As the UK reopens to domestic travel, vineyards across England and Wales are also starting to welcome us back. Tucked into idyllic pockets of the British countryside, these wine-producing estates provide the ideal rural retreat for vineyard tours, wine tastings, culinary experiences, and in some cases, an inviting place to stay. From farmhouse suites to lodges amid the vines, these are some of the finest bucolic hideaways to host visitors throughout the summer.
Rathfinny Wine Estate, Sussex
Since launching in 2010, this Sussex Heritage Award-winning winery has garnered resounding praise for its picturesque location in the South Downs, Tasting Room restaurant and vineyard tours. People travel across the country to revel in these surroundings whilst sampling Rathfinny’s world-class wines. The estate produces Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noir, sparkling rosé and Classic Cuvée according to the Traditional Method of second fermentation, drawing on the characteristics of terroir, in line with the requirements set out by The Sussex PDO (Protected Designation of Origin). This summer, you’ll be able to sample these wines at the estate’s Seafood and Wine Kitchen—order ahead for a picnic hamper—as well as at the re-opened accommodation, Flint Barns, where cosy modern guestrooms are joined by a dining room, lounge, snug and enclosed courtyard.
Three Choirs Vineyards, Gloucestershire
Having planted its first vines in 1973, Three Choirs is one of the oldest vineyards in England. The current winemaker has now been producing red, white, sparkling and rosé wines here for more than 25 years. Rolling fields of vines span much of the 75-acre Cotswolds estate, which also houses a state-of-the-art winery, restaurant and cellar door, along with vineyard-view guestrooms and standalone lodges for overnight stays. Start your visit with the estate’s grape-to-glass tour starting at the cellar door before dining on dishes focusing on seasonality and provenance at the brasserie. Finally, retreat to one of the three secluded Vineyard Lodges with floor-to-ceiling glass and verandas on two sides.
Tinwood Estate, Sussex
Visitors seek out this idyllic estate on the edge of the South Downs for winery tours with Estate Brut, Blanc de Blancs and sparkling rosé tastings and to stay overnight in a wooden lodge tucked into the vineyard. Since the vines were first planted across 28 acres in 2007, the estate has gone on to cultivate over 65 acres of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes for wine production. Tours taking you between these fruitful vines end in the tasting room where an introduction to the wine comes with views over the surrounding land.
The three vineyard lodges at Tinwood Estate then provide you with a secluded place to stay at the end of the day, with private decked terrace, the use of a barrel sauna and uninterrupted vineyard views. Make the most of your time by setting out on trails taking you into the national park on one of Tinwood’s complimentary-use mountain bikes.
Llanerch Vineyard, Pontyclun
Over in Pontclun, Wales, Llanerch combines insight into the farmhouse’s winemaking journey with the hospitality of its hotel, restaurant and cooking school. Take a tour of the vineyards, sample Cariad wines with one of Llanerch’s experts and tuck into an afternoon tea, long lunch or indulgent dinner at the restaurant serving locally inspired dishes with vineyard views. Just as the restaurant focuses on ingredients from the nearby waters and surrounding fields, Angela Gray’s Cooking School draws attention to the seasonal produce of the Glamorganshire countryside through one-day courses and Saturday Morning Kitchen sessions. A stay in one of the hotel’s guestrooms with views over the grounds gives you time to switch off and enjoy this gastronomic experience.
Ryedale Vineyards, North Yorkshire
Outside the area most commonly associated with English wine, Ryedale Vineyards spans an expanse of land at the foot of the North Yorkshire Wolds. This is currently the most northerly commercial vineyard in Britain. It’s here that the Fletcher family produce red, white, rosé and sparkling wines, along with their own cider and pressed apple juice. Every grape here is handpicked, pressed and bottled on-site with harvest bringing wine-lovers from around the area to pick grapes and celebrate this time of year. Visitors can take a guided tour with one of Ryedale’s winemakers, set out on a short vineyard walk and taste the estate’s wines with local cheeses on a deck overlooking woods and meadow. If you want to stay a night or two, book one of the 500-year-old farmhouse’s well-appointed guestrooms with views of the surrounding landscape and a Yorkshire breakfast to wake up to.