Updated 20 October 2022

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Best Speyside Whisky Distillery Tours – Travel Guide

If you want to visit Speyside distilleries but are unsure where to go, you must read our Speyside Distillery Tours Travel 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. We've researched accommodation options, tour options, and other things to see and do while you're adventuring in the Spey and Moray regions of the Scottish Highlands.

text reads best distillery tours speyside guide, laid over an image of Dulnain Bridge

Map of Speyside Distilleries

Map pins shown in black are distilleries not open to the public. While there are a lot of whisky distilleries in Speyside, half of them are not accessible to the public. They’re on the map as you might want to take a photo if you’re going past.

Visits to distilleries with map pins shown in orange are by appointment only.

Distilleries with green pins are open to the public, however most distilleries in Speyside now require advanced bookings for tours.

Click on the map below to open zoom in and out, or click the [ ] top right corner to 'open larger map' in Google MyMaps and plot your routes. Please see our Scotland Distillery Map if you need further information on how to use our interactive Google maps.

List of Speyside Distilleries

The ones you can actually (usually) visit:

  • Aberlour Distillery (tastings only at the moment)
  • Ballindalloch Distillery (by appointment only)
  • Balmenach Distillery (tours of the gin distillery only)
  • The Balvenie Distillery (by appointment only)
  • The Benriach Distillery (shop only at the moment)
  • Benromach Distillery
  • Cardhu Distillery
  • Cragganmore Distillery
  • GlenAllachie Distillery
  • Glen Grant Distillery
  • Glenfarclas Distillery
  • Glenfiddich Distillery
  • The Glenlivet Distillery
  • Glen Moray Distillery
  • Knockdhu Distillery (not currently doing tours)
  • The Macallan Estate (tours by appointment only)
  • Strathisla Distillery
  • Speyside Distillery (tours by appointment only)
  • Tomintoul Distillery (tours by appointment only)

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, or even weeks 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 Speyside 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. 

  • Glen Grant Distillery is your best option if you are travelling with children - they have a fabulous Victorian garden to explore, and not only are children permitted on tours but their admission is free.  
  • Glenfiddich and Glen Moray are other good options for tours while travelling with children - children are allowed on most tours (not tastings) and their admission is free.
  • Cardhu Distillery and Cragganmore Distillery do not permit children under the age of 8 years on tours | Children over 8 years old only.
  • Glenfarclas Distillery do not permit children under the age of 10 years on tours  | Children over 10 years old only.
  • Balblair Distillery do not permit children under the age of 12 years on tours | Children over 12 years old only.
  • Aberlour Distillery, Ballindalloch, Balvenie, GlenAllachie, The Glenlivet, do not permit children under the age of 18 years on tours or tastings though they are welcome in the visitor centre | Adults only on tours/tastings.
  • The Macallan Estate do not permit children under the age of 18 years on the Estate | Adults only everywhere.

Accessibility / Wheelchair Access

Most distillery tours in Speyside Scotland are not wheelchair accessible/suitable for those with mobility impairments as they are in old buildings with lots of stairs. We'd normally recommend you have a look at Euan's Guide - a purpose built website that makes it easier for disabled persons to find great places to go - however only two Speyside distilleries are currently listed (Cardhu and Macallan). If you have mobility issues and there is a particular distillery you wish to tour, contact the distillery directly to see if they can organise something for you.

  • Cardhu Distillery tours are your best bet for wheelchair accessibility, with an accessible toilet, lift, and four accessible parking spaces. The still room has stairs but the spirit safe and stills are viewable from a wheelchair accessible viewing area. For more information see Cardhu's profile on Euan's guide. Cardhu consulted Euan's guide when redoing the visitor's centre.
  • The Macallan Estate tour and tasting experiences are wheelchair accessible, with an accessible lift and four accessible parking spaces - see Macallan's Distillery Tour Terms and Conditions for more information.
  • Aberlour (see their accessibility statement), GlenAllachie and Glenfarclas Distilleries are wheelchair accessible in the shop and tasting rooms only - the tours involve stairs. There are wheelchair accessible bathrooms. GlenAllachie have a virtual tour option available. 
  • The Benromach Distillery Visitor Centre's centre is wheelchair accessible however the distillery tours are not (stairs).

