Indulge in a spirited day out discovering how your favourite tipple is created at England’s best distilleries, from independent gin emporiums to whisky distilleries.
We’ve pulled together ten fabulous distillery tours that will make it to the top of any spirit lover’s bucket list.
All are within an easy drive of our English holiday cottages too, meaning you can double up your visit with a fabulous short break.
1 Chase Distillery, Herefordshire
Explore your ‘spiritual’ side at Chase, named as one of the top trending Vodka brands for 2017! Set within rolling countryside, Chase is perhaps one of the most picturesque of UK distilleries. The lovingly bottled potato vodka is made on a 400-acre farm, alongside cider, apple vodka and Williams gin. Take a tour of the facilities which give a behind-the-scenes look at the production process, from field to finished bottle. Learn about mashing, fermenting and distilling before taking part in a tutored tasting of the good stuff! Why not follow it up with lunch or Afternoon Tea at the Verzon, a stylish boutique hotel nearby owned by the Chase family?
Find out more: Chase Distillery, Rosemaund Farm, Hereford HR1 3PG. chasedistillery.co.uk
Make a break of it: Hampton Wafre Cottage is nestled in the Herefordshire countryside only 20 minutes’ drive from Chase Distillery.
2 6 O’clock Gin/Bramley & Gage, Bristol
6 O’clock Gin is a premium London Dry Gin distilled by Bramley & Gage in beautiful Thornbury, just north of Bristol. The family-run distillery began making fruit liqueurs on their fruit farm over 25 years ago and today still handcraft all products onsite, with award-winning results. Gin enthusiasts can book a top notch tour and discover the gin-making process which includes a tutored tasting and a glass of ‘Ginspiration’. You’ll also be introduced to their artisan fruit liqueurs and their delicious vermouths.
Find out more: Bramley & Gage Ltd, Ashville Park, Short Way, Thornbury BS35 3UU. bramleyandgage.com
Make a break of it: Genever lovers can combine their visit with a stay at Henfield Barn, our luxury barn conversion with lavish indoor heated pool, just 20 minutes’ drive away.
3 Copper Rivet Distillery, Kent
Visit the Copper Rivet Distillery, set on the banks of the River Medway in the magnificent Victorian Pump House No. 5, which used to drain and re-fill the Royal dry docks. The distillery looks across the River Medway to the historic Upnor Castle, originally the largest gunpowder store in England. The range of premium quality spirits produced includes Dockyard Gin, Vela Vodka, Son of a Gun – an unaged rye spirit, and Masthouse Whisky – a single malt, available from 2020. Why not take a tour and see the distillation process in action, experiment with flavour profiling in the laboratory and sample the premium Kentish craft spirits for yourselves? There’s a delicatessen too, and lots of space inside and out with tables and chairs.
Find out more: Copper Rivet Distillery, Pump House no. 5, Chatham Dockyard, Leviathan Way, Chatham, ME4 4LP. www.copperrivetdistillery.com
Make a break of it: Stay at Manor Farmhouse, our superb luxury break with pool, 30 minutes’ drive away.
4 Somerset Cider Brandy Company, Somerset
Be part of the Somerset Cider Brandy Revival at Burrow Hill, a traditional cider farm and distillery making vintage ciders and cider brandies run by Julian Temperley. In 1989, HM Customs granted the company the first full cider distilling licence in recorded history. There’s plenty to explore; sample tasters among the oak vats, barrels and presses, walk along the orchard trail and have a peek at the copper stills in the distillery. A trip wouldn’t be complete without a climb to the top of Burrow Hill for incredible views of the Somerset Levels. Followed, of course, by a refreshing drink of cider in the Cider House.
Find out more: Somerset Cider Brandy Company, Pass Vale Farm, Burrow Hill, Kingsbury Episcopi, Martock TA12 6BU. www.ciderbrandy.co.uk
Make a break of it: Lovely thatched Plough Cottage is our perfect romantic rural bolthole for couples who wish to explore this lovely part of the country, just 20 minutes drive away.
5 Lakes Distillery, Cumbria
The Lakes Distillery produces world-class whisky, gin and vodka in a fantastic setting close to Lake Bassenthwaite. The distillery offers various guided tours of the facilities and tutored tastings of the award winning spirits. The distillery’s guests also have the opportunity to meet and feed the on-site herd of big fluffy alpacas! Kids are kept busy with a prize-winning quiz to complete on their way round the distillery. Indulge in afternoon teas and cocktail-making classes by arrangement too. Housed in a former Victorian model farm, there’s a range of facilities including a bistro, plus a picturesque walk to the River Derwent.
