If you want to visit an Edinburgh whisky distillery but unsure where to go, you must read our Best Distillery Tours Near Edinburgh Guide. We have done the research and have come up with the optimal strategy, whether you are self-driving, catching public transport, or would like to have someone else organise it for you. For the best distillery tours near Edinburgh, read on!
COVID-19 has caused significant changes to many distilleries' operation and tour schedules and nearly all now require advanced bookings, even for tastings. We endeavour to ensure the information on this website is accurate; however, due to the unpredictable nature of COVID outbreaks, information may change at short notice. Please check the distillery's website before you go as (see links in the distillery profiles below).
Even in 'normal' times, we recommend that you book in advance to avoid disappointment or avoid long wait times. The booking links and phone numbers for each distillery are below. While you can sometimes drop in, distilleries are becoming increasingly popular as a tourist destination, and tours often sell out days in advance.
Please 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.
Dogs, Children and Distillery Tours
Dogs are generally not allowed in distillery restaurants/cafes, visitor centres or in production areas, so don’t plan to bring your dog on a distillery tour, with the exception of Lindores Abbey Distillery who "welcome well behaved dog owners along with their four legged friends". Guide dogs and special assistance dogs are permitted, although they may not be allowed in some production areas, so please check with the distillery before you book a tour.
Each distillery has a different policy on the age or number of children that can be taken on a distillery tour or be present during a tasting; please check the distillery's website or call ahead to confirm whether your child/children can join you. A quick summary for distilleries near Edinburgh:
For a list of distilleries that are suitable for children, see our guide to 50 Distillery Tours In Scotland Your Kids Can Actually Go On.
Accessibility / Wheelchair Access
Most distillery tours near Edinburgh are at least partially wheelchair accessible/suitable for those with mobility impairments, as they are generally in newer buildings (unlike most distilleries in the rest of Scotland). 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.
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 Distillery offer a shuttle bus service from Edinburgh to the distillery for £20 (return) in addition to the tour price. The shuttle service is currently only available for the 3pm Glenkinchie Flavour Journey Tour and can be booked online when you book your tour. The time is approximately 45 minutes each way on the shuttle bus.
Click on the Public Transport Distillery Tours Map 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 whole map into Google My Maps (for information on how to do that, click here).
Organised Whisky Distillery Tours
If it all seems too hard, Rabbie’s Tours offer a number of organised group tours to various distilleries in Scotland.
Edinburgh to Glengoyne Distillery, Deanston Distillery and Loch Lomond National Park (one of our favourite parts of Scotland).
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Edinburgh to Dunkeld, Pitlochry, Loch Tay, Kenmore and Dewar's Aberfeldy Distillery.
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Edinburgh to Glenkinchie Distillery, NB Gin Distillery, and visit the seaside town of New Berwick.
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Edinburgh to Royal Lochnagar Distillery, Glen Moray, Dalwhinnie Distillery, Cardhu Distillery, Speyside Cooperage, Lindores Abbey Distillery
Edinburgh to the famous whisky isle of Islay to visit Bowmore Distillery, Ardnahoe Distillery and Kilchoman Distillery (day 2) and Ardbeg, Laphroaig and Lagavulin (day 3), then home again via Oban and the Oban Distillery. This is the ultimate whisky distillery adventure.
Road Trip! Self-Drive Whisky Tour
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 see our Scotland Whisky Distillery Map.
We’ve chosen the following two routes from Edinburgh as all of the distilleries are open seven days with regular tours, but please keep in mind it is generally now essential to 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. We've included the online booking and phone booking information in each distillery profile below.
There are only so many distillery tours you can do in a day. I recommend you pick your favourite TWO.
You can certainly stop 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. Many 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) and some of the smaller distilleries may only offer one or two tours a day. Remember to consider this when you’re picking your destinations.
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 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.
Distilleries with green pins are open to the public, and you can visit without an appointment. However, we highly recommend you book in advance if you plan on doing a tour - a lot of distillery tours now require advanced bookings - partly because of COVID restrictions, but mostly due to popularity.
Visits to distilleries with map pins shown in orange are by appointment only - call/email well in advance, they may/may not offer a tour.
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. Yellow distilleries are either being built or undergoing renovations.
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 Historic Scotland Explorer Pass, as one ticket will get you entry into 20 Historic Scotland venues.
Edinburgh St Andrews Distillery Tours
Edinburgh Stirling Distillery Tours
Whisky Distillery Profiles
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). 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.
A farmsteading adjacent to the old Abbey was enlarged and converted in 2016 (using stone from the original Abbey) to form the new distillery. There are three stills - one wash and two spirit stills. Production commenced at the end of 2017, and the first whisky has been released.
