Chapel Down Vineyard

Collections

Sabina Culver 09/09/22


The Best Vineyards Near London

It’s not inevitable that, at some point in your life, possibly right now, you’re going to start ‘getting into wine’ …but it is likely.

And why ever not? It makes a bad day better, and a good day great. But, don’t panic; getting ‘into wine’ doesn’t mean suddenly being the person at a party burbling on incessantly about tannins, and top notes of treacle and red fruit – it could just mean that you start going to the occasional day out to a vineyard, for a nice big walk, and a nice big wine. Because yes – believe it or not – there are actually vineyards in the UK. And some of them are near London.

So, if you’ve got grape expectations, here’s where to go to…

VINEYARDS NEAR LONDON

Tillingham | Sussex

Tillingham Winery

If you’ve caught the cloudy wine bug and now only opt for bottles with creative artwork and label designs, then it’s only natural you should want to take the next train down to Tillingham. It is, after all, a natural wine-focused vineyard – a stunner of a 70-acre estate in the East Sussex countryside with a penchant for grapes grown without any meddling from those pesky machines (the 40,000 vines owner Ben Walgate babysits here are all planted with the planet in mind).

You can get a thorough understanding of what the place is all about through the 90-minute tour which lets you sip and swirl your way through four of their biodynamic varieties, and the backdrop – rolling views of the surrounding river and woodlands – isn’t half bad either. In fact, it would be lovely to wake up here… which, luckily, is actually possible: the hop-barn doubles as a hotel fitted with farm-chic furnishings, and there’s also bell tents that come with king king-size bed, your own personal fire pit and erm… an outdoor toilet with a view.

Address: Dew Farm, Dew Lane Peasmarsh, East Sussex, TN31 6XD
Travel: Just shy of two and a half hours by car, or roughly 2 hours 45 minutes by train to Rye station (followed by a brief taxi).
Booking: Book the tour, an overnight stay and everything else on their website, here

Chapel Down | Kent

Best Vineyards in the UK: Chapel Down Vineyard

As the garden of England, it’s only fitting that Kent should offer one of the premier vineyards in the UK. Chapel Down, in Tenterden, is a homegrown success story, having taken full advantage of the chalky terroir of North Kent (nigh-on indistinguishable, it is claimed, from the soil of fairly-nearby Champagne, which is just a – massive – stone’s throw across the water…).

With an accomplished range of superb sparkling whites and roses, bolstered by a truly impressive selection of still whites and reds, Chapel Down is a big hitter in the UK wine world – and their zhuzhy vineyard, complete with an 80-cover restaurant (which helpfully does the wine-pairing for you) is truly beguiling. You might leave so enchanted you find yourself leasing your own vines, and producing your own custom wine.

Address: Small Hythe, Tenterden, Kent, TN30 7NG
Travel: 40 mins from London Blackfriars to Ashford International  + a bus, or 2 hour drive
Booking:
 For more details, check out their website here

 

Nyetimber | West Sussex

Best Vineyards in the UK: Nyetimber

Think English sparkling wine, think Nyetimber. Think English Champagne? Don’t think Nyetimber – but only because ‘champagne’ is a protected designation of origin, and thus Nyetimber’s superb product can’t, currently, be described as such. But what’s in a name? A sparkling wine, by any other name, would taste just as ideal – as Shakespeare famously may or may not have slurred, three glasses into a bottle of Nytimber’s 1086 Prestige Cuvee and generally feeling positive about life. If you’re able to, snag a ticket to one of their open days, which begin in the Estate’s 15th century medieval barn, and feature in jaw-dropping views of the South Downs, a stroll through some of the oldest vines in England, as well as – obviously – a judicious amount of ‘tasting’. For science.

Address: Gay Street, West Chiltington, West Sussex, RH20 2HH
Travel: 80 mins from London Victoria to Pulborough, or a 2 hour drive 
Booking: 
For more information, visit their website here

 

Gusbourne | Kent

Best Vineyards in the UK: Gusborne Vineyard

Gusbourne’s only been in the grape-alchemy business since 2004, but they’ve got big ambition – “we strive to create the finest wines in the world”. Their beautiful vineyards near London – across Appledore in Kent and Goodwood in Sussex – are already creating some truly sensational wines. But don’t take our word for it – go for the full tour, which gives you a carefully curated trip around the beautiful, sustainable Estate, before settling down in the tasting room (overlooking the vineyards) for a three-course lunch. Yes please.

