If you're wanting to visit an Edinburgh whisky distillery but not sure where to go, then you must read our Best Distillery Tours Near Edinburgh Guide. We’ve done the research, and have come up with the optimal strategy, whether you’re self-driving, catching public transport, or would like to have someone else organise it for you. And if you're wanting to visit a distillery but are currently locked down thanks to COVID-19, we've included a list of samples you can buy, to do your own virtual tours and tastings at home.
For the best distillery tours near Edinburgh (and a selection of spirits to try), 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. COVID-19 has caused changes to many distillery tour schedules, and those that are open require advanced booking even for tastings. Please check the distillery's website before you go (see links in the distillery profiles below).
- 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. Due to COVID-19 distilleries may change tour/tasting times at short notice.
- 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. Also have a look at Euan's Guide - a purpose built website that makes it easier for disabled people to find great places to go.
- Eden Mill (not currently open for tours or tastings), Lindores Abbey and Holyrood are wheelchair accessible and have accessible toilets on site.
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 (please note, Glenkinchie are currently closed to visitors).
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.
Taste of Scotland Craft Beer and Whisky Tour: Edinburgh to Kingsbarns Distillery, Lindores Abbey Distillery and the Innis & Gunn Brewery, from £31.00 per person.
Whiskies and Gin of East Lothian: Glenkinchie Distillery, NB Gin Distillery, and visit the seaside town of New Berwick, from £31.00 per person.
Highlands, Lochs and Glens: tour that stops at Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery from £41 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.
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.
We're In Lockdown And We Can't Go Anywhere!
Roddy and I have been locked down in Melbourne for most of the past 6 months. While we're not allowed to go further than 5km from our residence, we have managed to do quite a few whisky tastings, thanks to the availability of sample bottles. Master of Malt have pre-packaged tasting gift packs and Advent Calendars , and they also have the option to create your own tasting pack! Select any 5 whisky samples and they'll box them nicely and deliver them to you.
Tasting sets are a fantastic way of sampling different whiskies from Scotland and the rest of the world - generally sized at a reasonable 3cl (30ml), try new styles, new regions, new countries.
What could possibly be a better way to count down the days to Christmas (especially if it is not your favourite holiday) than with a spirit-filled Advent Calendar?! Whisky, whiskey, gin and rum, there is an Advent Calendar for everyone!
- 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
- 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.
- From Friday 17th July 2020 Lindores Abbey Distillery will host small pre-booked whisky and history tours and tastings within the visitor centre and abbey ruins. These will be available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11:30 am, 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm. The tours will be £10 per person and will include a guidebook and tasting. Parts of the distillery will not be open to the public, but there are a series of films that will tell you all about the production of whisky at this historic site.
- REFRESHMENTS: Tables for refreshments and/or cheese and meat platters, Ploughman’s picnics (£12.50 per person) or luxury seafood hampers (£65 for 2 people) can be reserved in advance on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. All Tours and refreshments must be booked in advance.
- All bookings and refreshments must be booked in advance, by 6:00 pm the night prior. You can book by emailing [email protected]
- 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
- For information on disability access, read the Lindores Abbey profile on Euan's Guide.
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.
- £25 per person, duration 60 minutes
- Tastings run at 10:00 am, 11:45 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:15 pm Monday to Sunday.
- A tasting of five gins and gin liqueurs from their award-winning range including a history of gin in the UK and in Edinburgh, with a talk through the Edinburgh Gin distillation and production processes.
- The experience will take place in a large space at the distillery bar in view of the stills ‘Caledonia’ and ‘Flora’. Preparation of drinks and tasting vessels will be carried out by staff in PPE and all drinks will be served from closed bottles, poured by visitors themselves.
- You will receive a 10% discount on purchases.
- No children permitted – 18+ only.
Advanced online booking is essential (online bookings in groups of 2 only) or email [email protected] if you'd like to book for 1, 3 or 5 persons. If you are unable to select a date in the online portal it means they are fully booked and cannot take any additional bookings on that date. Due to current COVID-19 restrictions Edinburgh Gin are allowing a maximum of two households/up to 6 people per booking.
