Where To Go For That UK Staycation: 5 Vineyards to Visit
As the word staycation has expanded recently to mean any trip within your own country, you might be looking for some inspiration for day trips or longer visits within the UK. During the summer months, have you ever considered visiting a vineyard?
The vineyards in England offer that ideal day out with friends or family to a new location with food and drink on offer. There are vineyards that offer al fresco dining options and others that have nature trails. English wine is also becoming more renowned in the wine industry, if you are a wine lover, making this the ideal experience or gift to share.
So, you may be wondering where to begin. Fortunately, there are many vineyards to explore along the English coast and other regions and so we are truly spoilt for choice! There has even been a recent film that suggests that English winemakers may have been the first to discover champagne in the film Sparkling: The Story of Champagne, which will be one to watch.
To whet your appetite further here are 5 recommended vineyards as inspiration :
1) Forty Hall Community Vineyard
This is the first commercial vineyard that existed in London. Yes, that’s right, there are London vineyards! Forty Hall’s 10 acre community vineyard is located in Enfield, North London and is part of the Forty Hall Estate, which also includes a farm and so it is ideal for all on a day trip. As the vineyard is mainly organised by volunteers, there is that pervading sense of community. One hour vineyard tours operate on the second Sunday of the summer months. Forty Hall’s vineyard has produced an award winning 2019 Bacchus wine. You can find out more about our visit to Forty Hall’s vineyard here.
2) Hambledon Vineyard
Hambledon is known as England’s oldest commercial vineyard, established in 1952. The vineyard is located in Hambledon, Hampshire, also known as the birthplace of cricket. There is an on site winery that was opened in 2011 and had a formal opening by HRH Duchess of Cornwall. Hambledon Vineyard is a sparkling wine producer using the traditional method, the same method for creating champagne. Hambledon’s premier cuvée is also an award winner. Two hour vineyard tours occur and the sparkling afternoon tea and Al fresco dining in the vines looked like a treat after the tastings.
Find out more here to book a visit to Hambledon Vineyard.
3) Rathfinny Wine Estate
Rathfinny is a family owned estate which was established in 2010. It is based in East Sussex within Alfriston Village. Rathfinny produces sparkling wines, using the traditional method, across its large estate as well as a still wine. It is an ideal location as well for walkers being 10-15 minutes away by car from Seaford and the famously beautiful Seven Sisters cliffs. Also worth a visit is the estate’s nature trail which can be accessed through self-guided walking yours. Guided walking tours and wine tours also occur during the summer months. If you are visiting during the summer months, the alfresco picnic option at Flint Barnes is delightful. Another bonus is that there are rooms on the estate too but you will have to book quickly as there are only 10 available.
More details to book your visit to the Rathfinny Estate can be found here.
4) Brightwell Vineyard
This Oxfordshire vineyard hosted the English Wine and Food Festival in 2021. A variety of wines such as white, red, rosé and sparkling wines are produced by Brightwell across 16 acres. Uniquely, Brightwell also produces an English brandy. There are one hour vineyard tours available during the summer or indepth 2 hour tours discussing winemakers methods. Brightwell is also located very close to the Thames river with stunning views.
Discover more details about Brightwell Vineyard here
5) Winbirri Vineyard
Winbirri is located in Surlingham, Norfolk and has an award winning Bacchus wine. Winbirri’s tours have a personal touch as they are led by the very enthusiastic owner, Lee Dyer. The first vines at the vineyard were planted 14 years ago and the vineyard uniquely produces red wines as well. Winbirri’s sparkling wines are also produced using the traditional (champagne) method. A wine tasting tour is an ideal day out which last 2.5-3 hours with a generous 5 wine samples and the option of a charcuterie platter. The vineyard also has a delightful wine garden to explore which is also open to those that are not participating on a wine tour.
To book your wine tasting tour at Winbirri, find out more details here
You can also visit the Wines of Great Britain website for further inspiration and the annual English Wine Week as an opportunity to visit other vineyards.
Have you ever visited any English vineyards or tried English wine before? Let us know in the comments below.