01 Oct 8 Of The Best Distillery Tours Near Edinburgh
If you’re a whisky (or gin!) lover and travelling to Edinburgh, then it’s in your interest to know the best distillery tours near Edinburgh! We’ve done the research, and have come up with the optimum strategy, whether you’re bus-bound (there are four public transport options) or car enabled. There are even a few suggestions if you only want to join a tour group. For the best distillery tours near Edinburgh, read on!
- Book in advance to avoid disappointment or long wait times! The booking links for each distillery are included below as is the phone number of the distillery. While you can sometimes just drop by, distilleries are becoming increasingly popular as a tourist destination, some have tours hourly (Glenkinchie, Deanston, Glenturret, Kingsbarns, Clydeside) but others have them only at set times per day (Eden Mill, Lindores, Edinburgh Gin).
- Check the distillery’s website for opening hours and tour times as they change throughout the year. The times listed below were accurate at the time of writing.
- No dogs in production areas, so don’t plan to bring your dog on a distillery tour (other than guide dogs or special assistance dogs).
Kids and Accessibility
- Eden Mill’s license does not permit children under the age of 16 years to be on the premises.
- Edinburgh Gin Distillery does not allow children under 12 (including infants) on tours
- Glenkinchie and Kingsbarns do not permit children under the age of 8 years on tours
- Tullibardine Distillery do not permit children under the age of 5 years on tours
- Most distillery tours near Edinburgh (and throughout Scotland) are not wheelchair accessible/suitable for those mobility impaired, as they tend to be in old buildings with narrow walkways and usually there are stairs. Contact the distillery directly if you have any questions.
- Eden Mill are wheelchair accessible and have accessible toilets on site. A free carer ticket is available to any customer who requires essential assistance to visit the distillery, i.e., wheelchair assistance.
But I Don’t Want to (or can’t) Drive!
All of the following distilleries are accessible by public transport (bus or train) from Edinburgh, and the journey is roughly 90 minutes (each way). While there are other distilleries accessible by public transport (Glengoyne and Auchentoshan for instance – see The Best Distillery Tours Near Glasgow) the time to reach them by public transport is over 2 hours each way.
Glenkinchie also run a shuttle bus service from Edinburgh to the distillery – scroll down and see the distillery profile for more details on how to book.
Click on the pin for each distillery below to open its Google Maps profile – from google maps you can utilise the public transport directions feature from your exact location. Alternately you can import the whole map into Google My Maps (for information on how to do that, click here).
If it all seems too hard, Rabbie’s Tours offer a number of organised group tours to various distilleries in Scotland.
1-Day Tours from Edinburgh
Discover Malt Whisky Tour: Edinburgh to Glengoyne Distillery, Deanston Distillery and Loch Lomond National Park (one of my favourite parts of Scotland) from £34 per person. Click here for further information and to book the Discover Malt Whisky Tour.
Highlands, Lochs and Glens: tour that stops at Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery from £39 per person. Click here for further information and to book the Highlands, Lochs and Glens Tour.
3-Day Tours from Edinburgh
Speyside Whisky Trail: Edinburgh to Lindores Abbey Distillery, Dalwhinnie Distillery, Benromach Distillery, Speyside Cooperage, Glenfiddich Distillery and Glenlivet Distillery. From £119.00 per person. Click here for further information and to book the Speyside Whisky Trail Tour.
Isle of Arran Adventure: Edinburgh to the Isle of Arran via the West Highlands, which includes a stop at the Isle of Arran Distillery. From £150.00 per person. Click here for further information and to book the Isle of Arran Adventure Tour.
4-Day Tours from Edinburgh
Islay & the Whisky Coast: Edinburgh to the famous whisky Isle of Islay (Bowmore Distillery, Bruichladdich Distillery, Kilchoman Distillery, Ardbeg Distillery, Laphroaig Distillery, Lagavulin Distillery) via Oban (and the Oban Distillery). From £239.00 per person. Click here for further information and to book the Islay & the Whisky Coast Tour.