But I Don’t Want to (or can’t) Drive!

The following distilleries are accessible by public transport (bus) from Elgin via the Stagecoach No 36 service, which runs approximately hourly (Monday to Saturday) from Elgin Bus Station to Dufftown Square, via Aberlour and Craigellachie. These distilleries listed below only have a short walk from the bus stop to the distillery (less than 0.3 mile / 500 metres).

  • Aberlour Distillery (tastings only at present)
  • The Benriach Distillery (advanced booking essential)
  • Glen Grant Distillery
  • Glenfiddich Distillery
  • The Balvennie Distillery (advanced booking essential)
  • The Macallan Distillery and Glenallachie Distillery are also on the Stagecoach No. 36 route, however you are looking at walking approximately 1.5 miles / 2.4 km from the bus stop to the distilleries.
  • Strathisla Distillery is located in the town of Keith which is accessible via train or bus from Elgin or Aberdeen - for more information see Traveline Scotland.
  • Glen Moray Distillery is located in the town of Elgin and is approximately 1 mile from the nearest bus stop. If you're staying in Elgin, you can either walk to Glen Moray, or find a taxi or uber.

Organised Whisky Tours

Rabbie’s Tours offer a number of organised small-group tours to Speyside from Edinburgh, Aberdeen and 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.

photograph of a cooper working on a large uprightcask at Speyside Cooperage

One day tour from Aberdeen visiting Speyside Cooperage and Cardhu Distillery via Royal Deeside and a walk in the woods of the Cambus O’May forest.

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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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Photograph of the River Spey by Rabbies Tours

Departing Edinburgh, head towards the Cairngorms via Lindores Abbey and Royal Lochnagar Distilleries. Then two nights in Grantown-on-Spey, stopping in at Glen Moray Distillery, the Speyside Cooperage, Cardhu Distillery and finally, home again via Dalwhinnie Distillery.

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Illustrated Islay Distillery Map as a Heads Up Display

The Ultimate Whisky Region Holiday!! Departing Edinburgh, spend three days on Islay (Bowmore, Ardnahoe, Kilchoman, Laphroaig*, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg), head back to Edinburgh for a night, then onwards to Speyside via Lindores Abbey (Lowlands), Royal Lochnagar (Highlands), Dalwhinnie (Highlands), Speyside Cooperage, Glen Moray Distillery (Speyside), Cardhu Distillery (Speyside), Dalwhinnie Distillery (Highlands)

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Road Trip! Self-Drive Whisky Tour

You have your pick of distillery tours in Speyside. Our maps are designed to be interactive – click on the map to open it in Google My Maps to zoom around and get a feel for where everything is (accessible even if you dont have a Google account). 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 (or other mapping software) and use the directions features to get the best routes. Click here for more information on how to use the maps on this page. To see a map of ALL the distilleries in Scotland (including maps per whisky region), see our Scotland Whisky Distillery Map.

We’ve chosen the following Speyside distillery routes 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 at least a day or two in advance and many may close their tours at short notice due to COVID. Even in 'normal times' tours often book out, especially on weekends and during summer, 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.

As there are a considerable number of distilleries close together in the Spey and Moray regions, you can visit a lot more distilleries in one day than you could in say, the Highlands or Lowlands. However, tours take time, and and you dont want to be rushing around the Scottish countryside trying to cram everything in.

We recommend you pick your favourite TWO distilleries for a tour.

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). If you do try and attempt three tours in one day, you probably wont get a chance to stop off at any other distilleries or visit other scenic attractions along the way (hard to believe, but there are actually things to do in Speyside other than whisky!).

