Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking, Surrey
Denbies Wine Estate is one of the largest vineyards in the UK, producing over 400,000 bottles of wine a year. Take a tour of the winery and see how the vineyard changes through the seasons in its 360 degree cinema.
Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking, Surrey is one of the most easily accessible vineyards from central London
Denbies Wine Estate is a large-scale commercial vineyard which attracts over 300,000 visitors a year. They come to enjoy a range of wine tasting events and experience days (they make great gifts for wine-lovers). Easily accessible from London by train, (Dorking station is just down the road), combine a visit with a walk around the Estate or nearby Box Hill for its sweeping views.The Foodie Travel Guide
- Tour Denbies winery
- Do a tutored wine tasting
- Hop aboard the vineyard train
- Eat lunch in the restaurant
- Visit for the Bacchus festival
From Red Letter Days
Visit Denbies Vineyard
Set amongst the rolling chalk hills of the North Downs, Denbies is one of the largest privately owned vineyards in Europe. Formerly a pig and beef cattle farm, the first vines were planted here in 1986. A professor from Imperial College London identified that the terroir was similar to that of the Champagne region in northern France. Today, 18 different grape varieties are grown.
Tour The Winery
Enjoy a one hour tour and talk which starts with a short film telling the story of the vineyard. You’ll then be guided through the winery to learn about the winemaking process before tasting 3 different wines in the cellar. The tour doesn’t go into great depth but it’s a useful introduction for complete novices to English wine.
Hop on The Vineyard Train
Alternatively, take the ‘train’ tour of the vineyard to see its finest views. The train is actually a Landrover towing a few trailers but it’s good fun. Pay a bit extra and you can enjoy it with a glass of English sparkling wine. On select days, there’s also the option to take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage.
Lunch In The Conservatory
Have lunch in The Conservatory where local Surrey ladies meet for coffee, cake and a good chat and coach visitors tuck in to fish and chips. It’s a bright airy space conveniently located next to the gift shop. If you’re in a celebratory mood, book a table upstairs at the Gallery Restaurant to enjoy a panoramic views and an à la carte menu.
Take Part in The Grape Harvest
For green-fingered foodies, Denbies offer a Wine and Dine Grape Picking Experience. It gives you the opportunity to take part in the grape harvest and get a snapshot of a day in a working vineyard.
- Visit in the autumn to participate in Denbies Bacchus Festival
- Visit or sign up for a tour at the award-winning Surrey Hills Brewery, a micro-brewery which is located on the Estate
- Buy wine and picnic food from the Village Greens Farm Shop and head over to Box Hill to enjoy magnificent views
WHERE TO STAY
Denbies Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast – stay on Denbies vineyard in this 7-bedroomed homely B&B and enjoy views of the surrounding vines.
Wootton House Hotel in Dorking – history buffs and sporty types will enjoy the architecture and spa facilities at this grand house set in 13 acres of parkland (also a popular conference venue).
The Guildford Harbour Hotel – stay in the centre of Guildford at this new contemporary hotel with spa facilities. It’s the latest hotel from the Harbour Hotel Group.
You can take me for a walk in the estate grounds but I’m not allowed inside the main building. If I have a mishap, make sure you clear up after me. As it’s a working vineyard, there’s a hefty £1000 fine if you fail to do so.