The Apothecary and Visitor Centre are all on one level, with disabled toilets. Disabled parking is available 5 metres from their entrance, and there is a lift available to the second floor and the Legacy Bar. For more information on disability access, read the Lindores Abbey profile on Euan's Guide and the Visit Us section of the Distillery's website.
Lindores Abbey Distillery are open 7 days a week (Monday to Sunday) from March to October from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, with distillery tours available at 10:00 am, 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm.
From November to March the distillery is only open Wednesdays to Sundays, with tours available at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm only.
Lindores Abbey Distillery Tours cost £12.50 per person and include a tasting of two drams. Food is available on-site however it should be pre-booked. Lindores Abbey distillery tours must be booked in advance. Maximum 12 persons per tour. Online bookings are available, otherwise call 01337 842547 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a tour. Children and dogs are allowed on the tour as long as they're well behaved. Tickets are free for persons under 18 years old (0-17).
Private group tours are available and can operate throughout the day at times to suit the group. Lindores Abbey can tailor the tour to your group’s specific interests and even create a bespoke VIP Tour upon request, including French, German, Spanish and Mandarin. Lindores Abbey has an 8-seater minibus which they can use to transport visitors to the distillery for group or corporate tours (ideal if no one wants to be the designated driver). For more information, email email@example.com
Edinburgh Gin Distillery is open seven days a week from 9:45 am to 4:45 pm. The popularity of gin and the distillery's extremely convenient location for tourists in the heart of Edinburgh's West End ensures that the Edinburgh Gin Distillery frequently ranks in the Top 20 of Edinburgh Visitor Attractions on Tripadvisor (alongside The Scotch Whisky Experience).
The Edinburgh Gin Distilery only offer tours pre-booked via their website and cannot accommodate walk-ins on the day. If the date online is already fully booked they are unable to take any additional bookings. They do not take bookings via telephone.
Due to the historical nature of the building there is no wheelchair access. There are 16 steps leading into the distillery. Once inside, the tasting experience is seated and there are no steps.
£25 per person, duration 60 minutes. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Kingsbarns Distillery and Visitor Centre opened in 2014 in a converted Georgian farm-steading. The farm-steading was built around 1800 and was part of East Newhall Farm owned by Thomas Erskine, the ninth Earl of Kellie. One of the most striking architectural features at Kingsbarns Distillery looks like a miniature fortified tower but is a former doocot/dovecot. The dovecot housed the nesting boxes of pigeons/doves, the birds providing a regular supply of meat and eggs to neighbouring Cambo House and Estate. Over 600 terracotta ‘doo boxes’ have been conserved.
Kingsbarns Distillery has an on-site cafe and is open seven days a week.
Kingsbarns Distillery is fully accessible to wheelchair users (with the exception of the doocot in the exhibition area which can be viewed from the doocot entrance). There is step-free access at the entrance and on the ground and first floors, and there are platform lift in the distillery production area and up to the first floor tasting rooms. There are accessible toilets and disabled parking bays on site. Also see Kingsbarns Distillery's profile on Euan's Guide
£12 per person, approximately 60 minutes duration. Visit the Kingsbarns exhibition and receive a guided tour of the distillery. Tasting of Kingsbarns' award-winning single malt 'Dream to Dram' are available. Tickets are £4 for children aged 8 - 17 years (children under 8 years are not permitted on tours).
There are two other whisky tours also available.
£12 per person, approximately 60 minutes duration. Guided tour of the new Darnley’s Gin Distillery and includes a tasting of Darnley’s Gin
Glenkinchie Distillery underwent a substantial renovation to their visitor expierience in 2020, and is now considered the Lowland Home of Johnnie Walker. Per the press release, "the new visitor experience has been created in the distillery’s beautiful red brick Victorian warehouses, in which guests are taken on a magical journey through Glenkinchie’s rich heritage, its generations of passionate whisky makers and its intricate and unique flavour creation process."
The new visitor centre is centred around a 35,000 sq. ft. garden "inspired by East Lothian’s abundant lands, full of wildflowers and local wildlife". The bar serves tasting platters, whisky highballs and a selection of dram flights.
In addition to being the Lowland Home of Johnnie Walker, Glenkinchie Distillery is worth a visit to see the tallest wash stills in Scotland.
Glenkinchie Distillery run a shuttle bus service to transport people from Edinburgh city centre directly to the distillery, departing 9am and 1pm daily. The shuttle bus ticket may be added to your cart when you book your tours online.
Children under 8 are not permitted on tours, however they are welcome in the shop and in certain exhibitions.
