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Burford

PUBLISHED: 16:07 23 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:18 20 February 2013

Burford

Burford

One of England's prettiest small medieval towns with a long history of hospitality and beautiful Cotswold architecture will be unwrapping Christmas in a traditional magical style.

Burford may only have a population of 1,100, but it knows how to celebrate. This attractive market town on the River Windrush in Oxfordshire, with its distinctive steep street of 15th to 18th century houses and exclusive shops - one of the finest High Streets in the Cotswolds - attracts thousands of visitors each year. Once an important coach stop, Burford, which grew wealthy on the wool trade in the Middle Ages, has hardly changed since Georgian times and is a shopping explorer's paradise with its wonderful little side streets to explore, old pubs, galleries and rich bounty of tea and antique shops.

Visitors, shoppers and children alike will be in for a treat if they visit Burford on Sunday, November 29th. The popular annual Advent Fair is the epitome of picturesque winter charm. This year families can ice skate to dancing snowflakes and festive melodies as Burford Primary School's playground is transformed into a winter wonderland thanks to a nine metre square ice rink and snow machine.

As in previous years, traders and residents are pulling together to embrace the start of the Christmas season with generosity and cheer. Organised by the Chamber of Trade, the Advent Fair is a terrific juxtaposition of competitions - including a huge hamper crammed with donated treasures from Burford shops - tasty treats, teddy trails, exhibitions, carols, drama, stilt walking, juggling and fire eating. And younger spectators will be on the look out for Father Christmas riding on his sleigh along the High Street.

Its impressive lining of Lime Trees will dazzle with festive lights as he flicks the switch at the Tolsey, a black and white timber fronted market house from Tudor times, now a museum. The fair finishes with a torch-lit procession to the magnificent 15th century parish church of St. John the Baptist. Almost cathedral-like in size and described as the "Queen of Oxfordshire," in Simon Jenkins' book, England's Thousand Best Churches, this is where many will congregate to celebrate Jesus' birth with drama and carols.

One of the Advent Fair organisers, Jayne Lewin, co-owner of Burford Woodcraft says it's a brilliant event which has continued to blossom over the past five years.

"We wanted to bring the true spirit of Christmas back to Burford, have a proper traditional start to the festive season and as traders, give something back to the people who live here."

Burford's Advent Fair is from 12-5pm. For more information contact Jayne Lewin on 01993 823479.

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