Wine is more than just a drink – it’s an experience for all the senses. So, if you’re a wine lover, you might enjoy visiting some of the UK’s gorgeous vineyards, which produce the country’s most sought-after wines.
If you’d like to learn more about the art of winemaking before sipping on a refreshing chardonnay or fragrant pinot noir, here are 11 of the best vineyards to visit in the UK.
Note: Because of its relatively warmer climate, the south of England tends to be the most favourable area for wine production. For this reason, the majority of the vineyards listed here are located there.
1. Forty Hall Vineyard, London
Forty Hall is London’s only commercial-scale vineyard dedicated to producing high-quality, organic English still and sparkling wine. It’s also the first commercial-scale vineyard in London since the Middle Ages.
All of the wines produced here are designed to reflect the distinct character of Forty Hall’s organically grown grapes – including Bacchus and Ortega. The grapes are grown naturally, with as little intervention as possible. Will Davenport, Forty Hall’s winemaker has won numerous awards for his low-intervention, certified, organic wines that allow the grapes to speak for themselves.
The vineyard also works holistically with Forty Hall Farm, where sheep are brought in during the winter months to graze and fertilise the soil – encouraging biodiversity and sustainability.
Forty Hall is open year-round and volunteers are always happy to chat about the wines and the work that goes into producing them. Vineyard tours and tasting sessions also run during the warmer months. Why not try the award-winning Sparkling London Brut? It’s made using the traditional Champagne method, where all of the fermentation takes place naturally in the bottle.
2. Llanerch Vineyard Hotel, Cardiff
Llanerch Vineyard is the oldest vineyard in Wales, producing grapes for a range of wonderful wines – from sparkling whites to blush roses.
Llanerch’s much-loved Cariad Sparkling White is made using a traditional method of sparkling wine production, which involves a second fermentation in the bottle. This process is famed for helping to create fine bubbles and a charming texture that’s both creamy and restorative.
On a vineyard and tasting tour here, you’ll get to sample three Cariad wines and learn about Llanerch’s role in the production of Cariad wine – including how the grapes are looked after, turned into wine, and the role that the local environment plays in the wines’ unique taste.
Plus, with charming afternoon teas and an award-winning restaurant celebrating locally sourced ingredients, Llanerch Vineyard Hotel makes for a perfect wine-inspired getaway. It’s also only a half-hour journey from Cardiff, which is a delight to explore too – particularly if you fancy some hustle and bustle after a relaxing break in the countryside.
3. Three Choirs Vineyard, Gloucestershire
Tucked away deep in the Cotswolds, near the Forest of Dean, Three Choirs Vineyard has come a long way since its first half-acre of vines was planted in 1973. Today, it covers 75 acres and has produced over 250,000 bottles of wine.
You’d be forgiven for mistaking the vineyard’s beautiful location for the South of France. This haven of tranquillity is open to visit year-round, with each season offering something unique and special. Self-guided wine tastings with lunch and a vineyard walk are also available, where you’ll have the opportunity to sample five still and sparkling wines of your choice.
Three Choirs also has a tapas-style restaurant designed to complement the wines produced here, and a wonderful selection of accommodation options, if you’d like to stay among the vines.
4. Chapel Down Vineyard, Kent
Chapel Down is England’s leading wine producer. Offering an award-winning range of sparkling and still wines, made from grapes grown in the chalky soil of Kent’s North Downs, Chapel Down aims to change the way the world thinks about English wine.
The wines produced here, which include chardonnay, pinot meunier, Bacchus, and pinot noir, are made from grapes grown in terrain likened to that of Champagne in France. They’re regularly exported to represent England on international wine lists.
Stroll through the gorgeous vineyard set in the heart of the Kent countryside, or join a guided tour. You’ll learn all about the vineyard cycle and artistic process of creating traditional sparkling wine, before finishing with a tutored wine tasting. If you’re a cheese lover, the cheese and wine tour might tickle your taste buds.
5. Gwinllan Conwy Vineyard, Snowdonia
Set against the stunning backdrop of Snowdonia, Gwinllan Conwy is one of Wales’ most celebrated vineyards – and for good reason. The tantalising wines produced here have won a range of domestic and international awards.
Planted in 2012, the vineyard has expanded from 300 growing vines to over 3,000 that cover three acres. For many, it’s the hybrid grape varieties grown here – chosen specifically to be able to flourish in the climate and soil conditions of North Wales – that make this vineyard special.
Vineyard experiences at Gwinllan Conwy are available to enjoy year-round. These offer informative insights into the running of this wonderful Welsh vineyard. Afterwards, you can head to the vineyard shop where you’ll find a gorgeous range of Welsh produce.
6. Hambledon Vineyard, Hampshire
Established in 1952, Hambledon Vineyard is England’s oldest commercial vineyard. And 70 years later, this small family-run vineyard remains committed to its mission of producing the best multi-vintage sparkling wine in England.
