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Check out this quirky West Sussex winery with its own colony of wallabies!

And yes, you can spend the night here, and see the wallabies get fed each day

C. 'silver-tooth' Sharpe
Published by
C. 'silver-tooth' Sharpe
17/01/2022
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English wineries may not be the best known in the world, but they more than make up for it with their quirky character.

Leonardslee, in West Sussex (near Horsham), has character, in spades. They make wine, host events (everything from comedy to art exhibitions), have a Michelin-star kitchen, a dolls house exhibition AND their own colony of Tasmanian wallabies.

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Destination

  • West Sussex
  • England

Details

Leonardslee Gardens sits among 240 acres of lakes and woodland. The house actually only reopened to the public after being closed for 10 years in 2019, its Grade I listed garden being one of the largest restoration projects in the UK.

On the estate, you'll also find the most unlikely critters, a colony of wallabies. Thought to have been brought to the estate in 1889 from Tasmania by Sir Edmund Loder, visitors can watch the wallabies and their super cute joeys get fed each day between noon and 12.30pm.

Wallabies are members of the macropod family, so they are relatives of kangaroos, only smaller and, arguably, even cuter. The wallabies roam freely around the estate, but you can see breeding pairs in the maternity enclosure near the house.

The estate also has a fantastic variety of walks to enjoy that loop around the massive grounds, by scenic lakes and gardens rich with flora and fauna.

It's also the perfect place for anyone with a passion for photography.

When its time to chill out, you have a dolls house museum to explore, the option of afternoon tea or, why not do a tutored wine tasting or wine and cheese pairing?

Leonardslee's sister estate in South Africa produces internationally acclaimed and award-winning wines. If you visit in 2023 you'll be one of the first to taste the first pinotage wine ever made in the UK, which is currently being cultivated on the 4-acre vineyard overlooking the South Downs valley.

If you want more indulgence, there's a Michelin star restaurant on-site, Interlude, which creates multi-course menus that changes with the seasons.

Interlude, under the leadership of Chef Jean Delport, uses ingredients foraged from the estate grounds, as well as local Sussex producers.

As if that wasn't enough, you can even stay here, in a Grade II listed 19th-Century Italianate style house that looks out over the valley. There are only 10, exclusive rooms here, so you just know its super fancy.

Tags

UniqueDay BreaksFamily-FriendlyMini BreakNatureStaycation