Gin Lovers – A Visit here is a must!

The Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery and visitors centre opened in autumn 2014 on the site of a 300 year old paper mill in Laverstoke, just outside the village of Whitchurch Hampshire.

The site boasts a collection of original buildings, over 40 of them and some Grade II listed, they have been either lovingly restored or carefully removed should they have been a recent industrial addition.  This was all carried out working alongside Government agencies English Nature & English Heritage to maintain and reveal the beauty and heritage of the site.  The result is a stunning work of art, bringing the village to life, widening and revealing parts of the River Test that had been hidden by a concrete channel allowing nature to flourish.

All this before you even step inside the buildings!  The visitors centre is not simply a simulation of the process, it follows the real distillation procedure including the large statuesque cooper Gin stills, one of which is over 200 years old, and the glasshouses growing the 10 particular plant species required for the Botanical Gin (they even worked out a heat exchange process between the distilling process and the glasshouse).

Here’s a nice video to get you ready for your visit:

To learn more about the design process click here Heatherwick Studio

Bombay Sapphire Distillery is Open 7 days a week and tickets must be bought in advance online at Distillery Tickets

Opening hours:

The location of the distillery is : Laverstoke Mill, Whitchurch, Hampshire, RG28 7N, and can be reach from The Crest by taking Corhampton Lane to pick up the A34 to Whitchurch (approx. 35 minutes).

Whitchurch & Laverstoke

Funnily enough I grew up and went to school in Whitchurch – a small world isn’t it?!  I would pass, what was then the Laverstoke Paper Mill at least once a week on my drive to Basingstoke to see my Dad (look out for my old house the Pink thatched house on London road towards Laverstoke – if it’s still pink that is!).

Following your visit to the Distillery in Laverstoke, I would highly recommend taking a wander around Whitchurch maybe following the River Test and hunting out the commemorative plaques of Lord Denning said to be “probably the greatest English judge of modern times” by former prime minister Baroness Thatcher and Watership Downs Author Richard Adams who resided in the Village.

5 Gin recipes

Once you get back to The Crest from your day out at the Distillery it’s time to crack open the bottle and make some drinks;

Gin Julep

  • 8 to 10 fresh mint leave (just outside the back door of The Crest)
  • 7ml (1/4 ounce) fresh lime juice
  • 7ml (1/4 ounce) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 60ml (2 ounce) Gin
  • Fresh mint sprig

Muddle the mint leaves, lime & lemon juice and sugar in the bottom of a glass, add ice and gin, stir and garnish with mint sprig


  • 60ml (2 ounce) Gin
  • Dash cherry brandy
  • Dash fresh lemon juice
  • 2 fresh mint sprig
  • Dash grenadine

Shake all the liquid ingredients vigorously with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass – garnish with the mint sprigs

Orange Blossom

  • 45ml (1.5 ounce) Gin
  • 45ml (1.5 ounce) fresh orange juice
  • 7ml (1/4 ounce) Cointreau
  • 1 or 2 dashes orange flower water
  • Orange slice

Shake all the liquid ingredients vigorously with ice and strain into a ice filled glass – garnish with the orange slice

Tom Collins

  • 60ml (2 ounces) Gin
  • 30ml (1 ounce) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 15ml (1/2 ounce) simple syrup
  • 90ml (3 ounces) club soda
  • Lemon slice
  • Maraschino cherry

Pour the gin, lemon & simple syrup into an ice filled glass, top with the club soda, stir and garnish with the lemon slice and cherry.


  • 45ml (1.5 ounce) Gin
  • 45ml (1.5 ounce) Gallianon
  • 30ml (1 ounce) fresh lemon juice

Shake the ingredients vigorously with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Time for a Cuppa

The following day I would recommend some relaxing chilled out time wandering around the local villages: Tea & Cake!

Have a wonderful time





Graze Festival Tywford Hampshire 2019 Update

Graze Food Festival

The Graze food & music Festival takes a years break following it’s 4th year

The folks who spend all year planning the Graze food and music festival, all of whom are volunteers, have announce that 2019 will see a break for the event.  I’m sure that 2020 will see a bold return and we can’t wait to see what it will include!

There are many wonderful outdoor festivals across the UK and one we are most proud of down south is Graze, the food and music festival.  The event is a not-for-profit organisation and has donated over £20,000 to local charities and community causes.

The festival takes place in Twyford, just outside Winchester, which just happens to be an easy 20 minute drive from The Crest , down some lovely country roads.

The 2019 included

  • From The Jam featuring Jam bassist Bruce Foxton
  • Neville Staple of The Specials
  • This is the Kit
  • Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra
  • The Clives
  • Curse of Lono

2018’s successful Festival included;

  • Stereo MC’s
  • Republica
  • Benjamin Folke Thomas
  • DJ Super Kat

You can watch a round up of the festival right here and get in the mood to start planning your fantastic day out.

Along with the solid music line up, there will also be live cookery demonstrations throughout the day and a dedicated children’s area from noon onwards with various activities put on for them.

Gates open at 11am and close at 11pm.

How to get there

From The Crest, simply pick up Corhampton Lane and once you reach Morestead, take a left down Hazeley Road.  There is a carpark right there on Hazeley Road (£6 per vehicle).

Purchase your tickets in advance online here Tickets.  Prices range from £35 for Adults to free for Children under 12.

Have Fun -don’t forget the Umbrella, Sunscreen, wellies and sun hat!




Arundel Castle

Just under an hour from The Crest, Arundel Castle is a stunning place to visit.  The Castle is rich in history and set in the beautiful picturesque market town of Arundel.
The castle re-opens each year the last weekend of March, going into April; normally with a Normans & Crusaders event. During this event, the Castle grounds will be filled with a 12th century Norman encampment along with demonstrations of armour, combat, archery and falconry.

A highlight of past years has been the performance of  Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. To book you tickets to ensure you don’t miss out on their future events Tickets.

Take a look at ‘Top 10 Romantic Castles’‘s stunning photos of the Castle, including a rare tour of the Castle interior!

In 2018 it celebrated its 950th anniversary of the Castle’s initial construction.  The following video by Historian Dan Snow is a fantastic documentary about the history of the castle:

April sees Tulips starting to poke their heads up above ground, and by mid April the castle grounds are awash with them. It really is a magnificent sight!

Arundel is well worth a days visit.  Itself with it’s pretty tree lined walks along the river Arun, 1000 years of history within the castle and cathedral.  So plan a day mooching around the many shops, art galleries, little tea shops & cafes with all the family!

Arundel Castle

It really is a wonderful English town.

The Black RabbitOnce your day wandering around the town is finished I would highly recommend completing the day with lunch or dinner at The Black Rabbit Pub.  Situated right on the River Arun, just outside of the main town, we have spent many an afternoon with the kids here, the meals are something more than your average pub grub.

Directions from The Crest

It’s just under an hour from The Crest, and an easy trip that’s well worth carving out a day of your holiday for.

For more ideas on what do see and do around the area visit : The Crest Top 10 List

Enjoy! Jo x

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