I’d love to combine a weekend away with an English wine experience - either a lovely hotel near a good vineyard that does tours and tastings (preferably with good food too either at the vineyard/hotel or a nearby restaurant - especially one that does decent English wines), or even a restaurant or hotel where we can enjoy a tasting menu paired with good English wines?
Does anyone know of anything like this, or can you generally recommend nice English wine-related travel experiences?
I’m pretty sure you could put together a decent itinerary around Brighton, although I’m not sure quite how you’d package it. There are 3 pretty good wineries within about 10 miles - Albourne Estate, Ridgeview and Court Garden, and Bolney’s just a little further up the road. If you wanted to be in the heart of things and pretty close to all 4 then staying in Ditchling would make the most sense. I know that The Bull pub has rooms and seems to have good reviews on TripAdvisor, so might be worth a look.
In terms of food, Isaac’s at Gloucester Street in Brighton does a tasting menu paired with English wines. It’s one of the up-and-coming swanky restaurants in the city at the moment, and the reviews have been very good.
Another place worth mentioning is The English Wine Centre in Alfriston - a bit further out of Brighton, at least a 30 minute drive. But Alfriston is a very pretty town, and the wine centre has a cracking range of English wines, a really good restaurant, and rooms to rent.
Hambledon have started doing an annual wine festival in August. We went this year, and can highly recommend it - lots of local business come and put on food stands, and a number of wine merchants have stands with opportunities to taste a range of wines, whilst Hambledon put on masterclasses and tours. They also have a pretty full line-up of events throughout the year:
And @Bargainbob, everything you’ve suggested is exactly what I was looking for. I think a long weekend in Brighton might be on the cards for next year…
I especially love the fact you’ve found somewhere that does an English wine pairing menu (I’ve been looking for a while) - I’m also open to any more general restaurants that do epic wine tasting menus, English or otherwise (as long as it’s good wine!)
Glad I could help! The only other restaurant I know of in Brighton and Hove that does a tasting menu with wine pairing is the aforementioned etch - can’t recommend that place highly enough!!
If you do come down then I’d also suggest La Cave a Fromage as a place that’s worth a visit. Amazing cheese shop which also has pretty incredible charcuterie and a good selection of wines, and they’ve got tables so you can have a bottle and a platter instore. A pretty luxurious and surprisingly filling way to enjoy lunch! I haven’t been for a while, but they used to have an Alsatian Pinot that was beautiful!
I live in Rye in East Sussex, which is a good base for lots of vineyards just over the border in Kent - Gusbourne, Chapel Down, and Oxney Organic are all within a 15-30 min drive, and Hush Heath is only a little further afield. The George in Rye is a fabulous boutique hotel and restaurant, or try the Gallivant hotel at Camber Sands which has an amazing restaurant with locally sourced food and drink, including a late range of English wines. Rye is a really cute town as well, so there’s enough non-vineyard places to go and some lovely pubs too.
Blimey, @Bargainbob and @Richard, with all these foodie recommendations I might have to extend my planned Brighton trip to a full week! [quote=“SophieSturdy, post:10, topic:683”]
I live in Rye in East Sussex, which is a good base for lots of vineyards just over the border in Kent - Gusbourne, Chapel Down, and Oxney Organic are all within a 15-30 min drive, and Hush Heath is only a little further afield. The George in Rye is a fabulous boutique hotel and restaurant, or try the Gallivant hotel at Camber Sands which has an amazing restaurant with locally sourced food and drink, including a late range of English wines.
This sounds like a lovely spot! You are spoilt for choice with so many amazing vineyards so close by - I am rather jealous! I’ve never heard of Oxney Organic - have you visited?
Leaping Hare in Suffolk has winery with restaurant and local farmers market on a Saturday. There is a trail of vineyards through Suffolk not to mention the Adnams experience at Southwold with their new distillery featuring gin, whisky and liqueurs alongside their wide range of beers to suit all tastes. You can also make your own gin there too.
Great restaurants and stop overs in Southwold or Walberswick, fisherman’s huts on the quayside offering fresh fish to take away and also sit in and eat. For big skies, long beaches, good beer, wine and seafood, it’s difficult to beat.
I’d second The Vineyard just outside Newbury, menioned above. Tour of the vineyard aside (unless you fancy a trip to California!) they will do everything you ask for above – at a price, of course! See PDF of their full “long” wine list of 3,000 bottles here http://www.the-vineyard.co.uk/winelist.asp. They would be happy to organise a wine flight with a very good dinner, etc., but basically their speciality is Californian wine rather than English.
Sorry to resurrect such an old topic but I think the info here is pretty evergreen, usefulness-wise, and I wanted to give a quick update!
It’s Mr Laura’s birthday today and I wanted to get him some kind of wine experience because I knew he’d love it. This thread was so helpful, thank you!
I tried at first to see if I could book Hambledon Festival tickets (thanks, @Alex88!) , but I was put off because I couldn’t see anywhere nice to stay in a taxi-able distance and there didn’t seem many good dining options either. But this would be good for a one-off day out! Might try again next year.
I looked at Three Choirs and Brighton too, but there just wasn’t the availability (still really want to do a week in Brighton visiting all the places @Bargainbob recommended!! There was just too much for the time we had free.
BUT I ended up booking the Tasting package at The Vineyard (thanks @Mikedenman1980 and @seworby!) and he was CHUFFED! We’re going for the 7-course taster menu with matching wines inspired by the Judgement of Paris tasting - such a wine/food geek thing to do so he’s really excited about it. Such a brilliant find - thank you!
Oh yes! You won’t be disappointed! It’s such a fab place for excellent food and drink, not to mention all the vineyard visits you can have in the Sussex countryside… anything from Ridgeview, to Bolney Estate, Rathfinney, Albourne, Nyetimber… the list goes on!
In the meantime sounds like you booked something fantastic! A great birthday treat!
I haven’t been to the vineyard, but I know the area fairly well- and it’s beautiful. If you do go (depending which direction you’re coming from) I recommend stopping at the village of Fulking, and having dinner at the lovely Shepherd and Dog. It’s a lovely country pub, with beautiful views of the Downs. Good wine list too.
Amberley castle, which is not too far from there - is another gem of a place.
Stopham do a quaffable Pinot Gris and a very good Pinot Blanc. Am yet to try their sparkling, though.