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Sussex Wine Region

  • Sussex, United Kingdom (UK)

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 06 February, 2024

The United Kingdom wasn’t widely known for its wine until the mid-2010s, when a handful of brilliant wineries in the south of England started garnering buzz and winning awards, for excellent sparkling wines among other varieties.

The area lies on the same latitude as France’s Champagne region with the same limestone ridge, creating a similar quality of grape – and as climate change has nudged average temperatures up, the bumper crops have kept coming.

Ridgeview Winery led the way for the region, winning the prestigious Winemaker of the Year prize in 2018’s International Wine and Spirit Competition. Now there are enough established wineries around Sussex’s South Downs to create a wine-tasting itinerary, either as a day out from Brighton or London, or a short break in its own right.

Who to go with: tour operators

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Bolney Wine Estate

  • Bolney, West Sussex, United Kingdom (UK)

view of vineyard looking downhill to tasting room

Experience

The best-designed visitor experience in Sussex, with a shiny new visitor’s centre, Bolney offers basic tastings and gourmet tours including a lunch.

Min age 18

Good for age: 18+

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Ridgeview Wine Estate

  • Ditchling Common, West Sussex, United Kingdom (UK)

View of a vineyard with South Downs in background

Experience

Close to the pocket-sized village of Ditchling and many South Downs walking trails, this modern, family-run winery lays on tastings, food pairings and walks around the vines.

Min age 18

Good for age: 18+

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Sedlescombe Organic Vineyard

  • Robertsbridge, East Sussex, United Kingdom (UK)

External view of the winery building with domed roof

Experience

This region’s forerunner in biodynamic wines, Sedlescombe has a beautiful grand-design of a tasting room set among the vines, plus tastings and a shop.

Min age 18

Good for age: 18+

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Sussex Vineyard Vintage Bus Tour

  • Albourne, West Sussex, United Kingdom (UK)

double decker red bus on a vintage winery tour in sussex

Experience

Leaving from Brighton, this vintage double-decker bus takes you on a full day jolly to visit two wineries (Court Garden and Albourne Estate) for tours and tastings.

Min age 18

Good for age: 18+

Duration: Full day

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Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

Although some vineyards accept walk-ins, if you want a formal tasting, or tour of the vineyard, it’s always best to ring ahead and make a reservation. As most vineyards are set in rural locations, getting to them by public transport can be difficult – it’s better to drive.

You could also book into the Sussex Wine School for a variety of tours and tastings, to specifically learn about Sussex wines from experts.

When to do it

Most vineyards are open all year, although in the winter months it may be on an appointment-only basis. Not all vineyards are open every day for tastings, so do plan ahead.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Sussex Vineyard & Winery Bus Tour on Iconic Vintage London Bus

  • Brighton

Our scheduled vintage bus tours depart from Brighton rail station meaning you’re free to relax and enjoy the wines without the need for a designated driver. The tour includes seamless transportation and is fully hosted. Journey through the Sussex countryside on board the vintage bus to the first vineyard, where you'll have a tour of the vines and be shown the winery to hear about English wine production. Then follows a tutored tasting of at least four award-winning sparkling wines. Next, is a picnic lunch among the vines - complete with wicker hamper, bursting with homemade delights and a glass of wine. In the afternoon, we once again board the 1960's London Routemaster bus and drive to a second Sussex vineyard for another tutored tasting of still and sparkling wines. There is time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings with a vineyard walk, or you can sit back, relax on the sun terrace and watch the sun fall over the vineyard. A Great British day out!

Price £139

Min age 18

Rating 4.67 / 5 [81 ratings]

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