The UK’s top 10 gin distillery experiences
New data from South Western Railway has revealed the 10 favourite gin distillery experiences for UK-based consumers.
South Western Railway has carried out research to uncover the UK’s top 10 favourite gin distilleries – with a hefty 122 sites competing against one another.
The train operator analysed Google reviews, TikTok views, Instagram hashtags and Google searches to award each distillery a score out of 100.
The distilleries span England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
For more distillery round-ups, check out our piece on the top 10 biggest facility openings of 2022.
In more gin news, actress Emma Watson and her brother Alex Watson recently launched Renais Gin, an ‘ode to the sun-kissed vineyards of Chablis’. And they weren’t the only celebrities to do so; Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie also entered the gin world in recent weeks.
10. Stirling Distillery, Scotland
Price: £25 (US$31)
Based in Stirlingshire, this site has done well to make it to the top 10 of the UK’s gin distilleries, given it is more commonly known for its Scotch whisky.
Visitors are therefore spoilt for choice when attending Stirling Distillery, as it hosts daily gin and whisky experiences plus a weekly gin school.
The gin experiences allow guests to try up to seven gins, after being welcomed with a bespoke cocktail. Workers for Stirling Distillery also walk visitors through the brand’s history. For those not drinking, the experience is offered at a cheaper £12 (US$14), in exchange for a welcome alcohol-free cocktail and a single Stirling gin to take home.
The facility has managed to achieve the highest percentage (98%) of five-star Google reviews among the top 10, as well as 32,200 TikTok views.
9. Shakespeare Distillery, England
Price: £17.50+ (US$19+)
Located in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, spirits producer Shakespeare Distillery expanded its site in 2022, to include a new rum school and tasting room called Judith’s.
Visitors have been known to flock to the site for its limited edition pink gin. Shakespeare Distillery also scored a high percentage of five-star reviews at 96%.
Three options are available for gin lovers at Shakespeare Distillery: the distillery tour (£17.50); a gin cruise (£25/US$31); or the gin school distillery experience (£99/US$108).
8. Plymouth Gin Distillery, England
Price: £15+ (US$18+)
Pernod Ricard-owned Plymouth Gin offers a number of gin experiences at its Devon-based distillery, including its regular one-hour distillery tour for £15, the Gin Connoisseur’s Tour for £35 (US$43), The Master Distiller’s Tour for £55 (US$68), a gin staycation for two people at £850 (US$1,057), and Smeaton’s Tower Experience with Sean Harrison, master distiller, for £195 (US$242).
All experiences allow customers to sample the acclaimed Plymouth Gin.
In 2021, Plymouth Gin unveiled its sustainable bottle design.
7. Aber Falls Distillery, Wales
Price: £10.50+ (US$13+)
The Abergwyngregyn-based producer, which is owned by Halewood Artisanal Spirits, is another producer also known for its whisky, having rolled out its inaugural dram in May 2021.
The distillery installed its stills and began production in 2017, and invites guests to become a gin distiller for the afternoon using its Welsh botanicals to create their own gin recipe. While a tour costs £10.50, the gin lab experience costs £55 (US$69).
6. Hinch Distillery, Northern Ireland
Price: £45 (US$56)
The 30,0000 sq ft Hinch Distillery, located between Belfast and Ballynahinch, includes a visitor centre, and was opening in 2020. An opportunity to go behind the scenes at the whisky and gin producer, Hinch offers a Gin School Experience, spotlighting its Ninth Wave Irish Gin.
A whiskey distillery tour is also available for those who can’t get enough of the distillery’s produce. The distillery has also been filmed for TikToks and has accumulated 25,500 views.
5. Tobermory Distillery, Scotland
Price: £18.50 (US$23)
The distillery, based on the Isle of Mull, launched its first gin in 2019.
Owned by South African Drinks firm Distell, Tobermory is more commonly known for its whiskies, so despite it racking up almost 5,000 gin mentions in Instagram hashtags, gin lovers will also be able to dip their toes into the whisky pool when embarking on this distillery experience.
The tour and tasting involves two of Tobermory’s classic Hebridean whiskies and gin. After the tour of the production areas, guests are taken through a tutored tasting of two drams.
4. Holyrood Distillery, Scotland
Price: £16+ (US$19)
The first single malt whisky distillery in Edinburgh in 90 years is also known for its gin offerings. It added two new gins, called Bright and Heavy, to its Height of Arrows range in 2022, which joined its inaugural bottling, Made of Edinburgh.
For those fortunate enough to be Edinburgh residents, the facility hosts EH Evenings, a complimentary distillery tour during the later hours of Thursday.
For £16, a self-guided tasting flight is available, while the one-hour whisky and gin tour costs £20 (US$24). Finally, the Height of Arrows Gin Tasting Experience is likely to be the draw-in for the gin lovers: a £35 (US$44) sampling to the backdrop of a Height of Arrows-curated playlist.
3. Edinburgh Gin Distillery, Scotland
Price: £25+ (US$24+)
Not far down the road is infamous gin brand Edinburgh Gin’s site, a popular choice among consumers with 84% of its 455 Google reviews rating it with five stars.
Taste the brand’s five gins and liqueurs in a tasting experience for £25, which comes with a 10% discount at the shop afterwards, or take part in the EG X Coco Chocolate – Gin & Chocolate Pairing for £32 (US$39), which has been created for ‘true’ lovers of the confectionary and spirit.
The Edinburgh Gin Cocktail Experience (£45/US$56) is hosted by expert mixologists, and offers traditional gin-based cocktails, while the Edinburgh Gin X The Edinburgh Honey Company Experience (£50/US$62) will see various twists on a Bees Knees cocktail, alongside a quiz and cocktail-making session.
2. The Lakes Distillery, England
Price: £20 (US$24)
Based in Cumbria, near the scenic Lake District, The Lakes Distillery clocks in as the runner-up of the UK’s favourite gin distilleries – and it’s no wonder why.
While its single malt whisky is a prominent feature of the experiences it offers, the tour and tasting experience includes sampling this as well as the brand’s gin and vodka.
Its wide-ranging gin portfolio includes a Pink Grapefruit bottling, The Lakes Rhubarb and Rosehip Gin Liqueur, The Lakes Elderflower Gin Liqueur, a flagship gin and Explorer gin.
1. Bombay Sapphire Distillery, England
Price: £20+ (US$24+)
Hampshire’s Bombay Sapphire Distillery has received an impressive 2,146 Google reviews – 78% of which have posted top marks for the facility.
It is also the most featured on Instagram of the distilleries, indicating its use for photo opportunities.
Plus, it’s gained 54,200 views on TikTok, and racked up almost 500,000 Google searches between 2019-2023.
The facility saw an upgrade in 2021, including a cinema room, interactive cocktail bar and a refreshed cocktail menu.
During the tour, consumers can use a dispenser to help themselves to gin and tonic serves and choose their own garnish for their drinks. A number of experiences are available within the site, starting from £20 with the discovery tour, alongside a host, to a Sunset Experience for £125 (US$155) in order to become an ‘expert home mixologist’ with the Bombay Sapphire Sunset bottling.
Cocktail masterclasses are also available for varying prices.