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The Vineyards of Kent

4 nights Price from £1,588 per person
Departs: 17 Oct 2021
Departs: 17 Oct 2021

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“Kent, sir – everybody knows Kent – apples, cherries, hops and women” observed Mr Jingle in Dickens’ Pickwick Papers, and whilst we might phrase it differently almost 200 years later, the Garden of England retains a fruitful abundance from the High Weald to the cliffs and beaches of the coast. In recent years, viticulture has taken root firmly in the region, and Kent is the source of the most highly-regarded vineyards in the UK, producing a host of award-winning wines – from champagnerivalling sparkling wines to impressive whites and increasingly well-respected reds. On this tour in the company of expert wine critic and author Jonathan Ray, drinks editor of The Spectator, we will meet some of the county’s finest winemakers – and a brewer – and taste the very best that Kent has to offer. Based close to the cathedral city of Canterbury, we shall also take time to enjoy exquisite gardens, galleries and plenty of the finest local produce.

 

The Hotel

We shall be based for the duration of the tour at the charming and historic Broome Park Hotel (4* Deluxe) close to Canterbury, on the edge of the Kent Downs. The Broome Park Estate was established during the reign of Charles I and has, as its centrepiece, a magnificent Grade 1 listed mansion dating from 1638. The hotel has just 18 elegant bedrooms and a number of comfortable woodland lodges on a 250 acre estate. There is a swimming pool, a very good restaurant, and a golf course.

What's included

...when you travel with Kirker

  • Four nights' accommodation with breakfast
  • Two dinners & two lunches
  • Three winery visits including tastings
  • All sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities
  • The services of the Kirker Tour Lecturer, Jonathan Ray

Itinerary

  • Day 1 - An Introduction to Kent's wine

    Make your own way to Canterbury today and check in at the Broome Park Hotel (15 minutes from Canterbury station by taxi). In the evening you will meet Jonathan Ray and the rest of theparty for an introduction to the best of Kent’s produce, including a tasting of some local Kent wines and dinner featuring some of the county’s finest seasonal ingredients.
  • Day 2 - Chapel Down & Rye

    Our first day in Kent will begin at perhaps the most celebrated of its vineyards, Chapel Down, just outside Tenterden. We will enjoy a tour of the wine estate including a tasting of their award-winning still and sparkling wines, followed by lunch in Chapel Down’s excellent Swan Restaurant. In the afternoon we will travel to nearby Rye, an ancient town and member of the Cinque Ports with a fascinating history as defensive bastion and smugglers’ haven. There will be time to explore the highlights of Rye including Lamb House, the infamous Mermaid Inn and the church which offers spectacular views over the landscape. We will return to the hotel later and the evening will be free for an independent dinner either at the hotel or one of Canterbury’s excellent local restaurants
  • Day 3 - Gusbourne Estate, Goodnestone House & Simpson’s

    This morning we will visit Gusbourne Estate, planted with vines in 2004 and producing some of the finest English sparkling wines over the last decade. We will have a tour of the estate, which dates back to 1410, and a tasting of sparkling wines with lunch. In the afternoon we will visit Goodnestone House, a Grade II* listed palladian house, home to the Fitzwalter family with its 15 acres of wonderful gardens including a walled garden and delightful woodland area. We will then visit our third winery, Simpson’s, where experienced winemakers Charles & Ruth Simpson grow 30 hectares of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir on the chalky soil of the Elham Valley. We will visit the winery and enjoy a tasting before returning to the hotel. This evening there will be an optional light supper at the hotel featuring fine local Kent produce, or you are free to explore Canterbury
  • Day 4 - Shepherd Neame, Whitstable & Margate

    Grapes may have gathered the headlines in recent years, but it was the humble hop which put Kent on the drinks map and there is no better guide to the history of brewing in the county than Jonathan Neame, whose family have run Britain’s oldest brewer, Shepherd Neame since 1698. After a tour and tasting at the magnificent Victorian brewery in Faversham, we will visit the splendid Macknade Food Hall, a cornucopia of local produce. We will then continue along the coast to Whitstable and nearby Margate, a seaside town which has enjoyed an extraordinary cultural renaissance in recent years. There will be time to explore the mysterious Shell Grotto, the 100-year old Dreamland Amusement Park – now reinvigorated and boasting an excellent cocktail bar – and to stroll the seafront which inspired JMW Turner and TS Eliot. The highlight will be a guided tour of the Turner Contemporary Gallery, opened in 2011, and we will conclude the day with a spectacular final dinner together at a local restaurant
  • Day 5 - Canterbury Cathedral

    Before departing this morning those who wish to may join Jonathan this morning for an optional visit to Canterbury Cathedral, the magnificent seat of the head of the Anglican Church, which was founded in 597.

Departure Dates and Prices

17 Oct 2021

Status Available

Price from£1588

Single Supp.£250

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To make an enquiry please speak to one of our experts on 020 7593 1899, or enquire online

Our expert reservations team regularly travel to a wide range of destinations to explore new cities, visit hotels and to research museums, galleries and restaurants so that we can offer the most up-to-date advice and recommendations.

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