If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll know we are big fans of beer. We have visited breweries all over the place. Some of our favourites have been in Ludlow, Santorini, and Brussels. But wherever we go, we usually find some tour or tasting to get involved with.
And it just so happens London has a large brewery in Chiswick, right beside the River Thames. We visited Fuller’s Brewery with The London Pass, and it had been a long time coming since the brewery cancelled two previous visits. But we made it in the end. So, how was it? Great, actually! The brewery delivered some information we’d not heard before on a tour, plus the Griffin Brewery is home to something rather special, which has nothing to do with beer, but rather a wisteria plant.
The Fuller’s Brewery and the Griffin Brewery are the same place but are sometimes referred to by these two names, but its proper name is Fuller’s Griffin Brewery. So what’s a Griffin got to do with any of it? Because back in the day, the Griffin was the symbol of Meux and Reid’s Brewery in Liquorpond Street, and when that brewery collapsed, the name and emblem were adopted by the Thompson brothers, who owned the brewery at the time.
Fuller’s Brewery Tour
The Fuller’s Brewery tour takes you around the Griffin Brewery and lasts roughly 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours. It starts and ends in the shop, but we’ll come back to that later.
Once you’re signed in and have your high-vis vest issued, you get a health and safety brief. After all, safety is the number one priority, remember!
Once you’ve had your H&S brief, you are led out into the yard, where you get eyes on something you might not expect to see in a brewery – a wisteria plant. But what’s special about this particular one is that it is officially the oldest wisteria plant in England, dating back to 1816. It was one of two saplings brought from China. The other went to Kew Gardens but died. If you want to see it in bloom, visit the brewery between April and June.
After admiring this beast of a plant (it covers the side of the building!), you head into the Griffin Brewery, where you are introduced to the brewery’s history, the brewing process, and some of the old brewing kit used back in the day when the brewery, as it is known today, started.
It’s great that Fuller’s has kept hold of its heritage and developed its modern brewing techniques around the old stuff instead of ripping it all out. The tour is more comprehensive than the others we have been, too. It takes you on a longer journey, from the roots of the brewery, right through to the packaging robots and loading bay, plus there is talk about how Fuller’s tries to reduce its waste, such as sending the spent yeast off to be made into such things as Marmite.
Once the tour around the Griffin Brewery is complete, you will step into Hock Cellar. Undoubtedly, this is the best bit of the tour because it’s where the good bit happens – the beer tasting. The tasting offered something unique to any other brewery tour or beer tasting we’ve ever done. This is because you get whatever time is left to drink as much beer as you want.
We had 35 minutes left after the main tour, which left 35 minutes to try as many beers on offer as we wanted, which was quite a few. There are beers on tap, plus a few bottled ones, from the Fuller’s range, plus a few from their sister breweries, including the odd cider.
There’s also a bit of a museum in Hock Cellar, too. You’ll find some old artefacts from Fuller’s history in there, including the impressive beer dispensing machine from the days when they used to give beer to their staff to be drunk on-site.
Once you’re done in Hock Cellar, you’ll be taken back to the shop where your tour ends. Inside the shop, you will find a bar where you can get another drink or wander around to pick up a souvenir or buy some beer to take away.
Surprisingly, the beer is good value if you are buying one of the cases to take away. And it’s also worth noting – you can visit the shop without being on the Griffin Brewery tour.
Here is all the practical information you need to visit Fuller’s Griffin Brewery:
There’s a little bit of parking outside the brewery, should you need it.
- Over 18s Only
- No flip-flop style or open-toe shoes are permitted on the tour
- Long, flowing clothing should also be avoided
- The tour traverses flights of stairs. There are no lifts available on the tour
- Animals are not permitted
- Arrive 15 minutes before your tour begins to sign in.
- Toilets are available in the shop
💷 From £25
🕙 Check the website for times
📞 0208 996 2662
Fuller’s Brewery Tour FAQs
Is the Griffin Brewery worth visiting?
Yes, it is. The Fuller’s Brewery tour at the Griffin Brewery is great. It’s an interesting insight into how the brewery started, the brewing process, and you get to taste a large range of beers.
Can I visit Fuller’s Brewery with The London Pass?
Yes, you can. The Fuller’s Brewery tour is included with The London Pass.
What is the minimum age requirement for the Fuller’s Griffin Brewery Tour?
You must be 18 or older to participate in the brewery tour and tasting sessions.
Are pets allowed during the tour?
Unfortunately, pets are not allowed on the brewery tour for safety and hygiene reasons.
Is there a dress code for the tour?
There is no strict dress code; however, you are advised to wear comfortable and closed-toe shoes along with no long, flowing clothing.
Can you buy Fuller’s beers directly from the brewery?
You can purchase a wide selection of Fuller’s beers from the brewery’s gift shop.
How long does the Fuller’s Brewery Tour usually last?
The tour typically lasts around one hour 45 to two hours, but the duration may vary depending on the group size and the level of interest in questions during the tour.
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