Wine, Hops, and Locally Grown
Did you know that the strawberries served at Wimbledon are grown in Kent? There are also many varieties of apple – some are turned into cider and juice – as well as pears, plums and, of course, grapes. You can tour many of Kent’s vineyards and sample the delicious wines that are winning awards all over the place.
With the county enjoying the most annual sunshine in the UK it produces award winning wine. Chapel Down at Tenderden produces some of the finest locally produced wine. It also makes delicious beers and ciders from local crops. Open most days from 10am until 5pm the vineyard welcomes visitors looking to learn more about Chapel Down.
If you like your hops more than your vines then the Shepard Neame brewery is a must see. With its strap line “Britain’s oldest Brewer” this is an excellent example of a Kentish brewery. It’s worth booking on to one of the tours if you are visiting the area. Be sure to check out what events they have going on too as their beer matching dinners have proven very popular!
In the days when hops were the most important part of the local economy, Londoners would catch a hop pickers special train and spend their summer holidays harvesting the hops. Today there are a few hop farms left that fulfill the needs of some specialist breweries but most of the oast houses that used to dry the hops have now been converted into private homes, some of them are Kent and Sussex Holiday Cottages and available to rent!