Updated 17 September 2022

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Best Distillery Tours Near Inverness

If you want to visit a whisky distillery near Inverness but are unsure where to go, you must read our Best Distillery Tours Near Inverness Guide. We have done the research and have come up with the optimal strategies, whether you are self-driving, catching public transport, or would like to have someone else organise a whisky tour for you. For the best Inverness distillery tours, read on!

white text on red toned background photo of casks. Text reads Distillery Tours Near Inverness

General Distillery Visitor Information

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 Inverness 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. 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 Inverness:

Accessibility / Wheelchair Access

Most distillery tours near Inverness are at least partially wheelchair accessible/suitable for those with mobility impairments. 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 persons to find great places to go.

But I Don’t Want to (or can’t) Drive!

The following distilleries are accessible by public transport (bus) from Inverness, and the journey is 45 to 60 minutes (each way). While the other distilleries are accessible by public transport (Glenmorangie, Balblair, Clynelish / Brora) the time to reach them by public transport is over 2 hours each way.

Glen Ord Distillery and The Tomatin Distillery are approximately 30 minutes in a car from Inverness so you may also wish to consider a taxi or Uber if a bus is not your preferred mode of transport.

Day Trips From Inverness - Organised Whisky Tours

Rabbie’s Tours offer a number of organised small-group tours from Inverness in their 16-seater mini buses. Each of the following small group tours visits at least one distillery and is a fantastic way of visiting the region without having to drive yourself.

purple toned photograph looking up at the front Dunrobin castle

One day tour from Inverness visiting Dunrobin Castle, Glen Ord Distillery, and the wee towns of Dornoch and Beauly.

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photograph of a circular bridge with a river running under it, surrounded by green trees

One day tour from Inverness visiting Carrbridge and the Dulnain Bridge (aka the Old Packhorse Bridge), Tomatin Distillery, and the Glenmore Forest Park / Lake Morlich (one of Scotland’s most scenic and popular lochs).

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photograph of a graveyard and tall square towers of Elgin Cathedral

Inverness to Moray and Speyside, visiting Glen Moray Distillery, Elgin Cathedral, the Gordon and Macphail Whisky Shop, and Cardhu Distillery.

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Road Trip! Self-Drive Whisky Tour

Oh, the freedom of the open road! You have your pick of distillery tours near Inverness. 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 route 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. Basing yourself in Inverness also means you are not too far from an abundance of distilleries in Speyside; if you are considering tours in Speyside, see our Speyside Distillery Map.

We’ve chosen the following routes from Inverness as all of the distilleries are usually open most 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. Even in 'normal times' 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, take some photos and 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 around 3 hours of driving excluding all other activities. If you allow two tours, you’re already at 5-6 hours for the day, minimum. Most distilleries run tours between 10:00 am and 4:00 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.

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.

Scotland Distillery Map Framed above fireplace

Scotland Whisky Maps and Photographic Prints

Whisky Gifts, Wall Art and Man Cave Decor. Made By Whisky Lovers For Whisky Lovers

Inverness North Coast 500 Distillery Tour

Inverness South and a Touch of Spey

screen capture of google map of distillery tours south of Inverness including Tomatin and Benromach distilleries

The Tomatin Distillery

Dulnain Bridge (not a distillery but a good spot for lunch)

Benromach Distillery

Whisky Distillery Profiles

Balblair Distillery

Balblair Distillery Opening Hours

April to September: Monday to Friday: 10am - 5pm and Saturday: 11am - 4pm
October to  March: Monday to Friday: 10am - 4:30pm
Minimum age of participants on tours is 12 years of age, however under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult. For safety reasons, all photography (including both flash, non-flash and mobile phones) and video recording is strictly prohibited within the production areas of the distillery. Balblair Distillery Tours are partially wheelchair accessible; they also have a wheelchair accessible bathroom and wheelchair accessible parking spaces.

The Balblair Classic Tour 

Guided distillery tour followed by a tasting of two (2) the Balblair 12 and 15 Year Old expressions. £20 per person, approximately 90 minutes duration. Online advanced bookings for the Classic Tour are recommended.

The Balblair Signature Tour

The Balblair Signature Tour offers visitors the opportunity to explore the precision and time invested in Balblair's distillery processes. One of their senior guides will lead you through each element of the production process, highlighting how each step creates the quality and character inherent in every drop of Balblair. To round off the tour, you will get the chance to taste our core range of single malts, including 12 Year Old, 15 Year Old and 18 Year Old and an exclusive hand bottling. £45 per person and approximately 2 hours duration. Online advanced bookings for the Signature Tour are recommended.

