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!
- 1 Best Distillery Tours Near Edinburgh
- 2 The Best Edinburgh St Andrews Distillery Tours
- 3 The Best Edinburgh Stirling Distillery Tours
- 4 Best Distillery Tours Near Edinburgh – Whisky Distillery Profiles
- 4.1 Eden Mill Brewery & Distillery
- 4.2 Lindores Abbey Distillery
- 4.3 Kingsbarns Distillery
- 4.4 Edinburgh Gin Distillery
- 4.5 Glenkinchie Distillery
- 4.6 Deanston Distillery
- 4.7 Glenturret Distillery – Famous Grouse Experience
- 4.8 Tullibardine Distillery
Best Distillery Tours Near Edinburgh
- 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) but others have them only at set times per day (Eden Mill). Some distilleries are by appointment only (Strathearn, Duffmill). Either way, it pays to book ahead.
- 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).
- If you’re visiting any Diageo owned distilleries (shown on our Scotland Whisky Distillery Map in pink), then get each person visiting a Friends of the Classic Malts Membership (free) as you can get free entry to the distillery (i.e. Glenkinchie) and often a free tasting as well.
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 does not permit children under the age of 8 on tours
- Children are allowed at all other distilleries, but generally, one adult must accompany each child
- 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.
- 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.
- Pink pins are Diageo sites open to the public and eligible for free Classic Malts Membership which will get you free tours.
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.
Click on the link for each distillery below to open in google maps – from google maps you can utilise the public transport directions feature from your exact location. Alternately you can import the points for the map on the right into google maps directly – for information on how to do that, click here.
- Deanston Distillery
- Eden Mill Brewery and Distillery
- Edinburgh Gin Distillery
- Glenkinchie Distillery
- Lindores Abbey Distillery
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.
If it all seems too hard, Rabbie’s Tours offer 1-Day Trips from Edinburgh to Glengoyne Distillery, Deanston Distillery and Loch Lomond National Park (one of my favourite parts of Scotland) from £33 per person.
They also have a Highlands, Lochs and Glens tour that stops at Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery from £38 per person.
To view all their whisky tours, including multiple day trips, click here.
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.
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 or Daftmill a call and see if you can have a look around. Strathearn and Daftmill would be my picks for distilleries to visit as they are 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 distilleries and do a tasting though.
If you want to see where the magic happens, however, (stills, mash tuns, warehouses), then a tour will be required.
Not A Distillery
There are also a couple 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.
I’ve also noted the distilleries that have on-site cafes. These are useful for a coffee break, a light lunch, and if you’ve got fellow travellers who aren’t so keen on doing yet another distillery tour.
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. A pee sample container is what Clynelish use for their ‘take home’ samples, and I reckon it’s a seriously good idea.
The Best Edinburgh St Andrews Distillery Tours
The Best Edinburgh Stirling Distillery Tours
Best Distillery Tours Near Edinburgh – Whisky Distillery Profiles
Eden Mill Brewery & Distillery
- 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.
- 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 Distillery will use barley grown on the Lindores Abbey farm, and the yeast used in fermentation will include a strain found at the site
- Open Wednesday – Sunday from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm during Autumn and Winter
- £10.00 per person
- Will commence on the 11th October 2017 – Open Wednesday to Sunday during Autumn and Winter
- Tours (pre-production) are at 2:00 pm and include a tasting (not their own whisky yet)
- Once production is up and running (check their website for details) tours will run at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm
- Lindores Abbey Distillery is closed Monday and Tuesday during Autumn and Winter months.
- Open seven days a week (closed 25/26 December and 1/2 January)
- May – September: 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. The whisky must be matured for at least three years so the first bottling of Kingsbarns whisky won’t occur until after April 2018 however they have new make spirit that you can try and buy!
- Check out this great interview between Ralfy.com and distillery manager Peter Holroyd.
- £10 (£8 concession and children are free) duration around 60 minutes
- Visit the Kingsbarns exhibition
- Guided tour of the distillery
- Tasting of new make spirit and a dram of Wemyss Malt
- May – September: tours hourly starting at 10:30 am – last tour 5:30 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.
- 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.
- The Edinburgh Gin Distillery is very popular, and it pays to book!! I discovered this the hard way when my friend and I thought we’d stop by for a tour on a Friday, only to find out they were booked out until Monday! They book out on weekends months in advance.
- £10 per person, duration 45 minutes
- Tours run at 10 am, noon and 2 pm Monday through Thursday, and at 10 am and noon only on Friday, Saturday and 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 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm Monday to Sunday, with an additional tour at 2 pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
- 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.
- 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 stills in Scotland, with a capacity of 32,000 litres (7,000 gallons) on the wash still, which is more than many distillery’s annual productions (Strathearn, Daftmill).
- Glenkinchie is a Diageo owned distillery (these are all shown on our Scotland Whisky Distillery Map in pink) so if you’re planning to visit get yourself (and all other visitors) a Friends of the Classic Malts Membership (free) before you leave home. You can get free entry to the distillery and often a free tasting as well.
- 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
- £14 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
- 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 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 Wilde thyme at Glenturret is open daily from 10 am – 6 pm
- Glenturret 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 receive around 100,000 visitors a year.(3)
- The Famous Grouse Experience is Disneyland for Whisky Lovers. Some will love it. Traditionalists may hate it.
- Why is it one of the best distillery tours near Edinburgh? You will get to see one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland (with some rebranding), 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.
- For online bookings click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +44 (0) 1764 65 65 65
- £10.00 per person, duration 60 minutes
- Includes two tastings and take home bottles are available for drivers
- £9.00 concession (seniors/students/under 18s)
- Non-alcoholic beverages are available for non-drinkers
Tours and tastings are in English. However, translation sheets are available if requested.
- 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 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 owned by the Picard family (Picard Vins & Spiritueux)(2)
- Tullibardine is a convenient location for tourist groups, and as such, they often book out.
- 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
- £8 per person and lasts 45 minutes.
- The price includes two tastings of Tullibardine at the end of the distillery tour.
- The cost is only £6 per person with a group of 10 or more