Would you be surprised to learn that wine production has been part of English history for nearly 2,000 years? Vines have been growing here ever since the Romans introduced them to the countryside. More recently, vineyards have sprung up across England and here are some you can visit – you just might want to leave the car behind…
Get hands on at an award-winning vineyard
Denbies is one of England's best-known wine producers. They won the country's first gold medal for an English rosé wine and an international gold for a dessert wine. Take an outdoor vineyard train tour or, better still, a sparkling train tour with a glass of specially selected award-winning Sparkling Cuvee. For those who would like something a little more hands-on, Go for the Vine and Dine experience where you spend the day grape-picking, tasting wine and having lunch.
How to get there: Denbies is near Dorking, Surrey, 50 minutes by train from London.
Sparkle in the South Downs
Producer of award-winning sparkling wines, Ridgeview's vines were first planted on the lush South Downs in 1994, where the chalky soil has helped create world-class white and rose sparkling wines. Regular tours can be booked online, or look out for feature tours, which involve extras such as food pairings and the opportunity to taste rare vintages from the archives.
How to get there: Ridgeview is in East Sussex, around 90 minutes' drive south of London, and a short drive from Brighton. Hassocks train station is a 10-minute taxi ride, and trains take around one hour from London Victoria.
Taste the wine served at Will and Kate’s wedding
Kent is known as the Garden of England and the chalky soil makes it perfect for growing plump, juicy Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Chapel Down has won several awards, supplies wine to Jamie Oliver’s and Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants, and their Rose Brut was served at William and Kate’s wedding. You can take guided tours and tastings in the working winery and vineyards.
How to get there: Chapel Down is near the village of Tenterden in Kent and is around 90 minutes' drive south-east of London, and around 20 minutes' drive from the Eurotunnel terminal at Ashford.
Stay at England's most northerly vineyard
Ryedale Vineyard is found in the beautiful county of Yorkshire and offers bed and breakfast accommodation in its farmhouse, which dates back to around 1630. The vineyard regularly holds events that pair its wines with Yorkshire cheeses so you can get a real taste of the fantastic produce available locally.
How to get there: Ryedale Vineyard is located just a half-hour drive from the ancient city of York.
See the suppliers to a royal supermarket
Enjoy the tours and tastings at the family-run Camel Valley Vineyard in Cornwall. Since opening in 1989, it has picked up numerous awards and supplies sparkling wine to Rick Stein’s Cornish restaurants as well as royal grocer’s Fortnum & Mason. You can stay in one of the vineyard's 2 stone-built barn conversion holiday cottages, one of which overlooks the vines.
How to get there: Camel Valley is around a 90-minute drive from the international airport and city of Exeter, Devon.