Twenty miles west of Oxford you get your first real taste of the Cotswolds at BURFORD, where the long and wide High Street, which slopes down to the bridge over the River Windrush, is simply magnificent – despite all the juggernauts. The street is flanked by a remarkable – and amazingly homogeneous – line of old buildings that exhibit almost every type of peccadillo known to the Cotswolds, from wonky mullioned windows and half-timbered facades with bendy beams, through to spiky brick chimneys, fancy bow-fronted, stone houses and grand horse and carriage gateways.
Burford also possesses the fascinating church of St John the Baptist, by the river and down a lane off the High Street. Of all the Cotswold churches, this has the most historical resonance with architectural bits and pieces surviving from every phase of its construction, beginning with the Normans and ending in the wool boom of the seventeenth century. Thereafter, it was pretty much left alone and, most unusually, its clutter of mausoleums, chapels and chantries survived the Reformation to create the jingle and jangle of today.