The Bull at Burford Bulletin
01 Jun 2019
Celebrating centuries of history at the Bull
We recently came across over some historical research about the Bull, which dates the building back to 1397. Believe it or not, from being used as a buther’s shop, it also suggests that the building welcomed some notable guests later on in the 17th century, including Lord Nelson and even King Charles II.
As an inn, the Bull has been receiving guests since 1610 – that’s 409 years – and there’s also a reason why we have the only red brick facade in Burford.
A history of the Bull at Burford
1397 – A Papal Bull authorised the construction of a guest house on the site
1473 – Records from this year show that there was a building on this site called “The Bull” belonging to Burford merchant John Pinnock, who left it first to his son John, who owned the Angel next door on Witney Street.
1489 – John’s daughter signed the property over to the trustees of the Parish Church
1539 – Trustees leased the Bull to butcher Richard Dalby (and later to his son, also Richard)
1588 – The property was bought from the Crown by William Typper and Robert Dawe, but in 1595 it was reacquired for the town
1610 – Having been used during the reformation as a butcher’s shop, in 1610 John Silvester moved the existing Bull Inn from 111–113 High Street to 105 High Street and set about renovating certain parts of the building, including fireplaces and panelling.
1630 – The Bull appears to have been used by Royalist troops for a time during the Civil War. The innkeeper at this time was John Cooke
1670 – Famous visitors included Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton (the Trafalgar Suite is named in memory of their stay) as well as King Charles II and his mistress Nell Gwynne. In fact, Charles Beauclerk, the son of King Charles II and Nell Gwynne was created ‘Earl of Burford’ and later Duke of St. Albans.
1690 – The Bull is the only red brick building on Burford High Street and the facade was added at roughly this time, either by innkeeper William Tash or his son, John who died in 1747.
1750 – Burford was by this time a very busy stop on the route from London to Cheltenham and Wales, and the Bull prospered from this trade. The Market Room (now rooms 8 and 9) was in demand for meetings, sales, Auctions, plays and balls.
1768 – The princely sum of £196 was spent on further building work.
1784 – The Bull continued to attract the rich and famous but other tastes were also catered for, with cock-fighting at the Bull.
1793 – Now owned by John Stevens, former butler at Cliveden, the Bull hosted a ball after the annual Venison Feast.
1797 – The Bull suffered a serious fire, killing seven coach horses.
1802 – Stevens hosted a lunchtime visit by Lord Nelson and Emma Hamilton when on their way to Milford Haven. The party obtained new horses at the Bull.
1820 – Stevens died and the bull was run by his widow and son, James into the 1830s.
1873 – The Market Room ceased to be used for town business, the market ended as the town went through a period of decline.
1936 – By now owned by Clinch & Co. of Witney, Burford and the Bull saw a period of revival as it could cater for motorists and cyclists. The Bull was offered at this time as “a real old hostelry which has not been restored, yet abounds with possibilities for opening up old fireplaces, beamed ceilings and walls.”
1982 – The building suffered a fire but remained open as an inn
2007 – Condemned for fire and safety acquired by the current owners, who completed major renovation work
2019 – Ten years after being re-opened by the current owners, the Bull is a thriving inn with a friendly welcome, comfortable rooms, wonderful food and happy guests.
It’s worth remembering, though, that no building with over 600 years of history doesn’t have the odd squeaky floor!
30 Apr 2019
Reviews fit for a king!
Let’s start with an interesting fact: recent research has shed light on the fact that King Charles II may have passed through the Bull with his mistress Nell Gwynne in the late 1600s.
Burford gets busy in the spring and summer but nowhere near as busy, relatively, as it was in the late 17th and 18th centuries. Back then it was a thriving stop on the route from London to Cheltenham and Wales, and the Bull prospered from that trade. The “Market Room” (now rooms 8 and 9) was in demand for meetings, sales, auctions, plays and balls. I wonder what kind of ‘reviews’ the Inn used to get…
“Great food, chicken Sunday roast. Highly recommended. Nice atmosphere and hard working staff. Will be back. Very reasonable prices too”
“Second to none!… food is above average more of 5* restaurant. We stayed in room 18, boutique style, at the top of the house, attic, and took our dog cooper. Extremely clean, staff excellent, food excellent breakfast award winning! Couldn’t fault a thing. Will be a regular visitor there, without a doubt.”