The Balblair Definitive Tour 

An intimate and insightful journey into the world of Balblair; The Definitive Tour is limited to small groups for a more in-depth experience. Enjoy an in-depth guided tour of the distillery with one of Balblair's senior guides, and as part of this experience, you will have the rare opportunity to taste the wash and wort as it evolves through its journey to becoming new make spirit.  The exclusivity continues as your guide gives your special access to one of Balblair's warehouses which is reserved only for visitors on The Definitive Tour, where you will have the chance to hand-bottle a Balblair single malt. The culmination of this ultimate experience is the tasting of all four of Balblair's signature whiskies, ranging from the 12 year old to 25 year old. £100 per person approximately 2.5 hours duration. Advanced bookings are essential.

Benromach Distillery

Benromach Distillery Opening Hours

January, February: Monday to Saturday: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
March to October: Monday to Saturday: 9.30 am - 5:00 pm
November, December: Monday to Saturday: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Online booking requests are available (48 hours advance booking required), otherwise contact the distillery on +44 1309 675 968. You must be over 18 years of age to go on a Benromach Distillery Tour. Have a quick look around the distillery before you go with a Benromach Distillery Virtual TourBenromach Distillery Tours are not wheelchair accessible, though the Vistor's Centre accessible.

Benromach Classic Tour

Guided tour of the Benromach Distillery. £10 per person and 60 minutes duration. Online booking requests for the Benromach Classic Tour are available.

Benromach Contrast Tour

Guided tour and tasting of the Benromach Contrast Range, compared to the Classic Benromach Whiskies. £25 per person and 90 minutes duration. Online booking requests for the Benromach Contrast Tour are available.

Benromach Heritage Tour

Guided tour of the distillery and tasting of a selection of unique and rare whiskies hand picked by Benromach's Distillery Manager. £75 per person and 2 hours duration. Online booking requests for the Benromach Heritage Tour are available.

Glen Ord Distillery Opening Hours

The Glen Ord Distillery Visitor Centre is open from:

March to October: Monday to Sunday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
November to February: Monday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, and Sunday: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

There is an on-site cocktail bar and deli for tasting plates and platters.

Read our full Glen Ord Distillery profile here.

Singleton of Glen Ord Distillery Tour

Guided tour, and a tutored tasting of three (3) unique expressions paired with one macaron at the end of your tour. From £20 per person, 85 minutes duration: Online advanced bookings are highly recommended as Glen Ord is a very popular distillery to visit and each tour group has maximum of 16 persons.

The 12 pointed stag horn crest synonymous with The Dalmore was granted to the Mackenzie clan in 1263 when Clan Chief Colin of Kintail rescued King Alexander III from a raging stag. The Mackenzie's first leased, then owned Dalmore from 1867 to the mid-1960s

The 12 pointed stag horn crest synonymous with The Dalmore was granted to the Mackenzie clan in 1263 when Clan Chief Colin of Kintail rescued King Alexander III from a raging stag. The Mackenzie's first leased, then owned Dalmore from 1867 to the mid-1960s

Dalmore Distillery are currently closed for renovations - they are planning to reopen in 2024.

You can read our full Dalmore Distillery profile here.

Clynelish Distillery Opening Hours

One of the Four Corners of Johnnie Walker Distilleries, Clynelish is open year round (January to December) Monday to Sunday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Children under 8 years of age are not permitted on tours of the distillery.

You can read our full Clynelish and Brora Distillery profile here.

Clynelish Flavour Journey

Guided, full-sensory tour of Clynelish Distillery followed by a tutored tasting. £19 per person and 105 minutes duration. Online bookings for the Clynelish Flavour Journey are available.

Clynelish Express Tasting

A tutored tasting experience of three (3) drams of whisky (no tour). £15 per person and 45 minutes duration. Online bookings for the Clynelish Express Tasting are available.

Brora Distillery Tours

Brora Distillery tours are available by appointment only - tours start from £300 per person. Advanced bookings are essential.

