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Cotswolds: A Guide to Local Shopping, Parking and Public Loos
Felicity Ausden (Felicity)
Banbury is an historic market town famous for its Cross, Cakes and 'Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross' Nursery Rhyme. It is the second largest town in Oxfordshire and as such is a mix of a traditional market town and a cosmopolitan town with many of the high street chains to be found here. Tourist information and shops at the Castle Key Shopping Centre. There are also lots of independent traders. The "big three" supermarkets - Sainsbury's, Tesco's and Morrisons - are all on the outskirts of the town. Banbury Market is every Thursday and Saturday.
There is a special Farmers' Market on the First Friday of Every Month.
The most central car park in the Market Square has time limited pay and display parking (£1 for I hour). There are lots of other car parks around the town: Short Stay at 60p/hour up to 3 hours and Long Stay.
Public loos near Banbury Cross.
There is a very compact Budgens supermarket in Broadway. It is tucked around the back and hidden away but has some lovely fresh local produce! Approaching the main street from the Oxford Road end, drive almost to the end of the shops at the bottom of the street. Just after a pub there is a small turning to the right. Follow this and you will end up in a very, very small car park (maximum waiting time 45 minutes).
Other shops: Some clothes shops focusing on country wear and outdoors stuff. A very good kitchen shop, a china factory outlet shop where some nice things at good prices are sometimes to be had (not always!) plus the usual mix of better souvenir and antiques shops. Ice cream sellers outside in summer.
There is free street parking with a limited waiting time of one hour. At busy times of year, these places can be difficult to find.
There is a long stay car park (a left turn after a church on your right, just as you are nearly to the main street coming in on the Oxford Road) on the edge of town. It is a little walk from here.
If you want to be closer in, there is a short term (pay and display) car park hidden away around the back of Broadway. To get to it, drive down the main street from the Oxford Road end and take the last left hand turn after you have passed all the shops by the Green. Follow this road for about 100 yards. There is a car park in on your left from which you can cut through on foot, coming out by the tourist office.
Public loos near the short term lot.
There are no supermarkets in Burford so you will only find small specialist food shops and the majority of the town is taken up with antique shops. There is however a very nice shoe shop (Rose Dodd) and some other clothing shops worth a visit. The tiny museum in the centre of Burford is something to see - packed full of interesting and local objects from the past. The jewel in the crown of shopping is the Burford Garden Centre just outside the town. This sells much more than just plants and it is the perfect place to find presents, cards, special food, lovely items for the kitchen and also has a nice self serve restaurant for coffee, tea, a snack lunch, etc. This is also a fun place for children as they have a section of their restaurant devoted to them, a toy shop and a small playground area. To reach the Garden Centre drive up the main street to the roundabout at the top and take the left, second exit turning for Oxford, moving almost immediately into a right hand turning lane for Carterton. The Garden Centre is a left turn on this road about 500 yards along.
Parking in the High Street is free but it can be difficult to find a place at busy periods. There is sign to a free car park to the East of the High Street.
Public loos on the main street, near the road to the free parking lot. Also in the free parking lot.
Very good cheese shop . Very small supermarket. Otherwise I would not say it was overly supplied with food shops as it is mostly antiques, clothes, a small book shop, very nice craft type shops (jewelry, glass, Robert Welch design shop) tea places etc.
No restrictions on parking in the street (subject to yellow lines). Ninety minute pay and display car park in the Square (part of the High Street). There are further parking places in Back Ends which runs parallel to the High Street. It is not exactly a parking lot, more some diagonal lines marked by the roadside giving room for about 30 cars in all at either end of Back Ends. It is free parking but beware you do not park in the space reserved for coaches.
Public loos by the tourist office on the West side of the Main Street, about halfway along.
Two large supermarkets in the town. Sainsbury's and the Co-op, both with fairly good- sized car parks. Some specialist shops, in the main not geared to tourism - it is a "real" Cotswold town, vibrant and unpretentious, with "real" shops. There is a chemist, stationers, two good bookshops for new and antiquarian books, a few antique shops and a local museum (Easter to October only). There is also a fish and chip shop and excellent food and local ales in over twenty pubs and restaurants. Market day on Wednesdays is held in the square. A Farmers' market on the third Saturday of the month. Early closing Thursdays.
There is lots of time limited parking in the town in the main square (except on market day) as well as a large town car park on the southwest side and the supermarket car parks.