The routes below are around 90 minutes of driving excluding all other activities. Most distilleries run tours between 10:00 am and 3:30/4:00 pm (last tour at 3:30/4:00 pm), but this varies depending on the time of year (most close earlier Nov – Mar). Distillery tours are generally 60 minutes, though some tasting/tour experiences will easily run for 90 - 120 minutes. Remember to consider this when you’re picking your destinations, and prepare for a long day.

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Scotland Whisky Maps and Photographic Prints

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

Distilleries Near Grantown on Spey

  • The Cairn Distillery
  • Tomintoul Distillery (by appointment only)
  • The Glenlivet Distillery
  • Glenfarclas Distillery
  • Ballindalloch Distillery (by appointment only)
  • Cragganmore Distillery

Balmenach Distillery is an option to visit on this route - they do make whisky, but we haven't included them in the route list as only the gin-making portion of the distillery is open for tours and tastings.

The Tomatin Distillery and The Speyside Distillery are also not far from Grantown-on-Spey, however, there are no other distilleries near them (and they are not near each other), so we have not included them in this route. If you're headed to Inverness, we would recommend including The Tomatin in your itinerary, and if you're headed south along the A9, book ahead to secure your tour of Speyside Distillery (tours by pre-appointment only).

Distilleries Near Aberlour and Craigeallachie

There are a substantial number of distilleries concentrated around Aberlour and Craigellachie - these two towns would be our choice of locations for where to stay (see Best Places to Stay in Speyside below) and the distilleries listed above can just as easily be visited if you're based in these two towns. Craigellachie and Aberlour are within 2 miles of each other, so the driving distance/time is negligible, which means the itineraries below are interchangeable regardless of which town you stay in.

Distilleries Craigellachie - North Moray

  • Glen Grant Distillery
  • The Benriach Distillery (shop only at the moment)
  • Glen Moray Distillery
  • Strathisla Distillery
  • Glenfiddich Distillery
  • The Balvenie Distillery (by appointment only)
  • Speyside Cooperage (not a distillery but worth a visit)

Distilleries Aberlour - South to Avon

  • Aberlour Distillery (tastings only at present)
  • Speyside Cooperage (not a distillery but worth a visit)
  • The Macallan Estate (tours by appointment only)
  • Cardhu Distillery
  • Cragganmore Distillery
  • Ballindalloch Distillery (by appointment only)
  • Glenfarclas Distillery
  • Glenallachie Distillery
  • The Glenlivet Distillery

Speyside Distillery Tours - Distillery Profiles

Aberlour Distillery

Aberlour Distillery is located in the wee village of Aberlour. It was established in 1879 by James Fleming to take advantage of the waters of the Lour Burn, where it meets the River Spey. The water used for the whisky is drawn from nearby natural springs.

Aberlour Distillery Opening Hours

Tuesday to Saturday: 10am - 4pm (closed Sunday and Monday)

The minimum age of participants on tours and tastings is 18 years though children are welcome in the visitor's centre/shop. There is no parking available on site at Aberlour Distillery - parking is available in the village with a short walk to the visitors centre. For those with mobility impairment contact the distillery prior to your visit to arrange parking/drop off. The shop and main tasting room are wheelchair accessible and there is an accessible bathroom but the tours are not accessible as there are stairs in production areas.

Aberlour Distillery are currently not doing tours of production areas to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on production. Tastings are available daily, however as these are very popular and numbers are limited, advanced bookings are highly recommended.

Best of Aberlour Tasting

Available twice daily (10 am and 2 pm), this is a tutored tasting of four (4) Aberlour single malts, each selected to showcase the diversity of the distillery. £20 per person, approximately 60 minutes duration. Online advanced bookings for the Best of Aberlour Tasting are recommended - max 10 persons per tasting.

The Single Cask Tasting Experience

Available at noon daily, this tutored tasting of four (4) Aberlour single cask expressions, matured exclusively in ex-European Sherry Butts. £40 per person, approximately 60 minutes duration. Online advanced bookings for the Aberlour Single Cask Tasting Experience are recommended - max 10 persons per tasting.