Hambledon believes that using the best raw materials and working with the best winemakers is the key to producing fine sparkling wines. The vineyard’s state-of-the-art facility is the only fully gravity-fed winery in the UK – which allows the team to make the best possible wines with minimal intervention. Gravity-fed wineries rely on gravity to move wine through various phases of production.
Tours and tastings are available to book year-round and Hambledon also hosts a range of other special events throughout the year – including harvest celebrations, festive wreath making, comedy nights, and cheese and wine tastings. Hambledon Vineyard restaurant is also opening soon and promises the very best of English cuisine, paired perfectly with the Finest English Fizz.
7. Oxney Organic Estate, Kent
Oxney Organic Estate is a vineyard and winery near the town of Rye, which just so happens to be the largest single-estate producer of English organic wines – not just in that region, but across the UK.
Even more impressively, Oxney’s 35 acres of vines produce around 20% of all organic grapes grown in the UK. This is a vineyard paradise and a wonderful destination for a relaxing day out, where you can enjoy sipping on a range of delicious still and sparkling wines.
To get a taste of Oxney, you can enjoy a guided tour of the vineyard, during which you’ll taste four of their most popular wines. If you’d like to extend your stay, why not spend a night in one of the onsite shepherd’s huts? An overnight stay might sound even more inviting after a couple of glasses of pinot noir…
8. Ryedale Vineyard, North Yorkshire
Planted in 2006 at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds near York and Castle Howard, Ryedale Vineyard is the most northerly commercial vineyard in the UK. This family-run business was voted one of the best vineyards to visit and tour in England and Wales in 2019, and it regularly wins awards for its wines.
At Ryedale, all stages of wine production – from pruning and harvesting to pressing, fermenting, bottling, and labelling – are carried out by hand. There are also over 15,000 vines in the 12-acre vineyard of18 different grape varieties. These include chardonnay, pinot noir, and Bacchus.
Experience the magic of Ryedale on an informal, friendly, and informative guided tour, which ends with a sampling of the vineyard’s wines, ciders, and some local cheeses. If you’d like to stay, there are two luxurious farmhouse rooms available to book too.
9. Camel Valley Vineyard, North Cornwall
Camel Valley Vineyard has been producing world-class, award-winning wines since 1989. Set in the heart of North Cornwall’s beautiful countryside, it’s the idyllic backdrop of sun-soaked hills set by the famous Camel River that makes this vineyard so special.
The grapes here suit the climate and soil perfectly, and are tended with great care and passion by the Lindo family and their team.
Guided tours are available where you can explore the winery, stroll through the vines, and learn all about how the grapes are transformed into award-winning wines. After your tour, head to the sun terrace, garden, or tasting room, where wine is served by the glass.
10. Oastbrook Estate Vineyard, Sussex
Oastbrook Estate Vineyard in Sussex was birthed out of a combined passion for wine and the countryside county. Today, it continues its aim of bringing the history of the English countryside alive through sensational wines.
Often compared with Champagne of France, Sussex’s climate and location are ideal for creating spectacular sparkling wines. And Oastbrook isn’t only known for wines like sparkling Cuvee, but many still whites and reds too – which are renowned for their rich and crisp palette.
Guided tours at Oastbrook are led by winemakers and intended to be a fun, interactive experience for wine enthusiasts and novices alike. You’ll learn all about how both Sussex sparkling wines and still English wines are produced, before sampling four of Oastbrook’s award-winning wines alongside a tasty cheese platter.
If you’d like to stay at Oastbrook, you’ll be hard-pushed to resist the one-of-a-kind accommodation options. From cosy hideaways built by local craftsmen to Scandinavian-style waterside lodges and onsite glamping, there’s something for everyone.
11. Langham Wine Vineyard, Dorset
Set in the heart of Dorset, Langham Wine Vineyard prides itself on producing sparkling wines crafted from grapes grown only onsite.
All of the classic Champagne grape varieties – chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier – are grown at Langham, and it’s the vineyard’s low-intervention approach to harvesting that makes each wine so unique.
Constantly striving to minimise their environmental impact, the team at Langham take an extremely low-intervention approach. All grapes are handpicked, and a meticulous vineyard selection means only those of the highest quality make it into the winery.
Guided tours are available at Langham where you can learn all about the stages involved in producing world-class sparkling wines, before sipping some of the good stuff yourself. Self-guided tours are available too, if you’d like to take things at your own pace.
History buffs might also be interested in the magnificent Grade I listed Melcombe manor house, which sits in the heart of the Langham Agricultural Estate and has changed little since the reign of Edward VI.
Wine is a wonder for all the senses – and visiting the vineyards where it’s produced can be a special experience. The fact that these vineyards are a treat to wander through is just an added bonus.
For further reading, you might also be interested in our articles; 6 delicious wines created by entrepreneurs over 50 and 11 food and wine holidays to enjoy at your own pace.
Which vineyards have you visited before? Do you have any other recommendations that you’d like to share? We’d be interested to hear from you in the comments below.