British wine is having a bit of a moment right now. While we’ve been making wine on UK soil for centuries, it’s only really in the last decade or two that wine grown on home soil has become a serious contender on the world stage. Part of that is down to people's increasing desire to 'buy British' and make the most of the incredible producers we already have over here. More importantly, vineyards across the UK have got a lot better at making wine.
We’re not being biased when we say that most of the best vineyards in the UK are located in the south of England. As temperatures rise, the terroir in areas such as Sussex, Hampshire and Kent has come to resemble something very similar to that of Champagne, with our chalky soil, sunny climate and sloping landscape providing perfect growing conditions for vines. It’s one of the reasons why so many vineyards have popped up in the last couple of decades, as winemakers seek to capitalise on the rich terroir predominant across the south. That's not to say there aren't some excellent vineyards located elsewhere across the country, but you'll find that the best vineyards in England tend to be concentrated around these areas.
These days, it’s no longer enough for vineyards to simply focus on making excellent wine. Most have diversified their offering to include a whole range of activities, from tours and tastings to special seasonal experiences. Vineyard tours are now pretty standard across the board, and you’ll find that all these options offer a tour and tasting to some degree, many of which start at a very reasonable rate.
In fact, there are plenty of reasons why you might consider visiting a UK vineyard, be it a romantic weekend away, an elegant hen-do or simply to enjoy fantastic food and wine in a beautiful setting. Below, you’ll find vineyards that offer accommodation too, so you can turn a fun day trip into a relaxing weekend getaway. Many also boast destination restaurants in their own right, allowing guests to enjoy seasonal British (of course) menus while gazing over the estate's vines.
Ready to plan a trip? Take a look at our round-up of the UK's best vineyards, from Kent to Cornwall.
Rathfinny Wine Estate, East Sussex
What: This family-owned wine estate in Sussex was first established in 2010, when husband and wife team Mark and Sarah Driver decided to set up shop on England’s south-facing downs. All its English sparkling is made by the traditional method, produced from hand-harvested grapes and following low-intervention practices. It offers guided vineyard tours and wine tastings all year round, but if you’d like to go at your own pace, you can also opt for a self-guided vineyard tour of its location, vines, wildlife and hospitality. No need to pre-book, and its suitable for kids and dogs.
Is there a restaurant? Yes, there are multiple dining options at Rathfinny Wine Estate, from its Michelin-recommended Tasting Room where guests can indulge in modern British tasting menus, to the more relaxed Flint Barns Dining Room which offers views over its vines.
Where: Alfriston, East Sussex BN26 5TU
Book now: Rathfinny Tasting Room
Artelium Wine Estate, Sussex
What: Artelium is a small, boutique vineyard in Sussex run by husband-and-wife team Julie and Mark. More than just a vineyard, Artelium brings together the duo's passion for wine, art and nature by collaborating with local and national artists to host exhibitions that showcase contemporary artworks. All set against the backdrop of Sussex's stunning countryside. Book onto a tutored tasting in its tasting room and wine bar to try a range of its English wines, or join a vineyard tour for £25. Guests can find a number of outstanding artworks throughout the estate, but for the full arty experience, book a spot on one of its exhibitions.
Does it have a restaurant? There isn't a dedicated restaurant as such, but guests can enjoy seasonal small plates when they book a wine tasting at the vineyard.
Where: Malthouse Farm, Streat Lane Streat, BN6 8SA
Book now: Artelium Wine Estate
Lympstone Manor, Exmouth
What: Lympstone Manor is a gorgeous Georgian manor house on the shores of the Exe estuary home to 21 boutique rooms, a Michelin-starred restaurant and a vineyard. It was the dream of chef and owner Michael Caines to plant vines on the southwest-facing parkland overlooking the estuary, which in 2018, is exactly what he did. Guests can enjoy its Classic Cuvee, made with a blend of Pinot Noir, Meunier, and Chardonnay grapes, perhaps with a couple of canapes while gazing at views of the vineyard itself. It also produces its own rose (named 'Isabeau' after Michael's daughter) and pinot noir, which is aged for 18 months in a mix of new, second and third-year French oak barriques. The wine is available to buy from its wine shop, or on the menu when you dine at the restaurant. From May to September, guests can book a vineyard tour followed by lunch in the Lympstone Manor restaurant.
Does it have a restaurant? Yes, you can find the Michelin-starred restaurant from Michael Caines MBE located in the main manor house.
