South East England

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

Astronomy in the Pub

25 February 2012 - 6:00pm

Head to Horns Lodge, one of the darkest village pubs in the south-east, for Astronomy in the Pub, a “lights out” evening in association with BBC Stargazing Live.

Part of the Brighton Science Festival, there will be plenty of telescopes set up in the pub garden, plus amateur astronomers on hand to help guide you round the stars.

The Science of Wine, Brighton Science Festival

25 February 2012 - 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Fancy seeing how to turn water into wine? Well head on over to the Brighton Science Festival where Plumpton’ College’s Dr Belinda Kemp will be showing you just how this is done. (She’ll also be turning it back into water, but somehow that doesn’t sound so interesting!)

Also, do you fancy yourself as a good judge of taste. By using a simple test, Belinda will be able to see just how good your tastebuds are – could you be a Supertaster or even a Hypertaster? Head along and find out.

Tour Biddenden Vineyard in 2013

Biddenden Vineyards
19 January 2013 - 16 November 2013

Biddenden will be kicking off its free schedule of Saturday vineyard tours a week earlier in 2013, with the first date set for 19 January. Although all are free to take one of two self-guided routes anyway, to look around the 23 acre estate anyway, for an insight from the winery itself, book onto one of these tours.

Chiltern Brewery Tours

The Chiltern Brewery
4 February 2012 - 31 March 2012

The Chiltern Brewery in Buckinghamshire has launched its 2012 Spring programme of tours to give members of the public the chance to explore behind the scenes of their brewery, the oldest in the area.

Each one-hour tour will cover how 100% British ingredients are used to create the characteristics of fine ales, an introduction to the art of craft brewing, a brief history of the Chiltern Brewery, a tour of the BrewHouse and, finally, a tutored beer and food tasting session with a selection of locally made chandlery that uses beer from The Chiltern Brewery as an ingredient.

Wareside Wines Sparkling 2008

Lightly biscuity with white peach notes, this is a highly promising sparkling wine from the Briscoes in Hertfordshire.

As with the majority of the smaller English and Welsh wineries, Wareside Wines has no winery on site at the moment. So the Briscoes' Pinot Noir joins with Chardonnay from Martin Oldaker in Surrenden in Kent, with Vince at Stanlake Park acting as midwife-winemaker.

£22, from winery; The Vine Shop, Ware

Wright's Original Dark Ginger

It might seem like ginger is the latest craze to hit our flavour-hungry palates. Well Wrights Original could claim to be the daddy of them all, with its Dark Ginger created from a traditional recipe dating back to the 19th century.

It's got a fab lick of spicy ginger and is unashamedly sweet. My tip therefore is to add a generous squeeze of lime and enjoy over ice. Or follow the creators' suggestion and add a splash of soda or sparkling water.

Find at Farm Shops around Surrey and in selected National Trust properties

Juiceology Apple, Lime & Mint

It was like sticking my nose in an English herb garden when I sniffed Juiceology's Apple, Lime & Mint drink – evocative and inspriing.

With its tang of apple, just the right amount of lime, and a friendly flourish of English mint, this is my style of soft drink.

It's one of a quartet of drinks launched by top mixologist Joe McCanta with the help of entrepreneur Richard Watson – he'd been bemoaning the lack of decent soft drinks.


£1.69; Fortnum & Mason, Whole Foods, Harvey Nichols,


Ridgeway Bad King John

It was the week after New Year and I just happened to be stocking up in Sainsbury's, as you do. Imagine my delight when, far from empty shelves, there was a good supply of none other than the Sainsbury's Great British Beer Hunt winner, Bad King John from Ridgeway Brewery.

Easy choice that one and, sampling it now, it's lost none of its appeal.

6%, £2.09; Sainsburys & selected independent beer shops

Shepherd Neame Christmas Ale

With notes of dried fruit and light spicy hints, Shepherd Neame's Christmas Ale is a refreshing amber beer with enough malt magic to complement the rich festive fare without heading into flavour-overload. 

 £2, supermarkets & online

Maynard House Orchards

Maynard House Orchards XXXXXX  Maynard House Orchards is a family run business that uses local fruit to produce high quality, deeply flavoured apple juice.


  • Cox Apple Juice – 2011, Two Stars at The Great Taste Awards
  • Bramley Apple Juice – 2011, Two Stars at The Great Taste Awards
  • Maynard House Orchards - 2010 National Fruit Show, Second Prize overall

Annual events

Maynard House runs farm and production tours at harvest time (booking essential).

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