Gin is the most English of spirits, and one of my favourite tipples! On my recent visit to London as #wombatsTraveller ambassador for wombat’s Hostels, I decided to visit the Beefeater Gin Distillery London, the most famous gin distillery in London. Their gin distillery tour included a visit to the working distillery, access to their gin museum, a gin tasting and a gin and tonic at the end of your tour. If you’re looking for a cool gin experience, then Beefeater’s London gin tasting and distillery tour is a fabulous option! Here are all the details of how to book and what to expect on your London gin tasting experience.
Gin Distilleries in London
London is home to several gin distilleries, but I booked the Beefeater Gin tour in London for several reasons. The gin is iconic because of the Beefeater logo and brand, so famous because of the Beefeaters at the Tower of London (which I also planned to visit while I was in London). Beefeater Gin is the most awarded gin in the world, the distillery is easily accessible by public transport, they had availability on the date I was looking for, and for just £15 I thought the price was very reasonable!
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How to Get to the Beefeater Gin Distillery
I took the tube to the distillery, the closest underground station is Oval on the Northern Line, from which it’s about 10 minutes’ walk to the distillery. It’s also just over 10 minutes’ walk from Vauxhall Station on the Victoria Line. The distillery is next to the Oval Gasholders which are visible from the Oval Cricket Ground, so if you spot those you aren’t far away!
How to Book Your Beefeater Gin Distillery London Tour
You’ll need to book your distillery tour and gin tasting in advance online on the Beefeater Distillery website here. Although children over 8 years old are allowed to join the tour, they obviously aren’t allowed to take part in the gin tasting or get a gin and tonic, they’ll get a soft drink instead.
The distillery is open 6 days a week from Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 6.30 PM and is closed on Sundays. Distillery tours run every hour from 11 AM to 5 PM, although opening times vary on Bank Holidays and Christmas.
On the booking system, choose your date and preferred time from the available options. It’s a good idea to book as far in advance as you can for busy weekend days, but I booked just a day in advance for a Friday afternoon gin tour and got a space.
Beefeater Gin Distillery London
Although it may seem like a strange place for a distillery, when you arrive in the distillery shop you know you’re in the right place. A whole wall is covered with gin bottles available for purchase, including some rare and limited editions. If you just want to buy a normal bottle of Beefeater gin then buy it at a supermarket as it will be cheaper, but I was told by fellow tour-goers that the Crown Jewel Beefeater gin is definitely worth the £50 price tag.
The Beefeater Gin Museum
The first part of the Beefeater Gin experience is a visit to the gin museum. An interactive museum charts the history of gin in London, from the beginnings of gin in England in the 1600s to the dark days when homemade gin often included turpentine, through to the roaring 20s and modern day. There is a large section dedicated solely to Beefeater Gin, from its foundation and marketing to becoming the most awarded gin in the world.
Beefeater London Gin Tasting & Distillery Visit
After learning about the history of gin making, the tour continues upstairs where our guide explained the process behind gin-making, and we got to smell some of the botanicals used in Beefeater gin such as juniper and orris root.
He then explained the different types of Beefeater gin which are produced in the distillery and gave us a sample of two gins to try. The gins were mixed with water, but it was still pretty strong – I definitely prefer my gin with tonic!
After sampling these gins, we were allowed into the working distillery. We left all liquids outside, including water and perfume, and anything that could cause a spark – distilleries have a high alcohol content in the air as well as in the stills, so we didn’t want any accidents!
The distillery was smaller than I expected, but the stills were still magnificent. All of Beefeater’s 30+ million bottles of gin per year are distilled here, before being transported to Scotland to be blended with Scottish spring water to make the gin we know and love. There are only 5 stillmen who work at the distillery to make the gin, and one Master Distiller Desmond Payne. I had expected it to be much bigger, but it was fascinating to take a peek inside.
Once we’d explored the distilling area we went back downstairs to collect our things and to enjoy a gin and tonic – made with Beefeater Gin of course! It was garnished with orange and lemon to compliment the botanicals in the gin – there is no lime in Beefeater Gin, so adding lime would be sacrilege our guide informed me!
As we drank our very tasty gins I chatted to other people on the tour, who were telling me about the Crown Jewel Gin. I decided not to splash out on a bottle but was sorely tempted! On the way out I had one last look around the shop, then headed out to meet a friend at Mercato Metropolitano. If you time your visit right, Mercato Metropolitano is a great place to go afterwards, with lots of street food stalls and bars where you can continue drinking gin! Also, down the road from the distillery is the Pilgrim Pub, which serves up a variety of food and drink, including some of the Crown Jewel Gin if you fancy a taste!
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Would I Recommend the Beefeater London Gin Experience?
Overall I really enjoyed my foray into the world of Beefeater London Gin. The gin museum was interesting, and the gin tasting was great value when you consider everything that was included. If you fancy trying a London gin experience for a small price, then Beefeater Gin Distillery London does the trick!
Where to Stay in London
We stayed at wombat’s London, a fabulous hostel close to Tower Bridge. The hostel was spotlessly clean, the staff were friendly, and the location was unbeatable. Wombat’s London is about 10 minutes’ walk from Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and Tower Hill underground station, and is walking distance from Shoreditch and Brick Lane, Borough Market and plenty more places to see in London. Dorm rooms are great for backpackers or travellers on a budget, or you can treat yourself to a private room for all the perks of being in a hostel, with the privacy of your own room.
You can also check out some other foodie tours and experiences from GetYourGuide here:
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