Ballindalloch Distillery

The history of distillation on Ballindalloch Estate extends to 1869 with Sir George Macpherson-Grant, who leased part of the lands to John Smith to build Cragganmore Distillery. While Ballindalloch Distillery is a relatively 'new' distillery (it officialy opened in 2015, though distillation began in 2014), the building they're housed in dates to 1848. Ballindaloch is one of few 'single estate' distilleries - they grow their own barley and feed the draff (waste grain residue after the mash) back to cattle across the Estate. Some of the production techniques also hark back to an older time - worm tubs are used to cool the wash/spirit. The Macpherson-Grant family are still the owners of Ballindalloch Estate (and Ballindalloch Castle), and though their stake in Cragganmore Distillery ended in 1965, tastings of aged Cragganmore whisky forms part of the Ballindalloch Distillery tour experience.

Ballindalloch Distillery Opening Hours

Online advanced bookings are essential - Ballindalloch do not accept walk-in tours.

Ballindalloch Distillery Tour and Tasting

Wednesdays and Thursdays (only) at 10 am and 1 pm, an expertly guided tour of the Ballindalloch Distillery including a visit to one of the warehouses where you will discover the art of maturation in the splendour of the Long Gallery. A tutored tasting follows where you will sample new make spirit, plus a couple of expressions of Cask Strength, 7 year old Ballindalloch whisky, along with a tasting of aged Cragganmore whisky from a private cask of the Macpherson-Grant family. £75 per person and approximately 90 minutes duration. Online advanced bookings of the Ballindalloch Distillery Tour and Tasting are essential.

Manager’s Tour with Colin Poppy

Mondays at 10 am, distillery manager Colin Poppy will expertly guide you through the distillery and show you what it means to make whisky using a fully manual, hands-on process. Your tour concludes with a tasting experience in the Long Gallery, where you will be among the first in the world to sample expressions of Cask Strength, 7-year-old Ballindalloch Single Malt Scotch Whisky, along with 3 samples of aged Cragganmore from the private casks of the Macpherson-Grant family. £100 per person and 90 minutes duration. Online advanced bookings of the Ballindalloch Manager's Tour with Colin Poppy are essential.

The Balvenie Distillery

The Balvenie is the only distillery in the Scottish Highlands that still grows and malts a proportion of its own barley (side note: Balllindalloch grow and use only their own barley, but dont malt it on site, while Balvenie floor malts only some of their own barley on site - floor maltings are inefficient and very labor intensive, which is why very few distilleries still have them - the distilleries that still do usually also truck in most of their barley from offsite maltsters). The Balvennie is worth a visit to see floor maltings in action.

Balvenie Distillery Opening Hours

The Balvennie Distillery Tours and Shop are opperated by appointment only at present. Persons must be over 18 years of age to visit the distillery. The Balvennie is worth a visit to see floor maltings in action - very few distilleries still have floor maltings.

The Balvenie Distillery Tour

Twice daily, Monday to Thursday 10 am and 2 pm, and Fridays 10 am and 11 am. Enjoy a guided tour of the distillery, including the floor maltings, cooperage and warehouse 24, followed by a tutored tasting of Balvennie whiskies. £50 per person and approximately 2.5 hours duration. Online advanced bookings are essential.

The Benriach Distillery

Benriach Distillery are not currently open for tours or tastings due to COVID 19.

The distillery shop is open to visitors in the meantime from Wednesday to Sunday between 10.30 am and 5 pm.

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 is 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.

Cardhu Distillery

Cardhu Distillery is the Speyside home of Johnnie Walker - and as one of Diageo's flagship distilleries, the visitor experience is a considerable priority (along with Caol IlaClynelish and Glenkinchie, the other homes of Johnnie Walker with fabulous visitor centres). Tours are highly immersive experiences and use a combination of light, media, music, sensory moments and special effects that may not be suitable for all audiences, including those with a nut allergy. 

