Burford is traditionally known as the ‘Gateway to the Cotswolds’ and stands at the entrance of a place that has been determined as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is protected by the Cotswolds Conservation Board.
The gentle rolling hills of the surrounding countryside are perfect for walking, cycling or horse riding. People have lived and worked here for over 6,000 years. Situated along the slope of the hill down through the trees to the River Windrush, Burford is steeped in history and rich in architectural tradition. The local natural scenery is spectacular, the Cotswold stone buildings, legendary. The area boasts some of the most beautiful gardens in England, a world heritage site with Blenheim Palace and a network of dry stone walls at least in length equivalent to the Great Wall of China.
Burford itself has a broad main High Street lined with old houses, traditional Cotswold inns, hotels and pubs and shop fronts which appear to have changed little for hundreds of years. Take time to explore the side streets and snatch glimpses of hidden treasures through fascinating alleyways and courtyards between the seventeenth and eighteenth century buildings. See the majesty of the cathedral like parish church built from the wealth of the wool trade. Explore the delights the independent shops and galleries have to offer, take refreshment from the wide choice of hotels, pubs and teashops that serve only the finest local Cotswold ingredients.
The town is a perfect base to explore the other famous towns and villages of the surrounding area including Oxford and Cheltenham and other attractions too.
Blenheim Palace, home to 11th Duke of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, offers a memorable day out. Set in 2100 acres of beautiful parkland landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown, the exquisite Baroque Palace is surrounded by sweeping lawns, formal gardens and the magnificent Lake.
Inside, there are hand painted ceilings and the amazing porcelain collections, tapestries and paintings displayed in each room. Situated in Woodstock, just 8 miles from Oxford, the Palace was created a World Heritage site in 1987.
Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Cotswold Hills, Sudeley Castle is steeped in history. It has played an important role in the turbulent and changing times of England's past. The Castle was once home to Queen Katherine Parr, the last and only surviving wife of Henry VIII. Henry, Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey and Queen Elizabeth I have all lived at or visited Sudeley. King Charles 1 stayed here and his nephew, Prince Rupert, established his headquarters at the Castle during the Civil War. Following its destruction by Cromwell's troops, Sudeley lay neglected and derelict for two hundred years but is now the family home of the Dent-Brocklehursts and Lord & Lady Ashcombe. The family is dedicated to Sudeley's continued restoration and regeneration of the gardens, with particular emphasis on conservation and sustainability.
There are numerous events and exhibitions throughout the year – for details visit –
The Cotswold Wildlife Park
The Cotswold Wildlife Park is set in 160 acres of parkland and gardens around a listed Victorian Manor House and has been open to the public since 1970. The Park is home to a fascinating and varied collection of mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates from all over the world and aspires to show animals to people - so that they can come to understand and respect all forms of wildlife. The Park offers a fascinating collection of animals - many are endangered in the I.U.C.N.'s (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Red Data Books.
Kelmscott Manor, a grade 1 Listed Tudor farmhouse adjacent to the River Thames, was built in 1570, with an additional wing added to the Northeast corner in about 1665.
William Morris chose it as his summer home, signing a joint lease with the painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the summer of 1871. Morris loved the house as a work of true craftsmanship, totally unspoilt and unaltered, and in harmony with the village and the surrounding countryside.