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WINE-KNOWS TRAVEL, INC.

The English Countryside
June 11-21, 2019
2 Spaces Remaining


Stellar English wine?  Fabulous English food?   Not too long ago these were both oxymorons for wine & food lovers.  English wines, however, have recently put the wine world on notice.  In 2016 an English bubbly beat out several French Champagnes in a blind tasting that shocked the wine world.  In 2017 a wine from England won “Best in Show” among > 17,000 wines  judged by a panel of international experts.  English wines are no longer step-sisters.  And, boutique micro-breweries are opening faster than you can say “Long Live the Queen!”

The same riveting change can be seen in England’s food scene.  Michelin star chefs abound.  Gastro-pubs are springing up and featuring dishes made from locally sourced ingredients.  Fusion cuisine is weaving a new culinary tapestry with tastes of India, Asia, and France.  Old English standards continue to tantalize …Stilton & Gloucester cheeses are some of the world’s best.  Farmers’ markets are becoming very popular.  It’s out with the old, uninteresting cooking and in with new, cutting-edge gastronomy.

This trip will take place in the southern region…the sunniest part of the country (Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Wilshire and Somerset).  The majority of the trip will be in the Cotswolds, an area of quintessential thatched medieval villages and rolling green hills.  The Cotswolds, declared by the British Government as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), is considered by many foreigners & Brits as England’s most beautiful.

 

Trip Highlights: 

  • Private tours & tastings at award-winning la crème de la crème wine producers, as well as Bombay Sapphire Gin & a micro-brewery
     
  • Foodie excursions to England’s most famous outdoor market, as well as visits to both Stilton & Gloucester cheese makers
     
  • Accommodations in Anne Boleyn’s childhood castle and a luxurious private estate in the Cotswolds
     
  • Cultural visits including Shakespeare’s birthplace and the marvelous Roman Spa in Bath


June 11:  
Welcome to "The Garden of England"


The gardens of our castle-hotel are just one of the many gardens in Kent

 

Afternoon:  Our tour begins in the afternoon southeast of London in the district of Kent.   Affectionately called the “Garden of England,” Kent is also home to a famous castle home of Anne Bolyen’s family for a century.  Now owned by descendants of the famous John Jacob Astor, it has been turned into a 5 star hotel.  We’ll kick off the trip with a blind tasting of some of England’s award-winning wines.

Evening:  Dinner will be at a nearby quaint pub known for its high level of cooking. As Kent is replete with micro-breweries and wineries, there will be plenty of choices for beverages.


June 12:   Our Castle and Bubbly

Morning:  We’ll begin the day with a tour of our double-moated castle & its 125 acres of formal gardens.

Afternoon:  Next, we’re off to visit our first two wineries.  But, these are not just any wineries.  Both have received a plethora of international awards.  This is sparkling wine country, so we’ll delve into discovering England’s bubbles.  (NOTE:  Kent is the same latitude as Champagne area of France and has similar limestone soils.)

Evening:  Tonight we’ll dine at a restaurant that offers an enticing array of fresh local produce, along with a menu reflecting England’s move toward creative cooking.


Anne Boleyn’s childhood castle offers a unique opportunity for lodging


June 13:   Premium Gin & Wine


A private chef will cook dinner tonight at our estate

 

Morning:  It may be difficult to leave the castle but today we move to the enchanting Cotswolds region.  Enroute we’ll stop for a tour to learn how Bombay Sapphire Gin is made.

Afternoon:  After lunch we’ll then head to a winery that has a cult following.  Finally, we’ll arrive in the Cotswolds at our private, grand estate----a spectacular Georgian property surrounded by 20 acres of gardens and set in 500 acres of private farm and parkland.

Evening:  Dinner will be catered in by a private chef.


June 14:   Cotswold Splendor

Morning:  After breakfast we’ll head to one of the Cotswold’s loveliest villages, Stow-on-the-Wold where there will be free time.   Hundreds of years ago the Cotswolds was the wool capital not only of England but of Europe.  Stow-on-the-Wold was an important market town where much of the sheeps’ wool was sold.

Afternoon:  Next, well move to another enchanting town, Chipping Camden where you’ll be free to explore.  Another key wool settlement, Chipping Camden was quite important from the medieval ages until the Industrial Revolution.

Evening:  India was the biggest jewel in the British Empire’s crown.  Today, there are nearly two million people of Indian ethnicity in England.  This translates to a plethora of Indian restaurants which have always been immensely popular due to England’s former bland and rather boring cuisine.  Tonight we’ll dine at the best Indian restaurant in the Cotswolds.


