Gin Rocks Festival Harrogate | Travel*

A few weeks ago I was invited to the first Gin Rock Festival. To say I was excited was an understatement. You may know that we are massive gin fans, so when I heard about this I knew I would be in for a great night. After mentioning to my parents they thought it sounded like great fun so decided to join us and make a weekend of it.

We was also lucky enough to be invited to stay at the Travelodge, West park hotel in Harrogate! After staying at a Travelodge recently in Edinburgh we where delighted as we knew that it is a nice, clean comfortable hotel. We found it pretty quickly and easily and realised it was in a great location, only a 5 minute walk and you are on the main city centre high street. We got checked in and dropped off our bags before a short walk to a bar to get some food and drinks :)

After an afternoon relaxing in the town centre we popped back to the hotel to get changed then walked over to the train station as we where told we would be able to get a taxi from there. Again a short walk from the hotel! We jumped in a taxi and 10 minutes later we arrived at Ripley Castle where it was held. Unlike other Gin festivals I have been to this had a proper 'festival feel' as it was actually outdoors! 

On arrival we where given our Gin glasses that where ours to keep. We where told we had to buy tokens to use at the bars so we grabbed those straight away and then joined the queue for the bar. From what we gathered there was two bars, both with massive queues. We had to wait around 20 minutes to get served which was a bit annoying but we where excited so didn't mind so much.

We then went in to the 'meet the makers' tent. This is where you could try samples of the gin and chat to the people who actually made the gin! This was packed with people so it proved very difficult to even get near the table to have a look at what was on offer. As I wanted to take photos I managed to squeeze though and get some snaps! There was only actually 6 gins on offer, this seemed very odd to me as all other festivals I had been to there was 100's on offer. The reason they did this is because it was intended you sample the gins and then choose your favourite at the bar but as it was so busy this was just not the case. 

I did mange to try the Hedgerow gin which became a very firm favourite ! So I knew I wanted that one next time round, it was served with elderflower tonic which I loved. So we joined the bar queue once more and this time we waiting 45 minutes!! By this point it was dark and getting cold, there was even a power cut at one point. All of the bar staff where pretty irritated and I overheard other event staff saying how badly organised it was and many people where complaining about the wait times. We had a meal booked at 10pm so we knew we had to hurry up drinking and use up or tokens so we managed to get two drinks each - one being in a paper cup. 

After finally getting a drink we went in to the music tent where a band was playing, they where quiet good and every seemed in high spirits ! I did spot a few cheeky people who had actually gone and bought a bottle of gin from the meet the makers tent and drinking that instead of waiting in the crazy queues! It started to get lively as people where finally starting to get drunk and enjoy themselves. We had a taxi booked for 9:30 so had to leave before it really got going but it was getting really cold and we where getting hungry so we left at a good time. 

The festival did organise buses that you could book to transport you to and from the festival back to Harrogate town centre. As I was given my tickets I had to book my bus separately but when I got round to doing it, it was already fully booked which was a shame however it was only £10 in the taxi. We went back to the city centre and went to an Indian restaurant for a curry - which was delicious. By 11:30 we where all done and walked back to our hotel!

The morning after we had the breakfast served in the hotel which was fab, then wandered back in to the town for some fresh air. We actually ended up in a jewellers and caught our wedding rings! But, thats a mother story for another day.

Overall, I would like to think if another Gin Rocks festival was arranged it would be a lot better organised, there would be more bars and more gin on offer. We still had a great night so thanks for having us. And a huge thank you to Traveloge for a comfortable nights stay.

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*I was given festival tickets and a hotel stay in return for a review.
As always my opinions are my own.


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