Celebrate English Wine Week (19-27 June) with wine tours and tastings in English vineyards
From crisp whites to velvety reds, hundreds of vineyards up and down England are producing award-winning wines. To celebrate some of the magnificent wines produced on our very own soil, we’ve compiled some of the best vineyards to visit across the country - all offering great tasting sessions, tours and more.
With restrictions easing across England, please continue to follow government guidance and remember to plan ahead and check attraction websites before travelling. Take a look at our top tips on how to escape the everyday responsibly to see how you can make the most out of your day trips and breaks.
Chapel Down Vineyard
Set in the gentle hills and high hedges of Kent’s High Weald, in an Area of Outstanding Beauty, is the Chapel Down Vineyard. The 22 acres of vineyard, has the same chalky soil as Champagné, France (just 90 miles to the south) giving the wine produced here its distinct flavour.
To get a real taste of the wines produced at Chapel Down, take a behind-the-scenes tour. A guide will show you how they grow the grapes to how they transform the fruit in to delicious wine. There’s also a tutored tasting session afterward so you can really appreciate the wines.
While only 28 miles west of the mainland, the Isles of Scilly feels like a different world. With no traffic jams or major shopping centres, the only noise pollution you’ll hear is the breaking waves and cawing gulls. Set on the southerly-facing slopes of St Martin, you will find St Martin Vineyard, the UK’s smallest and most southwesterly vineyard. Guided vineyard tours are conducted on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer, giving you the chance to explore this unique vineyard.
Without a doubt, the location of this winery is what makes it so special. The clear waters and idyllic beaches surrounding the islands provide a prevailing sense of calm making St Martins a delight. The spectacular flowers, plant life, rare birds and sea views along the heathery cliff paths all add to the thrill of St Martin.
Sharpham Vineyard has been making fine English wine for around 30 years. Located on the bank of the River Dart in Devon. Sharpham produces red and white wines, which have won awards at both a national and international level. Enjoy a guided tour of the vineyard to gain an insight into how Sharpham Wine is produced.
As well as producing English wines, Sharpham Vineyard also makes soft English cheeses using the milk from its herd of Jersey cows. Cremet, Rustic and Savour are some of the creamy delights produced in Sharpham Dairy.
Nestled deep between the Costwolds and the Forest of Dean is Three Choirs, one of England’s oldest and largest vineyards. The rolling hills and valleys of Gloucestershire provide a unique climate, which is perfect for growing grapes. Explore the beautiful vineyards on a guided tour and afterward, enjoy a light lunch with a chef's selection board.
The Three Choirs vineyard is perfectly situated to explore the beautiful Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean. If you’re thinking of planning a short break or a romantic retreat, the vineyard has rooms and lodges overlooking the vine-clad valleys. Don’t worry about going hungry either, the vineyard also has a brasserie serving the best local produce.
Ryedale Vineyard is the UK’s most northerly commercial vineyard, hidden away in an idyllic spot at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds. The sunny south-facing slopes are key to producing some of England’s award-winning wines. Throughout summer Ryedale offers guided tours and tasting sessions which include a selection of wines accompanied by homemade nibbles.
Ryedale Vineyard is located only six miles from the market town of Malton, known as the food capital of Yorkshire. Malton regularly has food markets and festivals featuring the finest produce from the region. Perfect for enjoying a short break or romantic trip – taste the wine, enjoy the food and at the end of the day, settle down for a peaceful night’s sleep at Ryedale farmhouse.
It’s thought that the Romans grew vines on the Isle of Wight some 2,000 years ago. Adgestone seems to have perfected the technique now, producing red, white and rosé wines. The chalky south-facing slopes and almost frost-free climate give these wines a unique taste. Their vineyard tour offers the whole grape to glass experience, as you'll be guided around the 10-acre site and shown the whole process of turning grapes into wine.
If you’re looking to get away from the bustle of everyday life and take some time to relax, Adgestone is the ideal place to escape. Adgestone has snug double bedrooms with en-suite facilities and magnificent sea views offering a tranquil setting to relax and unwind. What could be more special than spending your evenings under stars amongst 10 acres of vines?
