Laverstoke Mill in Hampshire is a 300 year old paper mill with over 1000 years of history within a Conservation Area and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Sympathetically renovated into a sustainable distillery that showcases natural beauty and industrial heritage, the building itself is something of a work of art, combining historic red brick with contemporary glass structures.
In pride of place, there are two abstract glass houses, one which contains tropical botanicals and the other which contains European botanicals for the gin. They are the central feature of this state-of-the-art sustainable distillery.
Another favourite feature for us, was the room where they have the first bottle of gin that Bombay Sapphire ever made, and you can really start to understand how the brand has changed over time.
For example, Queen Victoria used to be on the bottle and it was originally used for medicinal purposes, particularly in times of war. Of course, someone obviously realised they were onto a good thing, and its popularity grew.
When you visit there are different tours that you can go on, starting at £15 per person, and the beauty of it is that you can make of it what you want. You start by walking into what was once staff quarters, and it’s a bit like being in a historic film or an episode of Downton. It’s beautiful.
You can then choose to have a guided tour or explore in your own time, or go all out and do a cocktail making class as part of it so it’s really great for group spa breaks, and even hen parties because it’s extremely flexible.
On our tour we were invited to sample 60 different smells and choose our favourites which were combined at the end into a personalised drink, which you can enjoy in the barn with views of the lake. For the designated driver they even provided it in takeaway form so they didn’t miss out.
Overall, any experience at the gin distillery is a classy alternative to your standard group activities and would be a particularly good option if you have a group of friends with lots of different characters, perhaps some who like going out and some who don’t. This has the capacity to combine the lot in spectacular surroundings, which is also an authentic twist on your standard cocktail making class which invariably takes place in a hotel.
After that, it’s back to the spa for facials!
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