Glenmorangie Distillery

Glenmorangie Distillery Opening Hours

The Glenmorangie Distillery Visitor Centre is open 7 days a week, 10am to 5pm. Tours operate throughout the year, however, the tour times and days vary depending on the month you visit. Glenmorangie whisky tastings (no tour) are available year round in the distillery's bar and do not require pre-booking (bar is open daily from  11:00 am to 4:30 pm).

For group bookings (15 or more persons) tickets must be purchased in advance, and only by telephoning the Glenmorangie Visitor Centre on +44 (0)1862 892 477

Children of all ages are welcome to visit the distillery, but only the Classic Tour is available to under 18s. 

The Original / Classic Whisky Tour 

Guided tour of Glenmorangie distillery followed by a tasting of two (2) drams of Glenmorangie whisky. Approximate duration 60 minutes, £18 per person, max. 12 persons per tour. Online advanced bookings for the Original / Classic Tour are recommended.

Glenmorangie Classic Tour Times
  • June, July, August: Monday to Sunday: tours are every 30 minutes from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • April, May, September and October: Monday to Friday: tours are every hour from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
  • January, February, March, November and December: Monday to Friday: tours are at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm only

The Innovation Tour

The Glenmorangie Innovation tour offers visitors the chance to delve into Glenmorangie's experimental side and taste four (4) drams of Glenmorangie whisky. Begin your tour with a tasting of The Original, Glenmorangie's signature whisky. As your expert guide takes you on an in-depth tour of the distillery you'll be treated to three additional Glenmorangie single malts. Maximum 12 persons per tour and all participants must be over the age of 18. £45 per person and approximately 90 minutes duration. Online advanced bookings for the Innovation Tour are highly recommended.

Glenmorangie Innovation Tour Times
  • June, July, August: Monday - Sunday: at 3:00 pm

Private Tour 

The ultimate Glenmorangie experience - your own private tour of the distillery, designed especially for you / your group (up to 12 persons). Your custom distillery tour is completed with a tasting masterclass of the Glenmorangie Core Expressions and the Glenmorangie Prestige ranges, and cocktails. £600 and approximately 90 minutes duration. Private tours must be booked in advance by calling +44 (0)1862 892 477

Glenmorangie Private Tour Times
  • May, June, July, August, September: Monday - Friday: at 2:30 pm

Glenmorangie House

Formerly a farmhouse, Glenmorangie House is now a boutique hotel fully refurbished in 2021; the decor is an eclectic blend of bold modern styles and historical Scotland. The house lies on Cadboll Estate, alongside Cadboll Castle's 13th-century ruins, encircled by barley fields used for Glenmorangie whisky and overlooking the Moray Firth. Why stay here? Well, aside from the fabulous decor and stunning location, Glenmorangie House offers an array of whisky tastings - from Master Distiller Dr Bill Lumsden's 'Willy Wonka' style Glenmorangie expressions - to a Highlands and Islay 4 dram tasting, or perhaps a Single Cask Tasting of specially selected Glenmorangie Whiskies, exclusive to the House and Distillery. Please note that Glenmorangie House is located 10 miles (20 mins drive) from Glenmorangie Distillery - it was initially purchased as a corporate retreat by LVMH and is not part of the distillery grounds.

The Tomatin Distillery is located 16 miles (26 km) south of Inverness on the A9, and is easily reachable by car or taxi (around 35 minutes). Public transport is also an option if you don't mind a 0.8 mile (1.2 km) walk from the highway to the distillery - see Stagecoach Inverness for current bus timetables.

Children of all ages are welcome at the distillery and on the Tomatin Legacy Tour, however the Taste of Tomatin Tour and the Single Cask Experience is for persons aged 18 years and older only.

The Tomatin Distillery Opening Hours

The Tomatin Distillery is open Monday to Sunday from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm and Distillery Tours are available from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Advanced bookings are highly recommended to avoid disappointment, however online bookings are not available so you'll need to phone the Tomatin Distillery Visitor Centre on +44 (0) 1463 248 144 or email visitors@tomatin.com to make your booking.

The Tomatin Legacy Tour

A guided tour of the Tomatin Distillery followed by a tutored tasting of three (3) whiskies: Tomatin Legacy, Tomatin 12 year old and the lightly peated Cù Bòcan Signature. £12.50 per person (£4 for under 18s, and free for children under 5 years old), approximately 75 minutes duration. Advanced bookings are recommended.

Taste of Tomatin Tour

A guided tour of the Tomatin Distillery followed by a tutored tasting of six (6) Tomatin whiskies. £30 per person (over 18s only), approximately 2 hours duration. Advanced bookings are highly recommended.

