Whether you’ve ever fancied a staycation mini- or micro-break on an English vineyard, or even if you’ve never thought about it, you will probably be surprised to hear there are more than 50 vineyards that will be very happy to welcome you with a comfy bed and a delicious glass of English sparkling wine.
Here are just a few we’ve picked for the quality of their wine, as well as for the accommodation itself.
One of the newest wine producers in the UK and already making a splash, Rathfinny is near Alfriston in Sussex. Their beautifully restored Flint Barns offer B&B accommodation for multiple people in 10 en-suite bedrooms (doubles, twins & family rooms), with exclusive rental available. The rooms are used by seasonal workers during harvest, but are available to guests the rest of the year; they are furnished in a practical yet luxurious way.
About the wine: Recent first releases of Blanc de Blancs 2014 and Rosé 2015 are already receiving extremely favourable reviews. There is also a light crisp still wine, named after the local Cradle Valley, and they even have their own Seven Sisters gin.
Best for: A family getaway where everyone can have their own space; with the Rathfinny Trail allowing you to tour the estate on foot, the coast in sight and the independent shops of Alfriston close by, there is something for everyone.
Wickham Manor is a 16th century property owned by the National Trust, which is also both the family home and a B&B. There is the historic authenticity you would expect, yet comfortable furnishing and far-reaching views over the 750 acre farm, which includes the Charles Palmer vineyards and their own winery. Two en-suite rooms have king-size beds (one of these can also be made up as a family room) and another double room has its own private bathroom.
About the wine: Specialising purely in sparkling wines, the Charles Palmer range includes Classic Cuvée, Rosé, Blanc de Blancs and in some years a Special Reserve is also produced from 100% Pinot Noir.
Best for: A relaxed luxury getaway; the historic town of Rye is close by, as are a number of other vineyards well worth exploring, or just take a good book and relax with the calming views.
One of England’s newest vineyards has recently launched its Hobbit House accommodation. Adjacent to the owner’s home, yet entirely separate, this luxurious property has 2 double en-suite bedrooms overlooking a field which will soon become a second vineyard. With its own hot tub and living accommodation with open plan kitchen, you have all you need for a thoroughly relaxing stay.
About the wine: While Oastbrook’s own vines grow to maturity, they have launched the first wine under their new brand, Oastbrook Rosé 2014 – a sophisticated Sussex sparkling rosé made from Pinot Noir and Auxerrois grapes in conjunction with local star winemaker Dermot Sugrue of Wiston Estate.
Best for: An outdoorsy break for 2 couples, with walks along the river to Bodiam Castle, kayaking on the river and many local vineyards and restaurants to enjoy. Or why not just go with your other half and enjoy an idyllic rural break, where you can do as much or as little as you like? It would also make a great retreat for 2 friends, with a room each.
Head over to the Cotswolds and you will find Poulton HIll Estate, a newly converted Cotswold stone barn on two floors with huge open plan sitting / dining room downstairs and upstairs accommodation comprising three beautifully furnished king-sized double bedrooms, all with their own private bathrooms. The barn is booked as a single property and organic breakfast is provided.
About the wine: A range of still and sparkling wines, including their trademark Bulari Classic and Rosé sparkling wines; the name a variation on the Latin word for bubbles and is designed to be a catchy name to signify prestige and reflect ever-increasing quality of sparkling wines from this country. Poulton Hill also produce their own Sloe de Vie.
Best for: A relaxing stay for a group of friends. Put your feed up, stroll around the beautiful gardens or use it as a base to explore the beautiful surrounding area. Show off your cooking skills, serving food to the rest of your party in the generous dining area or ask the owners to arrange catering for you.
Just past Penzance lies Polgoon Vineyard. With the recent improvements to the A30, it doesn’t take long to get there than many places that seem much closer to those of us not lucky enough to live in Cornwall, or you can even take the train. On the edge of the vineyard and orchard, you will find a self-catering cottage that comfortably sleeps 6 in a double, a twin and a family room; Penzance itself with its seafront, galleries, restaurants and variety of shops is just a mile or so away and perfectly walkable.
About the wine: Polgoon have their own winery on site and produce a whole berry pressed Sparkling Pinot Noir and a Seyval Blanc sparkling wine, as well as an excellent range of still wines, cider and fruit juices.
Best for: An out of season break – the light in Cornwall is even clearer and more beautiful away from summer (perfect if you are into photography), there is plenty to explore and enough restaurants and country pubs open to feed you delicious local produce. Avoid the crowds and pretend you’re a local! Tate St Ives, Mousehole and St Michael’s Mount are among the many local attractions easily accessible.
There’s a complete range of vineyard accommodation in England & Wales, from campsites, glamping through B&Bs, boutique hotels as well as those listed above. If you’re keen to learn more while you’re there as well as enjoying the view over vines, do check if there’s a winery – making English sparkling wine is a complex process and not everyone processes their own grapes. You can also filter to find things out like whether dogs or children will be welcome.