Edinburgh has a lot of fantastic accommodation options available; however, we recommend you consider the following:
The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh - Why? They're a short walk to the Royal Mile, near the pick-up location for Rabbies Tours, and because the Balmoral Hotel Whisky Bar contains over 500 bottles of whisky!
Destiny Q Residence Apartments or Travelodge Edinburgh Central - Why? They're located either side of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Bar + Dining Room (non-members welcome), 28 Queen Street Edinburgh, with over 200 rare single malts for you to try.
Fingal Hotel, Leith - Why? Luxury cabins aboard a refurbished former lighthouse tender, located near the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Vaults (members only), Teuchters Landing whisky bar, and our favourite brunch spot in Edinburgh, Roseleaf Cafe.
We’re Driving – Road Trip!
Oh, the freedom of the open road! You have your pick of distillery tours near Edinburgh and quite a few options for how to get there. These maps are designed to be interactive – click on the square frame icon top right of the map to open it in a new browser (‘view larger map’). Modifying the routes is easiest on your computer, not your mobile phone, however, if you’ve only got a mobile device, you can import the destination pins into Google Maps and use the directions features to get the best routes. For more information on how to use the maps on this page click here. To see a map of ALL the distilleries in Scotland (including maps per whisky region), see our Scotland Whisky Distillery Map.
I’ve chosen the following two routes from Edinburgh as all of the distilleries are open seven days with regular tours. By all means, give Strathearn a call and see if you can have a look around. Strathearn would be on my list of distilleries to visit as it is small, so you’ll get a good feel for distilling ‘back in the day’. However, they do not have visitor facilities, bookings are essential and should be made well in advance.
For all other distilleries, even though they are open to visitors, I highly recommend you pre-book your visit times at least a day or two in advance. Tours often book out, especially on weekends and during peak holiday times, and you don’t want to drive all that way and miss out.
There are only so many distillery tours you can do in a day. I recommend you pick your favourite TWO.
By all means, drop by other distilleries, have a look, do a tasting or grab yourself a bottle to take home, but if you’re trying to do more than two distillery tours, you’re going to be pushing for time. The routes below are 3 hours and 4 hours of driving excluding all other activities. If you allow two tours, you’re already at 5-6 hours for today minimum. Most distilleries run tours between 10 am and 4 pm (last tour at 4 pm), but this varies depending on the time of year (most close earlier Nov – Mar). Remember to consider this when you’re picking your destinations, and prepare for a long day.
If you like long lunches, you’ll probably need to skip a tour. You don’t need to do a tour to visit the distillery and do a tasting.
Hot Tip For the Designated Driver: most distilleries will permit you to ‘take away’ your tasting dram.
Many distilleries provide glass bottle miniatures for this purpose (Glenturret, Edinburgh Gin), and some will provide little plastic containers. Always ask and see if you can do ‘take away’ or ‘take home’ samples. In case they don’t have any suitable ‘take away’ vessels, stop by a pharmacy/chemist shop and see if you can buy a ‘sample’ container. Yes, it’s a urine/specimen sample container! Don’t worry as they’ll be sterile and the screw top lids are perfect for keeping whisky safe because they don’t leak.
Another option is to buy some glass screw top containers before you go - the glass wont react with the alcohol, although, being glass, it is more susceptible to being broken if dropped or knocked.
- Map pins shown in black are distilleries not open to the public. They’re on the map as you might want to take a photo if you’re going past. Keep in mind though that some are simply massive industrial ‘whisky factories’ and might not be worth the trip. A quick google image search should give you a good indication of what to expect.
- Visits to distilleries with map pins shown in orange are by appointment only.
- Distilleries with green pins are open to the public, and you can visit without an appointment. However, I suggest you book anyway.
