Take a trip to wine country – without getting your passport out.
If you’re a bit of a vino fan, here’s a summer half-day-trip for you: a 40-minute trundle on the train through south-east London will take you all the way to the Mount Vineyard.
This award-winning spot is, as you might’ve guessed, a real working vineyard, and in the summer months offers a whole bunch of ways to enjoy the premises.
Naturally, there are wine tastings to enjoy, as staff take you on a tour through five of their favourite recent vintages, straight from the winery. These happen on Wednesday evenings (in the summer) as well as afternoons on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. In the summer months, you’ll can also enjoy a tour around the grounds, to discover how the magic happens.
If that sounds much too educational for you, worry not. The on-site bar/restaurant is available to visit Thurs-Sun, between midday and 6pm, where you can get steadily squiffed uninterrupted by any dastardly ‘facts.’ Here, you can enjoy bottles of the vineyard’s output (these versatile grape-growers offer red, white, rosé and sparkling varieties) paired with cheese, charcuterie, or stone-baked pizzas. There are also non-wine options, if your friend would rather have something else to drink.
A large retractable roof transforms the space into a gorgeous al fresco spot on sunny summer days, while providing shelter and warmth in the colder months. Clever stuff.
If you’re not ready to head home after closing, the pretty surrounding village of Shoreham is home to four rather nice pubs…
You could also combine your visit with a jaunt to the Hop Shop (about a 30 minute walk away) and their famous, Insta-friendly lavender field – although in 2018 we’ve heard they’re harvesting their crop at the end of July, so this might be one for a return trip next year.
Altogether, another grape little spot near London. Chin chin!
Location: Mount Vineyard, Church St, is an eight minute walk from Shoreham (Kent) station. Catch a train there direct from City Thameslink, Blackfriars, Elephant and Castle, Peckham Rye and other south-east stations. See it on Google Maps.
Opening hours: Thurs-Sun, midday – 6pm, with hosted tasting sessions at 12.30pm and 3pm. Plus, Wednesday evenings (for tasting sessions only) at 7.30pm.
Price: no entry fee. Tasting sessions are £30 per head, or with a tour (or on Wednesdays) £35 per head. In the restaurant, wine is £18-£45 a bottle, sharing platters £14 – £24, pizzas £13 each.
More information: on their website.
More summer day trip ideas on the edge of London:
?Explore the gothic castle in Twickenham
?Frolic among the deer at Richmond Park
?Take a mini train to the sandy lakeside beach in Ruislip
?Be enchanted by the crystal grotto in Painshill
?Grab a perfectly purple profile pic in Croydon’s lavender field
?See the majesty of north London’s huge Hindu temple