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As a West country girl from Swindon, I feel lucky that I’m just a hop, skip and a jump away from the picturesque Cotswolds.
It’s an area that transports you back in time to a bygone era. In amongst them is a small town which packs a punch with charm; Burford.
There are some amazing things to do in Burford, and for a tiny place it has some incredible Instagram locations to boot!
The scenery looks like its straight from a postcard. You can take stroll up Burford Hill, have a spot of tea in the iconic Huffkins tea rooms, be wowed by Burford Church, go shopping in Burford high street and have a pint in one of the many quintessential Burford pubs.
Here’s the full list of the amazing things to do in Burford & the best Instagram spots.
How to reach Burford, where in England are the Cotswolds?
The Cotswolds are a series of villages, towns and cities that are spread across the counties of Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire. 787 miles squared of traditional English beauty.
The town of Burford in the Cotswolds is located in Oxfordshire and is around a 40 minute drive from the city of Oxford.
There are many ways you can reach Burford;
- Burford By Car – if you’re driving or you’ve hired a car, then plug in OX18 4QU into your SatNav. From Oxford you can take the A40 road which will leave you there.
- Burford By Bus – You can get the Stagecoach service 233 to Burford from Woodstock and The Swanbrook coach service 853 from Oxford
- Burford by Train – there is no train station in Burford but the stops of Charlbury and Shipton are nearby.
Parking in Burford
The Burford car park is FREE for everyone to use and is conveniently located around a five minute walk away from the High Street. There’s quite a lot of spaces during the week, but you’ll be fighting for a space on the weekends.
You will parked near Church Lane, so, you can pass Burford church on the way. Don’t forget to say hello to the ducks on the river!
In the UK, double yellow lines mean it’s illegal to park on the road and single yellows mean that parking there is only allowed at certain times. So, to avoid a parking fine, make sure if you’re parking you check the rules first. Also don’t block people’s driveways.
Top tips for taking photos in Burford & important things to be mindful of
- Burford Hill is beautiful in the morning sunshine, but in the afternoon it can be overcast with shadow.
- Weekends get incredibly busy and in Summer it’s overflowing. Visit during the week, in off peak (Winter) or shoulder seasons (Spring, Autumn) for less crowds.
- There are cars parked all down the High Street blocking many of the buildings. So you’ll need to get creative with shots.
- Burford is a pretty place and has many gorgeous houses. But, be mindful that there are people actually living here. They’re not Instagram props. Don’t poke your nose in the windows or block the doors (unless your popping money in the box for buying something). The locals won’t appreciate it.
1. Take a stroll on Burford Hill
The most iconic spot for photographs, just above the main High Street, is Burford Hill. It’s two perfect rows of beautiful old houses and it’s effortlessly picturesque!
Here you can walk up and down both sides of the street and take in the Cotswolds scenery.
There aren’t any shops on these parts of the streets, these are residential homes. But, there are plenty of benches to perch on and take in the magnificent views of Burford and the countryside beyond.
It’s the perfect Instagram spot for your feed as every house, made of iconic Cotswold stone, is a stunner.
2. Take a spot of Afternoon Tea at Huffkins Café Tea Rooms
I’ve only just discovered the amazing Huffkins tea rooms in Burford but I left obsessed. Huffkins is a Cotswold Bakery and has been inviting people in for afternoon tea in their Tea Rooms since 1890!
There are six branches in the Huffkins chain but the original was founded in Burford by Mr. Titcomb. Back in the day, he used to deliver wood fire baked goods to people using a donkey and cart!
Nowadays, there’s an online delivery service and for the last 19 years has been owned by the Taee family.
I found out in their ‘Loo news’ while using the bathroom, that Huffkins baked goods reach Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges and even the Royal Palaces!
I had a coffee with an Ameretto syrup, but there are plenty of organic tea options to choose on the menu. They also had the most scrumptious selection of cakes. I’m still dreaming about their stick Belgian bun, it came with lemon curd oozing out of the middle. Swoon.
If you fancied splashing out, you can splurge on their Cotswolds afternoon tea with all the trimmings beautifully presented on a cake tier. For more information about Huffkins, reserve and their menu, see here.
Buy a Huffkins signature shopper bag!
Okay, so not a thing to do, but I absolutely LOVED Huffkins signature shopping bags. They’re a really neat little souvenir and they’re also good as a reusable bag to reduce your use of plastic!