Address: Kenardington Rd, Appledore, Ashford TN26 2BE
Travel: 55 mins from London Bridge to Headcorn + bus, or 90 mins drive
Booking: For more information, visit their website here

 

WEEKEND VINEYARD TRIPS

Langham Wine Estate | Dorset

Langham Wine Estate

Beloved boutique winery Langham is well worth the trip to the rolling hills of Dorset. The single vineyard estate does it all in-house and by hand – from the growing to the picking to the winemaking, their team of eight devoted winemakers eschews machinery, and produces between 50 and 60,000 bottles of multi award-winning sparkling wine per year. A guided tour of their quaint English vineyard and winery is one of the great ways to spend an afternoon – it also can (and should) be ended with the addition of a Vineyard Lunch Picnic, which is exactly as delightful as it sounds.

Address: Crawthorne, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 7NG
Travel: 3 hr + 42 mins from London Waterloo to Dorchester South
Booking: For more information, visit their website here
Where to stay: In a beyond-picturesque shepherd’s hut at Aller Dorset

 

Giffords Hall Vineyard | Suffolk

Gifford's Hall Vineyard

Family-run winery Giffords Hall has been producing stunning wines from its tranquil vineyard in the heart of the Stour Valley for more than twenty years. They’re not just experts in making the stuff, either – Giffords Hall offers a truly comprehensive package of private guided tours, for anywhere between two and 60 people, as well as their ‘Grand Guided Tours’ which are open to the general public (and are no less fun for that – in fact quite the reverse…).

Address: Hartest, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP29 4EX
Travel: 2 hr + 30 mins  from St Pancras to Bury St Edmund’s + bus
Booking: For more information, visit their website here
Where to stay: In beautiful nearby Hartest, or on site in the delightful Cottage

 

Cairn O’Mohr | Perth

Cairn O’Mohr

That’s right, a Scottish winery. Sort of. Visiting Cairn O’Morh is a truly fruity experience – charismatic founders Ron and Judith Gillies specialise in fruit ‘wines’, so forget about grape varietals and instead drop by to witness the unique fermentation process that involves fresh fruits, leaves and flowers. ‘Wines’ produced in the farm include elderberry, bramble, raspberry, and spring oak leaf (that’s right, spring oak leaf wine) alongside a host of fruity ciders.

Address: East Inchmichael, Errol, Perthshire, Scotland, PH2 7SP
Travel: 5hr + 40 mins from King’s Cross to Perth + bus or taxi
Booking: For more information, visit their website here
Where to stay: Treat yourself to a night or two at Murrayshall Country Estate

 

Camel Valley | Cornwall

Camel Valley

Got the hump? Head to Camel Valley in Cornwall, and let your stresses slip away as you sit on their terrace sipping a glass (or, for those with extraordinary willpower, a half-glass) of the good stuff. The estate is the passion project of former RAF pilot Bob Lindo and his wife Annie, who first planted a humble eight thousand vines in 1989 – since then, they’ve won numerous global competitions, and the job of winemaker has been inherited by their son Sam Lindo, who continues to uphold the family traditions of hard work, meticulous attention to detail, and not taking themselves too seriously.

Address: Nanstallon, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL30 5LG
Travel: 3 hrs + 45 mins from Paddington to Bodmin Parkway + bus or taxi 
Booking:
For more information, visit their website here
Where to stay: In one of the two cottages high on the valley, which also come with a private stretch of river to fish on!

 

St Martin’s Vineyard and Winery | Scilly Isles 

Best Vineyards in the UK: St Martin's Vineyard

The Scilly Isles are, of course, far more than a-place-you-hear-mentioned-on-the-shipping-forecast. They are also, amongst many other things, home to the small-but-superlative St Martin’s Vineyard and Winery – a rustic, eco-friendly affair, now in the capable hands of Holly Robbins and James Faulconbridge. The pair took over from original owners Val and Graham, who launched their boutique winery in 1996. A visit to St Martin’s is an escape from the humdrum – it’s almost preposterously idyllic. Tours are self-guided and informal – grab a booklet and head along the Vine Trail, taking in all nine stops – for £10 (including a tasting flight), it’s among the best value wine experiences in the world. Give it a go. You’d be Scilly not to.

Address: Higher Town, St Martin’s, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, TR25 0QLB
Travel: 5 hr+ 7 mins from Paddington to Penzance + ferries
Booking: For more information, visit their website here
Where to stay: In one of the shepherds huts on site, of course

 


Want to sip on lovely wine closer to home? We’ve got you covered with our guide to London’s Best Wine Tasting Events

The Nudge is an independent, searchable and highly-curated guide to the most interesting places to go and things to do in London, giving members unrestricted access to our full compendium of continually-updated restaurants, bars, events, exhibitions, date ideas, itineraries, member perks, weekend guides, monthly agendas and more – all delivered via our website, email newsletters & members’ app.

Join us to see what’s hot in London this week; to explore all of the recommendations & ideas stored within The Nudge’s website and members’ app; and to start making the most of life in London today. Start Free One Week Trial

Carpe Diem!




Got A Tip? Email [email protected]



More Ideas