- Not A Distillery: There are a number of ‘not a distillery’ points of interest on the maps. These are by no means exhaustive, just some key attractions you may wish to visit while on your spirited adventures. If you are looking to visit a few abbeys and castles, you might be interested in the Visit Scotland Explorer Pass, as one ticket will get you entry into over 70 Historic Scotland venues.
Edinburgh St Andrews Distillery Tours
Edinburgh Stirling Distillery Tours
Whisky Distillery Profiles
- Eden Mill Distillery is open seven days from 10 am to 6 pm.
- Tours often book out, especially on weekends, so make sure you book via the website or call +44 (0) 1334 834 038.
- Why is it one of the best distillery tours near Edinburgh? Because you can see how making beer, gin and whisky are all much the same processes!
- They’re in the heart of St Andrews so you can have a look at the impressive ruins of St Andrew’s Cathedral, or check out that little patch of grass the Scots have been putting about on for over 600 years.
- No photography in production areas
- No children under the age of 16 years allowed on site
- Concession fare is available for those aged 16-18 (as no alcohol is provided) though they must be accompanied by an adult.
- Site is wheelchair accessible, and one free carer ticket is available to any customer who requires essential assistance (notify them at the time of booking). There is also a disabled bathroom facility on site.
- £10 per person, tours daily at 2 pm
- barrel aged beer on arrival
- distillery tour covers the stills, production area and cask warehouse (same as the gin tour – same stills!)
- tasting session of one of their three new make spirits
- Eden Mill Glencairn whisky glass as a keepsake
- £10 per person, tours daily at 12 pm and 4 pm with an extra tour at 5 pm on a Saturday.
- gin & tonic on arrival
- distillery tour covers the stills, production area and cask warehouse (same as whisky tour – same stills!)
- gin tasting session
- £7.50 per person, tours daily at 1 pm & 3 pm with an extra tour at 11 am on a Saturday.
- Lindores Abbey Distillery is open 7 days a week from 10am – 4pm
- Tours are available at 10:30am, 12:00pm and 2:00pm
- David Earl of Huntingdon founded Lindores Abbey in 1191. The monks who built and lived at the Abbey were Benedictines from the Order of Tiron, France (Tironensians).
- Why is it one of the best distillery tours near Edinburgh? Lindores Abbey Distillery is a new facility constructed on an old site – the original Abbey is considered the birthplace of Scotch Whisky. The earliest written reference to distilled spirits in Scotland appears in the Exchequer Roll of 1495 and notes that Friar John Cor, a Lindores monk, received eight bolls of malt with which he would make Aqua Vitae for King James IV. The monks were well known for their alchemy skills, distillation being one of them.
- They converted and enlarged the old Abbey farm steading using original Abbey stone.
- There are three stills, one wash and two spirit stills – production commences 2018
- There is a cafe/restaurant on site
Lindores Abbey commenced prodution in 2017, and as such, there is no Lindores-produced whisky (minimum 3 years aging) available, however, they are making/selling Aqua Vitae. Tours cost £12.50 per person and include a tasting of Lindores Abbey Distillery Aqua Vitae as well as two other drams. £2.50 of the tour price is redeemable against a purchase of a bottle of Aqua Vitae.
For a minimum of 2 people and a maximum of 8 people (over 18’s only), £75 per person, approximately two and a half hours duration (includes a tour of the distillery). Must be booked in advance.
After smelling and tasting the individual botanicals and essences available, you will start to make your very own Aqua Vitae. You all start with the same new make spirit base, but from there, you choose which tinctures to add, and in which quantities. This means that the spirit you end up with will be completely unique and to your very individual taste.
During the process you’ll be able to keep notes on the different ingredients, and what you thought of various combinations, before you create your final spirit which you can then take home with you.
- Edinburgh Gin Distillery is open seven days a week, from 9:45 am to 4:45 pm
- Why is it one of the best distillery tours near Edinburgh? They are right in the heart of Edinburgh (West End) and frequently ranked in the top 20 of Edinburgh Visitor Attractions on Tripadvisor.