This former wool market is built of the area’s famous honey-colored stone


June 15:   U.K.'s Best Farmer's Market


Just-picked fragrant berries are just a few of the market’s treasures

Morning:  We’ll jump-start the day by visiting England's award-winning outdoor foodie's market.  Strawberries are synonymous with June, as are cherries and stone fruit.  Local dairies abound and will be selling fresh yogurt and cheese.  Stone fruit will just be coming into season.  Artisan bakers will offer tempting breads and pastries.  The English love their flower gardens so expect a plethora of vendors selling an array of florals.

Afternoon:  It just so happens that a brilliant winery is in the vicinity of the market, so after shopping we’ll have a tasting of their award-winning wines.

Evening:  Tonight’s a free night.  There’s an option for a group pot-luck at the estate put together from items purchased this morning.  Or, opt for dining out.

 


June 16:   Strolling, Shopping and Sipping

Morning:   Free time.  There are plenty of walking trails just out the door of our country estate.  Or perhaps, a game of croquet on the expansive lawn?

Afternoon:  We’ll head to another of the Cotswold’s beloved towns.  This village has something for all:  one can simply wander, shop, or visit the micro-brewery.

Evening:  We’ll dine at a gastro-pub that sources its produce and food products locally.


Beautiful Bourton-on-the-Water offers something for everyone


June 17:   Stilton & Shakespeare


The Stilton producer has been making cheese for >100 years

Morning:  Today we head north to Robin Hood’s Nottingham district for one of the most ethereal food products in England, Stilton Cheese. We’ll visit the top producer of this blue cheese to learn about its labor-intensive process.  A tasting will follow.

Afternoon:  We’ll stop in Stratford-on-Avon where there will be free time.  Birthplace of Shakespeare, the town is very popular and its waterside location makes for a beautiful stop.

Evening:  Dinner will be at a local pub that offers a killer list of English beers, as well as a great wine list to accompany its fusion-inspired cooking.


June 18:   Your Day in the Cotswolds

Morning & Afternoon:  Today is your day to do as you wish.  The famous Cotswold trail for hiking is right out our front door.   Biking on the pretty country lanes is an option.  If you’re a gardener, there’s a wonderful garden nearby owned by the National Trust that shouldn’t be missed.   Maybe you’ll decide on a formal afternoon English Tea?   Or, perhaps you wish to return to one of the charming villages we visited?  All are possible.

Evening:  We’ll toast our last evening in the glorious Cotswolds at one of the area’s top restaurants.


Consider indulging in a favorite English tradition….afternoon tea


June 19:   Wine and Glouchester Cheese


This gold medal winning owner serves as a consultant to >20 wineries

Morning:  You most likely will not wish to say good-bye to the amazing Cotswold countryside, however, today we’ll continue onward to another equally charming part of the Cotswolds----the awesome town of Bath.  In route, we’ll stop at a Gloucester cheese maker to see the process and sample the cheese made from the Gloucester breed of cows.

Afternoon:  Immediately following lunch, we’ll visit a nearby winery that has received accolades from the international press.   Then, we’ll check into our villa-hotel located in the historical center of the town of Bath.

Evening:  Dinner will be at an atmospheric gastro-pub with killer food and a terrific list of libations.


June 20:   The Brilliance of Bath

Morning:  Today we’ll begin with a walking tour of Bath with a professional guide.  Definite must-stops will include the town’s famous Roman Spa and the Royal Crescent, one of the greatest examples in the U.K. of Georgian architecture.

Afternoon:  Free time to explore oh-so special Bath: shop for last minute gifts, savor one last meal in a British pub, or if you missed tea in the Cotswold now’s a good time to indulge.

Evening:  Tonight’s farewell dinner will be a 5 Course Tasting Menu at Bath’s cutting-edge restaurant.  There’s not a better place to toast the trip’s many awazing experiences.


Bath is one of the most beloved towns in England


June 21:   Hail Caesar!


Natural hot springs are just one of the many compelling features of Bath

  By now, trip participants will have discovered some of the numerous reasons why the Romans fell in love with this town  nearly 2000 years ago.  Unfortunately, the tour ends after breakfast.  For those of you who can’t stand the thought of leaving this enchanting spot, Wine-Knows can arrange extra days at our hotel (but early booking is critical as this is a small, very popular venue).  Otherwise, we can assist with transport back to London, or make arrangements for other locations in England or Europe.   Bon voyage!

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