Kent in England is suddenly alive with vineyards. The English wine industry is growing rapidly, and Kent is at the forefront. You may have heard of Chapel Down, the most famous in the region, but there are plenty more to see. Here we will discuss visiting Kent vineyards and the alternatives to Chapel Down, the most famous in the area.
When I’m in the UK, one of my favourite pastimes is to visit a vineyard and try a few glasses of their latest wine. It’s a great day out and quick jaunt from London. Most vineyards now offer some food to snack on whilst you quaff the wine. You can often request a vineyard tour, formal tasting experience or just take a self guided tour.
Does Kent have Vineyards?
Kent has lots of vineyards. Many people have heard of Chapel Down, which is the biggest and most well known vineyard in Kent. But there are lots of alternatives to Chapel Down across Kent.
Below is my review of the best vineyards to visit in Kent, England. As well as some top tips for how to visit.
Where are the best vineyards in Kent?
A Kent vineyard with a restaurant: Shoreham
This vineyard has a great restaurant as well as a few different spaces you can sit to enjoy a glass of wine. Its located near to Shoreham train station and there are also some walks nearby. The restaurant serves charcuterie and great pizza. They sell a mix of red and white wines.
A Kent vineyard with tours: Hush Heath, Marden
This is a large vineyard and one of the most commercial. The terrace overlooking the vines is truly special. Despite being commercial, you often see the owners wandering around with their dog and they are super friendly.
There’s a really broad range of wine on offer. I love the Lesley Sparkling Red (named after Lesley, one of the owners), its really unique and tastes like Christmas. The Skye Chardonnay is also a delight.
You can buy three tasting samples of the wines for £5 or £10 for the premium. A bottle is around £30. Nearest train stations are Marden or Staplehurst. This vinyard is a great alternitve to Chapel Down when visiting Kent vineyards.
Kent vineyard with a restaurant: Squerrys Westerham
Squerrys is quite fancy. Its known for its sparkling wine and a glass of fizz will set you back around £10. The restaurant is relatively upscale but the setting is wonderfully scenic and the food enjoyable. The desserts are particularly great if you have a sweet tooth. You can also choose to picnic in the vines (at additional cost.) Squerrys is close to Sevenoaks or Orpington train stations. (Already been to Squerrys? why not try the Champagne bars in Folkestone)
Herbert Hall, Marden, a small family run Kent vineyard
This vineyard is small and family run and simply one of my favourite places. On a sunny day, walking into the garden feels like being at a good old fashioned English summer party. Location wise, it’s a bit out in the sticks but I cycled here from Marden station.
Hush Heath are fizz specialists, so that’s what you can buy by the bottle or half bottle at the vineyard. They also sell a nice Rosè but it’s from Provence not Kent!
Wine 3/3 (limited but I love the fizz)
Yotes Court, Mereworth a Kent vineyard with a view
When visiting Kent vineyards one alternative to Chapel Down has to be Yotes Court with one of the best vistas of all the Kent vineyards. It’s set up on a hill so you get lovely views. The wine is delicious, they’ve recently won awards despite being a relative newcomer to the wine scene.
You can purchase a glass, bottle, or a tasting experience. I opted for the latter, its reasonably priced and a chance to try 5 of their wines. The vineyard staff will give you tasting guidance and you also get snacks included!
Biddenden Vineyard, Biddenden, a Kent Vineyard with great character
This is a small vineyard which started out as an apple farm. It also sells a range of ciders. The cellar door is friendly and accessible, but fairly basic. That said, I love that you can buy wine by the glass and some snacks and its really reasonably priced. The Ortega is a refreshing and floral wine, highly enjoyable. The vineyard has a “working farm” vibe, which sets it apart from others. You can also do a tasting and tour the vines.
A relaxed Kent vineyard: Barnsole, Canterbury
This vineyard is owned by a couple who have been in the business for around 15 years. Of all the vineyards I’ve visited, I think the bottles here are the most reasonably priced and enjoyable to boot. The bacchus is particularly nice.
By design, this is more of a cellar door than a day out. There is no food to buy and you normally can’t buy a glass, but you can do a small tasting. Barnsole wine should be strongly considered when visiting Kent vineyards as an alternative to Chapel Down
A traditional Kent vineyard: Chartham
A small vineyard, super close to Chartham train station. Another family run vineyard with low key vibes. The wine is enjoyable and can be tried by the glass. I tried two white wines, the Bacchus and Pinot Gris and particularly enjoyed the floral notes of the latter.
A modern Kent vineyard: Woodchurch Wines, Woodchurch
This vineyard has a super modern bar building and fantastic views. On a sunny day sitting here, you could easily feel transported to South Africa. There are a few wines on offer, my highlight was a fruity but refreshing Rosè. It’s super pale and reminiscent of Provence wine.
Experience 2/3 (its lovely but perhaps lacking in some vibe)
I’ve always travelled to the vineyards independently, using the train or even hiking and cycling between them. You can of course drive, but that limits the enjoyment of the wines!
There are a few tour companies, I’ve not tried them yet and some seem a bit pricey. But worth checking out Wine Tours of Kent – here. Or Cycle the Vineyard if you’re after a holiday experience – info here
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