How do you like them apples: The top 5 cider tours in Britain

Tuesday 27 September 2016

After a long day of sightseeing, nothing hits the spot more than a crisp glass of cider. Instead of heading to the store for a pre-packaged bottle, why not spend a leisurely afternoon at a UK cider farm and enjoy it straight from the source. It’s the perfect place to learn all about one of Britain’s oldest industries, bask in historic surroundings, and (best of all) sample a selection of freshly-brewed ciders. Keep reading for our top picks.

Butford Organics
Bowley Lane
Bodenham, Herefordshire
HR1 3LG

Image courtesy of Butford Organics

This family-owned cider and perry farm may not be the largest in Herefordshire, but what it lacks it size, it makes up for in heart. With an overarching goal of minimizing their carbon footprint, Butford Organics stays far away from artificial fertilizers, chemical pesticides or unnecessary antibiotics, and instead, relies on bees and other natural predators to keep the fruit trees happy and healthy. In addition to using solar panels to source most of its electricity, the farm also has its own sustainable wood supply to cover heating and hot water needs.

But the real draw is the award-winning cider, which you can sample year round. Although tours are most popular during the Autumn months when cider and perry making is underway, should you decide to swing by in the early Spring, be sure to check out the stunning display of daffodils located next to the pear orchards.

Though advanced appointments aren’t required to stroll around the grounds, it’s best to book a reservation for large groups or those interested in taking a more formal tour.

Pure North Cider Press
Deanhouse
Netherthong
Holmfirth
West Yorkshire
HD9 3TD

Image courtesy of Pure North Cider Press

Whether you’re looking for a place to enjoy a gourmet lunch or simply kickback with pals (dogs are even welcome too!), Pure North Cider Press is sure to fit the bill. Serving a range of locally-sourced hot meals and snacks, including sandwiches, salads, cakes, and boozy sorbet, it’s sure to please even the pickiest palate.

Snag a chair (and a tipple of homemade cider) and cozy up next to the wood-burning fireplace on the outside patio—or take a tour of the orchards and learn the ins and outs of the cider-making process from one of the knowledgeable on-staff guides. At the end of the £10 tour (it’s recommended to pre-book in advance), visitors are able to taste up to five different ciders and take home a pint of their choosing.

Upper Neatham Mill Farm
Upper Neatham Mill Lane
Holybourne, Alton Hampshire, GU34 4EP

Image courtesy of Upper Neatham Mill Farm

While taking a two-hour orchard tour is a great way to get a taste of the cider-making process, some lessons you can really only grasp by getting your hands dirty. For those itching to learn more about the art of harvesting cider (and trust us, it’s an art indeed), why not sign up for a two-day, three-night residential course at Upper Neatham Mill Farm, near Alton, Hampshire. Here, you’ll learn how to select, pick, mill, and press apples into juice and cider – by doing it yourself! Courses run from September to November and start at £185 per person, including B&B accommodation.

Though no prior cider-making experience is needed, each student is asked to bring a few basic supplies (they can also be rented for an additional cost), as well as protective clothes and indoor and outdoor shoes. Although guests can expect to do plenty of work during their weekend stay, rest assured, there’s also ample time to explore the grounds and nearby town too.

Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm
Penhallow
Turo Cornwall
TR4 9LW

Image courtesy of Healey's Cornish Cyder Farm

Located in the tranquil Cornish countryside, this family-run cider distillery (or cyder as the locals call it) offers a tasty treat for all of your senses. Take a tractor ride through the orchards, stroll through the barrel-lined cellars, see the distillery and press house in action, and then sample the homemade apple cider--just like Prince William and Kate Middleton did during their recent visit.

Traveling with little ones? Head down to the courtyard and say hello to the farm’s resident Shire horses, Shetland ponies, chickens, rabbits, ferrets, Pygmy goats, and Cornish black pigs. Colorful peacocks roam the site freely, and if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to catch their magnificent displays throughout the year.

Torre Cider Farm
Washford
Watchet
Somerset
TA23 0LA

Image courtesy of Torre Cider Farm

For an elegant tasting experience, stop by this Somerset favorite for a glass of cider (be sure to try one of the limited-edition seasonal blends) and a proper afternoon tea. Choose from a selection of breakfast and lunch options, or indulge in a homemade sweet treat, topped with cider-infused jam and chutney. On sunny days, grab a table on the grassy lawn and hunker down with a good book and plate of snacks for the whole afternoon.

Though no formal tour of the grounds is offered, visitors are invited to wander throughout the six-acre orchard free of charge, and get an up-close view of the various equipment used to make cider. Guests are also encouraged to stop by the old pressing room to learn more information about the process, and visit the animal enclosure to give belly rubs to the resident Kunekune piglets, Pumpkin and Nibbles.

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