One side benefit of being stuck in the UK this summer is the impetus it's given us to discover new places to visit and explore. And we can't think of a better place for Londoners who are into their food and wine, than a vineyard visit. We've picked some of the best offering vineyard tours, tastings and even overnight stays.
Where: West Ashling, Chichester PO18 9DJ
How to get here: It's about 90 minutes on the train to Chichester and then a 10-minute taxi ride
This is run by the Gardner family who owned it for 20 years before planting vines in 2009 and bringing in an ex-Nyetimber winemaker to help produce the wine. As well as tours and tastings, they also have a Gin School where you can create your own specialised gin (including the use of a still). They also have their own restaurant serving local and seasonal dishes.
Staying over: There are a number of lodges, built by Will Hardie of TV’s Amazing Spaces
Find them on Instagram: @ashlingpark
Where: Five Oak Ln, Staplehurst, Tonbridge, Kent TN12 0HT
How to get here: Take the train from London Bridge to Marden. You can sign up in advance to be part of the shared minibus shuttle service from the station.
This impressive vineyard is more along the lines of the kind you’d visit in Napa or Stellenbosch. There’s a huge winery with multiple tour options from your own self-guided tour (free), cellar door masterclasses (from £25) and estate tours and tastings (from £45). Or you can push the boat out and opt for the private Balfour Wine and Dine Experience where you’re met at the train station, then given a tour and tutored tasting followed by a wine-paired lunch (£175). The estate and cellar door shop are open seven days a week.
Staying over: Balfour run a number of inns including the nearby Goudhurst Inn which is just a ten-minute drive from the winery.
Find them on Instagram: @balfourwinery
Where: Foxhole Ln, Bolney, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH17 5NB
How to get here: It’s about a 15-minute taxi trip from Haywards Heath station.
This bucolic spot in the Sussex countryside turns out award-winning wines. We’d suggest booking ahead for The Ultimate Wine and Food Tasting with Tour which includes a glass of sparkling wine on arrival, a vineyard tour, tutored tasting with a food matching plate, finishing with a seasonal mezze board and dessert and some Bolney Estate Gin sampling too, all for just £60 per person. If you fancy just popping along, there's a lovely cafe and shop here too.
Find them on Instagram: @bolneyestate
Where: Small Hythe Rd, Tenterden, Kent TN30 7NG
How to get here: Take the fast train from St Pancras to Ashford International and then it's a taxi journey from there.
Probably one of the UK's best-known wine producers, Chapel Down is best known for its high quality sparkling wine. Depending on whether you want to drink while you wander the vineyard you could opt for a guided tour and tasting (£25) which ends with a wine tasting in the shop, or a Walking With Wine tour which - as it suggests - involves quaffing as you stroll through the grounds (from £35). There's also a full-blown restaurant at the winery - The Swan.
Find them on Instagram: @chapeldown
Where: London Rd, Dorking RH5 6AA
How to get here: It's a 15-minute walk from Dorking or Box Hill stations.
The UK's largest vineyard has, as you would imagine, an impressive tour operation with two restaurants and a hotel on site in addition to an alfresco dining option, The Hatch. Book a tour in a group and you'll get options like the 'Secret Vineyard Tour' which takes you to places in the estate normally off limits to other visitors.
Staying over: The Denbies Vineyard Hotel has 17 rooms and its own restaurant and bar.
Find them on Instagram: @denbies_wine_estate
Where: Fairmile, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 2LA
How to get here: It's a 5-minute taxi ride or pleasant 20-minute walk to the vineyard from Henley station.
With most vineyards in Kent and Sussex, it's nice to come across this lovely one in Oxfordshire turning out award-winning white and rosé sparkling wines on the foothills of the Chilterns. Prebooked tours can cost as little as £10 if you have a group of six. They can arrange for local suppliers to deliver a picnic to the vineyard for you.
Find them on Instagram: @fairmilevineyard
Where: Gardener’s Rest, Forty Hall Farm, Forty Hill, Enfield EN2 9HA
How to get here: London bus routes 191 or W10 go to within a 10-minute walk of the vineyard or it’s a 20-minute walk from Turkey Street overground station.
Billed as "the first commercial-scale vineyard in London since the middle ages" this North London vineyard is just off the A10 on an estate that dates back to the 1600s. The mainly volunteer-run vineyard produces a range of still and sparkling wines. The grounds are quite lovely and there’s a farm shop where you can buy wine to take home with you. The vineyard does tours from April to October on the second Sunday of the month followed by a tasting.
Find them on Instagram: @fhvlondon
Where: Hog's Back, Puttenham, Guildford GU3 1AG
How to get here: It's about a 40-minute train to Guildford, then a 10-minute taxi ride
Greyfriars was planted back in 1989, and the current team took over in 2010, expanding to 50 acres. Their English sparkling wines have been award-winners, including at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Tours start at £20 and they've recently launched a new Tasting Room bar with their wines and snacks available. Look out for special events too, like supperclubs, local artisan tastings, cocktail and wine evenings and more.
