London, United Kingdom | Best Wine Travel Destinations 2017 | Wine Enthusiast
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London, United Kingdom | Best Wine Travel Destinations 2017

A vibrant center for art, finance, politics, culture, learning and fashion, London has long been considered Europe’s most happening metropolis. It’s also an international wine capital, where you can sniff out treasured bottles in historic shops, posh bars or classy eateries. UK mapYou can enjoy a breakfast martini, prop up a Victorian pub counter with a pint of bitter or treat yourself to afternoon tea. Most of all, don’t miss out on England’s delicious sparkling wines, and hit some of the new tasting rooms just an hour outside London.

Where to Dine

Les 110 de Taillevent offers 110 wines by the glass alongside classic French cuisine. Noble Rot Wine Bar delivers eclectic and excellent food and wine. Enjoy a slice of real London at Soho stalwart Andrew Edmunds; its wine list has some incredible values. Order from the old-fashioned menu at Sweetings, an oyster house unchanged since 1889. Around the city, there are flavors to be savored from all over the world, such as Thai at Som Saa, Indian at Dishoom, Basque at Sagardi or Turkish at Yosma.

Les 110 de Taillevent
Les 110 de Taillevent

Where to Stay

London has no shortage of hotel rooms, but for something memorable, go for Hazlitt’s in Soho or The Rookery in Clerkenwell. Under the same management, both offer updated, quirky period charm. The Beaumont in Mayfair stands for sophisticated, Art Deco-styled luxury. In the edgier east side, even more Art Deco can be found at the remodeled Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green, a hop, skip and jump from the stylish Shoreditch neighborhood.

Other Activities

Berry Bros. & Rudd
Berry Bros. & Rudd

Walking is the best way to explore. Either head off by yourself or join a fabulously informative “London Walk.” Enjoy Columbia Road Flower Market on Sunday mornings, hear soaring evensong voices at Westminster Abbey, and make most of the free museums and galleries. Don’t miss London’s oldest wine shop in St. James’s Street, Berry Bros. & Rudd.

Budget Tip

See London via an upstairs seat in a red double-decker bus. Regular routes 9, 11 and 24 will take you past iconic sights, all for a cheap, single fare.

Walking is the best way to explore. Either head off by yourself or join a fabulously informative “London Walk.”

When to Go

London is a year-round destination. Longer daylight hours from April to September mean you can make the most of your visit.

Where to Taste

Combine a trip to the lush counties of Sussex and Kent with a visit to Ridgeview Wine Estate for a tour and tasting in the village of Ditchling. At Hush Heath Winery, the tasting tour includes orchards and woodlands. Pre-order an ultra-English picnic or book a table at the nearby, winery-owned Goudhurst Inn. Book an indulgent gourmet tasting at Bolney Estate, or simply have lunch at its café. Pre-booking is essential for all estates. If you have a car, grab a chilled bottle of English fizz and head to the Kent coast for fresh Whitstable oysters at Wheelers Oyster Bar. You can also book an inclusive tour and leave navigation to the pros at English Wine Tasting Tours. If time does not allow a trip to the vineyards, get a real taste of English sparkling at The Wine Pantry, the Greenberry Café or Roast Restaurant in Borough Market.

Noble Rot Wine Bar
Noble Rot Wine Bar

Prominent Wines

The best English wines are definitely sparkling. Made from traditional Champagne varieties of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, they’re bottle-fermented and crisp, tasting as fresh as spring meadows and as fragrant as hedgerows. The mild, cool climate in the southern counties of Hampshire, Sussex and Kent makes for brisk, fresh wines. Increasing time on lees creates creamy cuvées. Must-try wines are from Nyetimber, Gusbourne, Wiston Estate, Hambledon, Hattingley Valley and Ridgeview. Also look out for the pink Pinot Noir-based sparkler from Cornwall called Camel Valley. Keep your eyes open for newcomers like Mayfield, Exton Park and Bride Valley.

Local in the Know

Pip Goring
Pip Goring

Pip Goring, the co-owner of Wiston Estate in West Sussex, loves London days out, starting with art at Tate Modern, followed by lunch at Spring Restaurant with a glass of Wiston sparkling. Then, it’s on to shopping on the Kings Road and in Notting Hill, or perhaps a ride on the London Eye or up The Shard for amazing views. Such exertion must be followed by afternoon tea at The Goring Hotel (a favorite of the Duchess of Cambridge), or dinner at trendy Ottolenghi.

See the rest of our 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations.