Looking for wine tasting breaks in the UK? Want a staycation including a vineyard tour? We’ve found the best English vineyards and Welsh estates where you can stay over in hotels, cabins and smart rooms. Enjoy English wine tastings and vineyard tours in the UK before putting your feet up on a private terrace overlooking the vines.
English wine is enjoying a boom but still underrated, and travelling abroad to Provence and Tuscany is trickier in these times, so it’s a great time to visit some of the UK’s vineyards and be the first of your friends to try the best bottles. The UK is gaining a particular reputation for sparkling wines – the best of which compares well to the quality of some champagnes (though often come with price tags to match).
Best UK and English vineyard breaks
Hush Heath Estate and Winery, Kent
From £80 per night, check availability at booking.com.
A great vineyard tour in Kent. Dedicated to making world-class sparkling rosé, Hush Heath centres around a Tudor-frame manor house with gorgeous gardens and acres of ancient orchards and woodland. Visit the winery shop to enjoy a self-guided exploration, or book for a full estate and winery guided tour for £25, or a private guided tour for £25 (10 people minimum).
What to eat: An spring dish of asparagus, pea and mascarpone risotto at the estate’s own Goudhurst Inn. For an additional £30pp you can enjoy a three-course lunch or dinner with wine at the Goudhurst Inn or the Tickled Trout.
What to drink: Balfour Brut Rosé 2010.
Where to stay: Stylish, airy doubles at the Goudhurst Inn start from £80.
Rathfinny Estate, East Sussex
From £100 per night, check availability at booking.com
It may be young, but Rathfinny Estate in the South Downs is still one of Britain’s most beautiful wineries. Vines are separated by rows of wild flowers, there are glimpses of the Sussex heritage coast throughout, and visitors can stay overnight in a stylishly converted 1860s barn.
What to eat: Head chef Chris Bailey has curated lavish picnic hampers and seafood takeaway dishes (crayfish po’boys, lobster with marsh samphire, Porthilly rock oysters) to enjoy in a quiet spot on the vineyard with a glass of Sussex sparkling wine.
What to drink: Rathfinny has recently launched a full range of vintage Sussex sparkling wines including a Classic Cuvée 2016, Blanc de Noirs 2016, Blanc de Blancs 2016 and Rosé Brut 2017.
Where to stay: Rooms at the Flint Barns are simple but have expensive bathroom fixtures, quality bedsteads and access to a luxurious communal living room. From £100 for a double.
Jabajak, Whitland, Carmarthenshire
From £110 per night including breakfast, check availability at booking.com
This family-run vineyard restaurant-with-rooms makes for an idyllic base to explore the coastal paths, mountains and beaches of Pembrokeshire National Park. Since their first harvest in 2014, Julian and Amanda Stuart-Robson have produced award-winning white wine and sparkling rosé using grapes grown on the south-facing slopes of this former droving farm.
What to eat: The owners grow a substantial amount of seasonal produce on site, including fruits, herbs and shoots. The locally inspired menu features Welsh lamb rump with port, cranberry and citrus sauce, and baked Carmarthenshire-made Pont Gâr bruschetta with elderflower chutney and edible flowers.
What to drink: Before dinner, guests can expect a ‘cellar door tasting’ of Jabajak wines such as the award-winning White House white and sparkling rosé.
Where to stay: From the simple doubles in The Annex to the more secluded Grainstore and Garden suites, the eight differently sized bedrooms cater for all.
Old Walls Vineyard, Bishopsteignton, South Devon
From £125 per night, check availability at booking.com
Well positioned for the many attractions of the glorious South Devon coast, Old Walls Vineyard offers tours, tastings and, if you time your visit for mid-autumn, there’s even a chance to pick the grapes for the next vintage.
What to eat: The Exmoor beef bourguignon is made with the vineyard’s red wine, and local mussels steamed in Old Walls white wine is another popular dinner option in the Regent’s Bistro.
What to drink: The best-selling wines are the Palace Red or White Priory Dry, although the Bishop’s Blush rosé is the way to go on a balmy summer’s evening.
Where to stay: Available for short stays or the whole week, there are six two-bedroom luxury lodges overlooking the vineyard, each with a veranda and private BBQ area.
Kingscote, West Sussex
From £275 per night, check availability at booking.com
This is one of the best wine tasting breaks in the UK. Not just a vineyard but a full-on countryside experience founded by the late Christen Monge, Kingscote promises walking and fishing, as well as vineyard tours and tastings. Book a gourmet vineyard tour with lunch for £85 for two people.
What to eat: There’s a tiny coffee shop serving Kingscote’s own coffee in the on-site wine and artisan food store. For a full meal, visit nearby Gravetye Manor where a set three-course lunch is £48.
What to drink: The Fat Fumé, a lightly oaked bacchus.
Where to stay: Doubles at Gravetye Manor start at £275.
From £80 per night, check availability at booking.com
Established in 1986, Denbies wine estate in Surrey offers indoor and outdoor winery tours. The former explores the working winery along with a cellar tasting, while the latter takes you on a 50-minute toy train tour of the vineyard, showing off panoramic views of the North Downs.
What to eat: A gallery restaurant looks over the 265-acre vineyard. Order Sussex confit pork belly with savoy cabbage, pan-fried halibut with roasted romanesco, or, on a Sunday, the Surrey Farm roast beef with rosemary-roasted potatoes.
What to drink: A glass of the 2016 Noble Harvest dessert wine, full of appealing dried apricot notes.
Where to stay: An on-site b&b has seven en-suite bedrooms starting from £80.
Trevibban Mill, Cornwall
From £402 per week, check availability at booking.com
A stylish vineyard in the rural Cornish countryside. Informal wine tastings take place every Wednesday to Sunday, while on Sunday morning walking tours cover the vineyard, orchard and lakeside, exploring how the wines and ciders are made.
What to eat: Former head chef of Cornwall’s Fifteen, Andy Appleton, is at the kitchen’s helm. Set within a working vineyard, the restaurant serves modern European dishes with a Cornish focus. Try Terras Farm smoked duck breast with squash caponata, rose harissa fish stew with aioli, and quince panna cotta with fennel meringue.
What to drink: The fresh, red berry-laden 2014 organic rosé brut.
Where to stay: There’s an on-site eco lodge surrounded by apple trees, vines and wilderness. The contemporary space sleeps up to four (and two pets), from £402 per week.
Three Choirs, Gloucestershire
From £149 per night, check availability at expedia.co.uk
A lovely wine tasting break in the UK. You can taste, trek, eat and sleep at Three Choirs near Newent, one of the longest established English vineyards. Most visitors book ahead for a guided tour with tastings.
What to eat: Take a seat among lots of local regulars to eat smoked wood pigeon, Springfield Farm chicken and Clonakilty black pudding terrine with spiced pear followed by roast sea bream, buttered samphire, crushed Cornish new potatoes and lobster oil.
What to drink: The Siegerrebe 2016, a spicy, fruity dry white.
Where to stay: Eight bedrooms in a red-brick block, from £129, have pretty views over the vines, but the nicest accommodation is in the glass-walled, timber-framed lodges with verandas, from £149.
From £130 per night, check availability at booking.com
Just over an hour’s drive from London, this Kent vineyard produces sparkling wines. Choose between three types of tour (there are self-guided options available) and explore the vineyards followed by a tutored wine tasting, or discover how to pair wine with food.
What to eat: For those that want to delve deeper into the world of wine, the estate tour includes vineyard visits before a three-course seasonal lunch (paired with eight wines) in the modern tasting room. Or opt for a picnic of locally-sourced produce and a bottle of Brut Reserve (the hamper comes with glasses included) while you soak up the surrounding views.
What to drink: Golden-hued 2015 Gusbourne brut reserve has buttery, brioche notes.
Where to stay: Head to the sleepy Kent village of East Brabourne – just a 30-minute drive away – and stay at The Five Bells Inn (Read our full review here)
Llanerch Vineyard, Wales
From £135 per night, check availability at booking.com
A farmhouse hotel, restaurant, cookery school and vineyard in South Wales. Guided tours and tastings show guests how Llanerch’s Cariad wines are made, and how the local terroir affects the taste of each vintage. Llanerch is open for hotel residents only from 13 July.
What to eat: Celebrating seasonal produce grown, caught or reared in the region, try dishes such as Welsh ox cheek croquettes, mutton shepherd’s pie and pearl barley risotto in the fine-dining restaurant overlooking the vineyards.
What to drink: Try the sweet Cariad sparkling brut.
Where to stay: Hotel rooms vary in size, from superior doubles to suites. Courtyard bedrooms start from £135.
Lympstone Manor, Exmouth, East Devon
From £350 per night, check availability at booking.com
Overlooking the Exe Estuary, Lympstone Manor is part of chef Michael Caines’s growing South West empire of restaurants and hotels. The vineyard, with its 17,500 vines, is open for guided tours every Wednesday and Saturday until September. The tour includes a tasting of English wines and a four-course lunch.
What to eat: With meat and game from local estates, and fish direct from Brixham, try butter-poached turbot with scallops, leeks, mushrooms, chive and truffle butter sauce, or Powderham venison loin.
What to drink: The first Lympstone harvest is this autumn but the wine will then go on lees for three years. In the meantime, explore the extensive 600-bin list which showcases many English wines.
Where to stay: Set in 28 acres of rolling countryside, the hotel boasts a range of rooms and suites, many with estuary views.
Tinwood Estate, West Sussex
From £175 per night, check availability at tinwoodestate.com
Want to do a wine tasting in Sussex? Back in 1985, Dutchman Tukker bought 200 acres of land here to grow iceburg lettuce. Ten years ago, Tukker’s son, Art, took on the land for his own project – growing vines for English wines. Art and his wife Jody have worked, manicured and nourished the land and now 100,000 champagne variety vines flourish in their 65 acres of chalky, flint-topped soil. Book a vineyard tour with the optional extras of a cheese platter for two or a canapé selection.
What to eat: Slow-cooked medallions of pork tenderloin followed by crème brulee with shortbread at The Kennels, a members clubhouse that serves dinner to those staying at the Tinwood Estate.
