This lovely section is for anyone interested in finding out more information about visiting vineyards in the U.K. I have added some information about the wonderful ones I have visited so far and will continue to add more when I can frolic once again post Covid hiatus.
If you are looking to make a day drip to visit vineyards from London based in the South Downs, Kent or Surrey (the tasting friendly option) – pretty much all of them are accessible by train from Victoria, London Bridge & Charing Cross Stations and then with a taxi from a local station. Often if you book ahead and want to visit a few places it’s possible to get a rate with one company for the day!
Nyetimber Vineyard is amongst one of the most well know English Wine names and focuses solely on sparkling wine. Based in Pulborough, Sussex, you can get a taxi from Pulborough station quite easily or just spend the weekend in Sussex and work your way around the vineyards!
The tour and tasting is £35pp, a very polished affair which starts and finishes in their beautiful 15th century medieval barn. The tasting includes trying a selection of their three sparkling wines- Classic Cuvee Multi-Vintage, Rosé Multi-Vintage and the Cuvee Chérie Multi-Vintage. I found that the group tour and tastings operates on a much large size compared with some other vineyards, so if you’re looking for something a little more personal and intimate this one may not be for you. However, the tastings were wonderful, the tour guide very friendly and the vineyard and estate grounds are huge with plenty of time after the tasting to wander round freely which was lovely.
Chapel Down is perhaps the most well known English Vineyard, widely available and having been served at the Royal Wedding of Will and Kate some years ago now! Which was also when English wine came onto my radar, the Chapel Down sparkling being the first English wine I tried.
Chapel Down vineyard is located in Kent, the closest village being Tenderten- also worth a visit if you haven’t been.
The tour and tasting is £20pp and needs to be booked in advance. Loved that the tasting room was called The Wine Sanctuary where they were very generous with their tastings, I think we tried about 6 wines across their range of still and sparkling. Also a post tour lunch at their restaurant The Swan (bib gourmand) is an absolute must – the food was so delicious and excellent value. Make sure you book this too as it was pretty busy even mid week in Autumn when I visited.
Bolney Estate is in the South Downs area of West Sussex. The closest station is Haywards Heath from which you can get a taxi from the station to the Vineyard. I visited this gorgeous vineyard in the peak heat of an English Summer when it was about 30 degrees and absolutely glorious. They have a raised terrace looking out onto the vineyard where you can enjoy a bottle or two of their delicious bubbly from the wine bar and they also have a café and restaurant of yummy platters and small plates.
They offer three types of tour and tasting packages which I thought was very good- A cheese and wine tasting tour at £22.50 pp, a tour and tasting with a luxury cream tea for £34.00 pp and lastly their ultimate wine and food tasting tour which includes a glass of fizz on arrival, then the tour which is followed by the wine tasting with a mezze lunch and petit fours with coffee! The tasting room also has a wonderful view overlooking the vineyards, definitely a place I would revisit.
Ridgeview Vineyard is based in the South Downs area of Sussex in Ditchling, their closest train station is Burgess Hill where you can easily get a taxi to the vineyard.
In 2019 Ridgeview was crowned one of the best vineyards in the world, when it was placed number 36 at the announcement ceremony of the World’s Best Vineyards Top 50 at the Banqueting House on Whitehall.
They offer a vineyard tour and tasting which starts at £20pp- which includes the grounds, cellar and tastings, their tasting room also has beautiful views of the vineyard. Or if you prefer you can just come and visit and enjoy wine flights and mezze platters in their gorgeous garden overlooking the vineyard which they heat in the colder months! You can book in advance or call ahead, I was lucky enough to just turn up one afternoon on the way back from a little beach trip- everyone was so lovely and accommodating. The Fitzrovia Rosé is my favourite.
Tip: Bolney Estate and Ridgeview are only 15 minutes away from each other, so if you have a leisurely day to spend, visit both!
Nutbourne Vineyard is based in Pulborough Sussex, very close to Nyetimber. So I visited these two together one weekend a couple of Summers ago on an annual wine weekend away with my lovely wine friends.
This is such a pretty vineyard and one of the friendliest ones I’ve visited, owned by the Gladwin family. It has a lovely charm to it that feels much more intimate and personal than some of the larger vineyards. There is a tasting lodge and an amazing windmill mill which overlooks the vineyard with a little terrace right at top where you can buy their wine and do tastings too. Oh and keep a look out for a family of alpacas casually grazing around.
Guided tours and tastings start at £20 and includes a tasting of 5 of their wines both still and sparkling. The Nutty Brut and their still Rosé were my personal favourites. As well as this, two of the Gladwin Brothers have several wonderful restaurants to their name and do pop up dining events through the Summer on the vineyard, which I would love to book at some point!
Londoners – if you haven’t been to any of the Gladwin Brothers restaurants- they are highly recommended, Nutbourne in Battersea & Sussex in Soho are fabulous.
The Mount Vineyard is in Shoreham in Kent, very close to Sevenoaks and is an absolute hidden gem, nestled in the heart of a little village off a small unassuming side road.
The setting is picturesque and so tastefully done. There is a glass atrium style restaurant with exposed brickwork, where they serve delicious platters and fresh wood fired pizzas with a wine list where you can try all of their wines by the glass or bottle! Alternatively they have an outdoor bar and seating area where you can order the pizza to takeaway and order wine whilst nestled in the vineyard / garden area.
They do tastings at £30pp which run on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, which in the Winter can by done by their cosy log burner and in the Summer months al fresco on the oak terrace. At £35 pp from May-Sept they will also do a vineyard tour.
Trevibban Mill Vineyard & Orchard is about 10 minutes outside of Padstow in Cornwall. I absolutely adore this idyllic vineyard who have a glorious wrap around terrace surrounding their main building with views for days. I love their wild flower garden in and amongst the vines and orchards.
They also offer one of the best value tastings I’ve been to which is £15 for trying 7 of their wines- 3 white, 1 rose, 2 sparkling and 1 red and you can order some yummy sharing boards to go with it too! I didn’t need to book as it was a quiet midweek day when I visited but I imagine it could get quite busy in on the weekends in Summer months.
Their guided tour is also £15pp and includes a tasting of 5 wines- this runs from Feb-Oct on Wednesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays.
I really like that a lot of their wines are organic too and one of my favourite and most unusual English Wines I tasted by them was an Orange wine which was delicious.
This vineyard is a must visit for anyone taking a trip to Cornwall and if you’re lucky enough to live nearby I’m very jealous!