This August bank holiday, why not plan a trip to a local vineyard? We’ve rounded up ones with top visitor facilities and can be reached under two hours from London…
Vineyards near London to visit
‘If there is one buzzword in the English wine industry at the moment, it’s tourism,’ said Susie Barrie MW in her English sparkling feature, in the August 2017 issue of Decanter magazine.
‘Now it’s almost impossible to speak to any winery owner without a gleaming new visitor centre or tasting room being mentioned.’
The wineries below are less than two hours by train and taxi from a London station.
Hambledon Vineyard, Hampshire
Lonely Planet’s Wine Trails recommends Hambledon as one of the top five vineayrds to visit in the South Downs.
‘Hambledon Vineyard is set in the idyllic Hampshire village of the same name, a place of hills, fields, woods and little-used flint-strewn lanes.’
Getting there: Petersfield Station is one hour from London Waterloo, and a taxi to Hambledon Vineyard is a further 15 minutes.
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday. During summer months there are scheduled tours, bookable by contacting email@example.com or calling the office on 02392 632 358, for £15. Wine experience packages are also available to book.
Bank holiday: Also open to visit on Sunday 26th August.
Taste: Hambledon, Classic Cuvee, Brut NV
SEE ALSO: Harvesting grapes at Hambledon Vineyard
Ridgeview Wine Estate, Sussex
Getting there: Burgess Hill Station is 45 minutes by train from London Victoria, and Ridgeview is less than 10 minutes away by taxi.
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday 11am – 4pm, and general tours are available throughout the year for booking. Monthly food and wine tours also available.
Bank holiday: Go to the Summer Wine Festival on Saturday 26th August. Tickets £25.
Taste: Ridgeview, Bloomsbury 2013
Planting begins at Taittinger English vineyard
Gusbourne Estate, Kent
‘This summer saw the opening of the new cellar door called “The nest”,’ said Barrie. ‘Visitors can enjoy an in depth experience of both the winemaking process and vineyards.’
‘Winemaker Charlie Holland says “We see the development of oenotourism as the next key stage in the English sparkling wine scene.”‘
Getting there: 40 minutes from St Pancras International to Ashford International, then a 20 minute taxi to Gusbourne Estate.
Opening hours: Open Wednesday – Sunday throughout the year, and on bank holidays. The tour and tasting experience takes 2 hours, available all days when open. Book here.
Taste: Gusbourne, Blanc de Blancs 2012
Hattingley Valley, Hampshire
‘Hattingley Valley in Hampshire continues to do an excellent jo… It wasone of the first English producers to drive the ‘prestige cuvee’ trend.’ said Barrie.
Getting there: Basingstoke station is approximately 50 minutes from London Waterloo. Hattingley Valley is then about a 25 minutes taxi.
Opening hours: Winery tours and tastings available by advance booking only.
Bank holiday: Bank holiday tour and tasting, Saturday 26th August. Tickets £15.
Taste: Hattingley Valley, Kings Cuvee Brut 2011
Hush Heath, Kent
Richard Balfour-Lynn from Hush Heath said ‘Two years ago we had 1,500 visitors – and to be honest, I think most of them were lost in the countryside. Last year we had 18,000 visitors and we’re expecting 25,000 this year.’
Getting there: 45 minutes from London Bridge station to Marden, and a 10 minute taxi to Hush Heath (although they recommend you book taxis in advance).
Opening hours: Every day from 11am – 5pm. Tours booked in advance, and a range of tour and tasting options available.
Bank holiday: Summer evening tour on Thursday 24th August.
Taste: Hush Heath Estate, English apple wine NV
‘I urge UK readers to seek out their nearest winery, pay a visit and taste local wines where they are grown and made,’ said Barrie.
‘We now have a world class English product on our doorstep and, as wine lovers, it is surely no more than our duty to celebrate that.’
To find other UK vineyards to visit near you, visit WineCellarDoor.co.uk or EnglishWineProducers.co.uk
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