Chapel Down Vineyard

Small Hythe Tenterden Kent TN30 7NG

Gone are the days when English wine had to cower in the shadow of its snootier European cousins. Today we Brits are leading the way when it comes to light, bright wines, with a particularly strong line in sparkling wines. Even if you don't know your Bacchus from your Pinot Noir, Chapel Down, one of Britain's finest vineyards, set a few miles from the pretty Kentish village of Tenterden, offers a really enjoyable way to familiarise yourself with the best of British. 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, however, from harvesting to bottling, you'll need to take a guided tour (around 1hr 15min), which take you into the winery itself and offer informal tutored tastings at the end. Even if you don't have time for a tour, 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. Staff will lead you through a free mini-tasting if you can't decide. The shop also sells locally produced biscuits, crackers, cheeses, chutneys and the like to match your wine – and if you're not a wine fan never fear, Chapel Down also produces some great beers, including a nutty Porter, a nicely balanced IPA and a truly delicious "Curious Brew" lager. To top it all there's an excellent restaurant, the Swan at Chapel Down, where you can dine on Modern British food on an outdoors deck, with fabulous vineyard views all around.

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