“Great room and lovely breakfast.”
“Marvellous visit, staff work above and beyond – Rooms were very clean and with comfortable beds. The building is beautiful. We dined one evening in the attached restaurant, I had the venison which was very tasty and cooked well, again with great service throughout. I would thoroughly recommend and would stay there again”
“Easter Weekend – This place was fantastic. They were so accommodating, especially for the little dog we had with us. The girl on reception was just lovely and so helpful. Then the breakfast…..that is something to behold….. full cooked breakfast, huge buffet with cold meats, fruit, bread, cereal…..I could have stayed there all day….I wanted to.”
“Mini Honeymoon – Cannot recommend this hotel enough. Staff are amazing, warm and friendly. It’s clean and welcoming. Food is fantastic. Dog friendly too. Will definitely be back. They are more than 5 stars I’d give them 10!”
“Spacious quiet and well furnished courtyard room, perfect as travelling with a dog – Staff all extremely helpful, clean well stocked room which was lovely and warm on arrival. Much larger than it looks and although car park small a large free car park is about 4 minutes walk away. Good evening meal and excellent breakfast selection.”
Thanks again for all your reviews and we look forward to welcoming you to the Bull in the near future!
28 Feb 2019
Brunch-Lunch-Dinner – all day food now on!
To celebrate the start of spring, from 1 March we are launching new menus at the Bull, meaning that both residents and passers-by can now eat with us all day!
And, with the Six Nations on and the football getting exciting, we’re also showing all the best of the sport in the bar.
NEW! – BRUNCH 0800-1200
From as early as 0800 anyone can now join us in the bar and eat from our new Brunch menu. Try the Full Burford (our own take on the full English) or scrambled eggs and salmon, our Eggy Stack (read all about it here) or simply a bacon bap.
NEW! ALL-DAY BAR MENU 1200-2100
If you fancy a fantastic lunch or dinner without the formality of a restaurant, you can now eat from our Bar menu all day, from midday until 9pm. Which means that with our Brunch menu, you can now eat with us all day!
SPRING MADNESS: SUNDAY ROAST £8.95
To mark the beginning of Spring, we’re also offering a full Sunday roast with all the trimmings for just £8.95 per person. We’ll always have beef and at least one other choice, so come and join us. You could even make a Sunday stay out of it with our crazy Sunday offer.
14 Jan 2019
Valentine’s Day at the Bull at Burford
One month out from Valentine’s Day 2019 the Bull at Burford has launched an incredible, discounted Cotswold romance offer!
The budget can bite a bit at this time of year, so we have cooked up a VERY special 25% discount, even out-doing our other Cotswold midweek mini breaks.
This year’s Valentines 2019 break offers two nights’ Dinner, Bed & Breakfast from just £136.50 per person, including a glass of prosecco with dinner on the big night and delicious fudge or chocolates on arrival.
The dining offer gives both guests £35 on both nights from our delicious a-la-carte menu.
Make it a 3-night stay
And, as Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday this year, we are also offering a special rate on the Saturday night for those who want to make it a long 3-night weekend in Burford, the Gateway to the Cotswolds.
This offer is only available by booking direct through our website and allows you to choose between every type of double room we have available: superior, 4-poster, standard and small double rooms – truly something to suit every budget.
Take me to your offers now!
05 Dec 2018
Merry Christmas from the Bull!
To all of our guests past, present and future, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Also to our wonderful staff, thank you for a great 2018 and for the shift you’re about to put in over the festive season – it looks like it will be busy with a packed hotel!
This year we have a wonderful 3-night stay on 24th, 25th and 26th December as part of our Bull at Burford Christmas and New Year’s packages. Last time I checked we had a final few tables remaining for New Year’s Eve but otherwise there is no room at the inn!
However, if you still fancy a treat away we have many package deals on at the moment on our offers page including wonderful 2- and 3-night midweek offers – make sure you book soon to avoid disappointment!
Wherever you are, have a peaceful holiday and season’s greetings from the Bull!
01 Nov 2018
Bull gift voucher: the perfect Christmas present?
I know the countdown to 25 December seems to get longer every year, but I think it’s OK to start talking about Christmas on the 1 November and I wanted to let you know about some great new offers at the Bull this year!
We recently launched gift vouchers on our website. These can be bought online HERE and basically mean that you can give someone a gift of staying or eating at the Bull, with the flexibility of redeeming whenever they want. They’re already proving really popular so take a look.
Christmas & New Year at the Bull!
We also recently launched our Bull at Burford Christmas and New Year’s Eve packages. These include a wonderful 3-night stay on 24th, 25th and 26th December from just £202.50 per person including a bottle of champagne on arrival and a New Year’s Eve 2-night stay from just £114 per person with extra nights available.
Christmas Day lunch & office parties
If you’re fed up with all the cooking and washing up and would prefer to go out this year, come to us for Christmas lunch, or if you’re a local business looking for a Christmas party our 4-course Christmas Party menu is perfect and great value at just £24.00 per person, leaving you more than enough spare to get taxis to and from Burford!
As ever, we can be flexible and cater for all kinds of needs so if you have any questions please give our friendly staff a ring on 01993 822220! We look forward to seeing you at the Bull.
We look forward to welcoming you at the Bull.
30 Sep 2018
Midweek mini-breaks in the Cotswolds
By Jean-Marie Lauzier
The weather doesn’t quite know what it’s doing but I love this time of year. For those with young children it is a case of getting back into the school routine, but for those like me (whose kids are grown up) there’s often time and freedom to go and explore a bit, and Burford in the Cotswolds is the perfect place for this.
With this in mind, we’ve come up with three special offers for people who want to make a break for it during the week to relax and stay in a lovely room from Sunday to Friday, and get back home in time for the weekend, maybe to take care of the grandchildren! Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure these will appeal to a far broader audience than just grandparents, but I’m looking at them from my perspective!
2-night Burford mini-break
This is a refreshing two night midweek stay with breakfast and a 3-course a-la-carte dinner both nights, and a bottle of champagne on arrival, all from just £169 per person! Book here >>
3-Night Cotswold Escape
For those wanting something a little longer, this offers an incredible 3-night midweek stay, with the usual breakfast and a 3 course a-la-carte dinner (value £35 pp) on two of the three nights, knowing that sometimes people like to venture out somewhere else too on one night. There’s also a bottle of champagne on arrival and all this from just 199 per person sharing, with a superior upgrade available for a little more. Book here >>
The perfect dog-walker’s Sunday
Lots of people ask if we accept dogs and the answer is yes, as long as they’re friendly and well-behaved! This Sunday Special package offers Dinner, Bed & Breakfast for just £74.50 per person sharing, and dogs go free (usually a small charge applies). Book here >>
Royal Air Tattoo 2019!
If you’re an Air Tattoo enthusiast you’ll already be planning for July 2019. With the event held in nearby Fairford, we have a 3-night minimum stay package including dinner, bed & breakfast on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights of the Air Tattoo. Ring the hotel if you want to book a Friday-Saturday-Sunday stay.
23 Aug 2018
New menu of delights for the autumn
In my last Bull Bulletin I celebrated the fact that the Bull at Burford had been welcoming guests as a Cotswold inn since 1610! This time is slightly less grandiose but I wanted to let everyone know that our head chef Pablo has published a new menu this week, featuring many of the old favourites as well as some new wonderful dishes.
So what would I eat? A couple of my favourites from the lunch menu would be the sharing platter of whitebait, bravas, crispy aubergines and chicken skewers and also the fish platter of smoked salmon, dressed crayfish, pickled herring, mackerel pate, smoked gravlax and salmon tartare.
A lot of our lunchtime eaters go for the fish and chips, which is excellent with homemade tartare and chunky chips, and also the selection of sandwiches, which are all served with mixed leaves and also French fries.
On the dinner menu, among the starters I love the fish platter, which I could eat every day, the scallops and the beef cheek croquettes and from the mains I often go for the fresh fish, which comes in from Brixham every day.
Something a bit special
If I were to go for something a bit different, especially as the autumn draws in, it would be the venison which is wonderful. The steak is always good too and we’ve had great compliments about the curry, although I must admit that I’m not a big curry eater so I just smell the lovely aroma as it wafts past.
I’m not a big dessert eater either, but we get compliments on those all of the time! In fact someone ordered three last week!
What I can guarantee is that there is something to suit everyone’s taste and budget, including gluten free and vegetarian options right through the menu, which we’re also proud of.
We look forward to welcoming you in our bar, reception lounge or restaurant, or even outside if the sun comes out again. And remember, you can get even better value on our food by taking us up on one of our Cotswold Special Offers and our Burford dinner bed and breakfast rates.
20 Jun 2018
Remembering Fawlty Towers and a terrine to die for
This time of year always reminds me of Fawlty Towers and the Wooburn Grange in Buckinghamshire. Not many people know that the outside of the hotel used in the famous sitcom was not in Torquay but the Wooburn Grange, and at the time I was manager there!
This little quirk of history recently produced a funny moment for my oldest son while working at a sporting event. Standing by the side of a pitch, he was chatting with the television floor manager Tony about his first jobs in TV. Tony was about my age and explained that one of his first jobs in the 1970s had been on Fawlty Towers for the BBC.
He and a few of his colleagues turned up at the venue, the Grange, on the wrong day and were greeted by a young Frenchman who offered them a drink and explained it was no problem still to take a look around. After telling this story, Tony was amazed when my son replied: “Tony, that Frenchman was my dad!”
It was early on in my career, having only recently arrived from France, and I still remember back very fondly to those times, especially in the spring and summer months. Fortunately, none of the Fawlty Towers chaos rubbed off, BUT guests who stay with us and eat in the restaurant will sometimes talk with our head chef Pablo and get to sample his English accent, which is a little reminiscent of Manuel, Andrew Sachs’ immortalised waiter from Fawlty Towers!
Pablo’s Recipe & Top Tip
For this Bulletin, Pablo has offered up one of his favourite recipes, his salmon and crayfish terrine currently on our menu, and don’t miss the top tip: these ingredients will make a terrine to serve 12. Once you’ve put the ingredients together and made the terrine, the magic tip is to leave it in the fridge for at least eight hours before serving and eating. Happy cooking.
• 300g crayfish, sliced
• 200g fresh spinach
• 15g unsalted butter
• freshly ground black pepper
• 200g salmon fillet, cooked and flaked
• 200g prawns, cooked and chopped
• zest of 1 lemon
• 3 tablespoons lemon juice
• 3 pinches cayenne pepper
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
• salt to taste
• 4 level teaspoons powdered gelatine or use 4 or 5 sheets of gelatine
• 250ml double cream
Amazing Summer Deals
Remember to check out our amazing deals on mid-week stays and Sunday Lunch-Sleep-Breakfast, plus unbeatable prices for B&B and Dinner B&B.
08 Jun 2018
Summer specials at the Bull
We’re entering into a really busy part of the year when the Cotswolds area, including Burford, receives thousands upon thousands of visitors. The staff really enjoy this as there’s nothing better than a busy hotel and our Manager Kali and Head Chef Pablo have put together two really great offers, both of which have hidden benefits!
The Sunday Stroll
I love this deal and wish other hotels would do it. Arrive at the Bull for a delicious Sunday lunch, with the additional benefit of an early check-in. If you feel up to it you can then head out for a walk in the country – and remember dogs are very much allowed and welcome at the Bull.
Then come back to us in time for a light evening meal, for which you receive a voucher towards the cost. Then a good night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast on Monday morning to set you up for the week! At £74.50 per person, based on two sharing, I think this is a great deal on a standard room, or you can upgrade to a superior for a little more.
3-night Midweek break
If you want something a little longer, and can get away during the week, our three-night stay could be just for you. This is available from Sunday to Thursday assuming three consecutive nights stay, bed and breakfast, with TWO nights’ dinner included in our restaurant or bar. And to get things off to the best possible start, you also have champagne on arrival.
Knowing how good our food is, from £199 per person for the three nights including the two dinner allowances, I think this is great value and again I wish more hotels would do something like it!
Book one of these offers now! We hope to see you soon.
Jean-Marie Lauzier, owner, Bull at Burford