswold inn dating back to the 15th century, The Lamb Inn is one of the best hotels in Burford. Located in the heart of the town, you’ll find 17 unique bedrooms and sitting rooms as well as some gorgoeus period features including open log fireplaces. A home cooked breakfast is included too.
Places to eat in Burford
Here are a few of the best places to eat while visiting this glorious Cotswold town:
With a menu focusing on fresh, local ingredients, The Angel has previously won Hook Norton Brewery’s prestigious ‘Food Pub of the Year’ as well as an AA Rosette. Menus change regularly with the seasons, and there are blackboard specials throughout the weeks. Don’t miss their quintessentially English ‘Hooky’ battered fish and chips with fresh minted mushy peas and tartare sauce. The chargrilled chicken breast with sautéed gnocchi, wild mushrooms, black garlic and dolcelatte is truly delicious too.
Well known for their award winning pies, The Royal Oak also serves up a cracking Sunday roast. Their pies are truly to die for – the slow cooked beef brisket and creamy peppercorn sauce, and the creamy chicken and Cotswold ‘ndjua pies are particularly tasty. You can enjoy them at the pub or even have nationwide delivery. If pies aren’t your thing, there are also pub classics like fish and chips, burgers, and king prawn curry on offer.
One of the best restaurants in Burford, Spice Lounge serves up excellent Bangladeshi cuisine. Featuring modern decor and located on the High Street, there’s a relaxed atmosphere for enjoying the excellent dishes. Boasting creative, organic food, menu highlights include the chicken jalfrezi with fresh green chillies and an assortment of peppers, and the lamb tikka, baked in the tandoori oven.
A beautiful Cotswold restaurant serving a plethora of delicious dishes, head to The Lamb Inn for seasonal plates that celebrate the wonderful flavours of local ingredients. Relax into the welcoming environment and browse the carefully curated menu, or pop in for a Sunday roast. Favourite dishes include the pan roasted coley with crispy potato, brown shrimp salad, and crispy vierge, and the cannon of lamb with potato terrine.
I hope you enjoyed my guide to Burford! As the gateway to the Cotswolds, there are plenty of things to do nearby, too. Head to nearby Bourton-on-the-Water, Broadway or Upper Slaughter while you’re visiting – you won’t regret it. Do you have any other suggestions on things to do in Burford? Let me know in the comments!