10 of the best UK vineyard stays
With the UK’s wine industry going from strength to strength, here are 10 vineyards to choose from for your next staycation.
1) Flint Barns at Rathfinny, East Sussex
A sojourn in sunny Sussex is good under any circumstances, especially now that the county’s sparkling wines have PDO status. Located in the Cradle Valley, this picturesque retreat is between sea and vine, with the barns serving as a cosy escape with plenty of opportunities to sample head chef Chris Bailey’s more elevated take on British cuisine with, of course, premium Sussex sparkling to pair.
2) Glyndwr Vineyard, Glamorgan
Named after 15th Century Welsh hero Owain Glyndwr, this delightful spot in South Wales could well be where the last true Prince of Wales disappeared to after his rebellion against the English crown failed, particularly given the tog rating of its duvets, as he waits to rise again. As for the wines, for more than 40 years Glyndwr Vineyard has been producing red, white, rosé and sparkling – there’s also vermouth from a collaboration with Gower Gin. And, as if the offerings could not get any better, the estate’s even got llamas.
3) Ryedale Vineyards, Yorkshire
When we think of British wine regions, Yorkshire does often get overlooked, but with its striking landscapes and historic buildings, it’s certainly among the most picturesque, and Ryedale Vineyards offers both. Stay in the Pheasant room for £130 per night, or upgrade to the Fox room for £150 and spend a night up in the eaves of a 500-year-old farmhouse. There are also the twin Hare room, let to share with either the Fox or Pheasant room. An additional payment of £15 per person gets you a tour of the five hectare vineyard and a tasting of some of its wines, including Yorkshire’s Lass (a white) and Rosie (a rosé).
4) Tillingham, East Sussex
Though not exclusively a vineyard, with orchards, woodland and livestock as well, it fits in with Tillingham’s poly-cultural approach, and a range of natural wines are produced. There are a variety of accommodation options, with the former hop barn offering 11 double rooms. From October until the end of the year there’s also the Sunday Punch Down package, where guests will be greeted with a bottle of Tillingham’s sparkling Col on arrival, and then they can enjoy a four-course menu with a matching wine flight and a Bloody Mary at breakfast.
5) Castlewood Vineyard, Devon
Tucked away by Musbury Castle, a historic Iron Age hill fort that very much stretches the acceptable definition of ‘castle’ in this writer’s view, Castlewood Vineyard’s two Grade Two-listed 18th century cottages, by contrast, more than live up to their reputation. For those who want something a bit different, there’s the Bluebird Bus, a disused 1970s Canadian school bus that has been repurposed into comfortable, retro accommodation – it even has a log burner (thankfully, the bus’ old fuel tank is empty). When you want to stock up on wines such as Devon Minnow and Castlewood Vintage Brut, there’s always the cellar door.
With more than 100 hectares under vine, Denbies is one of the biggest producers in the UK, and it has an equally impressive hotel to match. For £225 you and a guest can get a double room, a three course dinner and a full English in the morning, there’s also the option of afternoon tea, and plenty of opportunities for tasting the estate’s Surrey Gold and Sparkling Bacchus, among others. If you then feel an understandable need to burn off these meals, hiring a bike, pilates, or an intense session with Paul’s Absolute Fitness might be in order, and, as luck would have it, all are options for hotel guests.
7) Secret Valley Vineyard Glamping, Somerset
Glamping is certainly a divisive style of accommodation – existing in that awkward hinterland between hotel and tent – but if that’s your sort of thing, then why not tie it in with a night among the vines. Pinot Noir, Rondo, Orion, Solaris and Reichensteiner are all cultivated here (and the wines available for purchase). Whether you’re spending the night in a wigwam, lodge or shepherd hut, enjoy the serenity of the Quantocks with some local wine, plus, there’s also alpacas and miniature donkeys to sweeten the deal.
8) Sandridge Barton Estate, Devon
The home of Sharpham Wine is also home to a variety of places to stay. Take your pick from a six bedroom Georgian house, the Boathouse (also built during the Georgian period) that is perched on the bank of the River Dart, or, for easy access to the winery, the Lower Well Farmhouse. The restaurant alone is worth a visit: small, local producers are prioritised, with the chefs even making their own charcuterie and vinegar. Of course, Sharpham Wine is the perfect accompaniment to the menu.
After you’ve had some hearty (but refined) pub grub with Balfour wines, or local ale, settle in for a night in one of the boutique hotel rooms, with prices starting at just £109. Then head on over to the winery, just 10 minutes by taxi through the Kent countryside, for a full estate tour and tasting costing £45 in the week or £65 at weekends, or, once a month, immerse yourself in an art and wine evening and then head back to The Goudhurst Inn for a nightcap.
10) Valley Farm Vineyards, Suffolk
For when you want a grape escape, there’s always a cabin among the Madeleine Angevine and Pinot Gris vines of Suffolk. Founded in 1987, current custodian Adrian Cox has owned the site since last year after deciding that he wanted to move away from construction and turn his attention to growing grapes. Though the cabin may seem rustic, its combination of old and new technologies, with sheep’s wool insulation and energy provided by solar power, make it an ideal retreat for simple, low-carbon comfort.
If you have your sights set on visiting somewhere a little bit further from home, check out 10 of the best wine stays around the world.