South East England

Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey, E & W Sussex

Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival

5 September 2013 - 15 September 2013

Once more the residents of Brighton & Hove are putting on a food and drink spectacular for locals and visitors alike this September. With some of England's finest beers, wines and ciders on its doorstep, not to mention some of the most creative chefs this side of the world, this is a must for any food and drink lover.

I've got my eye on the Harveys Beer & Foraging Dinner, the evening or Regency Wine & Cheese with Mr Butler and Mr Deaves, to kick it all off, the Bitter & Twisted local beer and cider evening, and to finish proceedings – of course – the Brighton Beer & Cider Festival.

Brogdale Cider Festival

Brogdale Farm
24 August 2013 - 25 August 2013

Over 70 artisan ciders and perries will be available at the Brogdale Cider Festival this weekend, over twice the number from five years ago, illustrating the growth in craft cider making in the Garden of England.

A cider competition, local foods and plenty of activities for children make this family friendly in typically warm Brogdale style. Bands playing over the weekend include Coco and the Butterfields.

Brogdale Farm

Brogdale Farm plays host to the gem that is the National Fruit Collection. Within an hour or so of London you can visit the world's largest collection of fruit trees and plants.

Open daily throughout the summer, take advantage of daily guided tours, lasting about an hour. Or visit during the week in the winter. On the guided tours, your guide will pluck the latest apple, cherry or plum off the tree for you to try.

  • Tours
  • Café and/or Restaurant
  • Shop
  • Wheelchair Access
  • Child Friendly
  • Public Transport within 5 miles

Shepherd Neame Brilliant Ale

Hold a buttercup under your chin to get an idea of the colour that Shepherd Neame’s new release – Brilliant Ale – pours. Impossibly golden, with its halo of creamy foam, it's a hugely enticing glass of beer.

5.6% in 50cl bottle, available via independent retailers and online

4% on draught; available as the brewery's September seasonal ale in its pubs; call ahead to confirm availability

Hush Heath, Jake's Orchard Cider

Elegant and sprightly, Jake's Cider has light aromas of cooked and green apple, with a subtle herbal tinge, flavours which continue onto the palate.  

Named after the owner's son, Jake's Cider is crafted from Cox, Bramley and Egremont Russell apples from the Hush Heath Estate. 

£13.50, from New Forest Cider Shop, Borough Market;

Nutbourne Bacchus 2011

A wonderfully aromatic wine which illustrates beautifully what England's signature grape can achieve given the right handling and the right soils. 

Floral aromas mix with light lemon, moving to a palate with tart tropical fruit flavours alongside ripe Granny Smiths.

My Big Kent Weekend

23 March 2013 - 24 March 2013

Residents of Kent have until 18 February to apply for 1700 free tickets to over 100 Kent visitor attractions, from wineries to castles, wildlife parks to historic river tours, for this year’s My Big Kent Weekend, 23-24 March.

Wineries and Cider houses taking part include favourites Biddenden Vineyards, Meopham Valley Vineyards, Terlingham Vineyard, Hush Heath Estate and Chapel Down Winery and Brogdale Collections.

Information on how to apply for tickets is given on My Kent Big Weekend’s website.

Cider vs Wine Dinner, The Thatchers Arms

2 February 2013 - 7:00pm

Cider takes on wine in a battle for the diners’ glass at renowned foodie pub, The Thatchers Arms, near Colchester, on Saturday 2 February.

Publican Mitch Adams has teamed up with to stage the first such tournament. Diners will sit down to a five-course meal, each paired with both a cider and a wine, before being asked to vote at the end for their favourite match.

7pm, 2 February 2013, £38, The Thatchers Arms, Mount Bures, Essex, CO8 5AT, 01787 227460,  tickets available via

RidgeView Monthly Tours

RidgeView Estate
12 April 2014 - 13 December 2014

Run once a month, this is your chance to visit one of the UK's finest wine producers without having to get together a group of your own.

£15; tickets must be booked ahead since spaces are limited

Laithwaites Theale Vineyard Blanc de Blancs 2007

With its sprightly mix of ripe orchard fruit and zesty, tart peach to finish, alongside a lick of citrus twang, Laithwaites have fashioned a lively sparkler form its weeny vineyard outside its HQ in Theale.

£22.99, Laithwaites shops & online