Find them on Instagram: @greyfriarsvineyard.
Where: Kenardington Rd, Appledore, Ashford, Kent TN26 2BE
How to get here: Jump on a Javelin train from St Pancras to Ashford International and they’re a short taxi journey from the station.
Gusbourne produces world-class wines that you may have tried at the likes of L'enclume, Moor Hall or Le Gavroche. If the weather’s clement, then the Gusbourne wine picnics (£80 for two) sound top-notch - choose from charcuterie and vegetarian accompanied by a bottle of their Brut Reserve. If you’d prefer to learn more about the wine then they also do two-hour tasting tours (£25 per person). If you want to spend more time, there's also a tour followed wither by a light lunch or three-course lunch (£75/£95). Read all about our visit.
Find them on Instagram: @gusbourne_wine.
Where: Hambledon, Hampshire, PO7 4RY
How to get here: Take the train from Waterloo to Petersfield where it's a 15-minute taxi ride to the vineyard.
You'll find Hambledon wines on some great London restaurant wine lists from Noble Rot to Brigadiers - the sparkling wines, at what they say is England's oldest vineyard, are regular award-winners. The basic tour is £22.50 which includes a tour of their cellars and a tasting. They also have a pop-up restaurant in a marquee throughout the summer months (£50 for lunch, £75 for dinner).
Find them on Instagram: @hambledon_vineyard
Where: Wield Yard, Lower Wield, Alresford, Hampshire SO24 9AJ
How to get here: This is really a drive-only option.
We love the wines from this vineyard (you may have tried their wines on the Grand Duchess boat run by the London Shell Co) and really enjoyed our own tour here a few years back. Their wine tasting tours are just £20 for a tour, tasting and the opportunity to buy wines at cellar door prices. If all this makes you peckish, they can recommend a couple of great nearby pubs for a country lunch afterwards.
Find them on Instagram: @hattingleywines.
Where: Park Farm Oast, Junction Rd, Bodiam, Robertsbridge TN32 5XA
How to get here: It's much easier by car, but you can take a train from London Bridge to Battle and back double back to Robertsbridge station and get a taxi from there.
Brazilian winemaker America Brewer is behind this successful East Sussex vineyard by the banks of the river Rother. Tours start at £30 a person for a walk around the vines followed by a tasting with a food platter. They even do special kid's tours and special Brazilian fine-dining nights with food and wine.
Staying over: Good luck trying to get a date to stay in their amazing self-catering Hobbit House, looking for the world like it's straight out of Hobbiton. There's also a new waterside lodge that sleeps four and they also offer a luxury glamping option.
Find them on Instagram: @oastbrook
Where: Gay Street, Nr. Pulborough, West Sussex, RH20 2HH
How to get here: Either by car or head to Pulbourne station where you'll need a pre-booked taxi to take you the 10 minutes to the vineyard.
In London, the Gladwin family are best known for their restaurants but in West Sussex, it’s all about their farm and vineyard where they produce a range of well-respected wines, including a blush and a Pinot Noir. They do self-guided trails along with tasting tours as well as picnics (from £25). From the cellar door shop, you can stock up on wine along with meat boxes from the farm.
Find them on Instagram: @nutbournevineyards
Where: Hobbs Lane, Beckley, Rye, East Sussex TN31 6TU
How to get here: They say “we’re down the longest dead-end in Sussex,” so you’re going to need a car.
Oxney Organic Estate in East Sussex is the largest single estate organic vineyard in the UK. Visitors there can either stop by their tasting room and shop or option to go on a guided tour and tasting which happens every Saturday between April and November (£25). Try their organic still and sparkling wines which are made according to a low intervention, natural winemaking ethos. Note that they’re closed on Sundays and bank holidays.
Staying over: If you want to make a weekend of it they have a range of cottages and shepherds huts on the estate you can stay in.
Find them on Instagram: @oxneyorganicestate
Where: White Way, Polegate, East Sussex BN26 5TU, United Kingdom
How to get here: The nearest train station is Berwick and you can get a taxi from there. The estate is vast though, so if you're staying over it's a good idea to travel by car.
This decade-old winery is dedicated to the production of world-class Sussex sparkling wines with bookable tours and tastings (from £27.50), but they’re also big on food. Their fine dining Tasting Room restaurant has had rave reviews but if you're after something more relaxed, then they also have the Flint Barns restaurant and hotel, just a little further down the vineyard.
Staying over: On their huge estate, they have Flint Barns, a boutique hotel that's ideal for visiting the vineyard as well as exploring the surrounding area.