Cardhu Distillery consulted Euan's guide on their redevelopment and have accessible parking, bathrooms and accessible tasting areas. Due to the age of the distillery itself, distillery tours are only partially accessible to those with mobility impairment as there are some stairs in the still house, but the Spirit Safe and Spirit Stills are visible from an accessible viewing area if stairs are not your thing.

Cardhu Distillery allows children over the age of 8 years on tours (at a discounted rate too).

Cardhu Distillery Opening Hours

  • January and February: Tuesday to Saturday (closed Sunday and Monday): 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • March to October : open 7 days Monday to Sunday: 10:00 amd to 5:00 pm.
  • November and December: Wednesday to Sunday (closed Monday and Tuesday): 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Cardhu Flavour Journey - Full Sensory Tour and Tasting

A guided journey through Cardhu’s fascinating founding by two generations of resolute women. Your full-sensory tour culminates in a tutored whisky tasting and a cocktail in the Cardhu Tasting Kitchen. £19 per person and approximately 90 minutes duration. Online advanced bookings for the Cardhu Flavour Journey Tour and Tasting are recommended.

Note: Cardhu Distillery is closed for tours most of October due to maintenance (silent season), however Flavour Journey Tastings are still available in the visitor's centre.

Guess Dhu Tour and Tasting Challenge

A guided full-sensory tour of the distillery coupled with a "Guess the Dhu" tasting experience - if you love a challenge and enjoy matching your flavour perceptions against others’, this is the experience for you. This optional nosing and tasting finish to the Cardhu Flavour Journey invites you to test your senses in a mystery whisky challenge in the Cardhu Collection Room. Correctly identify the whiskies, and you’ll earn a spot in Cardhu's Guess Dhu Hall of Fame. £22 per person and approximately 90 minutes duration. Online advanced bookings for the Cardhu Guess Dhu Tour and Tasting Challenge are recommended as this tour runs only once a day.

Note: Cardhu Distillery is closed for tours most of October due to maintenance (silent season), however tastings are still available in the visitor's centre.

Cragganmore Distillery

Cragganmore was established in 1869 by John Smith (also involved with Macallan, Glenlivet and Glenfarclas) on Ballindalloch Estate land. The stills used (and still do) a pioneering flat-top pot still design with relatively short necks which contributes (along with the long fermentation times) to Cragganmore spirit's distinctive taste.

Due to the age of the distillery, Cragganmore is not very mobility friendly. There are three disabled parking spaces on site but no accessible bathrooms, and there is a 15cm high step leading into the shop. The still house can be viewed via a small ramp but the rest of the distillery has stairs. For full information see Cragganmore's accessibility statement.

Children over the age of 8 years are welcome at the distillery and on the Cragganmore Tour.

Cragganmore Distillery Opening Hours

  • May to October: Monday to Friday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Cragganmore: A Taste of Speyside Tour and Tasting

A guided tour of the Cragganmore Distillery followed by a tutored tasting of three (3) Cragganmore whiskies: £16 per person (£10 for under 18s), approximately 60 minutes duration. Advanced online bookings of the Cragganmore Taste of Speyside Tour are recommended.

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

Glenallachie Distillery

GlenAllachie (pronounced "Glen-Alla-Key") derives from Gleann Aileachaidh, an old Scottish Gaelic phrase which translates to the "Valley of the Rocks". Master distiller Billy Walker leads GlenAllachie (formerly Deanston, Tobermory, BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh). Unlike most scotch distilleries, GlenAllachie has two separate spirit safes, which allow them to operate each set of stills independently. They also are a bit unusual in having a very long fermentation time (160 hours vs 48 hours for Glen Grant and a lot of ) , and they have horizontal rather than vertical condensers, as the distillery was designed to be gravity fed.

