Fancy a tipple?
Heady cider hazy with real apple, whisky infused with Highland peat, real ales dark, rich and bitter... Fancy a tipple? If so, check out our top 10 beer, wine and whisky experiences. Cheers!
Black Isle, Munlochy, Scotland
You wouldn’t normally associate Scotland with beer but a visit to the Black Isle Brewery rewards with some truly innovative brews. This small, independent brewery near Inverness makes organic beers with unusual flavours. Take a tour then sample heather honey beer, pale ales or dark, tasty stouts.
Beer has been brewed in Ringwood for centuries and the tradition continues today with great beers with names like Boondoggle, Huffkin, and Showman's Tipple. The tour includes a complimentary drink in the Pin Room, a sniff round the brewery where you can taste the malted barleys and smell the hops and a trip to the Tun Room where you’ll see the fermentations bubbling away.
Fuller’s Griffin Brewery, London
Visit London’s only remaining traditional family brewer. From the famous London Pride to exclusive brews like their exclusive Vintage Ale, Fuller’s remains at the forefront of Britain’s brewers. The tour of their Griffin Brewery incorporates all parts of the brewing process from the arrival of the raw materials to the packaging of the beer. The tour ends with a full tasting session of Fuller’s beers including London Pride. Visitors will also be able to see the Fuller’s wisteria – which is believed to be the oldest in the country.
Family cider makers, Perry’s, make award-wining cider in the unspoilt Somerset village of Dowlish Wake. The adjoining cider museum provides an insight into cider making history and there’s a collection of cider making equipment from yesteryear. Stop by at the shop and enjoy a free sample of traditional scrumpy or sparkling vintage cider.
Herefordshire Cider Route
The county of Herefordshire produces well over half the UK’s cider. Explore the county’s best cider makers on the Herefordshire Cider Route. One of the most pleasant ways of doing this is by bike. Cycle along country lanes and stop to sample cider, perry (pear cider) or refreshing apple juice.
Scotch Whisky Experience
If you can’t visit a distillery, the next best thing is the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh. It’s a great introduction to Scotland’s national drink and provides an excellent insight into the process of whisky making. The tour starts with a swirling, bubbling barrel ride through a replica distillery as you become part of the whisky making process.
The Malt Whisky Trail
Speyside is at the heart of Scotland’s whisky industry with over 50 distilleries in this area of pure spring water and gentle upland scenery. There are 8 distilleries on the official trail and you can either visit them all or pick a few highlights. Glen Grant, a pale, floral whisky, operates informative tours and has attractive Victorian gardens while Glenlivet is situated in a starkly beautiful glen.
Talisker, Skye, Scotland
Talisker is the only distillery on the hauntingly beautiful Isle of Skye off the West Coast of Scotland. It has dramatic views over the Cuillin Mountains and is the perfect place to sample this full-bodied single malt. On the tour you’ll enjoy ‘nosing’ and tasting sessions and get a limited edition Talisker glass.
Cariad Wine, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales
Wine in Wales? Yes, indeed. The Llanerch Vineyard has 7 acres of vineyards and makes the award-wining Cariad wines. Go along for tours and tastings and stay over at their Bed and Breakfast in an 18th-century Glamorganshire Farmhouse.
Head to rural Sussex and the Nyetimber Vineyard, home to Champagne-beating sparkling wine. Nyetimber's Classic Cuvée 2003, which costs around £25, came top in the blind tasting at the Bollicine del Mondo competition in Verona. Seeing off big names like Bollinger and Roederer it’s now a serious contender as one of the world’s best sparkling wines.