Kent is best known as the ‘Garden of England’, a phrase first used by Henry VIII for the relative abundance of fruit-growing and fertile farmland. Famous for landmarks such as Canterbury Cathedral, Leeds and Dover Castle, and the famous White Cliffs, the first sight for those entering the country via Ferry. Kent claims to be the oldest county in England, containing some 17,000 listed buildings; however, new to the ‘Kent scene’ is their rapidly growing array of vineyards.
As with neighbouring Sussex, Kent is home to a cool climate with limestone chalk soils, similar to those found in the famous wine-producing region of Champagne, France. This has resulted in many wineries and vineyards establishing themselves and producing some standout regarding sparkling wines.
The county has many established and new wineries; some of the biggest names in English wine are located in the South East of England, ready to rival the best in the World. With many award-winning wines being produced in the region, Kent is one of the best regions to visit for English Wine enthusiasts.
If you’re planning a visit to Kent and exploring the many vineyards, now is a great time as many have built and constructed fantastic visitor centres and tasting facilities. To help plan your trip, we have selected some of the very best wineries to visit in Kent!
Address: Gribble Bridge Ln, Biddenden, Ashford TN27 8DF
Is there a tour of Biddenden vineyard? YES
Site Size: 9 Hectares
Price range per bottle: £12 > £29
Biddenden Vineyard is Kent’s original vineyard (Est. 1969); they pride themselves as family-run, with the second and third generations now managing the estate. Today, the single estate vineyard spans 23 acres of south-facing land outside the picturesque Wealden village of Biddenden. A total of 11 different grape types are grown at Biddenden, producing an array of award-winning White, Rosé, Red and Sparkling English wines.
From the first bottled Biddenden wine in 1973, production has grown to approximately 80,000 bottles per year. All vine work on the estate is carried out by hand, including pruning, canopy management and picking, with the harvest running from mid-Sep to Nov.
Address: Small Hythe, Tenterden, TN30 7NG
Is there a tour of Chapel Down vineyard? YES
Site Size: 385 Hectares
Price range per bottle: £28.50 > £40
Established in 2001, Chapel Down is England’s leading winemaker offering a world-class range of sparkling and still wines, together with a collection of premium spirits and an award-winning range of Curious beers and cider. Chapel Down is the UK’s largest wine producer thanks to 950 acres of land (385 Hectares), a combination of its owned vineyards and grape supply contracts from the surrounding areas.
Chapel Down continues to grow and compete not only against other English wines but globally as well. They supply Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver’s restaurants and are the official supplier to No 10 Downing Street. Over the next 25 years, they aim to produce up to 1 million bottles of sparkling wine per year when mature to keep up with customer demand and growth further afield.
Address: Burnt House Farm, Station Rd, Chartham, CT4 7HU
Is there a tour of Chartham vineyard? YES
Site Size: 2 Hectares
Price range per bottle: £13.95 > £25.95
Chartham Vineyard is a newly established, family-run winery focusing on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Bacchus. The 4 acres of vines were initially planted in 2013 and were initially used to produce still wine; they have acquired a further acre to aid the recent introduction of a Sparkling Wine (2016) to their range.
Address: Kenardington Rd, Appledore, Ashford, TN26 2BE
Is there a tour of Gusbourne Estate vineyard? YES
Site Size: 90 Hectares
Price range per bottle: £25 > £59
Gusbourne Estate was established in 2004, but it wasn’t until 2010 that they quickly earned a reputation as a producer of outstanding quality wines when they first released their debut vintages. With over 60 hectares of vineyards at Gusbourne Estate in Kent, they have an additional 30 hectares across West Sussex (90 Hectares / 220 Acres in total), all planted with the three classic grape varieties Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
Address: Five Oak Lane, Staplehurst, Tonbridge, TN12 0HT
Is there a tour of Hush Heath Estate vineyard? YES
Site Size: 161 Hectares
Price range per bottle: £18 > £80
Hush Heath Estate comprises 400 acres of perfectly manicured vineyards, apple orchards and ancient oak woodlands rich with wildlife in Tonbridge, Kent. From their first harvest in 2004, the production of 10,000 bottles of Balfour Brut Rosé won a gold medal at the International Wine Challenge in 2008. Since then, the company has grown from strength to strength, adding various sparkling and still wines to their collection. 2010 saw the completion of a state-of-the-art winery and tasting room to attract visitors from far and wide, firmly placing themselves on the UK wine map.
Squerryes Wine Estate
Address: Beggars Lane, Westerham TN16 1QP
Is there a tour of Squerryes Wine Estate vineyard? YES (Selected Dates)
Site Size: 14.5 Hectares
Price range per bottle: £32
The Squerryes Estate has been in the same family for seven generations, the site near the market town of Westerham was first planted in 2006, covering 36 acres. They pride themselves in only using grapes from their vineyard, unlike some of their competitors using various sites and vineyards. They have similarities to the “Cote des Blancs” region of Champagne, perfect for providing growing conditions for the classic sparkling wine vines, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier.
They were rewarded for their hard work in 2019, given a Platinum medal at Decanter World Wine Awards 2019 for their 2014 vintage Brut.
Locations of Vineyards in Kent
The locations and distances between each of the Vineyards based in Kent mentioned above can be seen below. The Vineyards are relatively close together, except Squerryes Wine Estate in the North West of the county, with Chartham Vineyard on the outskirts of Canterbury in northeast Kent. Like bordering Sussex, Kent is home to some of the warmest and driest climate in the UK; plentiful countryside and diverse soils mean the county has very favourable conditions for growing grapes.