Where: Courtlands Lane, EX8 3NZ
Book now: Lympstone Manor
Wiston Estate, West Sussex
What: This family-run wine estate has been owned and managed by the Goring’s since 1743, although it wasn’t until 2006 that they want full steam ahead and planted 16 acres of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay vines. Its chalky soil means its sparkling wines have similar characteristics to Champagne, and it follows a slow wine-making process to maximise the flavour and quality of its wines. For those who wish to visit, it offers a wealth of tours and packages, from sunset tours to off-road bike ventures.
Is there a restaurant? Yes, Chalk is an elegant, but relaxed, modern British restaurant serving seasonal menus using ingredients from the estate and the surrounding area. Open for lunch and dinner throughout the week, examples of dishes from the a la carte menu include chilled Wye Valley asparagus soup with smoked ham cream and hazelnut, butter poached cod with confit tomato and a courgette and basil puree, and Sussex strawberries with white chocolate and coconut to finish.
Where: North Farm, Washington, RH20 4BB
Book now: Chalk
Tinwood Estate, West Sussex
What: For lovers of English sparkling wine, Tinwood Estate is a must-visit. Situated on the edge of the South Downs, this 275-acre, family-owned farm has been producing award-winning wines since 2007, made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. It now boasts 110 acres of land under vine, where it largely produces Blanc de Blancs, Brut and English Sparkling Rose. Vineyard tours and wine tastings last an hour and a half and include a tour of the vines followed by a relaxed session in the tasting room where you can enjoy three English Sparkling wines - all for just £21 per person. Make a weekend of it and stay the night in one of its luxury vineyard lodges.
Is there a restaurant? Yes, the Vineyard Kitchen offers tapas-style dishes designed around its sparkling wines, all of which are focused around using locally-sourced produce.
Where: Tinwood Farm, Halnaker, Chichester, PO18 0NE
Book now: Restaurant at Tinwood Estate
Chapel Down, Kent
What: One of the biggest names in English sparkling wine, Chapel Down in Kent makes its wines using the traditional method on a terroir that’s very similar to that of Champagne. Its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Bacchus vines are grown on south-facing soil, resulting in a crisp, citrusy flavour profile that balances acidity with rich fruits. All its tours conclude with a wine tasting and start from £28 per person. You can also book onto a multitude of seasonal events, from a cheese and wine experience to a deluxe package including a tour, tasting and three-course lunch.
Does it have a restaurant? The Swan Restaurant is set within the Chapel Down vineyard and open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday to Sunday. The family-friendly spot serves seasonal dishes such as sea trout with cauliflower, samphire, tomato and fennel, and the menu features optional wine pairing suggestions with each dish.
Where: Small Hythe Road, Tenterden, TN30 7NG
Book now: The Swan Restaurant
Tillingham Winery, East Sussex
What: Located deep in the East Sussex countryside, in the hilltop town of Rye, Tillingham produces natural, biodynamic wines that champion ancient traditions of farming and wine-making. Everything is done here as sustainably as possible, from its field-to-fork restaurant to the fact that you can stay in one of two high-spec Bell Tents within the grounds. Tours run each day and include a tasting at the end of four of its wines. They generally last around 90 minutes and cost £35 per person.
Does it have a restaurant? Yes, the restaurant at Tillingham is headed up by chef Brenden Eades (formerly of Silo) where guests can enjoy a six-course ‘Garden’ menu made from produce grown in its beautiful walled gardens and surrounding farms. Alternatively, guests can enjoy wood-fired pizzas from May to September in its converted Dutch Barn. There is only outdoor seating, hence the seasonal opening times, and you can order sourdough pizzas, seasonal salads, draft wine and local beers.
Where: Dew Farm, Dew Lane Peasmarsh, East Sussex TN31 6XD
Book now: Tillingham
Langham Wine Estate, Dorset
What: This lovely vineyard tucked away in Dorset practices a low-intervention approach to wine making, from grape growing to wine production. At the heart of the estate lies a grade I-listed manor house, Bingham's Melcombe, which has become the centre point of the Langham Enterprise today. In 2009, John Langham's son decided to plant 30 acres of vines on the family land, with its south-facing aspect, chalk soils and unique microclimate offering the perfect conditions for growing grapes. English sparkling is the brand's main forte, which you can sample on a guided tour and tasting for just £25 per person. Add lunch and a fizz package for an extra 25 quid!
