The history of the UK is the history of people coming together over a drink. 

That’s why, if you want to know more about London’s past, one of the best ways to learn is by exploring the historic breweries that helped make the capital what it is today. They’ve helped to shape both the social and commercial landscapes of this vibrant city.

However, most people still don’t understand what goes into the making of their favourite beverage.

London is home to countless award-winning distilleries with equipment that looks like it came straight from a Breaking Bad lab. Learn how our famous gin is made, enjoy a tipple or two at the mercy of your tour guides, and create your own signature concoction by checking out these brewery and distillery tours in London.

Beefeater Distillery

Head to London, and you’ll probably want a selfie with a Beefeater (a guardian of the Tower of London), which also happens to be the name of our most iconic gin brand. The Beefeater Distillery dates back to 1829, though it’s been brewing at its current site in Kennington since 1958. You’ll get to explore this classic distillery on our Borough Market and Gin Distillery Small Group Tour. Get a taste of London’s best street food before experiencing the magic that makes Beefeater Gin a global brand.

City of London Distillery

The City of London Distillery is distinguished by its two copper stills, adorably nicknamed Clarissa and Jennifer. For around £15, you can learn about the history of London gin and enjoy three free drinks. Feeling a little parched? Upgrade your tour to sample five specially selected gins. Or, simply drink until your heart’s content at the on-site bar.

Sipsmith Distillery

Gin isn’t everybody’s drink of choice. If you want to visit a distillery with a little more ‘spiritual’ variety, head over to Sipsmith Distillery, where you can try classic vodkas, damson-based beverages and sloe-steeped spirits for around £15. This 19th-century establishment’s three stills go by the names of Patience, Prudence and Constance. We really are passionate about our drinks here in London.

Camden Town Brewery

One of the trendier parts of London, Camden is home to plenty of hip bars that serve traditional British booze. Camden Town Brewery (the “Home of Hell’s Lagers”) is where you can see how they’re made. Pre-booked tours cost less than £15, and you can soak up some of that booze by munching on a pizza or toastie at its street food stand. Best of all, all profits made from drop-in tours are donated to a local charity. Do your part to help those in need by downing real ales at Camden’s best brewery – that’s my kind of deal.

Beer Merchants Tap

Though not technically a brewery (yet), we’d feel remiss not to mention Beer Merchants Tap on our list. This establishment serves over 500 ciders and beers from across the globe – that’s quite the tasting session if you have the stomach for it. Rumour has it that the owners will start brewing their own Lambic-style beer before the year’s end. Keep your eyes peeled (we certainly will be).

The Ginstitute

At £120, The Ginstitute isn’t the cheapest distillery tour in London, but you certainly get a lot of bang for your buck. The three-hour tour includes history lessons, cocktails, tasting and blending. You might want to line your stomach before the journey starts because you’ll drink a minimum of four expertly crafted cocktails. You’ll also leave the distillery with two bottles of gin (and you’ll blend one of them yourself).

Before you go, don’t forget to take a look at our Borough Market & Gin Distillery tour. It’s the all-in-one way to get a true taste of the UK.

Author

Evan Evans provides unforgettable journeys and experiences to Britain’s most iconic locations. Journey deep into the heart of Britain’s incredible history, culture and legends on a guided tour with London’s longest-running tour operator.