Discover English wine at some of the UK's best vineyards

Britain is home to an incredible selection of thriving vineyards that produce deliciously tempting wines. From the greenery of Kent and Dorset to the rolling hills of Yorkshire, a visit to one of the wineries can add some sparkle to the summer in more ways than one.

English Wine Week, running from 25 May to 2 June, promotes the nation’s wine industry and will see many vineyards opening their doors to welcome visitors with tours, tastings and special offers. English Wine Tasting and Tours also operate from central London to wineries in Kent and Sussex, meaning English wine remains incredibly accessible.

With award-winning wine offerings in a number of counties, it’s time to explore Britain’s vineyards and raise a glass to a blossoming industry.

Langham, Dorset

Occupying 30 acres at Crawthorne Farm, the Langham Wine Estate takes a ‘low-intervention’ approach to its growing process in a bid to limit its environmental impact. What results is a mix of terroir-driven sparkling wines from hand-picked grapes that are processed on site. Visitors can be talked through the entire process during a two-hour guided tour and tasting. Alternatively, they can embark on a self-guided tour, before treating themselves to lunch or afternoon tea in the Vineyard Café, set in a former 19th-century milking parlour.

Rodington, Shropshire

Hidden away in the heart of picturesque Shropshire is Rodington Vineyard, a family-run 10-acre site that offers an abundance of fine wines. Their Blue Tractor Wines are internationally recognised for their quality and visitors can arrange tastings and a visit to the vineyard during its opening hours – 10am to 4pm daily (closed Wednesdays) – to find out more.

Giffords Hall, Suffolk

Renowned for its array of sparkling wine, rosés and reds, Giffords Hall in Hartest, Suffolk is set on the clay soils of a former glacial riverbed. Taking advantage of its geographic location, it produces quality grapes that are high in both natural sugars and acids – a fantastic combination for both sparkling and dry aromatic wines. Visitors can take part in private or group tours and dogs are also welcome, although they must be kept on a lead to protect the vineyard’s collection of free-roaming lambs and chicks. Grand Tours of the vineyard also take place on selected dates throughout the summer, featuring a guided tour and tasting session with 3 wines and 3 liquors.

When? Grand Tours at 11am on 6 May, 27 May, 22 June, 13 July and 26 August.

Three Choirs, Gloucestershire

With a unique microclimate that is perfectly suited to grape growing, the Three Choirs vineyard and brasserie is found amid the scenic beauty of the Cotswolds. Having first been planted in 1973, the 75-acre site near Newent is among England’s oldest vineyards and is best explored via a guided tour. Visitors can also stay among the vines in one of the luxury vineyard lodges, which offer verandas on two sides for soaking up the sun and the scenery. The Brasserie has a menu packed with country classics and plates that are designed around the seasons using fresh ingredients from the region. Booking in advance for tours and tastings is a necessity.

Camel Valley, Cornwall

Nestled in the spectacular Cornish countryside in Bodmin is Camel Valley, developed by husband and wife pair Bob and Annie Lindo. They’ve been making wine at the site for two decades and possess a Royal Warrant for their sparkling wine from the Prince of Wales. All of the wines produced at Camel Valley are sold in the onsite shop too, meaning visitors can sample the flavours even when Grand Tour tastings are fully booked. Sit back and relax on the terrace or follow the Camel Trail through the farm to the picturesque sandy beaches of Padstow. The Grand Tour details the entire process of winemaking and is accompanied by a taster session when visitors can try the highly acclaimed Cornwall Brut.

When? Grand Tours take place at 5pm on Wednesday evenings between April and October, with additional tours at the same time on Thursdays throughout August. Guided Tours also take place at 2.30pm, Monday to Friday, between April and September.

Chapel Down, Kent

Using locally sourced fruit and mirroring the Traditional Method that is used to create Champagne, Chapel Down vineyard is notorious for its still and sparkling wines. Now covering hundreds of acres of prime Kentish countryside, the vineyard is open all year round to visitors, with gift experiences, tutored tasting sessions and guided tours all available. Chapel Down supplies iconic British institutions including The Royal Opera House and No. 10 Downing Street, while its wines are also popular with leading chefs Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver. Visitors can also enjoy modern British cuisine in the Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded restaurant The Swan, with its spectacular outdoor terrace that overlooks the vineyard.

When? Guided tours run throughout the year, and booking in advance is recommended.

Greyfriars, Surrey

Occupying close to 50 acres of the Surrey North Downs, Greyfriars is another vineyard that mixes traditional methods with modern wine making technology to create a delightful array of English sparkling wines. Reflecting the unique soil conditions and climate of the region, the wines have won numerous international accolades for owners Mike and Hilary Wagstaff. Tours and tastings run on most weekends, while Greyfriars also hosts open days with free entry on selected days throughout the year.

When? Open days on Saturday 8 June and Saturday 14 September 2019. Booking in advance for tours and tastings is recommended.

Hush Heath Estate and Winery, Kent

Hidden away amid scenic Kentish countryside, the Hush Heath Estate and Winery is home to the award-winning Balfour Brut Rose. Alongside the winery is a picturesque Tudor-framed manor house, glorious gardens and acres of ancient orchards and woodlands. Visitors can embark on a self-guided tour at their own pace after picking up a map from the Cellar Door, taking in the spectacular scenery and wildlife on the way before finishing up with a complimentary sample of wine, cider or beer in the tasting room. There’s an option to add more tastings for an additional fee. Tutored tasting tours, full estate tours and private group tours are also available, but must be booked in advance.

When? Tours take place all year round when the winery is open.

Kingscote, West Sussex

Developed to be a wine tasting break, Kingscote in West Sussex offers not only vineyard tours and tastings, but an all-encompassing countryside experience. The 150-acre estate is also home to Tithe Barn, a spectacular venue used for weddings and corporate events. Visitors can fish at two picturesque lakes known as Leggett Lakes or join one of the public footpaths that meander their way through the estate to discover other attractions in the 2,000-acre Kingscote Valley. Guided tours of the site take in the vines, winery, Tithe Barn and the shop and feature a tutored tasting of 2 of the vineyard’s award-winning wines. Vineyard tours with lunch or afternoon tea are also available, as well as a Gourmet Vineyard Tour option.

When? The vineyard shop is open daily from 10am to 5.30pm. Tours run from the start of April to the end of September and must be booked in advance.

Wyken Vineyards, Suffolk

With its country lanes, tall hedgerows and patchwork fields, the 1,200-acre farm of Wyken is characteristically Suffolk. The 7-acre winery, first established in 1988, produces several award-winning wines that are sold via the shop and the on-site Leaping Hare restaurant. Housed in a 400-year-old barn, the Bib Gourmand awarded restaurant serves a delightful mix of British and European dishes, while Wyken Farmer’s Market runs adjacent to the restaurant on Saturdays, selling an array of local goods, delicious food, alcohol, plants and sculpture. Visitors are encouraged to walk to the vineyard through the grounds of the estate. Alongside the Elizabethan manor house Wyken Hall there is a set of formal gardens that can also be explored.

When? The restaurant is open daily between 12pm and 3pm for lunch, and from 7pm on Friday and Saturday for dinner. The café is open from 10am to 6pm from Sunday to Friday, and from 9am to 6pm on Saturdays. The Farmer’s Market runs from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. The Gardens are open daily from 2pm to 6pm but are closed on Saturdays.

Sharpen Wine and Cheese, Devon

Producing more than a dozen wines, many of which have won awards internationally, as well as unpasteurised cheeses, Sharpham offers an array of exciting tours and tastings opportunities. Visitors can explore the site overlooking the River Dart as part of a self-directed vineyard walk, or can take part in a Vine to Wine Tour that takes in the vineyard and the winery with expert guidance. The Cellar Door Kitchen, an on-site alfresco kitchen café, is open throughout the season and features local ingredients and those picked from the estate itself.

When? Vine to Wine tours run from April to October at 3pm on weekends. Booking in advance is a must.

Ryedale Vineyards, North Yorkshire

The UK’s most northerly commercial vineyard, Ryedale Vineyards is a small family-run business near Malton at the foot of the North Yorkshire Wolds. Enjoy informal tours and tastings, or relax with a stay at the small B&B at the vineyard farmhouse. The 7-acre vineyard, established in 2007, produces an array of white, red, rosé and sparkling wines, as well as cider and apple juice.

When? Tours and tastings take place on selected days at 3pm between April and October, and must be booked in advance.

Rathfinny Estate, West Sussex

A relative newcomer to the English wine scene, having been founded in 2010 by husband and wife team Mark and Sarah Driver, the Rathfinny Estate occupies exceptionally beautiful countryside in the South Downs. With vines separated by rows of wildflowers, the picturesque site has glimpses of the Sussex heritage coast and features an abundance of tour opportunities. The state-of-the-art winery on the estate is capable of producing one million bottles of sparkling wine annually, a process that is explained as part of an exclusive tour and tasting experience that includes food at the site’s Tasting Room restaurant. Visitors can also stay at the Flint Barns or explore the Rathfinny Trail, a pathway that weaves its way through a mosaic of habitats, presenting numerous opportunities to spot plants, flowers and wildlife.

When? Tour, Tastings and Lunch, and Afternoon Tour and Tastings run on selected days between May and September and must be booked in advance. The Rathfinny trail is open daily, but can be closed at short notice for vineyard works.

Torquay B&B named world’s best at Trip Advisor traveller awards

Britain is home to the world’s best B&B – and lots more besides. The 25 Boutique B&B, nestled away on the English Riviera, took the crown of being The World’s number one B&B at the prestigious TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards. In just four years, The 25’s owners Andy and Julian Banner-Price have scooped an array of internationally renowned awards for the unique and memorable five-star experiences on offer.

Each of the boutique B&B’s six funky bedrooms has its own distinctive design, is packed with the latest technologies, and is within easy reach of the main harbour in Torquay. Taking into account the quality and quantity of traveller reviews and opinions specific to each award category, the hallmarks of Travellers’ Choice winners are extraordinary service, quality and value.

The 25 Boutique B&B wasn’t the only slice of Britain to scoop an award in 2019, with the winners showcasing the wide array of quality attractions, restaurants and hotels that are available to travellers from all over the world.

Hotels

Hotel 41, London

The five-star Hotel 41, a beautiful gem overlooking the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, featured among the world’s top 25 hotels, taking 15th spot. An intimate private hideaway with 30 luxurious rooms and suites, the hotel has a stylish black and white design, enriched by mahogany and fabulous furnishings. Guests can enjoy Plunder the Pantry complementary treats in the residents only Executive Lounge.

Best Destination

London

England’s capital city ranked as the world’s second best destination thanks to the wealth of things to see and do, its restaurants, infrastructure and shopping experiences. With the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace featuring on most visitor itineraries, the city is also home to the spectacular National Gallery and the Tate Modern, as well as an abundance of historical attractions and fine dining.

Rentals

St Michaels, Whitstable

Ranking as the second best rental option in the world, St Michaels in Whitstable has space for up to 23 guests and offers an abundance of space and amenities. The executive 5-bedroom detached house is just 15-minute walk from the stunning Whitstable Harbour, castle and seafront.

Little Upton Threshing Barn, Glastonbury

The second of three rentals to feature in the global top ten, this time in eighth spot, Little Upton Threshing Barn in Glastonbury has six luxury rooms split across two converted barns with access to plenty of outdoor space, an enclosed heated swimming pool and a private hot tub. Visitors have the option to tailor their experience with an array of catering and activity options.

Snowdon House in Snowdonia, Llanberis

Taking tenth spot in the best rental ranking, Snowdon House is nestled among the picturesque beauty of Snowdonia National Park in North Wales. Alongside an outdoor hot tub and a sauna, the characterful home has heated floors and beautiful log burning stoves.

Restaurants

Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham

Nestled under a flyover off the A52, the two Michelin star Restaurant Sat Bains has tables seating up to six guests and 7 and 10-course tasting menus featuring plenty of stunning original dishes. The restaurant is popular with TripAdvisor guests too, having been named as the fourth best restaurant in the world in this year’s Travellers’ Choice awards.

Adam’s, Birmingham

Offering contemporary British fine dining in intimate surroundings, the 36-cover dining room at the Michelin starred Adam’s in Birmingham was another popular choice at the 2019 awards. Named as the 11th best restaurant in the world, owner and chef Adam Stokes has 3 AA Rosettes to his name and serves up a 3-course menu and a signature tasting menu in the heart of the city.

Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Great Milton

Hidden among beautiful gardens in the rural Cotswolds countryside is the world’s 15th best restaurant, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. Having held two Michelin stars for 35 years, the gourmet hotel in Oxfordshire oozes gastronomic flair, with chef Raymond Blanc offering a 6-course weekend lunch menu, as well as a 5-course lunch and 7-course dinner options.

Museums

The British Museum, London

The British Museum, voted as the world’s fourth best museum at the Travellers’ Choice awards, houses a vast collection of world art and artefacts that are dedicated to human history, art and culture. Dating back to 1753, the museum’s collection includes more than eight million objects, of which only a fraction is on show at any one time. Special exhibitions take place across the year, including the largest exhibition of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch’s prints in the UK for 45 years, from early April 2019.

National Gallery, London

Home to more than 2,300 pieces of artwork, ranging from altarpieces to the Impressionists, the National Gallery hosts regular events and exhibitions and ranks as the 11th best museum in the world. Accessible across 361 days every year, its national collection of paintings in Western European styles cover the 13th to 19th centuries and can be viewed free of charge.

Beaches

Bournemouth Beach, Dorset

Bournemouth Beach, a sandy expanse of coastline on the south coast of England, featured among the world’s top 25 beaches, in 14th. Tuck into fish and chips along seven miles of spectacular sands, sit back and relax in a colourful deckchair or sample the many family attractions on Bournemouth Pier.

Amusement Parks

Paulton’s Park, Romsey, Hampshire

Home to the world’s first Peppa Pig World, Paultons Park on the edge of the New Forest National Park has more than 70 exciting rides and attractions for all the family to enjoy. The theme park features in the world’s top 25 amusement parks, with the Travellers’ Choice award recognising its eclectic mix of rides and entertainment.

Adrenaline adventures in South West Britain

For an adventure filled autumn, all roads point southwest. The region holds countless opportunities for air, sea, shore and cliff activities to challenge even the most active tourist...

 

Swinging from a height 

Where better to experience an adrenaline hit than at Adrenalin Quarry? This adventure centre near Liskeard in Cornwall is guaranteed to raise the heartbeat - while turning the great outdoors upside down. Visitors can test their mettle on The Zip (billed as ‘the UK’s maddest zip wire’) and go from G-force to freefall on the Giant Swing. They can also throw an axe at a tree stump to relieve stress.

 

Coasteering sessions here offer wild swimming, climbing, tombstoning and The Blob — a huge bouncy cushion in the water. Speaking of inflatable cushions, new for 2018, is a huge aqua park with runways, trampolines, monkey bars and balance bars plus all the hoops and loops fun seekers can squeeze through.

 

As the day draws to a close, the barbecues fire up — a burger tastes so much better when gravity has been defied to earn it.
 

Rushing and whirling

For dedicated coasteering fans, Xtreme Coasteering (or, as they define it, “everything you weren’t supposed to do when you were a kid”) offers swimming and scrambling in some of the ‘best waves the Atlantic throws’. People can enjoy adventures in Cornwall, North Devon and Exmoor under huge cliffs and skies, with the possibility of encountering smuggler’s coves, rapids and whirlpools.

 

Surfing and bodyboarding

If that’s not enough of a dunking, the surf capital of Cornwall welcomes buzz seekers with open arms — and a surfboard. At Newquay’s glorious beaches, novices are transformed into dudes with a few lessons and a bit of practice. Fistral is one of Newquay’s most famous beaches, with thrilling western swells, and there are plenty of nearby campsites for quick access to the dunes — when visitors are tired of gazing at the surf, they can turn their attention to the stars.

 

Fossil hunting and rock pool rambling

This part of the world delivers what it says on the tin. The UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast covers over 95 miles of shoreline between Devon and Dorset, and with over 180 million years of history, it’s a bona fide hub for fossil hunting. New remains are regularly dislodged from the cliffs and you can seek them out with the help of wardens from the Charmouth Heritage Centre. Rock pool rambles are also on offer from the centre, and there’s a chance to see the ichthyosaur fossil (of an extinct marine reptile), discovered by local collector Chris Moore and featured in the documentary Attenborough and the Sea Dragon.

 

Rock hopping and shore exploring

Those in search of a further adrenaline rush can absorb millions of years of geology into their own bones by coasteering, rock-hopping and scrambling with Dorset adventure company Lulworth Outdoors. The sessions, which pass spectacular landscapes like Lulworth Cove and Stair Hole, also provide the chance to learn about the history and wildlife of the area. 

