The very Scottish Compton Mackenzie had rightly observed, “Love makes the world go around? Not at all. Whiskey makes it go round twice as fast.”
As you sail north of the Thames, East London opens up before your eyes. With its ancient flower shops, bed n breakfasts, chapels, towers, bridges, and museums, this part of the city is a heady slice of the old and the new.
Since the last few years, East London has grown popular among Londoners and travelers alike. And, for as delightful a reason as any. London’s love for its brews is not new. But, a fresh love affair began in 2014 when The Whisky Lounge came up with the idea of a whisky festival. A contemporary, flamboyant whisky fiesta, the London Whisky Weekender returns this year with its fourth edition at the Kia Oval, on the 12 May. The festival welcomes both seasoned lovers, and whisky virgins, as long as you’re willing to indulge your bacchanalian desires.
The three-day festival takes place under the warm May sun every year. As you step into the historic grounds of the Oval, the festive spirit will tease your senses. You’ll be greeted by a wide array of neatly arranged stalls, each selling whiskey from all around the world. Scotland, Ireland, India, and the US, you name it, the Whisky Weekender has it on offer. Ask for a dram of your favorite blended scotch, or single malt as you roam around, soaking in the tantalizing aroma of a variety of blends and local street food. Strike up a conversation with one of the many whiskey exhibitors thronging the grounds, collect for yourself a bagful of anecdotes. While at the festival, sneak a peek at The Festival Shop. Have a bottle of your favorite tipple packed as a gift for a loved one, or buy yourself a treat. A whiff of some of the rare and special Under the Counter Drams’ will coax you into parting with a few more of your dollar bills.
You can choose from a number of option when selecting tickets for the festival. Buy a double early bird ticket for $54, or get yourself a taster ticket for $22.
To a certain John Strype, east of London may have been “that part beyond the tower”, but this fragment of the city has a lot to offer to the explorer in you. While you’re at the Weekender, take a break between tasting sessions, and go on an exhilarating walk down the iconic 120-year old Tower Bridge, with just a thin wall of glass separating you from the river. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, try climbing 311 steps to the top of monument, built to commemorate the Great Fire of London. A panoramic view of London shall meet your eyes. May be even take a cable-car ride across the waters of the Thames. Lose yourself in the gorgeous Columbia Road Flower Market. Spare a moment, and let the street musicians charm you with a lilting tune. If history is your drug, visit the Sutton house. Discover the beautiful Jacobean décor, a recently-restored Tudor kitchenette, and the Edwardian Chapel within its walls.
On an Ending Note
London’s historical pursuits, paired with a whiskey fest is enchanting as it can get, when it comes to weekend getaways. For the love of the most noble of all spirits, raise your glass to The London Whisky Weekender. Cheers!