Combine Your Love of Gin and Holidays with These Weekends Away

Combine Your Love of Gin and Holidays with These Weekends Away

Gin fanatics have long been used to visiting the distillery that makes their favourite brands - from fully fledged visitor centres to pre-planned tours of barely-bigger-than-a-shed spaces on non-distilling days - but now, more than ever, doing a 30-minute distillery tour doesn’t quite cut the mustard.

Instead, Gin-enthusiasts want more. We want to see the product being made, we want tastings, we want to know the history, the process, and see where the magic happens.

In other words, Gin tourism is at an all-time high. Google Trends data over the past five years shows that searches for ‘Gin’ in the UK have more than quadrupled, and peaked in December 2018. The phrase ‘Gin tour’ is also popular, outstripping searches for ‘how Gin is made’ - showing that people want to see it for themselves.

We’ve rounded up the best weekends away in the UK for Gin lovers. So not only can you get a G&T on the site where the Gin is made, but you can make a full day and night of it, too.

1. Notting Hill, London

Famed for carnival, the set of world-famous movies, and yes, the heartland of Gin; Notting Hill has something for everyone. The Distillery, located on Portobello Road in West London, is home to Portobello Road Gin and features a bar, restaurant and hotel, spread across four floors.

The Distillery is home to Portobello Road Gin.

Where to stay

The Distillery boasts three beautiful rooms complete with complementary Negroni and Martini, plus a cocktail kit in every room, along with a turntable and great selection of indie and punk records. With beautiful, Scandi-inspired decor, each room is slightly different (no one size fits all budget hotel format here) and they book up, fast.

What to drink

Between the downstairs bar The Resting Room and the onsite restaurant Gin Tonica, you’re spoiled for choice. Both feature cocktail menus designed by the master distiller Jake Burger, as well as an extensive Gin selection with recommended tonic and garnish pairings.

Try the Spanish-tyle G&Ts in copa de balon glasses. For something a bit different, try the West Winds Sabre Gin served with cold brew coffee, cocoa bitters, and tonic, garnished with cocoa nibs, lavender and orange. The perfect pick me up after a long day trawling the Portobello Road market.

What to do

- Eat: at Gin Tonica, the onsite tapas restaurant. The octopus is to die for, and you can grab a seat at the chefs counter to watch everything being prepared.
- See: the myriad of antiques shops on Portobello Road, and yes you can even visit the shop that was the Bookshop in the film Notting Hill.
- Do: visit the site of the old distillery just up the road called The Portobello Star, which is now a fun Gin bar with knowledgeable staff, a killer Gin selection and great music.

2. Edinburgh, Scotland

Scotland may be famed for its Whisky distilleries, but plenty of them also produce Gin as it’s quicker and cheaper to make. Let’s be real - why wouldn’t you want to create another quality spirit while your Scotch is ageing in its barrels?

The capital of Scotland makes a great city break; brimming with culture, great food and drink, and incredible scenery.

Edinburgh aka. Auld Reekie.

Where to stay

Boutique hotel The Rutland boasts 12 individually designed rooms, a bar and restaurant, steak restaurant, and most importantly a Gin Bar. Heads & Tales Gin bar is home to Edinburgh Gin; by day, it functions as one of the brand’s two distilleries and visitor centre, and by night is one of the city’s most popular cocktail bars.

What to drink

Unsurprisingly, Heads & Tales has a cracking Gin cocktail menu, and there are several bars around the city boasting extensive Gin collections and G&T flights.

In the evening, head to Bramble, an underground cocktail bar famed for its knowledgeable bartenders and hip hop soundtrack. You have to try their namesake, the Bramble cocktail (Gin, lemon juice, creme de mure). It’s an absolute winner.

What to do

- Visit: Edinburgh Gin distillery, then take a trip to Summerhall, where Pickering’s Gin is made. The brand has only been around for five years, but their commitment to quality Gin means they’ve earned quite the reputation.
- See: the original recipe for the 1947 Gin that was devised in India - it’s framed on the wall
- Do: Book onto a tour, see the spirits being made and then sample their wares in the bar upstairs, where the Gin is pumped through straight from the still.

3. Manchester, North West England

Manchester has always been a cultural hotspot, blending fashion, music, sport and more. It’s really no surprise that the city is now home to two of the UK’s newest distilleries in the North of England - Manchester Three Rivers and Manchester Gin. Couple that with the city’s strong credentials in food and drink and you’ve got yourself one helluva weekend away.

Manchester - a perfect destination not only for football, but also Gin fans.

Where to stay

The Abel Heywood is a boutique hotel and bar with 15 rooms situated in the trendy Northern Quarter. Sample a multitude of Gins served Spanish-style in copa de balon glasses 'Gin Emporium' menu. Heck, take them back to your room and relax.

What to drink

Boasting the largest Gin selection in the city, Atlas Bar is somewhat of a connoisseur's paradise. With over 430 Gins on offer, you'll be spoiled for choice. Their online Gin Bible shows what's on offer and the top 10 most requested Gins.

Allotment, a bar in the city's trendy Northern Quarter, is known for its Gin selection and Gin-based cocktails, but keep an eye on their social feeds because they also run events such as Gin speed dating!

Whenever you're drinking, make sure you sample the local Gins - the Manchester Gin range has four core offerings and the original is made with Dandelion and Burdock root.

What do do

- Do: Make your own Gin at The City of Manchester Distillery, home to Manchester Three Rivers Gin. The full 'Gin experience' comprises a distiller Make sure to book your place. now.
- Wait: The *other* Manchester Gin distillery will open its doors to the public in September 2019, in a new site, under the city's railway arches, comprising a bar, restaurant and the brand's HQ.

4. Salcombe, Devon

On England’s stunning south coast you’ll find Salcombe, a seaside town and fishing port with beautiful beaches and a strong foodie culture. Home to Salcombe Distilling Co., try a weekend getaway by the sea, with plenty of juniper goodness.

How about a relaxing weekend by the sea?

Where to stay

The Salcombe Harbour Hotel is a 50 room hotel and spa situated on the Salcombe Estuary. All rooms come with complementary Gin and Sherry, and every Friday and Saturday between 12pm and 6pm is Gin O’clock at the onsite seafood restaurant and bar, meaning £5 Gin and tonics.

What to drink

Other than discounted Gin in the hotel bar, try the Salcombe Gin range - Start Point, named after the local lighthouse is a London Dry Gin and first from the range; Finisterre, a limited edition cask aged release; and the Voyager Series, a collection of limited-edition Gins developed in collaboration with chefs and winemakers.

What to do

- Eat: Scallops, Lemon Sole and Crab linguine at the local restaurants, washed down with a Salcombe G&T.
- See: The sunset from the Salcombe Gin Distillery and Bar, The Boathouse.
- Do: Book onto a tutored tasting or Gin School experience at the distillery to blend your own 700ml bottle of Gin, or if you’re feeling really flush, hire a yacht for the day and order a Gin Butler to come aboard and prepare your drinks at the end of the day.

Got any Gin trips booked? Let us know your favourite Gin hangouts and inspire others in the comments.

Cover image: Salcombe Gin

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