There are four disabled parking spaces available at the distillery. All floors at Glenkinchie are accessible via a lift, with the exception of the Tun Room, which is an older part of the building - during this part of the tour they will show any visitors who cannot access the Tun Room a video of the room and fermentation on an iPad so they do not miss anything. Accessible toilets are available within the Visitor Centre on each floor. Guide and assistance dogs are welcome at Glenkinchie, however, due to health & safety regulations animals are not permitted in the production areas of the distillery.
Glenkinchie does not allow photography in production areas.
Glenkinchie Flavour Journey Tasting Experience
£19 per person, 1.5 hours duration
Hear the story of Glenkinchie's rich heritage, filled with passionate people and a quest to capture the essence of East Lothian through their flavourful field-to-glass whisky process. Your full-sensory tour culminates in a tutored whisky tasting of 3 drams and a wee cocktail in the new tasting room. Chilren over 8 years old are welcome to accompany their parents on a tour - chilren's tickets are £9.50.
Glenkinchie Distillery also offer a shuttle bus service from Edinburgh to the distillery for £20 (return). The shuttle bus service is available for the 3pm tour only. The time is approximately 45 minutes each way on the shuttle bus. The shuttle bus service can be added on when you book your tour tickets online.
Deanston Distillery began life as a cotton mill in 1785. The mill's success led to an increased need for labour and housing, and in 1808 the owners built accommodation for 300 workers, creating a self-contained village that still forms the centre of modern-day Deanston. So self-contained was the town that they also had their own currency - "Deanstons" were only redeemable in the village stores [ref].
The value of the UK cotton industry had declined severely by the mid-1960s resulting in the Mill's closure in 1965. However, the doors were re-opened in 1974, with the building converted into what is now the Deanston Distillery. The River Teith had previously been utilised to power the Spinning Mill and Weaving Shed machinery; the original lade now directs the water to the distillery for use in production and powering the turbines.
There is a cafe on site – The Coffee Bothy is currently open from 10:00 - 16:00 Wednesday to Sunday (closed Monday Tuesday). The Visitor Centre has accessible parking, with ramped access to the visitor centre which is level throughout and has an adapted toilet; however, the production areas of the distillery are not accessible.
Why is it one of the best distillery tours near Edinburgh? They have an open-topped mash tun!!
Children 12 years old or under are not permitted to join the distillery tour and/or warehouse experiences.
Tasting and Tour tickets includes a £5 voucher redeemable on a 70cl purchase of whisky in the Deanston Distillery shop. Tastings and tours should be booked in advance.
Deanston Distillery Production Tour
The Deanston Tour is at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm and costs £25 per person (£6 for children aged 5-17 years), is approximately 45 minutes duration and includes three (3) tastings (3x 15ml) - the Deanston 12 year old and two other Deanston whiskies. Chilren must be aged over 5 years old to go on this tour.
Online advanced bookings are highly recommended due to the limited number of persons permitted per tour.
Deanston Family Tasting
A tasting of Deanston 12 year old, Deanston Virgin Oak and Deanston 18 year old. £20.00 per person, approx 45 mins. Online advanced bookings are highly recommended.
Deanston Highlands & Islands Tasting
Sample the Deanston core range and explore whiskies from sister distilleries Bunnahabhain and Tobermory. This tasting includes Deanston 12yo, Bunnahabhain 12yo, Tobermory 12yo and Ledaig 10yo. £25.00 per person, approx 45 mins. Online advanced bookings are highly recommended.
Warehouse 4 Tasting
Aan exclusive whisky tasting of Deanston Distillery exclusives that have been extracted directly from the cask in Warehouse 4. Includes three (3) cask-strength drams and the opportunity to purchase a bottle from your favourite casks in the distillery shop. £35.00 per person, approx 45 mins. Online advanced bookings are highly recommended. Adults only (18 years and older).
Glenturret Distillery is likely the oldest distillery still operating in Scotland. Rental documents from 1763 refer to Thurot Distillery, the earliest known name for Glenturret [ref]. Glenturret has been known by several names over the years, including The Hosh Distillery (1814 to 1873). It was promoted as 'The Famous Grouse Experience' until the distillery changed ownership in 2019. It is now back to being simply Glenturret Distillery.
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.
There is an on-site restaurant/cafe: the Glenturret Restaurant is open Wednesday to Sunday (closed Monday Tuesday) for Whisky Flights, Bar Lunch, Afternoon Tea and Dinner however reservations must be made in advance.
Glenturret Distillery is open seven days. Summer Season Opening Hours are Monday – Sunday 10am until 6pm (Last Tour 90 minutes before closing) and Winter Season Opening Hours are Monday – Sunday 10am until 5pm (Last Tour 90 minutes before closing). Tours can be booked online up to 48 hours in advance. Tours and tastings are in English. However, translation sheets are available if requested.
