Distillery Visits and Tours - the Perfect Staycation Activity for Gin Lovers!
If you’re a gin lover who is planning a staycation in the British Isles, why not arrange a visit to a gin distillery as part of your itinerary? These fascinating establishments are dotted all over England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
By booking a tour at a distillery local to where you’re staying, you’ll not only be supporting local businesses, but you’ll also learn a lot about this popular tipple (and you may even be able to enjoy a few cheeky samples!).
We’ve calculated that there are currently 120 gin distilleries that provide tours. 60 gin distilleries are in England, 46 in Scotland, 7 in Wales, 4 in the Republic of Ireland and 3 in Northern Ireland - though more may open their doors in the future!
Out of the 120 gin distilleries that usually offer tours, 16 have started offering virtual tours, schools or virtual gin tasting.
We have looked into each part of the British Isles to see which gin distilleries we can join online for a glass (or a few) of gin.
Gin Distilleries offering virtual gin experiences
- Sipsmith Distillery
- Bombay Sapphire Distillery
- Puddingstone Distillery
- Salcombe Distillery
- Silent Pool Distillery
- Chase Distillery
- Cotswolds Distillery
- Warner Edwards Distillery
- Manchester Gin
- Eden Mill Distillery
- Edinburgh Distillery
- The Old Curiosity Distillery
- Beinn an Tuirc Distillers
- Dunnet Bay Distillery
- Aber Falls Distillery
- Penderyn Distillery
Additionally more gin distilleries have moved onto virtual gin experience, these are Spirit of Harrogate, Stirling Gin, Shakespeare Distillery, Hendrick’s Gin and Wessex Distillery.
All these lovely gin distilleries offer either virtual tours, virtual schools or virtual gin tasting which you can join simply via a Zoom call.
However, if you are up to some in-person tasting, below, you’ll find a handy guide to the distilleries in your staycation region.
Gin Distilleries in England
The South of England
Further afield, you’ll find 21 separate distillery tour options across the South of England.
The long-established and well-loved Bombay Sapphire brand is based in Laverstoke, Hampshire, while younger crowd-pleasers 6 O’Clock Gin and The Bath Gin Company can be found at Bramley & Gage Distillery, Bristol and Prior Park Road, Bath respectively.
For distillery tours with an “off the beaten track” feel, there is a broad selection in Central England - 15 options in all, to be precise.
For example, you may be surprised to discover the delightful offerings available from Adnams in Suffolk - perhaps most famous for their beers and ales. Their range includes the popular Copper House and the unique Habanero and Lime gin.
Chase Distillery in Herefordshire is also best known for a different drink - vodka, in this case - but their lively collection of fruity and delicious gins - including marmalade and pink grapefruit & pomelo - deserve to be just as big of a hit.
Tie in your trip to beauty spots like the Lake District or to the buzzing ‘Capital of the North’ - Manchester - with a brilliant distillery tour. There are 11 locations to enjoy in the region.
Celebrated Shed 1 Gin is distilled in Ulverston in the Lakes, and its HQ even features a gin school! There’s also a tour available at the Lakes Distillery in stunning Bassenthwaite in the north of the region.
The first is located by the astonishingly beautiful Lough Erne in Enniskillen and produces two highly drinkable “Boatyard” gins and one unique and complex vodka.
The latter two are based in County Down - Echlinville in Newtownards and Rademon Estate in Downpatrick. Both produce award-winning gins and whiskies.
Republic of Ireland
Counties Cork, Kerry, Louth and Kilkenny each boast their own exciting distillery complete with tour.
Blacks Brewery and Distillery, Co. Cork, produces superb small batch gin along with whiskies, beers and rums. Dingle Distillery, Co. Kerry, also distills vodkas and rums alongside its award-winning “Original Gin”.
Co. Louth’s offering is Listoke Distillery, which offers “Ireland’s only gin school” alongside two exciting ranges of gin - their 1777 selection and their small batch productions.
Highbank Orchards in Co. Kilkenny is an offshoot of Highbank Orchards - a pioneering organic business that offers wonderfully crafted syrups, ciders, vinegars and treacles as well as their wonderful flavoured gins.
Scotland - Edinburgh & South East
Of the 46 distillery tours available across Scotland, 14 are based in its capital - Edinburgh - and its surrounding areas.
You probably already know of highly popular Edinburgh Gin, but the region is also home to the 1881 Distillery and Gin School at the astonishing Peebles Hydro, as well as the small batch craft gin available at Lilliard Ginnery on the Scottish Borders and the wide selection of flavours (and even a colour-changing gin!) from McQueen’s Gin Emporium, Stirling.
Scotland - Glasgow & South West
There are 7 gin distilleries offering exciting experiences and tours in the South West of Scotland.
The city of Glasgow boasts the classy, award-winning Glasgow Distillery, home to a beautifully crafted range of delicious “Makar” gins.
Away from the urban centre, you can also find smaller producers, including the wholesome Wee Farm Distillery in Forth, which offers an entire rainbow of gin products, from their classic “Drovers Gin” to gin liqueurs in almost any flavour you can imagine.
Scotland - Aberdeen, Elgin & North East
Did you know that craft beer giants BrewDog have their own line of gins, crafted at The Lone Wolf Distillery in Ellon, near Aberdeen? This location provides just one of the 7 fascinating tours available in Scotland’s North East.
Others include the well-established City of Aberdeen Distillery and Gin School, which produces unique limited edition batches, and the Glenrinnes Distillery in the heart of famous Speyside, creators of the excellent Eight Lands organic gin.
Scotland - Highlands
There are also 7 distillery tours available across the romantic Scottish Highlands. The characterful Fairy Tale Distillery in Kintail offers expertly crafted offerings with sophisticated notes, while the Dunnet Bay Distillers in Caithness create fruity and herbal gins in a highly sustainable manner.
Meanwhile, craft distillery and gin school Pixel Spirits in North Ballachulish offer unique distillations with either spiced notes or a citrus tang.
Scotland - Islands
The islands of Scotland offer an impressive 11 opportunities to tour fantastic local distilleries. Options include the Bruichladdich Distillery - producers of popular gin “The Botanist” and based in the distillers’ paradise, Islay.
You can also visit the distillery of the luscious Lussa Gin in Jura - another mecca for spirit lovers - or the unique offerings from the Tobermory Distillery that feature a little splash from their whisky stills!
There are 7 unique distillery sites to explore throughout Wales.
Sample Foragers gin from the breathtaking foothills of Snowdonia, sip sustainably crafted offerings from family-run Dyfi Distillery in a UNESCO World Biosphere or explore the Gower Gin Company’s site - a converted bike shed in Port Eynon, right on the cusp of the Bristol Channel - to name just a few.
Whichever of these stunning sites you wish to visit, be sure to take your time seeking accommodation that is right for you!
While some of the distilleries on our list are right in the heart of an urban centre, others are fairly remote and may need to be the focus of a “day trip”. Be sure to check out available transportation or research driving distances before you confirm any bookings.
Numerous northern tours - including those offered by the City of Manchester Distillery, Brindle Distillery (the home of Cuckoo Gin) and Three Wrens Distillery are easily accessible from a base in Manchester, where you’ll find our luxury aparthotel.
Contact the CitySuites team today for booking information.