Forget Center Parcs – Vineyard stays are the new family vacation for summer 2022

Forget Center Parcs – Vineyard stays are the new family vacation for summer 2022

Forget Center Parcs Vineyard Stays Vacation Visits New Family Travel Summer 2022 - Getty

Forget Center Parcs Vineyard Stays Vacation Visits New Family Travel Summer 2022 – Getty

If you have kids and love wine (I dare not suggest the two are linked), you might feel like the days of gulping down a glass of alcohol and arguing about its mouthfeel are a thing of the past. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

For as our national wine industry has grown in stature, so has the experience of wine tasting on home soil. In recent years it has been interesting to see how our vineyards have upgraded their visitor experience to be more like the superstar wineries of California and South Africa.

Some of our larger UK wineries are family run, with owners finding the appeal of entertaining younger visitors. It is also suitable for smaller vineyards in order to offer a varied range of experiences. Recently we stayed at a small vineyard called Secret Valley in Somerset in a lodge with a private hot tub and woke up to dew on the vines. The children met our neighbors – alpacas, donkeys and ponies – that morning while we adults later enjoyed a wine tasting in the comfort of the lodge. Imagine all the fun of Center Parcs without the high price.

These types of experiences are becoming more common, so having just celebrated English Wine Week (18-26 June) we’ve rounded up eight wineries that offer fun for families on holiday in the English countryside. Get a map for your family and keep an eye out for wine-tasting flights that you can sample independently, perhaps while the kids are seated at the Vineyard Cafe for their own treat or grape juice. As they say, parenting is all about balance.

For Lego construction miracles

Denbies Vineyard, Surrey

Depending on when you visit Denbies, little ones might be looking up at swooping birds of prey or engrossed in building things with Lego. The winery, which is one of the UK’s largest producers, hosts entertaining events which must be booked before visiting. Lego sessions are occasionally held on Sundays, while a miniature train takes children on a nature trail every Wednesday during the summer. It passes scenic lookout points where you can see everything from bat boxes to badger sets and weasels, and tick bird sightings on a map.

Drink: Denbies Greenfields is an award-winning sparkling wine that has baked apple flavors and a toasty character
Stay: Denbies Hotel (01306 876616, denbies.co.uk) is said to be carbon neutral and has garden views and rooms from £155 a night

Wine Tasting Denbies Surrey Forget Center Parcs Vineyard Stays Holiday Visits New Family Getaways Summer 2022

Wine Tasting Denbies Surrey Forget Center Parcs Vineyard Stays Holiday Visits New Family Getaways Summer 2022

For tree house adventures

Bluestones, Wiltshire

The cute rare breed animals will cause a storm with children visiting the 42-acre Bluestones, with possible animal feeding encounters as well as the occasional pig race. The adventure playground here includes a zip line and tree house, and the self-guided tour — through 10 hectares of vines — is open to all. It includes a map and signs, and ends with a self-guided tasting.

Drink: The Bluestones 2017 Classic Cuvée has aromas of lemon tart and toasted nuts
Stay: The winery has a family-friendly hostel on site, or try the thatched Red Lion Freehouse (01980 671124; redlionfreehouse.com) with fantastic food and rooms from £160 a night

Alpaca Bluestones Wiltshire forget Center Parcs vineyard stays holiday visits new family trips 2022 summer

Alpaca Bluestones Wiltshire forget Center Parcs vineyard stays holiday visits new family trips 2022 summer

For exotic creatures

Halfpenny Green, Staffordshire

With reptiles like horned chameleons and unusual mammals like a jaguarundi cat, the wildlife zoo on this property is the first stop for children. Once little ones have had their fill, parents can take everyone on a self-guided tour of the 30 acres of vineyards used to produce award-winning wines.

Drink: The Pinot Noir Halfpenny Green 2019 is earthy and smooth, with notes of cherry, strawberry and vanilla; halfpennygreen.co.uk
Stay: The Red Lion Inn (01384 221237; redlioninn.co.uk) is a traditional pub nearby with 16 rooms from £80 a night

For alpacas and deer

Bardfield Vineyard, Essex

A family of fluffy alpacas welcomes children to this small but respected organic winery in a former medieval game reserve. Children can feed the animals at certain times. A self-guided path explores the acres of vines, and there is a pretty walled garden. Tours during the week are followed by wine tastings in a listed barn.