The Tinwood Vineyard started planting vines in 2007 on the edge of the beautiful South Downs National Park. Since then they have been producing fine English sparkling wines since their first crop in 2009. Tinwood runs fun wine tasting sessions that everyone is able to enjoy, enjoy the sun and a glass of bubbles after spending the day touring the beautiful vineyards.
Tinwood isn’t only a vineyard, it also offers accommodation to its guests. Lodges at the estate offer the guests the chance to stay in cabin lodges with an authentic rustic feel. The floor-to-ceiling glass windows and private veranda overlooking the vines are the real showpieces.
Langham Wine Estate, tucked away in the heart of Dorset, uses a low-intervention approach to its grape growing, minimising environmental impact and creating quality wines that are vegan friendly. On a guided tour of the estate, at the centre of which is the Grade-I listed Bingham’s Melcombe manor house, you’ll learn about all the stages of producing traditional method sparkling wines, followed by a tutored tasting.
After the tour, sit down to lunch in the 19th-century milking parkour or pre-order a Vineyard Lunch picnic (you can pick between a traditional afternoon tea or a seafood-packed platter) to enjoy on a table amongst the vines or in the rustic barn area.
Located on Cornwall’s famous Camel Trail, Camel Valley is the only vineyard in the UK to hold a royal warrant. Currently producing sparkling, rosé and white wines, this once little vineyard has scooped up a whole heap of international prizes and supply to a handful of British supermarkets. Daily tours run throughout the week (though not at the weekends) and include tastings of their favourite creations.
If you don’t want to take a tour, you can still enjoy a glass or two of vino on the relaxed terrace that overlooks the endless Cornish countryside, or if you just can’t bear to leave, extend your visit with a stay at one of the cottages perched above the vineyards. With fantastic panoramic views and private access to the Camel Trail, the cottages are the perfect base from which to explore Cornwall’s epic landscape.
Please note that no overnight stays are available for 2021.
Head to the pretty village of Hartest – complete with colourful thatched houses and a huge village green – to find Giffords Hall Vineyard, a vineyard that dates back to the 1970s and is planted on the sandy clay of an ancient glacial riverbed. This family-run vineyard produces a myriad of sparkling wines, award-winning rosés and fruity red pinot noirs, meaning there’s plenty of wines to try.
You can opt for a private or group tours of Giffords Hall, both of which provide an insight into the history of English wine and the varieties of grapes grown there. The tour will take you through the vineyard and around the winery, showing you the various stages of production, before ending up in the tasting room where you’ll have the chance to taste three still wines and three liqueurs alongside a selection of canapés. Sounds like our cup of tea!
With an estate spanning 627 acres, Denbies, in the Surrey Hills, is England’s largest vineyard. As well as making a range of fantastic wines, Denbies is home to a hotel, a collection of restaurants and lots of tours and experiences. Take an outdoor vineyard train tour to see the most beautiful points in the vineyard (all without getting out of your seat), or book onto the Secret Vineyard Trail to meander through vines not normally open to the public, with tasting stops along the way. The Indoor Wine Tasting Experience is also popular, as you’ll learn about the history and geology of the estate before tasting four of Denbies’ award-winning wines.
Make a day of it and accompany your tour with lunch with a view at The Gallery Restaurant, overlooking the vineyard from the winery’s third floor, or enjoy al fresco dining all year round at The Conservatory Restaurant, which serves up light lunches and delicious cream teas. Or stay overnight at Denbies Vineyard Hotel. Renovated from the original 1850s farmhouse, the 17 luxury rooms have outstanding views across the estate – a sight you wouldn’t mind waking up to everyday!
Hambledon, one of England’s oldest commercial vineyards, has been growing vines since 1952 and has even served their creations in the Houses of Parliament and in British Embassies all over the world. Today, the vineyard spans over 200 acres, with over 100,000 vines pruned by hand.
If you pop into Hambledon, you can join a tour that takes you through the historical vineyards and into the estate’s underground cellars cut directly into perfect white chalk. You’ll also get to take a sneak peek at the state-of-the-art winery (it’s the only gravity-fed winery in the UK) and see how the award-winning sparkling wines are created, from grape all the way to glass. And yes, tastings are part of the package too.