Find them on Instagram: @rathfinnyestate
Where: Ditchling Common, Fragbarrow Lane BN6 8TP
How to get here: It's about an hour on the train direct to Burgess Hill, then a five minute taxi ride
One of the UK's more well-known vineyards, Ridgeview has been producing wine for over 25 years, winning awards along the way. Tours and tastings start at £25 and keep an eye out for special tastings too. Coming this year (late summer 2022) is a new outdoor all-weather venue where they'll start serving food that focuses on locally grown seasonal Sussex produce. In the meantime, you can have a drink in their wine garden.
Find them on Instagram: @ridgeviewwineuk
Where: Terlingham Manor Farm, Terlingham Ln, Old Hawkinge, Folkestone, Kent.
How to get here: They’re 10 minutes by taxi from both Folkestone West and Central train station.
If natural wines are your thing, then this small vineyard in Kent should be on your to-visit list. Tours on a Wednesday and Friday are by appointment only and are what they dub “an intimate experience”. They’ll show you how their natural winemaking methods work followed by a tasting, complete with cheese board and a slice of homemade cake - all for £33.
Staying over: They do mindfulness retreats if you only have a day to spare, or there are three B&B rooms available at the winery for overnight stays.
Find them on Instagram: @terlingham_vineyard
Where: Dew Farm Dew Lane Peasmarsh, Rye TN31 6XD
How to get here: It's a 70 minute journey to Rye (changing at Ashford), then a 10-minute taxi to the farm
Tillingham is all about organic and biodynamic wines and launched fairly recently, back in 2018. They have an aim to create a balanced, biodiverse ecosystem across the whole farm. Alongside tours and tastings (from £35), their restaurant serves produce that's either from the farm itself or from the local area. They also have a wine bar that serves wood-fired pizzas
Staying over: They have 11 rooms in what was a hop barn, including a dog-friendly room.
Find them on Instagram: @tillinghamwines
Where: Tinwood Farm, Halnaker, Chichester, West Sussex PO18 0NE
How to get here: Take the train to Barnham or Chichester. From there, you can take a taxi, or there's a bus from Chichester that gets you to within a 15 minute walk of the estate.
It's all about sparkling wine at this vineyard near Chichester. Tours cost £21 which includes three glasses of their sparkling wine in their impressive tasting room plus a tour of the estate. You can also add on a cheese platter, canape selection or afternoon tea to that.
Staying over: The estate has three luxury lodges with jacuzzis, barrel saunas and terraces. plus you get a discount on vineyard tours too.
Find them on Instagram: @tinwoodestatevineyard
Where: The Vyneyarde, Westwell Ln, Charing, Kent TN27 0BW
How to get here: Take the fast train to Ashford, then it's a quick 10 minute branch line train journey to Charing.
Experimentation is the name of the game at this North Downs vineyard - skin contact, wild ferments, amphora, pet nats you name it, they'll have a go at it. It's successful too - in London you'll find their wines everywhere from The Drop in King's Cross to Brunswick House and Levan. Tours take place on Fridays and Saturdays and cost just £20 for a lovely tramp through the vineyards followed by a tasting in their new tasting room.
Find out more about Westwell Wines @westwellwines
Where: North Farm, Pulborough RH20 4BB
How to get here: It's about a 90-minute train journey to Worthing and then a 15-minute taxi, so you might want to consider a car for this one.
Wiston's Pip Goring hails from South Africa and the vineyard here was grown to evoke her childhood in South Africa’s Western Cape. Planted in 2006, it's a 16-acre site with Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay vines. Tours start at £25 and there's even a bike tour of the surrounding area (bike provided - and they do offer electric!). They also have their on-site restaurant Chalk, which champions seasonal Sussex produce.
Find out more about Wiston Estate @wistonestate
More vineyards & tours:
Albourne Estate - Set up in 2010, they have walk-in wine tastings and tours every weekend as well as regular tours.
Bluebell (Sheffield Green, near Haywards Heath) - Established on a former pig farm in 2005, they have 100 acres of wines and regular tours and tastings
Harrow & Hope: award-winning wine producer Harrow & Hope give tours and tutored tastings at their Buckinghamshire vineyard for £25.
Nyetimber (Nutbourne) - One of the most recognised English wines, they offer open days once a week during the summer months
Stopham - Planted in 2007, they concentrate on Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois and Bacchus grapes. Every Saturday between April and October they offer tours and tastings.
Yotes Court (near Maidstone) is a sustainable vineyard with award-winning wines. Tours take place on Sundays and you can add in a trip to Hugh Lowe's farm next door too - he supplies the strawberries for Wimbledon.
Fizz on Foot organise walking tours of vineyards in Sussex - they'll help build your itinerary and schlep your luggage from hotel to hotel while you enjoy gorgeous countryside walks from vineyard to vineyard.
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