Edinburgh Gin Distillery Tasting At Home
A warming rhubarb and ginger liqueur from the chaps at Edinburgh Gin. It captures a fine balance between the intense rush of ginger spice and the evocative, almost nostalgic sweetness of rhubarb. Available as a 3cl (30ml) sample on Master of Malt.
Edinburgh Gin Cannonball, a Navy Strength gin with an impactful character thanks to 57.2% ABV and double strength juniper, lemon peel and a pinch of Szechuan pepper. It packs a punch like a Cannonball. Available as a 3cl (30ml) sample from Master of Malt.
- Kingsbarns Distillery is open seven days a week (closed 25/26 December and 1/2 January)
- 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.
- For information on disability access, read Kingsbarns Distillery's profile on Euan's Guide.
- Book online or telephone +44 (0) 1333 451300 or email [email protected]
- £12 per person, approximately 60 minutes duration
- Visit the Kingsbarns exhibition
- Guided tour of the distillery
- Tasting of new make spirit and a dram of Kingsbarns' award-winning single malt 'Dream to Dram'.
- There are two other whisky tours available.
- Online whisky tour bookings available.
kingsbarns Distillery Tasting At Home
Kingsbarns is a relatively new distillery and have only just released their flagship single malt. While they were waiting for that to mature, they put out New Make Spirit (unmatured spirit from the Kingsbarns' stills) - you dont often see New Make available for sale, so it is a great opportunity to try what will eventually become whisky, before it has seen a cask. Available as a 3cl (30ml) sample on Master of Malt.
Glenkinchie Distillery is currently undergoing renovations/upgrades and are not open to visitors for tours or tastings. The distillery is expected to re-open at the end of 2020. See the Glenkinchie Facebook Page for further details.
- 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
Glenkinchie Distillery Tasting At Home
The flagship expression from the Glenkinchie distillery, one of the stalwarts of the Lowlands. A fantastic introduction to the region, Glenkinchie 12 Year Old shows off the characteristic lightness and grassy elements that Lowland whiskies are known for, with nods to cooked fruit and Sauternes wine along the way. Available as a 3cl (30ml) sample on Master of Malt.
- 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
- The distillery shop is open seven days all year, from 10.00am to 5.00pm. There might be a queue at the entrance of the Visitor Centre shop. This queue is only for people purchasing from the distillery shop. If you have a booking, go to the designated meeting point and a member of staff will come to meet you.
- Tastings (no tours) are currently running on weekends only. You must book in advance - due to the current situation surrounding Covid19, only online bookings will be accepted. For more information see https://www.deanstonmalt.com/visit-us/
- Why is it one of the best distillery tours near Edinburgh? They have an open-topped mash tun!!
- Children 8 years old or under are unable to join the distillery tour and/or warehouse experiences.
- currently available on weekends only, see https://deanstonmalt.digitickets.co.uk/tickets for available tastings and to make a booking
DEANSTON Distillery Tastings At Home
Originally released for the Travel Retail market, this Deanston 10 year old single malt was finished in casks that had previously held red wine from the Bordeaux region of France. The wine cask finish has imparted a full-bodied sweetness to the whisky. Available as a 3cl (30ml) sample on Master of Malt.
Independent bottling (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) of Deanston 18 year old whisky. Acacia honey and tropical fruit are followed by rich cinnamon, vanilla essence, soda bread and freshly cut grass notes. Available as a 3cl (30ml) sample on Master of Malt.
- 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 [email protected] or telephone +44 (0) 1764 65 65 65
- For information on disability access, read Glenturret Distillery's profile on Euan's Guide.
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
gLENTURRET Distillery Tasting At Home
Independent bottling of Glenturret 15 yo whisky. 'Old Particular' spent its entire 15 years of maturation in a single sherry puncheon. A limited 344 bottles were released for the Old Particular series at 48.4% ABV. Available as a 3cl (30ml) sample from Master of Malt.