Children are allowed to accompany their parents on distillery tours, with the condition (per Glenturret's FAQ section) that "if children are disruptive on tour, we will kindly ask that they and their family step out of the experience. We additionally cannot allow prams and pushchairs through the production areas, however, we can look after these in our reception area for you to collect after your tour. The shop and restaurant areas of the distillery are all accessible for prams and pushchairs." Tours are free for children under the age of 8 years.
For online bookings click here or email email@example.com 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
Includes a guided tour of the distillery and one dram of Glenturret Whisky. £15.00 per person, duration 45 minutes. Maximum 16 persons per tour. Book your Glenturret Distillery Tour and Tasting Experience Online
Distillery Tour and Whisky Flight
Includes a guided tour of the distillery and a flight of three (3) Glenturret Whiskies in the Lalique Bar or Salon. £45.00 per person, duration 60 minutes. Maximum 16 persons per tour. Book your Glenturret Distillery Tour and Whisky Flight Online
The Tullibardine site was a brewery in 1400s, and acquired a Royal Charter in 1503 to provision King James IV with beer (the same chap who was getting Lindores Abbey to distill 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 Distillery 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. They are open seven days from 10 am to 5 pm. All tours must be pre-booked via email or phone; email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +44 (0) 1764 661 809. Tour numbers are currently limited to 8-10 persons.
£12 per person and lasts 45 minutes. Includes a guided tour of Tullibardine Distillery and two tastings of Tullibardine Whisky at the end of the tour.
£35 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.
Clydeside Distillery is wheelchair accessible with accessible toilets on the ground and first levels and lifts between each level available. They also offer carer admissions free of charge with an adult/concession ticket - get in touch with Clydeside Distillery to book this with your standard entry. They have a comprehensive Accessibility Guide (pdf) available from their website.
Children are welcome in the distillery and on tours as long as an adult accompanies them at all times. Ticket prices for children aged 8 to 17 years is £5, and infants (0-7 years) are free.
£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. Book the Clydeside Tour here.
£30 per person and lasts 90 minutes. This tour includes the self guided "Discover the Dockside Story", a professionally guided tour of the distillery, and a tasting of five single malt whiskies paired with artisan chocolates, while overlooking some stunning views of the River Clyde. Book your Clydeside Chocolate and Whisky Tasting Tour here.
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, however, Holyrood's new make spirit and gin are available.
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.
Children over 5 years old are welcome on tours (tickets are £15 for persons aged 5 - 17 years).
Gin And Whisky Distillery Tour
A guided flavour-forward experience, you will learn how gin and whisky are made, and about both the traditions and innovative new methods in craft distilling employed at Holyrood Distillery. This is a hands-on sensory experience, taking in Holyrood's gin and whisky distilleries, with opportunities for tasting and nosing throughout. From £20 per adult or £30.00 (with 4 additional spirit samples), approx 60 mins duration, book your Holyrood Gin and Whisky Tour here.
Whisky Tour And Tasting
An expert-led guided tour through the Holyrood Distillery - learning about the heritage and traditions of scotch whisky production, as well as Holyrood's innovative approach in creating a new and unique whisky 'Made by Edinburgh'. Finish off your tour with a tasting of 4 drams of Holyrood's new make spirit. From £25 per adult, approx 60 mins duration, book your Holyrood Whisky Tour and Tasting here.
Edinburgh has a lot of fantastic accommodation options available; however, we recommend you consider the following due to their close proximity to whisky:
The Balmoral Hotel
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.
Sonder Royal Garden Apartments
Modern and stylish apartments with a range of studio, 1 and 2 bedroom options in New Town’s Queen Street. Nearby, you'll find the the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Bar + Dining Room (non-members welcome), with over 200 rare single malts for you to try. Each unit comes with a fully equipped kitchen (including a microwave and a coffee machine), a dining table, a flat-screen TV with cable channels and a private bathroom with bath or shower.
Ocean Mist Leith
The Ocean Mist was built as a mine sweeper for the Admiralty in 1919 (but never used as such) and converted to "a gentleman's pleasure yacht" in 1921, but repossessed by the Admiralty during WW2. She was named the Ocean Mist in 1959 when acquired by Joseph Hobbs of Inverness – a businessman and whisky distiller who ran whisky from Scotland to California during prohibition. The Ocean Mist underwent extensive renovations in 2018, resulting in seventeen (17) beautifully appointed rooms, a bar and a lounge area, and she's docked only a few hundred metres from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Vaults (members only), Teuchters Landing whisky bar, and our favourite brunch spot in Edinburgh, Roseleaf Cafe.
Other Activities In Edinburgh
As the biggest city in Scotland, there are countless other tours and attractions to visit while you're in Edinburgh.