- Edinburgh Gin Distilery only offer pre-booked tours via their website and cannot accommodate walk-ins on the day. If the date is already fully booked they are unable to take any additional bookings. They do not take bookings via phone.
- £10 per person, duration 45 minutes
- Tours run at 10 am and 11 am Monday to Sunday
- Learn about the history of gin and discover the botanicals used in Edinburgh Gin recipes
- View the distillery’s beautiful custom-made copper stills “Flora” and “Caledonia”.
- Sample a classic Edinburgh G&T, or get a miniature bottle to take away.
- Children must be over 12 years old to go on the tour
Please note this tour is booked out 1-2 months in advance on weekends.
- £25 per person, duration 75 minutes
- Tours run at noon, 1 pm, 2pm and 3 pm Monday to Sunday, with an additional tour at 11 am on Saturdays.
- Distillery tour as per the Gin Discovery
- In addition to the Edinburgh G&T, you will receive a tutored tasting of the Edinburgh Gin range
- Includes a 20cl bottle of Edinburgh Gin to take away
- No children permitted on this tour – 18+ only.
Please note this tour books out 2-3 months in advance on weekends.
All tours include a 10% discount on merchandise from the on-site gift shop
- Kingsbarns Distillery is open seven days a week (closed 25/26 December and 1/2 January)
- May, June, September: Open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
- July, August: Open from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.
- November – February: Open from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm.
- March, April and October: Open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
- There is a cafe on site
- Why is it one of the best distillery tours near Edinburgh? They’re a new distillery, and they filled their first casks in March 2015.
- Check out this great interview between Ralfy.com and distillery manager Peter Holroyd.
- Tours are not suitable for children under the age of 8 years.
- £10 per person, approximately 60 minutes duration
- Visit the Kingsbarns exhibition
- Guided tour of the distillery
- Tasting of new make spirit and a dram of Wemyss Malt
- May, June, September: tours hourly starting at 10:30 am – last tour 4:30 pm.
- March, April and October: tours hourly starting at 10:30 am – last tour 3:30 pm
- November – February: tours at 11:30 am, 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm
There are two other whisky tours available.
- £10 per person, approximately 60 minutes duration
- Guided tour of the new Darnley’s Gin Distillery
- Includes a tasting of Darnley’s Gin
- Noon and 2pm: November - February
- Noon, 130pm and 3pm: March, April and October
- Noon, 130pm, 3pm and 430pm: May - September
- Glenkinchie Distillery is open seven days a week, from 10 am to 4 pm November through February and 10 am to 5 pm March through October.
- Why is it one of the best distillery tours near Edinburgh? Glenkinchie Distillery has the tallest wash still in Scotland.
- Glenkinchie Distillery runs a shuttle bus service to transport people from Edinburgh city centre directly to the distillery. The service must be pre-booked and pre-paid as a combined transport & entrance ticket. Telephone +44 (0) 1875 342 012 to book – do not use the online booking link to book a shuttle tour.
- Children under the age of 8 cannot go on tours
- Glenkinchie does not allow photography in production areas
- £10 per person, duration 75 minutes
- £7 Concession (60+ years), £4 Children (8 -17 years)
- Guided tour of the distillery
- Entrance to the scale-model distillery exhibition – built in 1925 for the British Empire Exhibition (1)
- Includes a tasting of Glenkinchie 12-year-old
- Tours run daily at 11 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm
- £15 per person, duration 90 minutes
- Tours run daily at 11 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm (same tour as Glenkinchie Tour above)
- Includes a tutored tasting of Glenkinchie 12-year-old along with tastings of other Diageo malts from around Scotland so you can compare the different styles
All tours include a £5 discount on 70 cl bottles purchased from the distillery shop
- Deanston Distillery started its life as a cotton mill in 1785.
- In 1974 the mill was converted into a distillery after the value of the UK cotton industry declined
- There is a cafe on site – The Coffee Bothy
- They’re open seven days all year, from 10.00am to 5.00pm.
