Restore and Explore: Spa Breaks and Wine Tours
Sometimes it’s difficult to unwind in such a busy world, the demands of work running through our minds, the pressure to keep up with the latest trends and technology, and trying to juggle time for hobbies, work and loved ones. Sometimes it can all become a little too overwhelming and we often neglect our mental and physical health in the process. Now more than ever we are recognising the importance of our well-being and sometimes all we need is a bit of TLC.
So why not say ‘to heck with it’ and treat yourself to a luxury wine and spa day, weekend or even short break. We’ve done all the heavy lifting for you and have a few suggestions on how you can find yourself between the vines. So whilst you have a read, grab yourself a glass of English sparkly, pop on your favourite music playlist and plan yourself a feel good holiday.
Biddenden Vineyards is Kent’s original vineyard which takes you back to the good old days, with its warm family feel. You are welcomed to take a stroll at your leisure along the vineyard trail and can even take your four legged friend with you. If you want a more in depth knowledge of Biddenden’s wine making processes you can book a tour and even find out about how they make their delicious ciders and award winning juices. If you’re a real foodie, indulge in all the local produce in the Biddenden shop, from the estate's very own honey to local cheeses and chutneys, all offering great indulgences especially accompanied by a chilled glass of wine.
Chapel Down is based in Tenterden, ‘the Jewel of the Weald’ known for its centuries-old landscape, wealth of architecture, and local produce. Set amongst 22 acres of vines, in an area recognised for ‘Outstanding Natural Beauty,’ a peaceful walk through the estate is warranted. You are welcome to explore the grounds freely and if you fancy, can book a guided tour to learn about how they make the wines that Will and Kate enjoyed at the Royal Wedding, from vine to glass. Take a moment to reflect in the Herb garden, followed by a trip to the winery store which stocks the full range of Chapel Down wines, including ‘cellar door’ exclusives. Feeling a little peckish? Well I’m sure Chapel Down’s two AA Rosette and Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant can offer some exquisite foods to whet your appetite.
Glee at Gusbourne
Venture to the home of enlightened traditionalists who will welcome you with a glass of one of their award-winning sparkling wines. A trip to their estate will introduce you to the Saxon Shore Way which is a long distance footpath that runs through the vineyards and stretches from Gravesend in Kent to Hastings in East Sussex. You can enjoy this tranquil country walk on their self-guided tour. Simply grab a map at the Nest and follow the route before heading back to enjoy some wine. If you are curious about the art of wine making, sign yourself up to a vineyard tour where you’ll be guided around the fields of sun-kissed vines, winery and end in the luxurious wine tasting room for a guided tasting. The Royal Military Canal borders Gusbourne and attracts much birdlife such as Green Woodpeckers and Buzzards. If you fancy channelling your inner Mo Farah, then put your running shoes on and participate in the 5k/10k runs that will be held in 2019.
Just a 30 minute drive away from these three iconic vineyards is Eastwell Manor, the home of a luxurious Champneys Spa. Their state-of-the-art facilities are sure to offer you a relaxing experience as you indulge in their steam room, hydro pool, sauna, whirlpool and swimming pool. Oh and we mustn’t forget, you’ll get treated to a cosy Champneys robe and flip-flops. No spa break is complete without a relaxing treatment, so choose from a wide variety of treatments given by world-class therapists. If you have the energy you can freely use the gym and join in the exercises classes available at the manor.
Tucked away in the countryside, Hush Heath Estate offers a tempting mixture of award-winning wine, vineyards and orchards on their exclusive evening tours. A tour around their vineyards will be followed by a trip inside their world-class winery and tasting room, complete with a roof top bar and terrace overlooking the stunning 400-acre property. It’s time to get out the sparkling wine and enjoy the Wine Garden of England in style. Wine celebrations don’t come much better than this, so take the tour and sip on their sensational selection of wines and ciders for the ultimate weekend shindig.
A short drive from Hush Heath Estate will lead you to Royal Tunbridge Wells, where people have flocked to its supposed healing waters for more than 4,000 years. Here is where you will find our next spa destination on the list, the Spa Hotel, an exquisite Georgian mansion with state-of-the-art facilities. The spa isn’t the only thing you can indulge in here, you can enjoy a glass of fizz, romantic three-course dinner and live music all in this four star hotel.
Head East to Simpsons Wine Estate just 15 minutes outside of the historic city of Canterbury. You’ll be shown around The Roman Road vineyard, situated in the Kent North Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You’ll learn how the vines are planted, trained, nurtured and harvested, followed by a tour of their state-of-the-art winery. You’ll then be whisked away to the elegant Glass House Tasting Room, where you can sample Simpsons world-class still and sparkling wines. To finish why not take a trip down the ‘Fruit Chute’ winery helter-skelter – the only one of its kind in the whole world! Later on in the summer months you can treat yourself to a sunset session, where you can enjoy the vines on a hazy summer evening accompanied by a delicious platter of Macknade Fine Food goods.
Couple your trip to Simpsons with a stop off at Hythe Imperial Hotel’s Spa and Health Club. If you are feeling a little worse for wear then try the Imperial’s ‘Beautify Me’ package which comes complete with a manicure, facial and pedicure. If being outdoors all day has made you feel a little chilly, warm up in either the heated indoor pool, Jacuzzi, steam room or sauna. If you want to burn off some steam, head over to the fitness studio and join in with the comprehensive fitness class timetable that suits all needs and age groups.
Last on our list of must see wineries is Squerryes, the business who have created joy for over 300 years and are now bottling it. Squerryes believe that a rich life is full of discovery and they have created a number of special experiences for you to enjoy. Guided tours run year-round and include a 'Spirit of the Terroir' tour of the stunning vineyard by Land Rover, including a tutored wine tasting, with Kentish cheeses and charcuterie. Share in their fascinating history and stories of the entrepreneurs and game-changers that have shaped the estate over the last 300 years.