Five of the best UK vineyard stays
With the grape harvest season upon us, Britain’s vineyards are ripe for a visit, offering tours, tastings and even overnight stays. Here are five of our favourites.
1. Denbies Wine Estate, Surrey
Family-run Denbies is England’s largest single-estate vineyard, producing 450,000 bottles from its 265 acres each year. The original 1850s farmhouse has been converted into a sleek hotel, with guest rooms offering views of the vines and the Surrey Hills. There are also two restaurants, dishing up local, seasonal cuisine, while guests can try glasses of Denbies’ wines from a dispensing machine using just their room key.
2. Rathfinny Wine Estate, East Sussex
On the chalky soils of the South Downs, the 230-acre Rathfinny Wine Estate is known for its world-class fizz. Visitors can attend vineyard tours, feast on local produce at the gastropub-style restaurant and settle in for the night in a converted 1860s barn. Hiking trails along the Sussex coast, just three miles away, offer ample opportunity to clear the head.
3. Llanerch Vineyard, South Wales
Dating back to 1851, Llanerch Vineyard is set within 10 acres of woodland and lakes overlooking the Vale of Glamorgan. The winery can be found in the original, white-washed farmhouse, while elsewhere on site are a restaurant, cookery school and cosy hotel. Visitors are welcome to help with the harvest throughout September, once the kernling and reichensteiner grapes for Llanerch’s Cariad wine have ripened.
4. Tinwood Estate, West Sussex
On the edge of South Downs National Park, Tinwood offers guests the chance to watch the sun set over the vines from the French doors of their private wooden lodge before relaxing in their own hot tub or the shared barrel-shaped sauna. There are tours of the vines and tastings of Tinwood’s sparkling wine, as well as afternoon teas on the winery deck, overlooking the vineyard. Feeling active? Each lodge also has a pair of mountain bikes for guests to use.
5. Three Choirs Vineyards, Gloucestershire
This Cotswolds vineyard has been offering ‘grape to glass’ experiences for visitors since the 1970s. Weekend winery and tasting tours feature bacchus white wine and the sparkling pinot noir rosé, while accommodation ranges from homely log cabins among the vines to spacious rooms with vineyard views. There’s also a brasserie serving tapas-style small plates.
Published in Issue 13 (autumn 2021) of National Geographic Traveller Food
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