Does it have a restaurant? There is a rustic cafe open for brunch, lunch and afternoon tea to keep you tied over throughout the day. Dishes range from light options, such as salads and sharing boards, to substantial seasonal mains, like roasted cod loin with poached carrots and lemon butter. One thing's for sure, you won't go hungry.
Where: Crawthorne, Dorchester, DT2 7NG
Book now: Vineyard Café at Langham Wine Estate
What: Synonymous with luxury, Gusbourne’s award-winning wines have earnt a reputation for being some of the finest on the market. It planted its first vines back in 2004, with 60 hectares in Kent and 30 hectares in West Sussex. It’s best known for its debut vintages which were released back in 2010 to critical acclaim and marked something of a turning point for the brand. Tours start from £30, last two hours and end with a tutored wine tasting. Guests can also book onto an informative sparkling tasting flight which includes local bread and cheese as part of the experience.
Does it have a restaurant? While there isn’t a dedicated restaurant as such, there is the option to tack a three-course meal onto the end of a vineyard tour and tasting.
Where: Kenardington Road, Appledore, Ashford, TN26 2BE
Trevibban Mill Vineyard, Cornwall
What: This Cornish pursuit just a stone’s throw from Padstow is a stylish and contemporary family-run winery. Engin and Liz Mumcuoglu planted their first vines in 2008 and now produce a small but mighty array of high-quality sparkling and still wines, as well as cider. You can book a grand-walking tour for £65 a person, which lasts about three hours and includes a look at the vineyard, orchard and lakeside, followed by a tasting of seven of its selected wines and lunch in the tasting room. A simple tour and tasting costs £20 per person, or if you’d rather stick to sipping, you can book a wine tasting for just £15.
Does it have a restaurant? There is a relaxed bar area serving nibbles and sharing boards which are designed to be shared with its wines and ciders. Nab a seat on the viewing balcony overlooking the vineyard, while you sip on Cornish sparkling, alongside local cheeses and charcuterie.
Where: Dark Lane, Padstow PL27 7SE
Book now: Trevibban Mill
Camel Valley, Cornwall
What: Camel Valley is something of a passion project for husband and wife team Bob and Annie Lindo. Back when they planted their first vines in 1989, they were quite literally doing the work by hand, enlisting friends to pick the grapes and staying up all night to crush them. Their passion has clearly paid off; the winery has won multiple awards over the years, and now boasts a small but mighty team to help run the estate. They were also the first winery to make Cornish Traditional Method sparkling wine, along with still wines. It's still very much a family affair with son Sam Lindo taking over the estate, albeit with help from mum and dad from time to time. Daily guided tours start from £18, or a fiver for kids, and it serves wine by the glass on its sun terrace, garden and tasting room throughout the week, for an extra £5.
Does it have a restaurant? Sadly not.
Where: Nanstallon, Bodmin, PL30 5LG
Hambledon Vineyard, Hampshire
What: Proudly England’s oldest commercial vineyard, this small family-run winery was first established in 1952 and continues to make excellent English fizz to this day. All its grapes are grown on Newhaven Chalk, the same terroir found in the best Chardonnay areas of the Côtes des Blancs in Champagne. Head on over to Hampshire where you can partake in a tour of the vineyard, explore Hambledon’s underground cellars and taste a range of its fine sparkling wines. Tours start from £25 per person.
Does it have a restaurant? Yes! Well, almost. Hambledon Vineyard Restaurant is set to open this year, where head chef Nick Edgar, who previously won a Michelin star at The Samling, will celebrate English cuisine in all its glory. Expect plenty of English sparkling too.
Where: Hambledon, Hampshire, PO7 4RY
Denbies Wine Estate, Surrey
What: Denbies in the Surrey Hills is England’s largest single estate vineyard, with a huge 265 acres of land under vine, and producing 1 million bottles a year. Ok, so it’s not quite the quaint, family-run affair you’ll find elsewhere in this list, but if you’re after a cracking day out in the countryside, Denbies more than delivers. It’s also home to a hotel, multiple restaurants, and is able to host a range of events, from corporate days out to weddings. Both indoor and outdoor wine tours are available, with the option to upgrade to include afternoon tea, or a hands-on gin-making experience.
Does it have a restaurant? Yes – multiple! There are three main restaurants at Denbies – The Gallery, The Vineyard and The Conservatory - as well as a more casual takeaway spot - Hatch on the Lawn – which offers hot and cold lunch options.
Where: London Road, Dorking, RH5 6AA
Book now: Denbies Gallery Restaurant
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