Sipping on a glass of wine is something to enjoy all year round, not just during English Wine Week. And so with that in mind, we're collated a round-up of some of the best English vineyards, with tours and tastings, a shop to buy your top tipples and often a restaurant, too. All enjoy glorious countryside locations
, and each makes for a fantastic day out. Or why not make a weekend of it – some offer scenic on-site accommodation.
Established in 2020, Wolds Wine Estate in Nottinghamshire is home to over 3.3 acres filled with more than 4,000 vines. Split across two areas, there's the fizz section, with varieties like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier for first-rate English sparkling, and the accommodation field, which grows Solaris (white) and Rondo (red) grapes. They also harvest apples and perry pears and have bee hives that produce honey
. Although Wolds doesn't have its own vino available to sample yet (the team is aiming for mid-2024), you can still take a tour, sample local wines and their cider, and enjoy a gourmet picnic hamper. And if you fancy staying over, check into one of their luxury pods – four spacious double-glazed lodges with private bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms.
England’s largest single estate vineyard sits in the Surrey Hills and produces award-winning wines, including a world-beater in the shape of its Chalk Ridge Rose, which took top gong at the International Wine Challenge Competition. The best way to appreciate this, of course, is to visit for a tasting. Wine tours operate all year round (with outdoor and indoor options), and there's even a 'Vineyard Train' that runs around the estate. There's a handful of restaurants to choose from as well, and also Denbies Vineyard Hotel
if you'd like to stay the night, where 17 en-suite rooms overlook the landscaped grounds and surrounding vines.
This family-run concern prettily set in the Wealden Kent countryside specialises in German grapes – Ortega, Bacchus, Schonburger and Reichensteiner – which flourish on the sunny, warm, south-facing slopes. Biddenden has racked up a host of awards to its name: the fruity Ortega is a sure-fire winner and their easy-drinking red Gamay Noir is delicious. They're also known for ciders and apple juices, using the very best produce from this traditional apple-growing region. Open tours run Wednesday to Saturday from May to September, or you can self-guide or book a private tour if you prefer.
Snuggled in the Sussex countryside a few miles west of Haywards Heath, Bolney is one of several southeastern vineyards that have been pulling in plaudits in recent years for their excellent sparkling wines, Bacchus white and even a few reds. Family-run since 1972 and relatively small-scale, the tours have a lovely personal feel. Situated on the edge of the South Downs, there's also an on-site eatery called Eighteen Acre Café, dishing up breakfast and lunch using locally sourced ingredients.
Since Bob Lindo planted his first vines on the sunny slopes of the Camel Valley over 20 years ago, this spot has become well-known in wine-making circles across the globe. Stop by for a glass of crisp, dry Atlantic Bacchus, a spicy red, or a flute of Cornwall
Brut – the most famous of the vintages – on the terrace, and you'll see why the wines made here have racked up numerous accolades on the international scene. Guided tours take place Monday-Friday at 10:30am.
Even if you don't know your Bacchus from your Pinot Noir, Chapel Down, a few miles from the pretty Kentish village of Tenterden, offers a super-enjoyable way to familiarise yourself with one of the best vineyards in the UK. If you're simply after a pleasant stroll
, pick up a map at the shop, which details a number of trails that crisscross the 68-acre estate. To peep into the more technical aspects of the process, take a guided tour, with informal tutored tastings at the end. Even if you don't have time for that, the shop is a must, selling all the Chapel Down favourites, from the elegant sparkling Three Graces to the Flint Dry white, redolent with fruit aromas. To top it all, there's an excellent restaurant, the Swan at Chapel Down, where you can dine on Modern British fare on an outdoor deck, with fabulous vineyard views all around.
Situated on the Scilly Island of St Martin's, this is the UK's most southwesterly vineyard, and it's made the most of the sub-tropical climate since Val and Graham Thomas started the estate in 1996, finding a new use for their dwindling flower farm. Sheltered behind dense pittosporum hedges, you'll find vines of many varieties as well as an apple orchard. Tours and tastings run throughout summer on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays (11am - 2pm) and there's no need to book. You can stay on-site too, in a fully-equipped self-catering shepherd's hut.
If a winery in our 'Best English Vineyards' list catches your eye but doesn't have on-site accommodation, check out our destination guides for fabulous places to stay nearby: