As lockdown slowly eases in the UK and the vaccine continues to be rolled out, one of the most overriding points of uncertainty that still lingers is whether people will be able to travel abroad. Over the past year, as international travel has been restricted and UK citizens have looked inward for their leisure time, along with other trends the staycation has become increasingly popular. With that, distillers, brewers and vignerons across the country have increased the quality and number of tourist-orientated experiences they offer.
The doors to different distilleries, cider farms, breweries and vineyards have all been flung open to the public in the hope of being able to provide a quality experience and sell products to them directly. It seems as though nobody misses out in this experience as the guest gets a day out and the chance to add to their collection, whilst the hosts potentially gain a loyal new customer.
With the increased number of places that drinks lovers could visit across the country, the question remains, where should you actually go? There are so many innovative drinks companies that continue to make a name for themselves for their quality British produce and tourist attractions, that it can often times be difficult to see the grape through the vineyard.
With that in mind, here are some examples of different places that are available to visit throughout the UK.
Hush Heath Estate
- Address: Five Oaks Lane, Staplehurst, Kent, TN12 0HT
- Contact: +44(0)1622 832 794
Dating all the way back to 1503, the beauty of Hush Heath Estate remains unmatched as endless greenery in the Kent countryside, paired with oak woods and wildflower meadows are free for you to explore.
The first vines here were planted in 2002. Wealden clay and the microclimate were the perfect conditions for growing classic Champagne varieties and so Hush Heath offers different blends of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. The method behind their creation is showcased in Hush Heath’s visitors centre and winery, along with a tour, short film and tutored tasting, all overlooking the breath-taking view of where the estate is located.
- Address: Laverstoke Mill, London Road, Whitchurch, Hampshire, RG28 7NR
- Contact: +44(0)1256 890 090
Visually stunning and perfect for gin lovers, that which was previously a Georgian Paper Mill was chosen as the new home for Bombay Sapphire in 2010. This site straddles the river Test of Hampshire, one of the purest chalk streams in Britain. There have also been glasshouses erected where the botanicals used for the drinks can grow, as well as a water turbine which powers the distillery and solar panels.
Here you will be able to go on a range of different tours, as well as embark on multiple experiences such as a gin cocktail masterclass, tastings and supper club.
- Address: Tintern, Chepstow, NP16 6SQ
- Contact: +44(0)1291 689636
Situated in Wordsworth’s inspiration behind the poem Tintern Abbey, The Wye Valley, Parva Farm comes surrounded by gorgeous scenery. The vines you will find there date back to 1979 and produce a variety of Muller-Thurgau, Seyval Blanc, Pinot Noir and Bacchus.
With a shop that doubles up as a sampling room, visitors can attend wine tastings, be given guided tours around the vineyard and be taught about the different wines that are made.
- Address: 9-11 Middle Leigh, Somerset, BA16 0LB
- Contact: +44(0)1458 442367
Located near Glastonbury and the old Clark’s shoe factory, Heck’s makes 15 single-varietal ciders. Given its origin dates back to the 1870’s, Heck’s acknowledges their heritage well as it combines a nice rustic feel with the new modernised technology that’s used to make its cider. Here you can have a tour, enjoy food and alcohol, all whilst learning about the distillery’s origins.
- Address: Templeton Building, Glasgow Green, Glasgow, G40 1AW
- Contact: +44(0)141 550 0135
When Petra Wetzel’s Dad came to Glasgow to visit her and was very vocal about the lack of good beers, Petra took matters into her own hands and started a brewery. Bavarian-born, she stuck to the Bavarian purity law that was in place in 1516, which banned the use of any ingredients except malt, hops, yeast and water.
West Brewery, designed to imitate the Dog’s Palace in Venice, is striking. It has a stylish bar and restaurant that overlook all of its greenery and also has a beautiful courtyard with two separate brewhouses. With a variety of tours for you to enjoy, there is something for everyone here.