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Wine tourism – a growing attraction in Wealden

Wine tourism is a growing attraction in Wealden and bringing young, high-spending visitors to the district from London.

This was revealed in research conducted by NGI Solutions, a business research company, and reported to a tourism conference held at Herstmonceux Castle.

The majority of visitors to the district though are aged 45 years and over and what they most like is the ability to walk and take in the landscape around them.

Tourism brings in some £250 million a year to the district and provides jobs for 7,000 local people, the Wealden Do Tourism conference was told.

The aim for the future is to encourage a more focused approach, identifying and attracting specific groups of visitors and promoting the range of other activiies that would suit them.

Largest wine-growing region

Chief operations manager for the Rathfinny Vineyard in Alfriston, Jamie Everitt, told attendees: “Sussex is the largest wine growing region in the country. We are attracting visitors who are interested in good food and wine and are finding Wealden has a very big larder. This is a new type of customer.”

Typically wine tourism involves visits to two or more local vineyards, overnight accommodation and an evening meal in a local gastro pub.

Tourism’s contribution to the East Sussex economy has increased by 38% over the last ten years and was worth over £1.4 billion in 2015. It employs 30,500 people across the county.

The seaside remains the most popular place for overnight stays in East Sussex accounting for 56% of overnight stays. Staying in villages and countryside accounted for 21% of the overnight stays in East Sussex.

• Looking for a local vineyard? Bluebell Vineyard Estates can be found near the Bluebell Railway and Sheffield Park. Find their contact details 24/7 in our Uckfield Directory.

• A variety of accommodation is available in the Uckfield area. Here’s a handy list.

• Check out the Wealden do Sussex website – there’s a glimpse of it in the picture above – for more information about visitor attractions in the district.