Mention Fairford and most people automatically think of the Air Tattoo. Yet of the thousands that come to the Air Tattoo many go away not having seen anything of Fairford except the Airfield. This is a shame and if you are one of them how about this year spending a little time in the town itself. If you go into the town you can park easily either at the side of the road, in the market place or about 100 metres up the road in the car park there. All parking is free so that is a bonus to start with Your first site is of the beautiful 502 year old Church that dominates a large part of the High Street. Its claim to fame is that it has the oldest complete set of stained glass windows in the country as during the war they were taken out and buried for safety. Go in it really is a beautiful and interesting Church. To the side of it you will see a small road leading to the Mill. See the Mill Stone and the water fall here. Look into the water and see the trout that have probably come at some time or other from Bibury Trout Farm and multiplying and living a peaceful life here! Take some bread and feed the ducks while you are there. Next go along to the Market Place. Have a drink and a meal at The Bull. This is a friendly place with many interesting items and photographs on the wall. There are not many shops in Fairford. In the last couple of years quite a few have closed down which is a pity. We do have 2 small supermarkets - not so cheap as Tescos - but good if you run out of any groceries. We also have a Butchers, notice the old Butcher Bike outside this shop, Flower Shop, 2 hairdresses, a couple of antique shops, Artists shop and Estate Agents. We do even better for takeaway food! You can get a choice of fish and chips from either of our chippies, chineese, pizzas and Indian. Next have a walk around the town itself and notice all the Cotswold Stone houses. Many are very old. Along Park Street you will see a row of houses, they used to be the Asylum. You might be surprised to see opposite these houses a big field. This is known as the walnut tree field. Half of it is a park for children and the other is used for car boots and fetes. We have 4 schools in Fairford. Kimberley School which is a private school, then we have Coln House School which is a special needs school. Takes in borders from many areas and then we have Fairford Primary and Farmors school. These two schools are on the same ground as FairfordSports Centre. This makes after school activities easy for children and children can pay a fee to go their till their working parents collect them. We also have a Cottage Hospital, Chemist and A very good Doctors surgery with about 6 doctors there. Lastly we have a part time police station just been built and a Fire Station with retained fire fighters. So as you can see by this Fairford has a lot more to it than just the Air Tattoo. Although The Air Tattoo is back in Fairford this year and if you have never been I would very strongly advise a visit as it is a real great day out up there or even a long weekend if you travel to here from a long way away.
Most people associate Fairford with the Royal International Air Tattoo and although they come to that they do not adventure further from the base to see the town and the beautiful surroundings. Fairford has a lot more to it than just the Airbase Fairford, Gloucestershire in the Cotswolds. Just 7 miles from Cirencester. It is a small market town in the Coln Valley. Although it looks as if Fairford always stays the same it has changed discreetly in many ways over the years but these changes have enhansed the town. Fairford has a beautiful 15th Century Church which has the only complete set of medieval stained glass window. This is because during the war they buried the windows to keep them safe. In the Church yard there is a grave stone for Tiddles. Tiddles was the Church cat. The town may be small but we have annual events. In July (came back in 2002 after the resurfacing of the runway up at the base) is the Royal International Air Tattoo. This is a weekend event with flying displays and static planes. It is World famous. In August is the Traction Engine Rally where all the engines come together and put on a wonderful show. One of my favourite parts of this is the Ladies excuseme where they let ladies from the audience come up and drive a steam engine in an obstacle race. This is a never to be forgotten experience! You have to start turning the steering wheel not seconds before you want to go left or right but minutes. In June we have the Fairford Festival. This is relatively new but getting better every year with new events taking place plus the usual disco and dancing in the market place. Every Wednesday is Market day as it was many years ago. This did stop for many years but now back where it was and should always be. Amongst the other sites we must not forget the mill. Here you will see Ox pens, an ancient agricultural building with wooden stalls which accommodated pairs of oxen when they were used for ploughing. This has all been restored by the Ernest Cook Trust. On a summers day there is nothing nicer than to go there and feed the ducks. This is a beautiful place for taking photographs with a great view of the Church. There is a footpath which opens out onto a wooden bridge. The footpath that goes along the riverside has a wooden bridge. This is called Dillys Bridge and is in memory of a golden retriever called Dilly. The bridge has just been repaired. Fairford still has a Town Crier. He is often seen in the town announcing a local event and of course you can hire him if you have news to spread! <br >Last year Fairford was host for the Town Criers Championships and over 30 town criers came and yes there are woman town criers as well. To see them all together was a great sight. If you can stay more than a day in Fairford there are bed and breakfast places and public houses to stay but if you can spend out a bit try staying at the Bull Hotel in the market place. This place is steeped in history. A few years ago they discovered a tunnel going from the Bull to the Church. The restauraunt still has the original horse stalls which has been turned into part of the restaurant. Your bed will probably be on the slant as the floor is "all over the place". Do you remember Ivy Tilsley in Coronation Street well the one of the actressess brothers own the Bull and on the walls there are many photographs of stars. At the moment the people of Fairford, like a lot of places are trying to save their local cottage hospital from closing down. Last but not least is the community centre. This dates back to the early 1700s and it was then a school. It stayed a school until 1961. The town council and the Church Council then bought it to run as a community centre. When my children were young they all had their birthday parties here! So next time you come to the Air Tattoo take time out to go around Fairford itself I am sure you will find something for you to enjoy.