Getting Around The Wine Garden
Home to vineyards of award-winning English wines, industry pioneers and stunning estates, the Wine Garden of England is one of the most dynamic and exciting wine regions in the world, but how do you get around it? We’ve all been there, when we want to enjoy a few drinks but one of us draws the short straw and is the designated driver for the evening. But there’s no need to fear as we are here to eliminate this issue as we reveal the secrets of getting around the garden whilst leaving the car at home. So put your seat belts on because it’s going to be one heck of a ride…
The Gateways into the Wine Garden
So first things first, you need to get into the wine garden and lucky for you Kent operates the UK’s only high speed rail service meaning you can get to Canterbury from London in just 56 minutes, super speedy! London Bridge, Charing Cross, London Waterloo East, Victoria and St Pancras International stations all connect to Kent destinations so no matter where you are in London, you’re never too far from a gateway into Kent. If you’re coming from the Continent Eurostar services stop at Ashford and Ebbsfleet international stations, which also operate the high speed services. Be sure to travel during daylight to see the amazing scenery along the route as the trains travel alongside areas of outstanding natural beauty.
The Adventure Begins
Take the high speed train into Canterbury and enjoy a relaxed morning in this historic medieval city. Wander through the narrow cobbled streets and explore its unique independent shops and cafes. After a leisurely morning head over to Simpsons Wine Estate in Barham, where your wine adventure commences! The estate is only a 14 minute taxi ride from Canterbury and along the way you’ll see the quintessentially English village of Bridge which runs along the Old Roman Road, an ancient trackway first used by Britons. If you’re travelling by bus it’s only a 30 minute ride on the number 17 and the stop you’ll want to get off at is the ‘Primary School’ stop.
After a fabulous tour and tasting at the Simpsons Wine Estate rest your head at The Pig-at Bridge Place, just a 14 minute taxi ride away or get the number 17 bus and get off at The White Horse Stop.
Into the Weald of Kent
After a good night’s rest at The Pig, head over to Canterbury West train station and travel 1.5 hours to Headcorn station. You’ll travel beside the river Stour which runs through the picturesque villages of Chartham, Chilham and Wye. Once at Headcorn station you can either get a 20 minute taxi ride to Biddenden vineyard or a 30 minute bus ride on the number 24, getting off at Castleons Oak.
After your morning at Kent’s original vineyard, take a 20 minute taxi ride to Gusbourne where you’ll spend the afternoon tasting wines between the vines. We recommend taking a taxi for this commute as due to the location of both vineyards there is no direct bus route.
After a day filled with taste discovery and learning about the méthode traditionnelle, rest your head at the William Caxton, just a 15 minute taxi ride away.
Head to the Town with Chapel Down
Just a seven minute taxi ride away from your accommodation is Chapel Down, England’s leading wine producer. If you want to take the bus it’s only an 8 minute ride and you’ll want to get bus 312 and get off at the Church Stop. After the hustle and bustle of yesterday, visiting two of our magnificent seven vineyards, take it easy and spend a leisurely day here. Grab a bite to eat at the two AA Rosette and Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant, indulge in some retail therapy at the shop and explore the grounds.
In the evening, tantalise your taste buds and get a restful night’s sleep at The Goudhurst Inn. We recommend getting a taxi as it is only 25 minutes away and there are no direct bus links.
On The Road Again
Despite the title, today you won’t be traveling far as Hush Heath Estate is just a 10 minute drive from your accommodation, so you can catch a few more Zs before your big day. Again you’ll be wanting to spend a day here because as well as offering expert led tours and tastings, you can also walk through the Estate’s ancient woodland and maybe see a deer or two, or sit on the terrace of The View tasting room and tuck into some charcuterie.
Staplehurst, where the estate is based, has several accommodation options, where you can spend a night in the country. Check out the Visit Kent website to browse different accommodation options and tailor your choice based on your preferences.
The Grand Finale
The last stop of the trip is Squerryes Winery and to get here from Hush Heath you’ll want to get a 35 minute train from Staplehurst station to Edenbridge. You’ll be able to see the sights of Haysden Country Park which includes a range of habitats such as marshland and freshwater lakes (you may even catch a glimpse of some of the local wildlife!). At the station you can grab a taxi which will take 9 minutes or hop on the 236 bus for 21 minutes and get off at Green Stop B.
After a day learning about the art of wine making and sampling some of Squerryes award-winning wines, London is just a 23 minute train ride away, so not too far at all. You can get a bus from Hartley Road to Sevenoaks rail station, where you’ll be able to catch a direct train into London bridge station.
Watch this space for bookable tours which are coming soon…