 

Hiking, sliding and swanning around

Chesil Beach is one of the most famous shingle beaches in the UK, and this 18-mile stretch and the Fleet Tidal Lagoon are part of the Jurassic Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hike up the sliding pebble ridge near the Chesil Beach Centre for fabulous views (and 180 billion chances to pick out the perfect pebble) or go crabbing along the ever-shifting shore. Approximately a ten-mile drive from the centre, the network of trails at Abbotsbury Swannery offer the chance to see territorial displays of nesting swans in May.

 

Southwest zest and pies

After all that adventure, it’s obligatory to squeeze in one of the region’s most traditional snacks, the classic Cornish Pasty, before heading home, buzzing with renewed energy and southwest zest.

Look out for a Warren’s Bakery — originating in 1860, they’re approved by the Cornish Pasty Association and are reportedly the oldest pasty makers in the world.

Five of the best… places for a digital detox in Hampshire and Dorset

For a relatively small island, Britain has a surprising number of places where you can switch off and zone out. From spa towns and health resorts to evermore remote pockets where, try as you might, it’s just not possible to get online; there’s no shortage of hideaway locales.

Hot on this trend and accessible within as little as a two hour drive from London, the region along the south coast of England which incorporates Hampshire and Dorset are particularly rich in places to disappear thanks to some gorgeous National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Beauty and a desire for a slower pace of life by those who call it home.

 

Best for… a cabin in the woods

Surrounded by stunning Dorset countryside, Loose Reins in Shillingstone is a picture-perfect spot where you can either choose to shut down and forget the world outside or embrace it wholeheartedly. With three uniquely designed cabins overlooking Blackmore Vale, no one would dispute the value of simply kicking back with a pile of good books; however, if you want to use your digital detox as a means to reconnect with nature, you can trail ride, taking in the views and trekking forest pathways at a relaxed pace on horseback.

 

Best for…treetop views

When you arrive at Chewton Glen to experience their digital detox package you’ll be offered the opportunity to relinquish all modern technology for the duration of your stay so that you can enjoy the New Forest in full and true tranquillity. Whether you take up that offer or not, the chances are you’ll come away revitalised as the package includes various treatments, Nordic walking, yoga and meditation sessions and various gifts to take away include a daily journaling diary and adult mindfulness colouring book. Not forgetting two nights full-board in a treehouse studio, 35 feet above ground, with forest views and an outdoor hot tub to bask in nature’s glory.

 

Best for… sea and serenity

From foraging to fishing, kayaking to coasteering, bushcraft to beach school, wild food to wild camping, Fore / Adventure offer all manner of activities from their unique location on Middle beach in Studland, Dorset. New for 2018, Fore Adventure is offering two day kayaking, wild camping and food adventures along the stunning Jurassic Coast and will also hold a three day retreat in October featuring natural dyes, foraged foods workshops, wild medicines, sea foraging, fishing & feasting, bushcraft, outdoor adventures, wild cocktails & bitters, yoga and meditation. The big question is whether you will want to go back to the real world at all?

 

Best for… food and foraging

A 90 minute train from London to Brockenhurst and a five minute taxi will see you arrive at The PIG Brockenhurst, part of the much-loved collection of small lifestyle restaurants with rooms. Relax and indulge in fresh, clean food sourced from the kitchen garden then take a leisurely bike ride to the beautiful village of nearby Beaulieu. Then, to truly experience the natural beauty of the New Forest and everything it has to offer, arrange a foraging tour with The PIG’s foraging expert Garry Eveleigh – a.k.a. The Wild Cook. Over the years, Garry has featured in many TV and radio programmes, as well as foraged for world-renowned chefs including Rick Stein, Mark Hix and Angela Hartnett.

 

Best for…craft and design

With green woodworking courses varying from two hours to five days set in a quiet, private woodland; you could very easily while away the days at Crafty Camping in full contentment. However, there’s a great deal more on offer at this hand-crafted, adult-only luxury glamping site in West Dorset, close to Devon and Somerset, and an ideal base for exploring all three rural counties. With yurts, bell tents, tipis and shepherd huts to escape to – all with their own private deck for privacy and seclusion – the star of the show is the Woodsman’s Treehouse, winner of a RIBA award for Small Project of the Year, which has also appears in several TV shows including George Clarke's Amazing Spaces and Grand Designs.

The Best Tipples of South West England

England's South West is famous for its scenic villages and dramatic coastline, but it’s also home to some of the country's most historic and exciting pubs, breweries and drinks festivals.

 

ALL ABOARD 

Combine the scenery of Devon and Cornwall with some of its finest beers, by taking a day trip on the Great Scenic Railways' Rail Ale Trails. With seven self-guided trails to choose from, they take visitors through lush valleys and traditional rural towns while chugging along sandy coastal tracks. Each stop includes a list of pubs within walking distance; jump off and enjoy a chilled pint before continuing to your next destination. 

 

A FINE VINE

If wine is more your tipple, plan a visit to Quoins, a family-run organic vineyard in Wiltshire near the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath. Quoins produces four single-variety wines, which can be purchased directly from the vineyard. It opens for tours from mid-August, or you can drop into one of its open days and tastings, which are held throughout the year.

 

HISTORICAL TIPPLE

Sitting in 180 acres of orchards, Somerset Cider Brandy Company and Burrow Hill Cider has been making apple cider for over 200 years. In 1989, the company began setting aside half its yield to produce apple cider brandy, a once-popular liquor that fell out of favour with English drinkers 300 years ago but is undergoing a modern-day revival. Wander the orchards, tour the cider house and distillery, and finish with a tasting. 

 

THE GRAPE ESCAPE

The fun doesn't have to stop when your winery tour does. At Three Choirs Vineyard in Gloucestershire, you can stay overnight in a room that overlooks the neat rows of grapevines, or even in a lodge right in the middle of them. Time your stay with one of their regular events such as dinner and wine tastings, and even pop-up opera performances.