- Tours are on the hour every hour 10.00am – 4.00pm.
- Why is it one of the best distillery tours near Edinburgh? They have an open-topped mash tun!!
- £9 per person, duration 50 minutes
- includes a tasting of Deanston 12yo
- For £12 you can do the tour above with an additional tasting of Deanston Virgin Oak
- Children: 0 – 11 years no charge. Children: 12 – 17 years £4.00 per child.
- Children under 11yrs must be accompanied by one adult per child
Additional tours and tasting packages are available, including chocolate and whisky pairings
- On-site restaurant/cafe, the Glenturret Cafe is open daily from 10 am – 6 pm
- Glenturret Distillery is open seven days. Tours run hourly and start at 10.30 am. The last tour is at 4:30 pm April – October, and at 3:30 pm November – March.
- Tours are limited to 25 persons per tour group.
- Tours can be booked online up to 48 hours in advance.
- It pays to book, as Glenturret (formerly The Famous Grouse Experience) receive around 100,000 visitors a year.(3)
- Why is it one of the best distillery tours near Edinburgh? You will get to see one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, and they have Tullibardine’s old open-topped HAND STIRRED mash tun. I’d stop by just to see that, but then, I do love my open-topped mash tuns.
- Tours and tastings are in English. However, translation sheets are available if requested.
- For online bookings click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +44 (0) 1764 65 65 65
Distillery Tour and Tasting Experience
- £10.00 per person, duration 60 minutes
- Includes three tastings and take home bottles are available for drivers
- £9.00 concession (seniors/students/under 18s)
- Non-alcoholic beverages are available for non-drinkers
- Book your Distillery Tour and Tasting Experience Online
- £40.00 per person, duration 90 minutes, 10:00 am and 2:00 pm daily
- Includes a tasting of four premium Glenturret whiskies in the warehouse
- Persons over 18 years old only.
- Book your Warehouse Experience online
- The Tullibardine site has been a brewery since the 1400s and acquired a Royal Charter in 1503 to provision King James IV with beer (the same chap who was getting Lindores Abbey to distil Aqua Vitae).
- The Tullibardine distillery was established much more recently, in 1949 by famous distillery designer William Delme-Evans. It was the first distillery built in Scotland since 1900.
- Tullibardine underwent a refit in the late 1950s, and Glenturret purchased their original 1949 mash tun and washbacks. (1)
- Tullibardine is a modern distillery in a convenient location for tourist groups, and as such, they often book out, so make sure you book your tour well in advance.
- Open seven days from 10 am to 5 pm.
- Book your tour at least two days in advance by emailing email@example.com or phone +44 (0) 1764 661 809
- £9 per person and lasts 45 minutes.
- The price includes two tastings of Tullibardine Whisky at the end of the distillery tour.
- The cost is only £7 per person with a group of 10 or more
- Clydeside Distillery recently opened in Glasgow on the River Clyde. As production only commenced in 2018, Clydeside whisky will not be available until at least 2021.
- On-site cafe open daily 10.00 am to 17.00 pm
- Clydeside Distillery Tours can be booked online, or by emailing the distillery firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0141 212 1401
- £15 per person and lasts 60 minutes.
- This 3-part tour includes a "Discover the Dockside Story" self guided educational experience, a professionally guided distillery tour and three tastings at the end of the distillery tour including Clydeside's own new-make spirit.
- Maximum 20 people per tour.
- Tour runs hourly from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
- Designated drivers will be provided with Drivers Drams to take away and enjoy at home
- £28 per person and lasts 90 minutes.
- This tour includes the self guided "Discover the Dockside Story", a professionally guided tour of the distillery, and five 10ml drams of Single Malt Whisky each carefully paired with Sugar Wings of Glasgow chocolate.
- Maximum 6 people per tour.
- Tours run daily at 15:30 and 16:30. Bookings essential, subject to availability