The Tomatin Single Cask Experience

A guided tour of the Tomatin Distillery and warehouse followed by a tutored tasting of five (5)Tomatin single cask expressions. £50 per person (over 18s only), approximately 2.5 hours duration. Advanced bookings are highly recommended.

wood panelled bar room, dark timber, islay distillery map on wall in corner

Islay Maps and Photographic Prints

Whisky Gifts, Wall Art and Man Cave Decor. Made By Whisky Lovers For Whisky Lovers

Best Places To Stay In Inverness

There are a large number of accommodation options in Inverness, from hostels to hotels and self-catering apartments. The following hotels are recommended for their proximity to whisky bars:

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photograph of a dark bar showing an extensive collection of whisky bottles on the wall

Located on the banks of the River Ness, a short walk from the city centre of Inverness; the 4-star Glenmoriston Townhouse Hotel is an ideal base for your whisky adventures. Rooms include free wifi and parking, and some have a view over the River Ness. The on-site Piano Bar boasts Inverness’s most extensive whisky collection. Their Whisky Ambassadors will help you choose from over 260 rare and unusual malts.

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photograph of lounge suite at Highland Apartments

Centrally located, Highland Apartments by Manlsey offer the ultimate in modern luxury and comfort, with lifts (elevators) to all floors, secure private parking and free wi-fi internet access. Most apartments have balconies overlooking the town or the river, with Inverness Castle in the background. There are stunning views towards Loch Ness to the south and mountains to the north and west. It is an ideal location to enjoy Inverness' nightlife, including a short walk to The Malt Room, where you'll find over 200 whiskies and friendly staff to help you with a tasting.

If you're planning to travel with family or a small group of friends, Butter Shortbread is located in the heart of Inverness, and not far from The Malt Room:

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This three-bedroom two-bathroom home has been featured by the BBC and is a shining example of Scottish hospitality in the city of Inverness. Step inside, and you'll find a cosy space with plenty of seating, ideal for flopping down with a glass of whisky at the end of a long day of exploring. The hosts have put great thought into every aspect of this home, from the luxury toiletries to the Bose speaker systems in every bedroom and the extra-large bathtub where you can soak in perfect peace. You're just a few steps away from the banks of the River Ness, and Inverness Castle is less than five minutes away from your front door, along with a range of shops and restaurants in the city centre.

What To Do In Inverness

As the biggest city in the Scottish Highlands, there are countless tours and attractions to visit while you're in Inverness. Our picks would be (in addition to visiting all the distilleries of course):

  • Day Trip to Isle of Skye to see Eilean Donan Castle and the Old Man of Storr.
  • Day Trip Around Loch Ness including stops at Fort Augustus (to watch the boats coming in through the Caledonian Canal) and the Falls of Foyers (a favourite spot of Robert Burns).

If you plan on driving yourself, then use the above links to help map out your itinerary.

References & Further Reading

photograph of glass of whisky and book title World Atlas of Whisky

By award-winning author and whisky expert Dave Broom; explore over 200 distilleries and examine over 400 expressions. Detailed descriptions of the Scottish distilleries can be found here, while Ireland, Japan, the USA, Canada and the rest of the world are given exhaustive coverage. There are tasting notes on single malts from Aberfeldy to Tormore, Yoichi (and coverage of the best of the blends). Six specially created 'Flavour Camp Charts' group whiskies by style and allow readers to identify new whiskies from around the world to try. With over 200 beautiful colour photographs and 21 colour maps locating distilleries and whisky-related sites, this is a stylish celebration of the heritage, romance, craftsmanship and versatility of whisky.

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picture of the front cover of book The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom by Alfred Barnard

One of Amanda's favourite books. Around 1885, Alfred Barnard was secretary of Harper's Weekly Gazette, a journal dedicated to the wine and spirit trade. In order to provide his readers with the history and descriptions of the whisky-making process, Barnard decided to visit all distilleries in Scotland, England and Ireland. Accompanied by friends, he visited and sketched over 150 distilleries. This is a wonderful step back in time and a must have book for a whisky history geek. 

About the author

Amanda

Amanda is an Australian-born photographer, digital nomad and whisky lover. Her passion for travel and whisky lead her to Islay, where she fell in love with an Ileach (an Islay native). Amanda and Roddy now share their Spirited Adventures.

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