 

SHAKE IT UP

Create your own signature drink with a cocktail-making tutorial at The Milk Thistle, an uber-cool Bristol bar styled like a 1930s speakeasy and complete with an unmarked front door. Make it past the secret entrance and into their masterclass, and their mixologists will teach you a few tricks of the trade. 

 

SOUTH WEST SPIRITS

This Easter, Cornwall's Colwith Farm Distillery will open its doors for tours. Originally a potato farm set up to help feed the nation during the Second World War, it produced the county's first potato vodka, Aval Dor, in 2014. The following year, Stafford’s Gin was created from the vodka and botanicals foraged from the farm. The distillery is now working on a premium Cornish whiskey. 

Luxury that doesn’t cost the earth in south-west England

Sustainable tourism is a hot topic right now, as the fight against plastic pollution gains ground, along with the aim of reducing carbon footprint and achieving zero waste. As 5 June marks World Environment Day, we highlight a few of the multitude of eco-friendly places to stay in south-west England, just one of Britain’s regions well-known for its green approach.

 

The Scarlet, Cornwall

Perched on landscape that looks out over the gorgeous Cornish coastline and Mawgan Porth Beach, sustainability is a way of life at The Scarlet, which describes itself as a luxury eco-friendly hotel. Solar panels heat the indoor swimming pool, a renewable energy source provides electricity and there’s a natural ventilation system throughout. Its green credentials – which also embrace extensive recycling, water-saving initiatives and using ingredients in its menus sourced from as many local producers as possible – are seriously impressive. Guest rooms are provided with organic towels and, to save energy and reduce packaging, there are no fridges or tea and coffee trays; instead, guests are taken freshly made tea, coffee and homemade snacks (all complimentary) at their request.

 

Dartington Hall, Devon

A country estate near Totnes in Devon, the elegant Dartington Hall cleverly combines its long and varied history – its Great Hall dates back to the 14th century and you can stay in rooms that face onto its medieval courtyard – with a commitment to sustainability. A large proportion of its energy is produced via renewables such as biomass boilers and solar panels, while locally grown food is used at its restaurants The Green Table and The White Hart Restaurant. The estate also runs an in-depth conservation programme and, to really get back to nature, you can also enjoy wild camping on the estate.

 

Log House Holidays, Cotswolds

Roll-top baths under the stars, private beach and Finnish hot tub – sounds idyllic. All this luxury is also eco-friendly at Log House Holidays, which provides eight secluded luxury log houses around a 130-acre lake and nature reserve. Stargazing on a clear night is essential and guests have ample opportunity to spot local wildlife. The largest cabin, Mayo Landing, is set on a private island in the middle of the lake and has its own heated pool and wood-fired sauna, while all the lodges are furnished from local antique and auction houses, another positive step towards reducing that carbon footprint.

 

The Green House, Bournemouth, Dorset

This Grade II-listed Victorian villa style property in the heart of Bournemouth is fully committed to sustainability. At The Green House Hotel water is heated by solar energy, electricity is generated on site and each of its rooms are fitted with locally made wool carpets. The paint that adorns the walls is eco paint, the furniture throughout is created in the UK using trees felled by storms or tree surgeons, its restaurant sources from local producers, the wine list is created taking into account each bottle’s carbon footprint and even its company car runs on the cooking oil used in the kitchen. Yet its rooms are luxurious with walk-in showers, luxury toiletries and goose down duvets, and in-room beauty treatments are an added treat.

 

Burgh Island Hotel, Devon
There are many elements to recommend Burgh Island; it’s in An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the coast of south Devon, you can arrive there via sea tractor, it’s one of the most prominent places to see and experience Art Deco in the country and it counts literary legends such as Agatha Christie and Noel Coward among its former guests. But it’s also led the way in environmental matters for more than a decade. It’s gorgeous location on the coastline of south Devon means it can meet its local sourcing policy – particularly for seafood and meat – where 80% of ingredients are sourced within a 30-mile radius of the island. It has a natural sea water bathing pool and, as far back as ten years ago, it installed its own borehole used for irrigation and cleaning water, while 11 years ago it introduced elements to control external light pollution. Last year it installed electric car charging stations and there are plans a foot for a new eco-build on the island, The Pool House.

 

Eco Chic Cottages, Cotswolds

Effortlessly combining luxury style with sustainability, Eco Chic Cottages – The Chestnuts and Culls Cottage – are built in the beautiful honey-stone native to the Cotswolds offering elegantly luxurious accommodation that’s considerate to the environment. Its energy saving initiatives are first-class; the thick traditional stone walls keep the cottages naturally cool in summer and warm in the winter, each cottage has a wood fire rather than coal and curtains are thermally lined to keep heat in. You’ll only find products in the cottages that are kind to the environment, taps have aerators to reduce water follow and there are recycling and rainwater-harvesting initiatives in place.

 

You might also like these sustainable restaurants and attractions in the region:

In the beautiful cathedral city of Salisbury, Wiltshire, restaurant Greengages is focused on using locally sourced products in all its food that is prepared fresh to order – cutting down on carbon footprint and food waste. And just 30 minutes away in the Wiltshire town of Tisbury, the Pythouse Kitchen Garden focuses on an ‘eat the seasons’ ethos and grows many of its ingredients on site. Nearby attraction, the Bombay Sapphire Distillery – where you can book on tours and tastings of its gin – was awarded the BREEAM Award for Industrial Design – an award that sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design.

