Monday morning we left the flat at Cove Cannon Street and schlepped our bags on the Tube (Piccadilly line, changing at Earl’s Court) to Heathrow to pick up our rental car. (Only mad dogs and Englishmen drive in central London.) Our destination was Fulbrook, a tiny village just outside Burford in the Cotswolds.
The Cotswolds are a region of rolling hills and picturesque villages. For cosy mystery fans, this is Miss Marple country. We’ve been visiting here for over 30 years and have seen the villages gentrify as cottages were purchased as weekend escapes. I think it must be very hard for locals to hang on, with all that money flowing in from London and abroad. So I was really pleased to learn that our landlords for the week are young locals who managed to buy and refurbish an old barn and are making it work as both their home and an attached vacation rental.
Westfall Barn is part of the Westfall Hill Manor complex, half a dozen former barns and outbuildings that have been renovated and converted into homes. It’s on a hill overlooking Burford and just 10 minutes walk into town.
The Westfall Hill neighborhood.
We walked into town for an excellent very late lunch at Huffkins Bakery, a quintessentially cosy tea shop. Great bread and pastries.
Burford was founded as a Saxon village (5th-7th centuries), and was transformed into a market town following the Norman Conquest (11th century). Burford was a prosperous wool town in the 14th-17th centuries, and its prosperity is evident in the church and the many well preserved merchant homes dating to that period. The Church of St. John the Baptist gets five stars in England’s Thousand Best Churches (which no home library should be without IMO) and it is worth every star. The church was built in stages between the 12th and 15th centuries and the Victorians mercifully never “improved it” (as has been the sad fate of so many lovely parish churches in England).
Our friends Sue and Philip joined us mid-day on Tuesday, and we walked into town for lunch at The Priory, then wandered the village until rain drove us back to our cozy lodging in Fullbrook. In the evening, we walked down the hill in the other direction for an excellent fish and chips dinner at the friendly local pub, the Carpenters Arms in Fullbrook.