It was a bright morning when Ben, his mother, and myself left Glasgow on a roadtrip south to Newcastle upon Tyne, but the storm clouds that gathered in our wake promised that our daytrip outside Glasgow was well planned.
With snacks in hand, music selection made, and my double strength green tea in my favourite travel mug, our journey towards the Gin Festival took a solid two and a half hours. Although such a span of time spent travelling in a car may seem daunting, the English countryside through which we journeyed was beautiful enough to keep any misgivings at bay. Alongside the beautiful rolling hills of Northern England, we also had much to look forward to at the end of our travels – Gin!
Founded in 2013 by two gin fanatics, the Gin Festival brings together dozens of gins, from those locally brewed to those well known on a larger, international scale, for the enjoyment of gin novices to gin connoisseur alike. I would never personally consider myself anything but a gin novice, despite my history with the spirit.
In my early twenties, so many a moon ago, Gin and I were good friends, in fact, Gin was the spirit of choice amongst all my friends! Back then though, it didn’t have the glamourous reputation it does now. As time passes though, our tastes inevitably change, and Gin and I fell out of favour almost a decade ago simply due to a change of friends in my life. However with Gins growing popularity – whoever is doing the spirits PR is doing a fabulous job by the way – when the opportunity arose to attend the festival? Who was I to say no!
Upon arriving at the racecourse, we kept an eye out for signage for the festival however there was literally none to be seen from the roadway! Eventually we parked, and on my way to speak to two gentlemen, both wearing braces and looking appropriately dressed for a gin festival, to see if they knew where we should go, we found the small sign that ushered us on our way towards gin heaven.
As we entered the festival, which took place inside the gorgeous Grade II listed Brandling House, we were greeted warmly and handed our own gin glasses which would become our constant companions throughout the day. After purchase our tokens (unfortunately, the gin was not free!) we entered into the main hall where suddenly, we were overwhelmed not only by the numbers in attendance, but the sheer amount of choice!
Thankfully, alongside our gin glasses we were given a handy book which explained all the gins available, and which mixer and garnish they were best paired with. We decided that we would each have (well, Ben’s mother and myself, as Ben was driving) three gins each, plus a cocktail at the end of the day, and quickly studied the guide to find our indulgence. My priority was not flavour, nor anything particularly delicate in nature, other than the fact I wanted something pink!
And would you believe, that although two of my three drinks were literally labelled as “Pink” I managed to not have one pink drink! Incredibly disappointed in myself and my ability to choose a pink drink for myself ?
But that aside, as our friends back home sent up Snapchats of the deluge they were experiencing in Glasgow, we enjoyed the bright, beautiful weather of Newcastle upon Tyne, as live jazz music filled the air and we sipped our drinks. Of course, there were masterclasses also available as part of the festival, but we were too relaxed to bother, instead exploring and investigating the gins covered in our booklets.
Apart from the gin, it was also an incredible amount of fun people watching! So many gorgeous outfits for me to covet over the edges of my oversized glass.
All in all it was a thoroughly splendid day, and as we drove back to stormy Glasgow, we may have let the sunshine and warmth behind us, but the delightfully fun, gin filled afternoon will forever be a warm memory.
This post was not sponsored, nor were the tickets gifted, I simply thought the day to be fabulous! So, should you find yourself exploring the English countryside, seeking the perfect gin and tonic, I cannot recommend enough a visit to the Gin Festival as it travels throughout the country.
xx Bry Jaimea