What to drink: Blanc de Blancs sparkling Chardonnay.
Where to stay: Double lodges at the Tinwood Estate start from £175 per night for a double room with breakfast.
Chapel Down, Kent
From £35 per person, check availability at Virgin Experience Days
One of the best-known English vineyards, Chapel Down recently expanded its site to a huge 325 acres of prime Kentish wine country. It’s open all year to visitors, and offers packages and gift experiences with tutored tastings. Alternatively, just go and have a look and pick up a treat from the terrific wine and fine food shop.
What to eat: Pea velouté with ham hock croquettet then Romney Marsh lamb rump, confit cherry tomatoes and smoked paprika courgette puree at Chapel Down’s smart restaurant, the Swan.
What to drink: The 2017 Flint Dry, a blend of bacchus with chardonnay and cool-climate grapes, is a fine alternative to sauvignon blanc.
Where to stay: Sissinghurst Farmhouse, home to Chapel Down’s CEO, is also a charming B&B with brass beds and rural views, from £160.
Oxney Organic, East Sussex
From £100 per night, check availability at oxneyestate.com
An organic vineyard with holiday cottages in East Sussex. The estate produces organic sparkling and still wines using pinot noir, pinot meunier and seyval blanc and chardonnay grape varieties. Winery and tasting tours take place every Friday and Saturday morning (currently limited to 10 people, so book in advance), lasting 90 minutes. Wander through the vines, learn about the estate’s approach to winemaking and end with a tasting.
What to eat: Tuck into a post-tour picnic of local cheeses, charcuterie, bread and, of course, wine.
What to drink: Try the fruity, delicately bubbly 2016 Oxney Classic.
Where to stay: Three barns (starting from £577.50 per week) sleep between four and six, while cosy wooden shepherd’s huts complete with a double bed and fire-pit start from £100 per night.
Camel Valley Vineyard, Cornwall
Want to explore one of the best English vineyards? Bob Lindo turned his hand to farming when he left the RAF and has built up the beautiful Camel Valley vineyard gradually, over 30 years, with his wife Annie. Book a Grand Tour to take in the estate followed by a tasting on the terrace.
What to eat: Pink fir apple potatoes, purple sprouting broccoli and polmarkyn ashed goats cheese, or slow cooked lamb shoulder and cumin roasted cauliflower followed by lemon posset, raspberries and ginger crumb at St Tudy Inn, 15 minutes north by car.
What to drink: The 2012 Camel Valley Pinot Noir Rosé Brut.
Where to stay: The Cabana, a pretty converted stable down a leafy lane, with a private decked area equipped with a BBQ. B&B from £65 per night.
Wyken Vineyards, Suffolk
Only big groups need pre-book for a wander round Wyken. It has been established as a vineyard since 1988, and is energetically tended by Mississippi-born Lady Carlisle, who, as a girl, trained at Chez Panisse and loves the ‘raciness of English wine’.
What to eat: The menu at the estate’s Leaping Hare restaurant/café/shop, housed in a 14th-century barn, offers monkfish with brown shrimp and cauliflower followed by Wyken lamb rack and belly with pomme anna, sprouting broccoli and wild garlic.
What to drink: Wyken Moonshine, a sparkling wine made with pinot noir and auxerrois grapes.
Where to stay: Camomile Cottage, an arty Suffolk longhouse where you’ll breakfast in the garden room on full English or eggs benedict with home-baked bread. Doubles, from £99. camomilecottage.co.uk
Sharpham Wine and Cheese, Devon
From £550 for two nights, check availability for cottages at sykescottages.co.uk
One of the best vineyard tours in the UK, Sharpham is a great experience. In the same hands for more than 35 years, Sharpham is a serious producer of more than a dozen wines, as well as unpasteurised cheeses that are sold internationally. Visitors to the site can enjoy a self-guided tasting fligh overlooking the River Dart.
What to eat: The Cellar Door serves River Fowey mussels with cider, bacon, leek and mustard cream followed by wild garlic and sorrel chicken “kiev” with watercress and charred lemon.
What to drink: The Estate Selection 2017.
Where to stay: The Bathing House is a well-appointed holiday cottage within the Sharpham Estate, sleeping two from around £550 for two nights.
Ryedale Vineyards, North Yorkshire
There’s no visitor centre, shop or café at England’s most northerly commercial vineyard, rather a tiny winery set in a listed cowshed. Here Stuart Smith conducts tastings, once his wife Elizabeth has guided guests around the entirely unmechanised site. Tours and tastings take place between April and October, or, if you’re staying at the vineyard, you can book a private tour for any day of the week.
What to eat: At Mount House B&B in Terrington, owner Kathryn might cook venison in the autumn, or seabass, followed by a creamy Italian pud. Book dinner in advance for £30 for 3-courses.
What to drink: One of Ryedale’s award-winners, such as a bottle of Yorkshire’s Lass, a delicate dry white.
Where to stay: In a pretty, homely double or twin at Mount House starting from £100 per night.
Words by Sophie Dening, Ellie Edwards and Alex Crossley
Photo credits: Paul Winch-Furness, Ian Forsyth, Helen Dixon
First published August 2015, updated May 2019