From Sipsmith to Jensen's, London’s gin scene has had an exciting revival, but it’s not just the capital offering out their tasty juniper wares, there are countless gin spots popping up all over the country, serving up the best botanicals around. So, whatever your brand of choice, we’ve whittled down the best distillery tours and tasting sessions in the UK, guaranteed to satisfy the most discerning of gin drinkers.
If you're a gin lover, then Harrogate is the place to head. Be sure to drink in the history of this beautiful market town but make sure you slope off to Slingsby’s tasting rooms to sample their range of glorious gin infusions. You’ll learn about London’s fascinating gin-soaked past from the gin craze of the 18th century right up to the present day. Sample some replicas of how gin tasted back in its heyday, when it was used for medicinal purposes. A word of warning: potent doesn’t cut it; this is gin in its purest form and should come with a health warning. Not for the faint-hearted.
As well as being served generous glugs of gin-based cocktails and a delicious charcuterie smorgasboard, you can enjoy a masterclass from Slingsby’s talented mixologists and get the chance to hone your own skills in a hands-on cocktail making session. Be sure to try their rhubarb-infused gin – it’s delicious.
5-7 Montpellier Parade, Harrogate, Slingsby Spirit of Gin £40pp
As one of the first in a new wave of London gin distilleries, Sipsmith’s is a stalwart on the London gin scene and one of the most popular, too. Sipsmith Sipper Club tours run between three and four times a week, where fans learn about London’s gin fuelled history, see the shiny copper stills at work and enjoy a tutored tasting session. On Tuesday evenings, guests can indulge in the Sipsmith Sipper Club, which includes an evening of gin sipping followed by a three-course gin-inspired supper at Charlotte’s Bistro – just ten minutes from the distillery – and a complimentary bottle of London Dry Gin to take home.
The Distillery, 83 Cranbrook Road, Chiswick, London, tickets from £25
Set on Portobello Road, The Distillery is a towering, four-storey gin palace, dedicated entirely to this quintessential British tipple. The Resting Room on the ground floor serves up an eclectic range of one-of-a-kind gin blends and quirky spirits – think avocado and olive oil vodka – with many dispensed directly from hand-built barrels suspended above the bar. Head upstairs to the Spanish-inspired GinTonica for G&T’s served up in Copa De Balón – a balloon goblet glass – where you can also devour plates of tapas. For the undiluted gin experience, book in for gin making at the Ginstitute, followed by a stay in the one of The Distillery’s themed guest rooms.
186 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, masterclasses run from £60pp
The Black Friars Distillery has been making Plymouth Gin since 1793, so a trip to their Devon headquarters should make it to the top of any gin lover’s bucket list and means you can double up with a trip to the beautiful Devon Coast. There are three tours to choose from, each taking you on a historical, sensory journey through the flavours and aromas of various styles of your favourite spirit. If you choose the Master Distiller’s Tour, you’ll get the chance to create your own bespoke bottle of gin, as well as enjoying a specially prepared Plymouth G&T at the Refectory Bar.
Black Friars Distillery, 60 Southside Street, The Barbican, Plymouth, distillery tours start from £6
With breath-taking scenery, the Lakes Distillery is a fantastic setting for a gin tour. You’ll get a guided tour around the distillery, seeing the Stillroom and Cask Warehouse hard at work as well as an in-depth tutored tasting experience where you’ll get to sample some of their best botanicals. There's also a bistro that you can book for lunch or dinner plus a picturesque walk to the River Derwent, passing the distillery's big, fluffy alpacas along the way.
The Lakes Distillery, Setmurthy, Near Bassenthwaite Lake, Cumbria, distillery tour from £12.50
Eden Mill Scotland
One of Scotland’s most unique distilleries, Eden Mill not only serves up thirst-quenching gin-based tipples, there’s also a brewery here, too. They offer a wide range of gins, including the intriguing Hop gin with notes of zesty citrus and sweet apricot. During the tour you’ll learn how Eden Mill’s gin is made, how they source their locally grown botanicals and which ones they infuse into their unique blends. You’ll get behind-the-scenes access to their production rooms and to savour a gin tasting session sampling some of the delights from their delicious range. The tour runs in St Andrews but they also offer a session in Edinburgh too.
Main St, Guardbridge, St Andrews, tours start from £10
East London Liquor Company
Located in the heart of London’s gin-fuelled heyday, East London Liquor Company know a thing or two about brewing top-notch gin tipples. As the first gin and vodka distillery in East London in over 100 years, they work with some of the world’s best botanicals to produce an array of high-quality, flavoursome gins - so you know you’ll be in safe hands when you head there for a tasting session. Nestled in the old glue factory in Bow Wharf, the venue is steeped in history. If you book the Spirit of Gin Tour, you’ll get to hear stories of London’s gin-drenched, dark and depraved past. The tour will show you how their world-class gin is produced and of course, test out its taste.
Unit GF1, Bow Wharf, 221 Grove Road, London, Spirit of Gin Tour, £45
Weber & Trings
As well as a shop stocking a range of unique, premium gin brands, Weber & Trings also sell a range of tonics, glasses and gorgeous gift sets. But it’s the romantic wine cellar downstairs where they host their tasting sessions which puts this gin gem on the map. They run wine and spirit tasting classes twice a month as well as ‘Make Your Own Gin’ workshops for the true aficionado.
14 Christmas Steps, Bristol, tastings from £25pp
The Ginstitute at Portobello Star
Home to Portobello Road Gin (it used to be made upstairs) as well as a wide selection behind the bar, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to picking your poison. Prop up the bar and sample your way through their endless botanicals before heading to the Ginstitute – paired with its Portobello sibling, The Distillery – for an in-depth masterclass where you can taste your way through the history of London’s gin craze sip by sip.
171 Portobello Rd Notting Hill, The Ginstitute Experience, £110
Combine a trip to Jensen’s with a visit to Maltby Street market. Jensen’s Gin is made at the Bermondsey Distillery and you can drop in for a tasting on market days (including Saturdays 10am-4pm). Tickets cost £10 per head and include a long drink as well as tastings. Admission is free and you can bring in your own food in from the market.
55 Stanworth Street, Bermondsey, London, admission is FREE
For those who like their gin in the fast lane, Gin Journey offers a range of quirky tasting voyages that put you in the driving seat. From a chauffeur-driven evening tour stopping off at some of the UK’s most celebrated gin bars to waterside canal cruises where you soak up city views with a cocktail in hand. The tours run all over the UK, from London to Liverpool to Edinburgh and each of them includes an array of different gins to sample for a night out with a difference.
Various locations, tours from £73.85