Having worked with The Lygon Arms in the heart of the Cotswolds in the past, I made a point of familiarising myself with the surrounding area and this, some blah blah years ago, was how I first discovered the Burford Garden Company.
I still visit regularly and have just taken another peak at this shopping emporium when returning from an overnight stay at the Mercure Oxford Eastgate Hotel a couple of weeks ago.
A word “emporium” is really the best way to describe this sprawling shop of delight – yes there’s still the garden part but there’s oh so much more – a cornucopia of commerce.
A large cafe, home section, kitchen equipment, confectionery, clothing, rugrats section and now an antiques shop too!
Why do I like it so much? Well, I go for the experience as much as anything … and to learn. I take advantage of the gardening knowledge of the staff who alway go out of their way to help – even writing down a list of plants to purchase for my clay-ridden bog garden for the future.
It also employs a master merchandiser who recalls a bygone age appealing to our romantic view of childhood – a vision of the perfect home.
It’s fun to come here … and I visited with an old chum who feels exactly the same. So much so, it’s almost impossible to leave here without buying anything (says she weighed down by rose bushes, mixing bowls and vintage confectionery).
A central viewing point such as a car, surrounded by banks of colour, hand-written chalk blackboard signs, brown paper bags for vegetables – it all harks back to the childhood of most of the clientele that come here – a romanticised, retro childhood which all in all now look rather chic!
So, if you are in the Cotswolds, Oxford, Cheltenham or even if it’s a two hour drive, do go visit – it’s not just about the plants with their 10-year guarantee – it’s about a total shopping experience. You might be able to buy cheaper on line but hey, why? When you can come to this gorgeous place and be blown away for its goodnatured looks and pure style.
Oh … and of course Burford itself has to be one of the prettiest of Cotswold villages – well worth a walk around.
Beware however, once bitten by the Burford bug, you will need to visit frequently in the future. One visit just is not enough.
Contributor & photographer: Sue Lowry
Follow A3Traveller on Twitter: @A3Traveller and Sue Lowry on Google +, YouTube, Linkedin, Flickr and Pinterest. I also operate another blog for my company, Magellan PR – http://www.magellanstraits.com. They can be followed on Twitter: @MagellanPR, on Google+, on YouTube, on Pinterest and on Facebook.