DCMS blog

Raising a glass to food and drink tourism in English Wine Week

Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE

by

CEO Visit Kent and Go To Places

Strolling through acres of lush, sun-kissed grape vines isn’t a typical day in the office. Or at least, it wouldn’t be anywhere other than in Kent – the Garden of England…

It’s English Wine Week and we should all raise a collective glass to England’s prowess as a world-class wine producer, because this ever-growing enthusiasm for our wine, demonstrates the incredible opportunities food and drink tourism can offer the UK.

Trading with the world

We were delighted this week to welcome Tourism Minister Michael Ellis to Chapel Down Winery in Tenterden, where we collectively explored why showcasing the land and people who produce our favourite bites and tipples can help to secure more international tourism trade.

Research shows a consistent interest from Dutch and German tourists in visiting great gardens in the UK, but more and more travellers want to meet the local farmers behind the scenes, to taste the fresh produce, and to experience a local gourmet offer beyond a traditional fish and chip supper (although a great English chippie is worth the journey!).

The Wine Garden of England

For most of us, the promise of a good meal and a great view are must haves when it comes to physically booking a break. This is why we have put them at the centre of our £1million Discover England Fund (DEF) project, Gourmet Garden Trails (GGT).

With the DEF support, we aim to help visitors build their perfect sensory journey through England, with new bookable itineraries showcasing beautiful gardens, accommodation, food outlets, vineyards and breweries across Kent, Hertfordshire, Essex, Cheshire and The Peak District, and Derbyshire.

Kent’s new Wine Garden of England partnership will undoubtedly be one of the star features of the project. Through this collaboration of seven Kent-based wine producers, we can follow in the footsteps of Napa or Barossa Valleys and turn Kent’s thriving wine industry into a new feather in the cap for English tourism

Not only do we, in Kent, intend to reinvent ourselves as the official Wine Garden of England, but we also wish to use our knowledge to unlock great foodie features across the UK for the world to discover.