Moreton in Marsh
On Tuesdays the biggest street market in the Cotswolds is held in Moreton and takes up most of the main street (9am – 4pm). Food, hardware, clothes. Traffic jams sometimes! Other shops are mainly small independents geared around local needs with no chain stores. There is a great toyshop, a couple of charity shops, teashops and restaurants "The Corn Exchange" is a good shop for presents, antiques and art galleries.
The Wellington Aviation and Art Museum houses a collection of World War II and records the history of RAF Moreton-in-Marsh.
Budgens has a car park which is free if you are shopping there but may make a charge on market day. There is another car park round the back in Station road which makes a small charge (pay and display) and there is also free street parking. Parking at the railway station only for rail users (there is a charge).
Public Loos on the west side of the main street, down a little alleyway near the Reasdale Hall.
Shipston on Stour
Shipston is a really good old fashioned town with lots of small independent shops. There is a supermarket (the Co-Op) in the Square which will have most of the things you need although it is not super large. There is a post office, two banks, an antique shop, charity shops, where you might just find an overlooked "treasure", good greengrocer, a fish shop, bakery, butchers and a food shop which concentrates on local and fresh produce (Taste of the Country) but also keeps things like olives. They stock a large range of British cheeses (from cows, ewes and goats) and sell homemade "meals to go." You can buy a supper meal of say, lazagne or fish pie and bring the dish back later - reasonably priced and ideal if you do not feel like cooking on holiday. There is also a Pharmacy and other assorted useful shops as well as pubs and a Mrs. Brown's Tea Room at the bottom of Sheep Street.
Several small car parks and street parking. All of the car parks are free except for the Telegraph Street one (20p for 1 hour). Street car parking in the main square (not square but rectangular) restricted time.
Public loos at Telegraph Street car park.
Stow on the Wold
Some nice small specialist food shops and a Tesco (a turning to the left at lights just before you enter Stow town from the north).
Wonderful antique shops and a very good "seconds" china shop.
The town car park is at the same turning as Tesco's but you can sometimes be lucky and get parking in the main square (restricted time, two hours (but I am not positive)).
Public loos situated in the High Street.
For food shopping: Central - in Bridge Street, Marks and Spencer's (M&S) Food department and a small Sainsbury's opposite this. You can arrange to pick up M&S shopping by car round the back of the shop.
On the Birmingham Road (on the way out going North – you have to go over the bridge for this) Tesco. Open late and some days 24 hours. Very big with clothes, house-wares and electrical goods as well.
On the Alcester Road - straight on after the bridge and keep going straight, through roundabout at the top of Bridge Street and several lights, turning right at first roundabout past the station – Morrisons.
A Farmers Market is held on the first and third Saturdays of the month in Rother Street (9am – 2pm). Normal market every Friday in Rother Street.
There is an excellent cheese shop in Wood Street and if you like really good meat Barry the Butcher in Chapel Street is your man.
Other shopping: Lots of high street chains including Debenhams department store, Boots, health food shops, some very upmarket clothing shops, shoe shops and an antiques centre worth a visit.
If you are going to explore Stratford coming from the south, I suggest you follow signs for Stratford (two roundabouts, straight at first and at the second roundabout turn left). Just after the roundabout there is a sign on left to parking (Recreation Ground) by the river. This avoids taking the car over the bridge and into a one way system for big car parks but you have to know how much time you want to buy in advance. You can walk over a pedestrian bridge straight into the centre.
Alternatively there are other pay and display car parks and street parking in the town. In Bridge Street you can only park for 30 minutes (get a ticket from the machine on the pavement) but there is a rapid turnover of cars there so it is good for a quick dash into M & S. There is a large multi-storey car park opposite the Leisure Centre.
There are public loos by the river on the town side but also (nicer!) in Debenhams on the first floor.
No big food shops here but a good traditional butcher and a 90 year old newsagent's shop, which also sells snacks and a few food items. Lots of pubs and restaurants and a tearoom which now gets mixed reviews. The Craftsmen's Gallery sells work by contemporary British artists - paintings, etchings, ceramics and lovely wooden carvings.
There is ample free street-parking (limited waiting time) in the town plus a large free long-stay car park which is a left turn in the town just after the pedestrian lights if you are driving in the direction of Oxford.
The public loos are situated in the car park.
Felicity has lived in the bogs of Ireland, Dublin, Brussels, London and the Cotswolds. She has lived in the same village for 30 years but escapes as often as possible to go traveling. She rents her vacation cottage near Chipping Campden - Sansome House Cottage on Slow Travel Classifieds and www.sansomecottage.co.uk.
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