The GlenAllachie Visitor Centre and Distillery Shop are both accessible to wheelchair users, however access is limited in the production area of the distillery due to stairs. There is a virtual tour experience available from the tasting room if stairs are an issue. Email the distillery in advance if you would like to organise a virtual tour visitors@glenallachie.com.

Persons under the age of 18 years are not permitted on distillery tours but are allowed in the Visitor's Centre.

GlenAllachie Distillery Opening Hours

  • June to October: 7 days Monday to Sunday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

The GlenAllachie Experience

Two tours daily 10.00 am & 1.00pm: guided tour of the distillery followed by a tasting of four (4) drams GlenAllachie core range whiskies, including The GlenAllachie 12yo. £25 per person and approximately 60 minutes duration. Online advanced bookings are recommended.

The Premium GlenAllachie Experience

Two tours daily 11.30 am & 2.30pm: guided tour of the distillery followed by a tasting of four (4) premium drams of GlenAllachie whisky, including limited edition releases. £35 per person and approximately 60 minutes duration. Online advanced bookings are recommended.

Glenfarclas Distillery

For more information see our full Glenfarclas Distillery Profile.

The distillery is in an old building and not very accessible for those with mobility issues as there are quite a lot of stairs. The warehouses, visitor centre and tasting areas are wheelchair accessible however, and there is an accessible bathroom.

Children over the age of 10 years are permitted on tours.

Colour photograph of the red Glenfarclas Distillery Duty Free Warehouse No.6 Door

Glenfarclas Distillery Duty Free Warehouse No.6

Glenfarclas Distillery Opening Hours

  • April, May, June: Monday to Friday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • July, August and September: Monday to Friday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm 
  • October to March: Monday to Friday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Classic Tour

Guided tour of Glenfarclas Distillery and tasting of Glenfarclas whisky in the Ship's room at the end of the tour. £7.50 per person and approximately 90 minutes duration. Advanced bookings are highly recommended, however online bookings are not available - to make a booking email visitorcentre@glenfarclas.com with the preferred time and date of your visit and the number of people in your group.

  • April to September: Monday to Friday: 10:30, 12:00, 14:00, 15:30
  • July, August and September: Saturday 10:30, 12:00, 13:15, 14:30
  • October to March: Monday to Friday: 10:30, 12:00, 13:15, 14:30

Glenfiddich Distillery

Glenfiddich distillery is in an old building and not very accessible for those with mobility issues as there are multiple sets of steep stairs. If you have mobility requirements, email the distillery in advance glenfiddich.bookings@wgrant.com and they should be able to revise the tour for you - there are flat tour options for accessing the Mash House, Still House (weather permitting) and Warehouse. The Tun Room is only accessible via stairs however.

Glenfiddich Distillery Opening Hours

  • Wednesday - Sunday (closed Mondays and Tuesdays): 9.00 am to 5:00 pm

Glenfiddich Distillery Tour

  • Wednesday to Sunday: first tour at 9.30 am and last tour at 3.30 pm

Guided tour of Glenfiddich Distillery followed by a tutored tasting of The Glenfiddich 12 year old, 15 year old and 18 year old whiskies as well as the Glenfiddich Gran Reserva which is a 21 year old finished in rum casks. £20 per person and approximately 90 minutes duration. Advanced bookings are highly recommended as Glenfiddich is an incredibly popular distillery to visit, and may book out weeks in advance.

Glenfiddich Solera Deconstructed Tour

  • Thursday & Saturday: 2.00 pm

An expertly guided tour of the distillery as well as a visit to Warehouse 8, to see Glenfiddich's unique Solera process and discover what makes Glenfiddich 15 year old such an exceptional whisky. The next part of the Solera journey is the Malt Master’s Blending Room to enjoy a tasting of four (4) Glenfiddich cask-strength 15-year-old samples. You will also have the unique opportunity to step into Malt Master Brian Kinsman’s role - preparing your very own version of Glenfiddich 15 year old by combining different cask samples together, and bottle a sample of your favourite to take home. £60 per person and approximately 2.5 hours duration. Advanced bookings are highly recommended as Glenfiddich is an incredibly popular distillery to visit, and the Solera Deconstructed tour only runs twice a week. This tour is for persons aged 18 years and over only.