Cornwall has a raft of organic, sustainable restaurants; check out Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen in Falmouth, which focuses on sustainability across everything from recycling and sourcing to conservation and energy usage. Or dine at the restaurant at Bangor’s Organic on the north coast of Cornwall, where the journey from garden to plate can be counted in minutes. You can also stay at its B&B, one of only three Soil Association certified B&Bs in the UK. For Michelin-star cuisine, head to Michael Caines at the stunning Lympstone Manor hotel just outside Exeter in Devon. Michael is passionate about sourcing local produce and supporting local producers and has also recently planted 17,500 vines over 10.5 acres to grow his own Lympstone sparkling wine.

TASTE – May 2018

This edition of TASTE brings you VisitBritain's latest round-up of new restaurant openings and foodie news from across the destination.

 

TREND: VEGANISM

Choice for vegan residents and visitors has been rapidly growing in Manchester in recent years, with must-visit spots now including: #PlantPoweredSundays at Grub Manchester; Allotment in Stockport which offers a vegan tasting menu; the casual delights of V Rev Vegan Diner, Zad’s pizzeria, Teatime Collective and desserts parlour Ice Shack; independent food co-ops The Eighth Day and Unicorn Grocery; plus regular vegan fairs and beer festivals at venues such as Islington Mill and Hulme Community Garden Centre.

East London-born The Vurger Co opened its first permanent site in Shoreditch in March after headlining many menus at festivals around the UK: try the Tabasco Auburger, made from aubergines, chickpeas, red onion and vegan cheese. All burgers are made from 100% vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains and legumes. For more healthy treats, Surrey Vegan (19 May) is the area’s third annual vegan fair, which will be home to a wide selection of food stalls dishing up tasty treats, alongside talks by inspirational speakers.

In Scotland, Harmonium in Leith is a new Edinburgh branch of the established Glasgow institutions Mono & Stereo and serves all the vegan comfort food you can imagine. Mala Carne in the Southside of Glasgow is also not to be missed – particularly the tofu scramble and vegan cakes. In the Scottish borders, vegan ice-cream now available at the award winning Giacopazzis.

 

LONDON

May promises to be all flowery with a brand new afternoon tea introduced by Dominique Ansel with a menu that follows the path of a seed growing and blossoming into a full-bloomed flower beginning with savoury bites and ending with a selection of sweets. Guests will be seated on the blossoming open-air terrace and then presented with dishes served on handmade ceramic-tiered stand with a “seed” at the base that gradually sprouts and blossoms as you work your way up through the “menu.” Dominique Ansel evolved the idea into a menu that starts from the ground up and is presented in a fresh and modern way.

The newly opened speakeasy Vijay’s Bar & Lounge is focusing on making extensive use of fresh herbs and floral syrups in their cocktail menu and demonstrates how astringent herbs can be used to draw out flavour. Savage Garden will be opening this summer as a new dramatic sky-high all-day bar and cocktail lounge. With 360-degree vistas, guests can take in some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks including The Shard, Tower of London, The Gherkin and St. Paul's Cathedral. Another connoisseur’s delight: the 16th May will be the official launch of the Champagne School by Searcys at St Pancras Brasserie and Champagne Bar, which will champion English wine makers with the theme ‘Made in Britain.’ Monthly Champagne School dinners are designed to appeal to all kinds of wine lovers – from absolute beginners to accomplished connoisseurs. You can also book their own private classes for groups.

On 16 April Michelin starred Chef Heinz Beck officially opened his much anticipated new restaurant Beck at Brown’s in the heart of Mayfair at the iconic Brown’s hotel. The restaurant, freshly redesigned by Olga Polizzi, offers a new casual dining menu of classic Italian dishes, reinvented using the finest seasonal British ingredients, uniting Heinz’s inimitable style with the hotel’s British heritage and careful balance of classic elegance and contemporary flair.

 

SOUTH WEST ENGLAND

Bristol

To continue with the veganism trend, the new Bristol Vegan and Wellbeing Market will launch on Corn Street on 28 April and will then be held every Monday from 10am to 5pm. This is a logical progression in a city that has embraced the vegan diets with enthusiasm. The Roots Lounge – is the latest of a new generation of vegetarian and vegan restaurants.

VegFest, the annual celebration of all things vegan is back – this time VegFest is taking place at the Ashton Gate stadium from 26-27 May and is promising a weekend of music, events, bean burgers, a gourmet vegan pizzeria, vegan chefs and more than 200 stallholders. Vegan comedians, a vegan art exhibition, dance stage, blues lounge and deep chill zone are among the entertaining accompaniments to some fabulous food.

The Faraway Cocktail Club opened in April to bring a tropical flavour to Bristol’s cocktail scene, with a new Caribbean themed bar. An offshoot of successful Flipside Cocktail Club, Faraway serves rum and tequila based cocktails and Tiki-style sharing punch bowls in a bar that’s big on palms, pineapples and party music.

 

Wiltshire

A new map showcasing the culinary magic conjured up by the county’s chefs, bakers and brewers has been published by VisitWiltshire: The ‘2018: It’s Time For Wiltshire Food and Drink Map’ features over 80 of the region’s finest producers, eateries, watering holes and cookery schools from a’Beckett’s Vineyard in Littleton Parnell to the Woodbridge Inn in Pewsey. Lucknam Park Hotel Cookery School is among three places highlighted in the guide where enthusiastic amateurs can hone their culinary skills with The Farm Cookery School and Vaughan’s Cookery School also on the menu.

 

Dorset

Swim is a café-bar by the sea in Lyme Regis, with arguable the best views over the Jurassic coast, serving a diverse menu across breakfast, lunch and dinner and an eclectic mix of craft beers and cocktails.

