Kent: A wine lover’s paradise!
The mild climate and south-facing chalky soil in Kent provides the perfect conditions for growing wine. With the beautiful weather we have been experiencing recently, it is an ideal time to visit the vineyards and sample the delights of English wine. Why not take a day trip out to one of these local vineyards to find your favourite tipple, which you can then take away to enjoy in the comfort of your self-catering holiday home?
Barnsole Vineyard is only a short drive from Canterbury and is the only local vineyard that offers free drop-in tasting sessions seven days a week. It is situated close to the beautiful Cinque port of Sandwich which is also well worth a visit with its picturesque, cobbled streets. The verdant flats of Barnsole with its fertile soil has produced award-winning wine, with the Decanter 2022 Bronze award going to the Barnsole Rose de Noir Sparkling and the Silver award given to the Barnsole 2018 Classic Sparkling wine.
The owners of Barnsole Vineyard are keen to ensure their grapes are as fresh as possible so everything is done by hand by their artisans, from planting to harvesting. They state on their website that “only when we have heard its whisper can we harness the goodness of each wondrous season”! The personal touch is clearly of great importance.
This boutique vineyard is far from small, with 20,000 bottles produced each year, and you can drop in for sampling every day of the week. There is also the option for a one-hour wine tour with a visit to the vineyard and winery, concluding with a delicious tasting of a selection of the wines.
Chartham vineyard is just three miles from Canterbury city centre and is situated beside the Great Stour Way (part of the National Cycle Route 18) so can be easily reached by both car and bicycle. Chartham is a family-owned vineyard which prides itself on using traditional farming values with a modern, sustainable approach, and they have produced award-winning white, red and sparkling wines.
Chartham Vineyard is open on Saturdays, with tours starting at 11am or 2pm, followed by tutored wine tastings. At £15 a head, with children and well-behaved dogs welcome, everyone is welcome to enjoy the experience of a pleasant stroll through the sun-kissed vines with the option of purchasing wine from the cellar door.
Simpsons Wine Estate
Simpson’s Wine Estate can be found nestled within the Elham Valley in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty of the North Downs of Kent. The contours of the land, together with the climate and chalky soil provide the perfect conditions for viticulture.
Simpson’s Roman Road Vineyard was first planted in 2014 with ten hectares of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. Interestingly enough, this follows the route that the Roman first marched when invading England in AD, bringing with them the very first vines. During 2016 and 2017 a further 20 hectares of the same three grape varieties were established on the southern slopes of the village in what is now called the Railway Hill Vineyard.
Simpson’s Wine Estate offer a range of experiences for its visitors. The wine tasting experience which costs £12.50 per head and is available on weekday afternoons, is an hour and half of tasting in the Glass House Tasting Room which overlooks the vineyard. Alternatively, on Saturdays and some Fridays, you can take a tour of the estate, learn how the vines are planted, trained and harvested, and then head back to the winery for a guide through the wine-making methods before having your own tasting session. At £25 a head, this 3-hour experience will teach you everything you need to know about wine! Finally, why not enjoy the evening tour and tasting experience at £40 per head. This incorporates the tour and tasting of the previous experience but includes a sharing platter of locally sourced cheese and charcuterie from Macknade, the South East’s leading food hall in Faversham and Ashford.
Canterbury is a wonderful historical city, with plenty to see and do, and the perfect location for a break in the UK. However, there is so much to explore in the local Kent countryside, including a range of vineyards. Book up your staycation today and see for yourself the delights of rural Kent.
Click here to book direct with us for your stay in Canterbury.