- 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.
- All tours must be pre-booked via email or phone; email [email protected] or phone +44 (0) 1764 661 809
- Tour numbers are limited to a maximum of 6 people from 2 households.
- £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
- £30 per person and lasts 90 minutes.
- A detailed walk through the Tullibardine Distillery process, with an additional visit to the bonded warehouse where you will have the opportunity to nose selected casks. At the dramming bar you will have a tasting of three single malts including Tullibardine 20 Year Old. You will also get to take home a Tullibardine gift bag.
tULLIBARDINE Distillery Tasting At Home
A set for four miniature 5cl (50ml) bottles of Tullibardine whisky, including Tullibardine Sovereign, Tullibardine 225, Tullibardine 228 and Tullibardine 500.
Independent bottling (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) of 25 year old single malt from the Tullibardine distillery. Buttery at first, though soon followed by juicy peach and plum, with a good kick of winter spice later on. Available as a 3cl (30ml) sample on Master of Malt.
Clydeside Distillery is currently not open to visitors.
- Clydeside Distillery opened in Glasgow on the River Clyde in 2018; Clydeside whisky will not be available until at least 2021.
Clydeside Tour (not currently available)
- £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.
- Designated drivers will be provided with Drivers Drams to take away and enjoy at home
Chocolate and Whisky Tour (not currently available)
- £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.
- Holyrood Distillery opened in the centre of Edinburgh in 2019; a 15 minute walk from the Royal Mile. Holyrood whisky will not be available until at least 2022.
- The Holyrood Distillery visitor centre is currently open for pre-booked, appointment-only experiences of the Distillery (Thursday-Sunday from midday). These experiences are restricted to a maximum of 8 people, from the same household/social bubble.
- They will not accept walk-up visitors for tours, so to avoid disappointment book a slot at least 7 days in advance by emailing [email protected].
- There is no public parking, however Blue badge holders/registered disabled vehicles can pick up and drop off in the courtyard area.
- Holyrood Distillery is fully accessible for those with mobility requirements. There is an onsite wheelchair which can be used for the duration of the tour, and, they have induction loops available throughout the building. For more information on disability access, see Holyrood Distillery's profile on Euan's Guide.
- £14 per person and lasts 60 minutes.
- Fully guided and immersive experience of the entire distillery. You will be introduced to a world of flavour, testing how well you taste, getting hands-on with botanicals, learning about both malt whisky and gin production, and enjoying Holyrood spirit samples along the way.
- Maximum 20 people per tour.
- £22 per person and lasts 60 minutes.
- The Holyrood whisky tour and tasting takes place in the whisky distillery and maturation room, where you will be introduced to the world of single malt whisky as a whole, and particularly, how Holyrood Distillery goes about it (process, equipment and ingredients). You will also enjoy opportunities to sample from Holyrood's specially selected whisky range.
- £22 per person and lasts 60 minutes.
- The Holyrood Gin Tour and Tasting is led by an expert guide. You will be introduced to the process behind gin distillation, the world of flavour-packed botanicals, and to the particular approach of Holyrood in the production of their gins and gin liqueurs. You will also enjoy opportunities to sample from the Holyrood Distillery gin and gin liqueur range.
Edinburgh has a lot of fantastic accommodation options available; however, we recommend you consider the following:
As one TripAdvisor fan put it, the Balmoral Hotel is ""beautifully decorated and comfortable and grand as well as conveniently located for everywhere". They're a short walk to the Royal Mile, near the pick-up location for Rabbies Tours, and the Hotel's Whisky Bar contains over 500 bottles of whisky.
20 modern and stylish apartments with a range of studio, 1 and 2 bedroom options in a historical building in New Town’s Thistle Street. Braid Apartments are a three minute walk to 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.
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. Developed by The Royal Yacht Britannia, Fingal’s 23 luxury cabins are each named after Stevenson lighthouses, inspired by her rich maritime heritage.