 

NORTH WEST ENGLAND

Manchester

Nestled under the iconic Mancunian Way flyover, Hatch is made up of repurposed shipping containers and is part of the Circle Square development which will bring living, office and green space to The Corridor area of the city. Run by the team behind Northern Quarter’s popular emporium Afflecks, the indy street food hotspot on Oxford Road features a rotating line-up of traders that change every twelve weeks. Opening traders include; artisan coffee house Takk, nano brewery ÖL, Mexican street food at El Marchador and Canadian poutine at Blue Caribou Canteen.

Following the success of its four restaurants at prisons across the UK, The Clink Charity has recently launched a new café in the heart of Manchester. The Clink Café, located within the Grade II listed Canada House, will continue the charity’s innovative rehabilitation initiative for offenders and homeless people those who need a second chance.

 

NORTH EAST ENGLAND

Hull

Fresh from its UK City of Culture success of 2017, Hull is seeing the creation of a thriving local food and drink scene. ‘Made in Hull’ is fast becoming an emerging theme for the city, with restaurants, gourmet street food, gin distilleries and microbreweries joining an already well-established Ale Trail which takes in historic pubs, particularly in the medieval Old Town. Offering a showcase for the city’s rapidly growing local food scene, the award-winning Hull Street Food Nights, funded and organised by HullBID, are back for 2018 - with food, drink and music combining in a nighttime street festival featuring scores of stalls.

 

SOUTH EAST ENGLAND

Kent

Inspired by the culinary and sensory delights of the rose, Hever in Bloom (26 June – 1July) will take visitors on a scented tour of the rose garden and will provide instruction on how to prepare roses for cooking as well as the basic principles behind distilling rose oil. Rose petals are completely edible and as a relative of the strawberry, the rose lends itself to many a dish including fruit salads, cakes, biscuits, granola and ice cream.

 

Hampshire

The Vineyards of Hampshire Cellar Door Experience will see seven vineyards across the county open their doors to visitors monthly from 18 May to 8 September for the opportunity to travel around the participating vineyards and pop in for a range wine tasting. For those planning on tasting a tipple to many, new venture Hampshire Tours provides private tours in the area, and is doing a special Cellar Door tastings offer of £350 for up to six people.

 

SCOTLAND

Edinburgh

The latest addition to the Chop House family opened in March in Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield neighborhood. Serving the best British beef, dry-aged and butchered in-house, it brings a new casual dining experience focused on steak and cocktails to a new area of the city. Renowned for its sociable style of dining, Chop House proudly presents large cuts of beef, sharing starters and enticing side dishes designed to be enjoyed by the whole table.

The Register Club at The Edinburgh Grand opens its doors on the 1st June. Occupying the entire west wing of the St Andrew Square building’s fourth floor, the Club will offer Edinburgh a new reservation-only spot to eat, drink and relax in comfort and style in art deco surrounds. The high-end champagne and cocktail lounge bar will be run by The Bon Vivant, putting a spotlight on local and artisan producers with a bespoke cocktail list.

 

Glasgow

Ardnamurchan Restaurant and Bar opened in Glasgow’s Theatreland in May putting a taste of Scotland’s best produce on their menu including freshly caught langoustines from the Isle of Mull and venison from the Ardmurchan peninsula. The perfect place to go for a wee dram, with the bar serving up at least 50 different types of whisky and come winter they will have a roaring real fire in their snug.

Alchemilla has taken residence in Finnieston’s foodie quarter, with Glasgow girl and Ottolenghi alumni Rosie Healey as Head Chef.  Expect contemporary Ottolenghi style dishes, eastern spices and lots of small sharing plates in relaxed minimalist surroundings. The team behind 111 by Nico has launched a new restaurant, Six by Nico, in the trendy Finnieston area serving a six-course tasting menu based on a different place or memory - the theme will rotate every six weeks. 

The tearooms Mackintosh at the Willow are scheduled to open as part of Glasgow’s celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of Mackintosh’s birth. The Willow Tea Rooms building is recognised internationally as the only surviving tea room designed in its entirety by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife, from the interior and the design of the cutlery to the waitress’s uniforms.

 

Isle of Skye

Skye Food & Drink Festival (13-14 June) is a celebration of food and drink from across Skye and the surrounding regions. With whisky, gin, wine, beer, meat, fish, chutney, bread, chocolate and cheese makers, the artisan producers market has something for everyone. Skye’s most celebrated chefs including Lady Claire MacDonald, Scott Davies and Calum Munro, along with Patisserie Chef of the Year Helen Vass, will showcase their culinary skills and offer cookery tips. There will be opportunities to taste and buy, cookery demonstrations, masterclasses, live music throughout the day and ceilidh’s on both evenings. 

 

Scottish Borders

Borders Distillery, the first Scotch Whisky distillery in the Scottish Borders since 1837, opened on the 1st May and is dedicated to making great whisky and to capturing the spirit of the Borders. See whisky production in action and gain an insight into a working commercial distillery. Public and private tours are available. Nestled at the heart of the Roxburghe Estate in the beautiful Scottish Borders is the outstanding Floors Castle, Scotland’s largest inhabited Castle, which will be hosting the Great British Food Festival this year on the 8th and 9th September.

 

WALES

Snowdonia

Palé Hall, North Wales’ first five-star hotel, launched a ‘gin-venture’ foraging experience in 2017. In partnership with Forager’s Gin, handcrafted by the Snowdonia Distillery, and local expedition specialists RAW Adventures, Palé Hall is now offering guests the chance to learn how gin is made and how to forage for botanicals. Enjoy an eight-course tasting menu from Head Chef Gareth Stevenson, where each dish features some of the best local produce, and afterwards retire in front of the roaring fire.

