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Country Luxury and Teddy Bears in the Cotswold

Bay Tree Inn BurfordBurford is a quiet picturesque little medieval town in West Oxfordshire at the frontier of the Cotswold Hills about 2 hours from London. A principal feature of the town and the basis of its existance and prosperity is the narrow stone bridge across the Windrush River. The name Burford comes from the old Saxon roots meaning a fortified town at a river crossing (burgh – ford). The village has not always been so quiet. It was the site of a battle in the days of the Saxons and the Britons with a connection to King Arthur’s father Uther Pendragon, still commemorated with a dragon emblem, while a dispute over the correct day of Easter was settled in Burford at a synod attended by King Ethelred. Oh, for the excitement of olden days…

Burford prospered in Elizabethan times due to a thriving wool trade with the plentiful sheep grazing lands still abounding in the Cotswold hills. The town kept its country village nature when it was bypassed by the railroad in the Victorian era, but its road bridge across the river made it a prime location for coaches traversing between London and Gloucester, with accommodations for coaching passengers. And those same inns which have welcomed visitors seeking the quiet beauty and romantic atmosphere of the Cotswolds can still find welcome in local inns that go back to the time of the first Queen Elizabeth. One of them is the Bay Tree Hotel, awarded the Gold Enjoy England Small Hotel of the Year in 2011. Located on a narrow side street off the main thoroughfare, the charming and historic Bay Tree Hotel, with its walls of Cotswold limestone cloaked in a colorful thicket of purple wisteria blooms has been taking in wayfaring travelers since it was first built in 1565 as the country house of the Chief Baron of the Exchequer to Queen Liz, Sir Lawrence Tanfield. With its wood beam rafters over bare limestone walls and wood paneled common rooms in cozy nooks, with original stone fireplaces are complimented by woven tapestries and antiques. Stepping through the ancient oak doorway is like a step into another time.

Bedroom at Bay Tree InnThe cozy individually styled rooms, each with its own décor and character, feature antique furnishings and rich colorful fabrics, while visitors are greeted by the mascot Teddy Bear of the hotel on the amply pillowed bed of crisp linens. All the rooms have private en-suite bathrooms supplied with Molton Brown Toiletries and flat screen television. The Bay Tree Restaurant of gourmet quality and the bar, perfect for an after-hours gathering are in the original house building along with the reception, while the hotel rooms are across the gravel drive, requiring a brief step through the weather. The bedrooms, reached by way of an oak staircase and down a multi-leveled hallway are behind classic wooden doors opened by old fashioned keys. Parking is in a private lot behind the hotel.

The Bay Tree Restaurant offers candlelit dining or the alternative of outdoor seating in the patio, or an evening drink from the Woolsack Bar, which gets its name from the trade which kept the town of Burford in the chips. A full breakfast buffet in the morning offers a view of the aromatic roses and lavender beneath the Bay Trees from which the hotel’s identity and name derives. The secluded walled herb garden is perfect for a summer evening stroll, while the library offers a comfortable spot to relax for an afternoon tea in front of a roaring fire when the weather outdoors is a passing hail storm. In the warmer season, the Summer House with private terrace overlooking the garden offers a venue for a reception for drinks or Barbeque, or even a lawn croquet party. The Bay Tree Hotel offers romantic two-for-one and holiday break packages with special care for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.

The Bay Tree Hotel can make an excellent base for exploring the southern Cotswolds, the towns of Bourton on the Water, Chipping Campden, Cirencester, and historic sights and gardens of Blenheim Palace, Sudeley Castle, Painswick Rococo Gardens and The National Arboretum at Westonbirt are within easy reach. Gloucester and its historic Cathedral are 30 minutes. Or just take a walking stroll through the shops of Burford to the old stone bridge and the Norman church of St John The Baptist from 1175, with its own cathedral-like proportions and described as one of England’s Thousand Best Churches.
© Bargain Luxury Travel

The Cotswold Inns and Hotels group also manage The Lamb Inn a few doors down.

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Bay Tree Hotel

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