After you’ve been in Huffkins tea rooms, make sure you pay a visit to the bakery. In here, they have all sorts of baked goods to buy and souvenirs like pinnies, oven gloves and cooking wares.
Another great thing is you get 10% off anything in store with proof of receipt from the tea rooms. So, hold onto it!
3. Learn about the history behind Burford Church, St John the Baptist
Burford Church, or St John the Baptist Church, welcomes 100,000 visitors through its doors every year which means its one of the top ten visited churches in the UK. You can see why as soon as you approach it; the architecture is fabulous! It’s a grade I listed building which means its of exceptional interest.
The construction of the original church started in 1175 and we can tell through the date carvings over the doors and archways.
However, it was finally completed in 1500 with the addition of the ambitious construction of the church spire. This was a bit of an architectural blunder as it started to move! Throughout time, there have been numerous efforts to stabilise it.
Today, we can wander around this amazing site and admire the exterior architecture and the gorgeous interiors!
As you walk in you can see the eye catching stained glass windows which let the rays natural sunlight inside. If you grab a pamphlet for a small fee, you can find out about all the artefacts inside the church and its history.
Burford Church is FREE to visit but buildings like this have a lot of upkeep. If you enjoyed your visit or took some nice photos, drop a donation in the box. Or, visit their café on site. To find out more about services and events, see their official website.
4. Browse in Burford Shops on the picturesque high street
If you fancy a bit of window shopping while you’re here then, Burford High Street is full of cute shops to browse and buy souvenirs.
My favourite was the Three French Hens, it’s such a cute shop full of postcards, door stops, signs, pretty door handles, candles and all sorts of other treasures!
There are also art galleries, clothes shops, pottery stalls, upholsterers, delicatessens and sculptures if that takes your fancy.
If you’re missing the festive season, you can check out Burford’s Christmas Court which spreads Christmas cheer 365 days a year!
Also, if you have a sweet tooth, you can check out the vintage Burford Sweet Shop. Where they sell bon bons, liquorice, toffees and all sorts of treats to fill your pick ‘n’ mix bag.
5. Have a quintessentially British pint in one of the many Burford pubs
For a small town, Burford sure packs a lot of pubs in! So, there’s plenty to choose for a country pub lunch or a quick pint of locally brewed beer, ale or cider.
6. Feed the ducks and swans by the river
As you come up to Burford Car Park, you will see the cutest bridge which allows you to cross over the River Windrush. Here, you can see a really lovely spot to take a photograph of the Church, the river and the ducks and swans passing by.
Please don’t feed the ducks bread or pastries, buy some bird feed in town. Bread really isn’t good for their digestive systems and could make them sick. Also the swans will hiss a lot! It’s like they know they’re the Queen’s birds.
From this spot, you can also take a stroll on the Burford river walk. It can be quite mucky in winter or if it has been raining, so take good walking shoes.
7. Wander along Church Lane
Possibly my favourite street after Burford Hill is Church Lane. All the houses in this area are made of Cotswold stone and you can even see vintage street signs.
You can also find old buildings from the school that used to be part of Burford Church and the Vicarage from years gone by.
Also, don’t forget to check out the Open Garden where you can buy plants for your garden. It works on an honesty system, simply pop money in the owners letter or money box.
8. Explore the photogenic town of Burford
I think every street corner I laid my eyes on in Burford was more beautiful than the last.
Beyond this list, there are many more things to do in Burford. Shops to explore, cosy streets to admire and Burford walks to explore more of the Oxfordshire countryside.
I could have spent a couple of hours here engrossed in every little thing it had to offer. I’ve been coming here since I was a kid and each time I come back there’s something new to discover.
Don’t miss out on a visit to the chocolate box town of Burford while in UK , a jewel in the crown of the Cotswolds.
Don’t miss out on these beautiful villages while you’re in the Cotswolds!
Once you’re done exploring Burford, you can make your way to the beautiful village of Lechlade-on-Thames. You can take a picnic here by the river and go boating in the summer. Don’t miss out on a pint in the popular pub; The Riverside.
If you’re wanting to go further afield you can explore Stow on the Wold, Castle Combe, Lacock (perfect for Harry Potter fans!), Bibury, Cirencester, Bradford On Avon and plenty more amazing places that will take your breath away!