English Wine Week starts on Saturday so what better time to consider a trip to an English vineyard? Here are a few suggestions on where to stay and where to explore
Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey boasts 265 acres of vines surrounded by beautiful walking trails, with restaurants, an art gallery, brewery and farm shop. Ashling Park Estate vineyard in West Sussex is a heavenly retreat, boasting trophy-winning sparkling English wines, a Pinot Noir gin distillery, an infinity tasting terrace with sublime views, and pop-up eatery ‘The View’, while Hambledon Vineyard, in Hampshire’s gorgeous South Downs, is one of the country’s top sparkling wine producers. Travel in a spacious three berth VW campervan which costs from £584 for four days, including breakdown cover, one insured driver and mileage (100 km per day). Contact www.yescapa.co.uk.
One of England’s oldest and largest vineyards, Three Choirs is a 75-acre estate nestled amid beautiful countryside between the Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean. It’s a wonderful setting in which to while away the day: enjoy a guided tour with tastings, indulge in a delicious lunch at on-site Brasserie and follow the vineyard walk before selecting a few bottles to sample at home. Stay nearby at The Stone Byre Park Farm (sleeps four plus one dog), a traditional barn set within acres of farmland near Ledbury that blends stylish contemporary interiors with lovely character features. A seven-night stay costs from £238 pp (£950 total). £20 supplement for a dog. Visit holidaycottages.co.uk.
Tucked away at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds, Ryedale Vineyards is the UK’s most northerly commercial vineyard, producing sublime award-winning wines from its south-facing slopes. It’s also just a short hop from the market town of Malton, renowned for its food markets and festivals. Indulge your inner gastronome with a visit to both during a week’s self-catering stay at Chez Mannion (sleeps two), a stunning 16th-century apartment in nearby York. Set above an artisan delicatessen at the heart of this historic walled city, and with views of York Minster, this pretty property is also just footsteps from an array of independent eateries. A seven-night stay during July and August costs from £474 pp (£947 total). Visit www.gorgeouscottages.com.
In the chalk soil-rich region of East Sussex, Ashdown Park Hotel is perfectly positioned between several fantastic vineyards. The closest, Bluebell Vineyard, on the edge of Ashdown Forest amidst bluebell-strewn woods, is a 100-acre family-run winery producing medal-winning vintage cuvées and a recently-launched range of ‘Ashdown’ still wines. There are vineyard tours, woodland trails, wine tastings, and wine and cheese tours to enjoy. Retire to your base at Ashdown Park Hotel, surrounded by 186 acres of lakes, secret gardens and woodland trails. The 2 AA Rosette Anderida Restaurant serves seasonal dishes such as whipped goat’s cheese with heritage tomatoes, and pork and monkfish tail with truffle leek confit, with excellent local Sussex wines including Bluebell’s Brut Rosé and Seyval Blanc. Enjoy 10% off stays of two nights or longer, from £358 per double room for two nights (two sharing) including breakfast. Call Ashdown Park on 01342 824988 (www.ashdownpark.com).
Set in nine acres of grounds, Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa is an ideal location from which to explore the very best Sussex vineyards. A glass of Sussex includes a Sussex vineyard visit and tasting; choose from several including Bolney Vineyard, Ridgeview Wine Estate or Wiston Estate. Afterwards, relax in the spa, which is fed by the hotel’s own natural spring, enjoy a pre-dinner glass of Sussex sparkling wine and a delicious three-course dinner using locally-sourced ingredients. The price is from £391 total / £196 pp (two sharing a cosy room), including the vineyard visit, bottle of Bolney Sussex sparkling wine with two glasses to take home, two glasses of Sussex bubbly, dinner and continental breakfast. Call Pride of Britain Hotels on 0800 089 3929 (www.prideofbritainhotels.com).
Chet Valley Vineyard
Closer to home, you can stay at Chet Valley Vineyard, just south of Norwich, where they have a three-bedroom holiday house, The Vine House, complete with a woodburner, which is dog friendly. Set among the vines, you can enjoy a peaceful location, plus tours and tasting sessions with wine maker John Hemmant.