Drink: Award-winning Bardfield Bacchus 2018 is a dry white with elderflower flavors and a crisp finish
Stay: Blackwood barn conversions in Bardfield (01371 810776; greatlodge.co.uk) are stylish self-catering lodges with rooms from £80 a night

Bardfield Essex Forget Center Parcs vineyard stays holiday visit new family travel 2022 summer

Bardfield Essex Forget Center Parcs vineyard stays holiday visit new family travel 2022 summer

For treasure hunt

Torn Vineyard, Kent

A hit with locals during the pandemic, seasonal treasure trails continue at Brissenden to encourage little ones to explore the vineyard. Groups of families are allowed to camp amongst the seven acres of vines and enjoy their own lawn for games such as baseball, soccer and badminton. There is also a fire pit for cozy evenings. Families who’d rather just do a tasting can book private, customized vineyard tours, complete with activities to keep kids occupied.

Drink: Brissenden’s Sparkling Brut is made from Pinot Noir grapes and aged on the lees for at least two years
Stay: The Vineyard campsite (brissendenvineyard.com) has four pitches, showers and a sheltered kitchen area, from £750 for three nights

Brissenden forget Kent Center Parcs vineyard stays holiday visits new family outings 2022 summer

Brissenden forget Kent Center Parcs vineyard stays holiday visits new family outings 2022 summer

For small tractors

Secret Valley, Somerset

Trailer rides add a family-friendly element to the guided tours at this small winery, where most visitors stay in glamping accommodation. Children can visit miniature donkeys, ponies and alpacas, and little ones will love frolicking around in a barn full of mini tractors and diggers. For the more adventurous, there is an outdoor activity center next door. Trailer tours end with a wine tasting with kids games.

Drink: Secret Valley white wine is perfectly balanced with hints of sweet, refreshing citrus and a clean, dry finish
Stay: Secret Valley (01278 671945; secret-valley.co.uk) has lodges with six-person hot tubs from £215 a night

Secret Valley Somerset Forget Center Parcs Vineyard Stays Holiday Visits New Family Travel Summer 2022

Secret Valley Somerset Forget Center Parcs Vineyard Stays Holiday Visits New Family Travel Summer 2022

Discover our guide to Somerset

For cyclists and pygmy goats

Kenton Park, Devon

Teens 14 and up can explore the Exe Estuary Cycle Trail on new electric mountain bikes available for rent at Kenton Park. Younger children, meanwhile, will enjoy the pygmy goats, sheep and ducks by the lake before the family retires to one of Kenton’s thatched dining cottages so parents can enjoy a relaxing wine-tasting session while the children play.

Drink: The Motley Cru Cheeky Fizz is made using the Charmat process, Prosecco style
Stay: Nearby Lympstone Manor (lympstonemanor.co.uk) is a luxury country house hotel with a Michelin-star restaurant and rooms from £395 a night

Kenton Park Devon guests forget Center Parcs vineyard stays holidays visit new family getaways Summer 2022

Kenton Park Devon guests forget Center Parcs vineyard stays holidays visit new family getaways Summer 2022

Discover our travel guide to Devon

For a sculpture park and a miniature Edwardian village

Leonardslee Gardens, Sussex

In addition to England’s first Pinotage vineyard, Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens features a sculpture park, wallaby enclosure and miniature Edwardian village with adorable dolls’ house figures. Kids’ favorite winery tastings are likely to be chocolate pairings – just save some for yourself. However, opening a wine bottle with a saber is best left to adults. Families can order picnics and pick them up at a clock tower.

Drink: The Leonardslee Rosé is made from Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc and has a pronounced acidity
Stay: The South Lodge Hotel (01403 891711; exclusive.co.uk) is minutes away and offers a sophisticated spa, quality restaurant and stylish rooms from £375 a night

Picnic Leonardslee Gardens Sussex Forget Center Parcs Vineyard Stays Holiday Visits New Family Travel Summer 2022

Picnic Leonardslee Gardens Sussex Forget Center Parcs Vineyard Stays Holiday Visits New Family Travel 2022 Summer

This article will be updated with the latest information.

Would you go on vacation to a winery with your family? Let us know in the comments below

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