Edinburgh's best visitor attraction has been named by Visit Scotland

Summerhall Distillery, home of Pickering’s Gin, has been named Visit Scotland’s Best Visitor Attraction in Edinburgh, Lothian and the Borders.

Published 26th Nov 2017
Updated 18 th Sep 2023

The distillery, which was founded by Matt Gammell and Marcus Pickering in 2013, is situated in the former small animal kennels of Edinburgh University’s old Veterinary School “The Dick Vet”.

The repurposed space became Edinburgh’s first exclusive gin distillery in over 150 years, and was built from scratch using materials reclaimed from the Vet School or designed by the
founders themselves.

Popular with visitors and residents alike, the tiny 400 square feet distillery welcomes groups of 20 people at a time and shows how the gin is distilled, bottled, waxed and dispatched, all on site.

The tours have proven so popular that the distillery has doubled their number of tour guides, and added tours on a Sunday to keep up with demand.

Each tour starts with a P&T (Pickering's and Tonic) from the Gin Tap installed at the adjoining pub (which is piped direct from the distillery), and guests spend an hour learning and sampling their way around the working distillery.

Victoria Anderton, Visitor Experience Manager for Pickering’s Gin, believes the success of the tours is how different they are to a traditional distillery tour.

She said: “Our guests have often visited larger whisky distilleries and often the experience can be a bit impersonal and with quite generic facts about distillation.

"Additionally, a lot of the process will be done in another location- like the bottling for instance.

"In contrast, we like to keep ours fun and informal- giving our guests a real insight into how you make gin start-finish.”

Marcus Pickering, co-founder, added: “ Provenance and transparency are so important in explaining the success of craft gin over the past few years.

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"People assume that when you’re exporting and products like our Pickering’s Gin Baubles are available in places like John Lewis that we must make everything in a big warehouse somewhere. That’s so far from the truth- we’ve got a hardworking team who distil, bottle (and bauble) everything from our home here at Summerhall”.

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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