Brilliant English and Welsh wineries are not the rarities they once were. There are now 500 working vineyards around the UK, and nearly half of those welcome visitors. In Hampshire, where Hambledon spearheaded a British wine revival that took shape way back in the 1950s, around 30 are open to the public and even lesser-celebrated winemaking spots such as Yorkshire have a dozen for visitors to explore. Spring and summer are the best times to go, when many have winemaker-led tours or self-guided walks.
Often small and independent, no two vineyards are alike, but all offer an interesting foodie angle on the British countryside. Some are polished and commercial (Hush Heath Estate in Kent), others charmingly eccentric or set on lovely old farms (Giffords Hall in Suffolk); a few are even cool, such as Castlewood in Devon. And when outdoorsy National Trust properties become de facto adventure playgrounds during school holidays, vineyards are more relaxing, grown-up environments to seek out. Yes, they are all trying to sell you something, but it’s not a hard sell when you’re into their sparkling wares.