Find out more: Lakes Distillery, Setmurthy, Near Bassenthwaite Lake, Cumbria. www.lakesdistillery.com
Make a break of it: Award-winning Waternook on the shores of Lake Ullswater is the ultimate place to relax, 45 minutes away.
6 Bombay Sapphire Distillery, Hampshire
Bombay Sapphire transformed Laverstoke Mill – a former Victorian paper mill astride the River Test – into a spectacular state-of-the-art distillery. Behind the scenes distillery tours showcase the ten exotic botanicals that go into every drop. Explore the stunning glasshouses, Botanical Dry Room and rare “vapour infusion” distillation process as part of a self-guided or hosted tour, or book one of the special gin cocktail masterclasses. Complete the experience with Bombay Sapphire cocktails in the Mill Bar. Drivers can enjoy a soft drink in the Mill Bar and pick up a takeaway Gin & Tonic pack from the Gin Shop to enjoy at home later.
Find out more: Bombay Sapphire Distillery, Laverstoke Mill, Laverstoke, Whitchurch RG28 7NR. distillery.bombaysapphire.com
7 Cotswolds Distillery, Cotswolds
Set in a pretty rural spot, Cotswold Distillery is a small boutique distillery creating its flagship Cotswold Gin, featuring lavender from Snowshill, and a single malt whisky, currently slumbering in cask to be released in Autumn 2017. There’s a state of the art visitors’ centre plus tasting and blending rooms open for tours and tastings. Distillery tours offer a fascinating, behind-the-scenes glimpse of artisanal gin-making plus a mash tun, mill and stills for whisky production. Plus a great tasting experience afterwards – with samples for the driver to take home!
Find out more: Cotswolds Distillery, Phillip’s Field, Whichford Road, Stourton, Shipston-on-Stour CV36 5HG. www.cotswoldsdistillery.com
Make a break of it: Stay at Kingham Cottages 20 minutes’ drive away, your perfect Cotswolds food and drink getaway.
8 English Whisky Co. Ltd, Norfolk
A trip to St Georges Distillery, home of The English Whisky Co, is guaranteed to leave whisky aficionados in good spirits. Distilling since 2006 with water from the Breckland aquifer, this little gem is a big part of Norfolk’s heritage. Distillery tours offer the chance to see how the striking copper stills produce the clear, sweet spirit that is then stored in casks for at least three years before being bottled. Then the all important tasting! Browse the shop with over 200 different whiskies followed by a walk and maybe a late afternoon picnic along the River Thet.
Find out more: St Georges Distillery, Harling Road, Roudham, Norfolk NR16 2QW. www.englishwhisky.co.uk
9 Plymouth Distillery, Devon
The Plymouth Distillery is the oldest gin distillery in England, dating back to 1793. The building dates back to the 1400s and was originally a monastery inhabited by the Black Friars. This fascinating historic building was also the place where the Pilgrim Fathers spent their last night before embarking on their journey on the Mayflower to America in 1620. The Mayflower ship forms Plymouth Gin’s trademark label today. There are three great distillery tours on offer. 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 in the old monastic refectory, now a stylish rooftop bar.
Find out more: Plymouth Gin, Black Friars Distillery, 60 Southside Street, The Barbican, Plymouth PL1 2LQ. plymouthdistillery.com
Make a break of it: Our farm cottages near Liskeard are perfectly placed for fast access to Plymouth as well as Cornwall’s major attractions.
10 Bullards Gin Distillery, Norfolk
Bullards is the first gin distillery in Norfolk and the only distillery in the UK to use tonka beans in its recipe which lends it its distinctive taste. Named ‘Best London Dry Gin in the World’ in the World Gin Awards 2017, it is based at the Ten Bells Pub in Norwich. See the magic happen on tours of the still and distillation process as well as tastings led by an inhouse expert. Tastings include a range of four different gin and tonics, including Bullards Norwich Dry Gin, its latest product Bullards Strawberry & Black Pepper Gin and two other guest gins. Tours are also available without the tasting, for those wanting to keep a clear head!
Find out more: The Independent Gin Company, The Ten Bells, 74-78 St. Benedicts Street, Norwich NR2 4AR. www.bullardsspirits.co.uk
Distillery Tours – a few bits of advice
• We would like to encourage you to drink responsibly! These tours are quick to make your legs wobble so, if you’re planning to enjoy a tipple or two, please don’t drive.
• Do call ahead or check the distillery’s webpage for tour times/dates and reservations as well as important information for visitors.
• Do wear suitable footwear. Tours require flat, sensible footwear and guests wearing flip flops, heels or open-toed shoes may not be permitted in the Still House.