Travel around England for a tipple this summer
With English Wine Week (25 May – 2 June); World Gin Day (8 June) and International Beer Day (2 August) all on the horizon, producers across the country are shining a spotlight on their home-grown creations. Whether you want to get hands-on in Chapel Down’s brand new Curious Brewery; sleep in a vineyard; make your own gin or work on your tasting techniques with a winemaker, here’s a snapshot of how to travel for a tipple this summer.
Explore the Sparkling South Downs in style
Hampshire Tours offer small private group tours of the South Down’s sparkling wine vineyards and wineries, some not normally open to the public. You’ll stop off at five Cellar Doors for tastings and the chance to walk a vineyard, in between taking in the beautiful scenery and thatched cottage villages of the area from the comfort of a Land Rover. Currently, on special offer, a private day tour for a group of between four to six people costs £70pp with pick up from within 30 miles of Petersfield including Guildford Station. Upcoming dates include 31st May, 5th July, 2nd August, 13th September. Other tours are available from £90pp. www.hampshiretours.net/2019-special-offers
Celebrate English Wine Week at Lympstone Manor, Devon
Devon’s contemporary country house hotel Lympstone Manor, run by top Chef Michael Caines, has developed a special English Wine Week menu paired with a selection of English wines and a complimentary glass of Nyetimber Classic Cuvee to kick off proceedings. Make a break of it with an overnight stay and explore the hotel’s very own vineyard or book in for a tasting tutorial with the resident sommelier in the Wine Room. The English Wine Week menu is available from 23 May – 6 June from £43 per person for three courses and wine flight. www.lympstonemanor.co.uk/events-offers/english-wine-week-2019/
Meet the makers at Ockenden Manor Hotel, Sussex
Throughout English Wine Week, the 28-room country hotel will be offering a specially designed Six Course Tasting Menu to complement some of the finest Sussex wines. Winemakers from some of the key local vineyards, Ridgeview Estate, Bolney Wine Estate and Albourne Estate, will also be at the hotel during the aperitivo hour on selected dates during the week to teach guests about their wine and host a complimentary tasting. The six-course menu including wine costs £140 per person. Rooms from £189. www.hshotels.co.uk/ockenden-manor/offers/food-and-drink/celebrate-english-wine-week
Winchester becomes Ginchester for World Gin Day
Up your gin game and head to Winchester for the annual Ginchester Fete on 8 June (£16.58 per person) held in the remarkable setting of the Great Hall, a medieval banquet hall home to King Arthur’s Round Table. Make a weekend of it with a trip to the Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Laverstoke Mill, just 25 minutes’ drive from the city. In a beautiful setting overlooking the River Exe they offer a range of experiences from distillery tours to gin cocktail masterclasses and the chance to find your perfect gin essence in the botanical room. Entry costs from £16 per person.
Go back to (gin) school at Manchester’s Three Rivers
The award-winning interactive Gin Experience at Manchester city centre’s first ever dedicated Gin distillery in modern times includes a Gin distillery tour, four complimentary drinks and a chance to create your own personalised bottle of gin in their mini copper pot stills. Bookable between Thursday and Sunday the bespoke experience costs £95 per person. Tie in a visit with World Gin Day for your chance to take part in World Gin Day Manchester celebrations, which will see a collaboration of venues sharing their best gins and deals across the city, as well an exciting hub space to accommodate gin talks, live music and more. Wristbands to enter the events cost from £6.50 per person. https://www.worldgindaymcr.co.uk/
Become a beer buff at Chapel Down’s brand new Curious Brewery, Kent
Kent wine producer Chapel Down has just launched their ‘Cathedral of Brewing’ Curious Brewery in Ashford, complete with bar, shop and restaurant, as well as plans for tasting and brewery tours in the pipeline – perfect for beer and cider lovers alike. Combine a trip with a visit to the original Chapel Down vineyard set in the gentle hills and high hedges of Kent’s High Weald, in an Area of Outstanding Beauty, which has the same chalky soil as Champagné, France (just 90 miles to the south) giving the wine produced here its distinct flavour. Behind-the-scenes tours cost from £17.50 per person including a tutored tasting to help those wine buff credentials.
Sleepover in a Vineyard
For those who want to truly immerse themselves in all things wine, the only thing for it is to bed down for the night in a vineyard. Coming soon, Surrey’s Denbies Wine Estate will launch its first hotel. For those who cannot wait, their Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast sits in the centre of this idyllic vineyard, with the chance to enjoy breakfast served in the conservatory which overlooks the garden and 265 acres of sweeping vines. Tours of the vineyard start from £9.50 per person and different wine and sparkling wine experiences are from £12.00 per person.https://www.denbies.co.uk/tours-and-experiences/ Elsewhere in England, Three Choirs in Gloucestershire is one of England’s oldest vineyards and guests can not only enjoy tastings, tours and great food but a night amongst the vines with a choice of lodges and rooms from £129 per night.
Get crafty at a Beer festival
Festivals celebrating the growing beer scene will abound across England this summer and make the ideal excuse for a city break. Bristol Craft Beer Festival (7-8 June) will showcase 200 or so local, national and international beers taking part in this weekend beer fest on the harbourside alongside DJs and an array of food producers. Tickets from £40. Later in the year, Leeds International Beer Festival (5-8 September) is now into its eighth year, with tickets from just £10 per adult.
For more ideas check out www.visitengland.com