With high sunshine hours, low rainfall, mild winters and chalky soil, the South East of England provides the ideal climate for growing the freshest, ripest produce. For an autumn bolthole join the seasonal fun at the South’s numerous harvest festivals and events celebrating nature’s gifts.
The Hampshire South Downs is rich in tasty treats. Stay at Upper Neatham Mill Farm, near Alton to master the art of making cider during a two day, three night practical course. This fully hands-on seasonal break will cover everything you need to know including selection of apples, producing separate batches from different apple mixes, fermentation and alcoholic strengths. £220pp based on 2 guests sharing a room.
The harvest is one of the most beautiful and significant times of the year at Denbies. With 265 acres under vine and 7 miles of public footpaths around the vineyard, autumn is a magnificent time to explore the Surrey Hills. Discover first-hand the workings of a successful vineyard at Denbies’ Vine & Dine Days which include grape harvesting, worker’s lunch and a tour and tasting, Wednesdays to Saturdays in October. Stay at Denbies Farmhouse B&B offering a uniquely peaceful setting the heart of the Estate; from £98/night B&B based on 2 guests sharing a double room.
With a longer growing season than much of the UK, the Isle of Wight is the perfect place to grow the tastiest produce from tomatoes and apples to the sweetest of sweetcorn. The Sweetcorn Fayre at Arreton Barns on 26-27 Sep 2015 celebrates the local harvest and the event offers games, craft stalls, live music and of course lots of sweetcorn-inspired dishes. Stay at Arreton Manor; from £115/night B&B based on two sharing.
Wild Boar Week combines the architectural treasures of medieval Rye with the culinary delights from the countryside. Indulge in an array of gamey treats including Mallard, Partridge Pheasant, Rabbit and Venison and join the numerous wild boar themed events including walks, tours, live music, quiz nights and more. Stay at Jeakes House on the beautifully cobbled Mermaid Street, in the heart of the town; from £90/night B&B based on two sharing.
The New Forest is a thriving habitat for nature and wildlife including deer, beautiful bluebells and even fungi. Around 2,700 species of Fungi are found within the National Park growing on trees, ancient woodlands and the expansive New Forest heathlands. The best times to seek out the fruiting bodies of New Forest fungi are in September, October and early November. Don’t know your chanterelle from your girolle? Join a Fungi Foray with New Forest Activities on 26 Sep/10 Oct/24 Oct 2015. £25 adults, £20 children (12-18 yrs old). Stay at The Beaulieu Hotel from £68.50pp B&B.
The Winemaker Tour & Lunch on selected Friday and Saturdays at Rathfinny Wine Estate near Eastbourne perfectly combines the illustration of the vineyard year with the exploration of the iconic Sussex landscape. Beginning at the Gun Room shop in the historic village of Alfriston, your journey will take you through the autumnal vineyard and the history and wildlife of the Estate. Stay at The Flint Barns located at the heart of the Estate; from £110/night B&B based on two sharing.
Tour Britain’s last hand-picked hop garden at Kent Life in Maidstone. At the Hops ‘n’ Harvest Festival on the 12-13 Sep 2015 you can try your hand at the time honoured tradition of hop picking, witness the process from picking to drying and of course taste a choice of 60 rare and locally brewed ales & ciders. The fun continues on the 3-4 Oct 2015 at the Apple & Cider Fayre where you can watch the traditional process of apple pressing and buy varieties dating back to the 1500s! Stay at The Limes B&B; from £90/night B&B based on two sharing.