Great Kent wine experiences and vineyards to visit this summer

Relax with friends over a glass of wine at Gusbourne

Relax with friends over a glass of wine at Gusbourne - Credit: Gusbourne

With English Wine Week running June 18-26 - there's no better time to pay a visit to one of Kent's top-notch vineyards. We take a look at some of the experiences on offer...

Glorious Gusbourne

 a wine tasting at Gusbourne

A lovely way to enjoy a summer's day - a wine tasting at Gusbourne - Credit: Gusbourne

Throughout English wine week,  visitors to Gusbourne will be among the first to try the estate's new Chardonnay Guinevere 2020 across a range of premium experiences, including the Discovery Tour (£75pp) and Estate Tour (£95pp).

Sunday June 19 will see Gusbourne launch the new release of its acclaimed Chardonnay Guinevere 2020 at a special tutored tasting and lunch, featuring rare library vintages paired with Alfred Enderby smoked fish. £105 per person.

On Friday, June 24,  Daniel Smith from The Fordwich Arms takes centre stage in the third of Gusbourne’s 2022 Michelin star Chef Series, with a special paired lunch menu from the celebrated Kent restaurant at £115 per person.

Other opportunities to enjoy and explore Gusbourne’s vineyards and winery in June include drop-in tastings, tours and picnics. All sounds rather wonderful - and if you're looking to make a stay of it, Gusbourne can advise on taxis and accommodation.

The Woolpack Inn, a five-minute drive away at Warehorne, with ensuite rooms a good breakfast and reputedly a friendly ghost, sounds like a good option to us.,

Splendid Simpsons

Enjoy cheese and charcuterie from Macknade at Simpsons

Enjoy cheese and charcuterie from Macknade, carefully selected to complement your wine, at Simpsons - Credit: Saltwick Media

It's been all go at the Simpsons' Wine Estate in Barham, near Canterbury. Over two days at the start of May, some 35,000 Chardonnay vines were planted across 22 acres at the Bonny Bush Hill vineyard, as part of Ruth and Charles Simpson's plans to expand its still wine production, and marking almost a decade since they established their winery in the heart of the Kent countryside.

While the Simpsons and their team offer tours and tastings throughout the year, we love the idea of the three-hour summertime Sunset Session tour and tasting experience, at £40 per person.

It begins with a walk to the idyllic and iconic Roman Road Vineyard, where visitors can learn how the vines are grown and harvested while enjoying a glass of one of Simpsons' sumptuous sparkling wines.

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Then it's back to the state-of-the-art winery, where you'll be guided through the art of still wine and Classic Method winemaking. After this, there's a chance to taste Simpsons’ current-release wines in the comfortable Glass House Tasting Room, with a delectable platter of locally sourced and carefully paired cheese and charcuterie from Macknade to enjoy alongside. Finish off your evening if you dare, with a whizz down the in-house helter-skelter. 

If you're making a stay of it, you could opt for boho luxury at The Pig Hotel at Bridge from £110 a night (, but we love the look of the cosy shepherd's hut, complete with its own hot tub, which sleeps two and is just 246ft from the Simpsons estate, from £150,

Make a tour of it

Exploring the vineyard at Woodchurch on Wine Tours of Kent adventure

Exploring the vineyard at Woodchurch on Wine Tours of Kent adventure - Credit: Wine Tours of Kent

If you want the chance to compare and contrast local wines by visiting a selection of our leading Kent vineyards - or just fancy a wine-related break with a difference without the hassle of sorting out your own accommodation and transport - wine expert Abi Ireland has the country covered.

Her Wine Tours of Kent offers everything from virtual tastings to luxury weekends spent imbibing the best of the county's wine, with all meals laid on and dinner prepared by a chef (from £1,294 per person).

Her glamping option, though, may well appeal to the more adventurous. On offer are three nights in a luxury safari tent, with a full-day Wine Tour of Kent on the second day. Situated in a wheat field, the tents comes with a shower room, a wood burner to keep you toasty and a fire pit outside. Its spacious layout sleeps up to eight guests, making it a great choice for friends or couples who want to spend time enjoying the Kent countryside together. 

Or how about it as an option to celebrate something special? Vineyards visited on the second day are Chapel Down in Tenterden, Gusbourne, Woodchurch wine, Biddenden Vineyard and Hush Heath at Staplehurst - all at the top of their game, so there'll be plenty to savour. There's lunch at a country pub to enjoy too and transport is included throughout the day, so you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the wine. From £137 per person.

Canterbury's Festival of Wine

Canterbury Wine Festival

Canterbury Wine Festival comes to town this month - Credit: Carlos Dominguez

The 'Vineyard of England'  comes to Canterbury for a one-day wine-tasting event with Master of Wine, Clive Barlow, who's acted as a consultant for everyone from Waitrose to Sotheby's.

Held in the city's Westgate Hall, it's a chance to sample Kent's vibrant viticulture and meet representatives from 25 wine producers, including Simpsons Wine Estate, Balfour Hush Heath, Biddenden and Chartham, as well as newer names including Heppington and Wayfarer.

There will of course be plenty of opportunities to try the wine and to buy your favourites to take home. Plus Clive will share his insights and expertise via talks and Masterclasses. Tickets £35 to include 20 tastings per person; Masterclasses £20.