Five incredible festivals in South West England

While South West England is known for its natural, rugged beauty, the region also hosts a whole variety of events and festivals throughout the summer. Although your mind may immediately consider the world-famous Glastonbury Festival or the Eden Project, the world’s largest indoor rainforest, there are plenty of offbeat, cool festivals that make the southwest the place to be this year. From balloon festivals, to discovering the next Banksy at a street art festival, right through to an award-winning music festival in the pretty Cotswold Hills, it is an area of Great Britain that may really surprise you.

 

Bristol Balloon Festival

Bristol, Thu 9th – Sun 12th August

Attracting spectators from all over the world, the Bristol Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest meeting of hot air balloons. A free annual event, it kicks off with the Afternoon Lift where you can watch the hot air balloons take flight, before it ends with a spectacular scene of glowing balloons and a fireworks finale.

 

Ötillö Swimrun World Qualifiers

Isles of Scilly, Sat 9th June

Home to a mere 2,200 people, the Isles of Scilly are made up of five main islands, plus another hundred-or-so uninhabited ones. Each year, the islands play host to a fantastic range of activities and events, such as art and folk festivals, as well as an exciting swimming challenge. On Saturday 9th June, more than 100 teams will compete in the Ötillö Swimrun World Qualifiers, a 45-kilometre endurance race consisting of open-water swimming, trail running and scrambling. Participants will compete for eight spots in the World Championships held later in the year.

 

Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival 

Dorset, Sat 14th – Sun 15th July

Historic Weymouth harbour is the place to be in July when over 100 stalls open to showcase some of the most delicious, responsibly sourced seafood in the world at the Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival. Alongside demonstrations by such culinary legends as the ‘Broil King’, chef Dave Hunter, there will be plenty of opportunities to dine on cockles, mussels and more, accompanied by a chilled glass of Pommery Champagne.

 

Upfest – The Urban Paint Festival

Bristol, Sat 28th – Mon 30th July

Upfest, Europe’s largest street art and graffiti festival, is held annually and attracts around 50,000 art-loving visitors to Bristol, home of the celebrated, but elusive street artist Banksy. 2018 marks the festival’s tenth anniversary with 1,000 applicants hoping to showcase their unique street art at the event.

 

2,000 Trees Festival 

Cotswolds, Thu 12th – Sun 14th July

A magical music festival for those seeking something a little unusual, the 2,000 Trees Festval pitches up every July at beautiful Upcote Farm in the Cotswold Hills, Gloucestershire. It’s the brainchild of a group of friends who wanted to offer festivalgoers affordable tickets to see their favourite bands – weekend tickets cost £115. The organisers have won countless awards for creating a diverse, exciting event, which features over 80 musical acts in an ethereal woodland music setting. Click here to discover this year’s line-up. 

Britain on the silver screen

Travelling through the UK, you may experience a sense of déjà vu - that’s because Great Britain is filled with locations you'll recognise from the movies. Several are being honoured this year with a host of BAFTA and Academy Award nominations so here are some of those places that you can visit in real life.

 

Dunkirk

Nominations: Eight Academy Awards including Best Picture and eight BAFTA Awards including Best Film.

Most of Dunkirk was filmed in France, but Britain makes some stunning cameos. Think of the scene when the civilian fleet sets sail from the seaside town of Weymouth in Dorset while on their return, they're bolstered to see the white-chalk cliffs of the Jurassic Coast. Weary soldiers receive a hero’s welcome when they pull into a postcard-pretty train platform; you can book your own journey on the Swanage Steam Railway.

 

Paddington 2

Nominations: Outstanding British Film, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay at the BAFTA Awards.

London’s busy Paddington station appears in the sequel although exterior shots filmed at Marylebone Station. Visit the Paddington Bear Shop, then find the statue near Platform 1 and follow the rest of the Pawprint Trail. You can also follow in Paddington’s pawsteps at Portobello Market or wander the towpath of Little Venice where the bear gave chase to the thief from Mr Gruber's antique shop.

 

Phantom Thread

Nominations: Four Academy Awards including Best Picture and four BAFTA Awards including Best Actor.

The Victoria Bay Hotel near Whitby, North Yorkshire, was stripped back to fit the 1950s setting. Visit the modern incarnation and enjoy familiar views over the fishing village of Robin's Hood Bay - you might even recognise some of the staff who appeared as extras. The opulent glamour of Blackpool Tower Ballroom also made the cut as the perfect setting for a lavish party scene. Take a tour, enjoy afternoon tea, or spin on the famous dance floor.

 

Darkest Hour

Nominations: Six Academy Awards including Best Picture and nine BAFTA Awards including Best Film.

London’s Cabinet War Rooms, where Winston Churchill orchestrated Allied troops during World War II, were meticulously recreated for their role in this film. And of course, you can visit the real-life underground bunkers too, which stand exactly as they did in 1945. And while the Commons Chamber in the Palace of Westminster was another carefully constructed set, get a glimpse of the real thing with a guided tour of Parliament. Also in the capital is the film’s backdrop, picturesque Greenwich; explore the rest of this World Heritage Site which includes the Royal Observatory, the historic Cutty Sark, and the Meridian Line.

Up in Rotherham, Yorkshire is Wentworth Woodhouse which doubles up as the interior of Buckingham Palace. Privately owned for many years, this grand historic home has recently been opened to the public.

 

Victoria & Abdul

Nominations: Best Costume Design and Best Makeup & Hairstyling at both the Academy Awards and the BAFTA Awards.

Osborne House was Queen Victoria's beloved family home on the Isle of Wight, and the place where she first met Abdul. Peek inside royal life with a tour of the private apartments, bathing beach and children's play cottage. Queen Victoria later introduces Abdul to her Aberdeenshire getaway, Balmoral Castle, which remains the summer holiday home of the Royal Family today and open to the public from 30 March to 31 July. Don't miss the stunning setting of Cairngorms National Park that surrounds it, where the pair enjoyed a scenic picnic.