Burford - River WindrushJust twenty miles west of Oxford, Burford is often referred to as the 'gateway to the Cotswolds'. A broad main street slopes gently from the High Wolds, with great views of the open countryside, to a narrow, three-arched medieval bridge which crosses the River Windrush.

The village, whose Anglo-Saxon name means fortified hill town with a ford, was the site of a battle between the armies of Wessex and Murcia in 762. After the Norman Conquest it was given to the Bishop of Bayeux, William the Conqueror's brother, and in 1087 it was granted its first market charter.

Burford lies on important trading routes and it flourished as a market town, particularly between the 14th and 17th centuries when, like many towns in the Cotswolds, it was an important centre for the wool trade.

The legacy of this industry continues to give the town its unique character today. In the middle of the main streets lies 'The Tolsey', a landmark building with an open ground floor and half-timbered first floor that dates from the 16th century. Formerly the place where wealthy wool merchants held meetings and collected tolls, the building is now home to the Tolsey Museum.

The Church of St John the Baptist also benefited from money made by the wool merchants. Originally Norman, it was added to during the years of prosperity to become one of the largest parish churches in Oxfordshire, with an imposing grandeur more reminiscent of a cathedral. The church was the scene of bloodshed during the English Civil War when, in 1649, it witnessed a historic battle between troops from Oliver Cromwell's army and the Levellers, mutineers rebelling against authoritarian rule. Three hundred and forty Levellers were kept prisoner in the church for several days until three were shot. Carvings made by the prisoners and bullet holes left by the executions can still be seen today.

Burford PrioryHouses such as Falkland Hall, home of local cloth and wool merchant Edmund Sylvester, Symon Wysdom's cottages, built in 1762 by another wealthy merchant and the Burford Priory, also bear testimony to the town’s prosperous past.

The Burford Priory, now housing a community of Anglican monks and nuns, was at one time the home of William Lenthall, who bought the estate in 1637. William Lenthall was a speaker in the House of Commons and famous for defying Charles the First. The house and chapel, both fine examples of Jacobean domestic architecture, were restored by architect Walter Godfrey in the 19th century for the philanthropist E.J.Hornimen.

Burford CottageToday the town attracts many visitors each year and numerous hotels, pubs and restaurants line its picturesque streets, where the ancient stone buildings, some of which date from Tudor times, often lean at a charmingly precarious angle.

The Blue Cross Animal Welfare Charity has its national headquarters in Burford, and the nearby Cotswold Animal Park, set in 160 acres of parkland and gardens around a listed Victorian manor house. The park is home to a fascinating and varied collection of animals, many of whom benefit from the Park’s commitment to sharing and exchanging animals with other institutions in order to further breeding programmes of conservational importance.

We found 11 listings:

Bay Tree Classic
Charming 16th century residence with a mix of original features and mod-cons. Offers extensive conference facilities
Cotswold Gateway Hotel
Former 18th century inn offering a friendly welcome, efficient service and a pleasantly relaxed atmosphere
Upper Court
B&B and Self Catering accommodation in a large and beautiful country house near Burford and Chipping Norton.
01608 676296
The Lamb Inn
The Lamb Inn is a country Inn with five unique and Luxurious guest rooms.
01993 830465
King John's Barn
4* self catering in the Cotswolds
01993 878075
Rosemary's Cotswold Cottages
Three delightful Cotswold holiday cottages
01993 830484
Laurels Guesthouse
Family run bed and breakfast overlooking the Windrush valley.
01993 702193
The Feathered Nest Country Inn
Welcome to The Feathered Nest Country Inn, a 300-year old Malthouse, nestled in the scenic and historic village of Nether Westcote, Oxfordshire in the heart of the Cotswolds, with panoramic views over the Evenlode valley.
01993 833030
THE FIVE ALLS
Cosy 17th century inn, superb restaurant and great real ales
07831102030
Cotswold View Caravan and Camping Park
Set in 54 acres of rolling, wooded farmland our spacious pitches offer the peace and tranquillity of the countryside
01608 810314