Glen Grant Distillery

The Glen Grant Distillery was established in 1840 by John and James Grant after their lease at Aberlour expired in 1839. While Glen Grant Distillery is well worth a visit to tour the distillery, the gardens make it stand out from other distilleries you can visit in Speyside. The Glen Grant Garden (The Major's Garden) is 22 acres of parkland with a diverse mix of plants from The Major's (James Grant Jrs) adventures around the world - he was a keen hunter and often travelled to Africa and abroad - he established the garden in 1886. If you find yourself in the scenic gorge, keep an eye out for The Major's private whisky safe, hidden in The Den. The Major was also responsible for the unusually shaped (tall and slender) stills and purifiers installed in 1872.

Glen Grant is another distillery located in a fabulously old building and not very accessible for those with mobility issues as there are multiple sets of stairs. The visitors centre is wheelchair accessible, as are much of the gardens.

Tours are free for children under 18 years of age. Glen Grant are probably the best option for visiting a distillery in Speyside with children as they're welcome on site and the gardens make for a great play area.

Glen Grant Distillery Opening Hours

  • November to March: Monday to Saturday (closed Sunday): 9.30 am – 3.30 pm
  • April to October: Monday to Saturday: 9.30 am – 4:00 pm and Sunday: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Glen Grant Distillery Tour

Guided tour of Glen Grant Distillery followed by a tasting of two (2) Glen Grant whiskies. £7.50 per person and approximately 40 minutes duration (40 minutes for the tour, tasting as long as you like, with access to the gardens afterwards) Advanced bookings are essential however online bookings are not available. To book contact The Glen Grant Visitor Centre on (+44) (0)1340 832 118 or email visitorcentre@glengrant.com

The Glenlivet Distillery

The Glenlivet has seen many firsts - in 1824 it became the first licensed distillery in Speyside, established by George Smith. He had previously been distilling quite successfully illicitly, along with many others in the Glenlivet region. By licensing his operations, George fell into considerable disfavour with the other distillers, to the point where he needed to carry a pair of pistols on his person for over a decade (for more on this, see Charles MacLean's Spirit of Place).

By the mid-1880s, the name 'Glenlivet' was synonymous with whisky from the Speyside region, thanks to the success of Usher's Old Vatted Glenlivet (created 1853), the first branded Scotch whisky. George Smith had appointed Andrew Usher as his agent in the mid-1820s, and after 1860 Usher's was a blend of 3 whiskies, including Glenlivet. In 1884 The Glenlivet obtained a court order stipulating that they were the one and only; The Glenlivet. However, this didn't stop other distilleries from continuing to add 'Glenlivet' to their name, which is why you'll often see 'Glenlivet' appended to many other Speyside distilleries (e.g. Glenfarclas-Glenlivet, Glen Grant-Glenlivet). 

While the history of Glenlivet Distillery extends as long as the history of legal distilling in Speyside, the distillery you visit today is a modern distillery, having been rebuilt in 2010 within the original Glenlivet site.

While the distillery is relatively modern (2010), the production areas are not suitable for those with mobility impairment. There is disabled access in the visitor centre & warehouses, and a viewing platform exists in the still house for people with limited mobility. The Speyside Room (interactive tour) uses a combination of audio-visual aids, including sound, lighting and elements of fast motion media that may not be suitable for all audiences.

Tours are for persons aged 18 years and over only.

Glenlivet Distillery Opening Hours

  • March to April: Tuesday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 5:00pm
  • May to September: Monday to Sunday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • October to mid December: Tuesday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Glenlivet The Original Distillery Tour

Guided tour explaining how The Glenlivet became the original Speyside distillery, including an immersive visual experince in the Speyside and Process Room where you will meet the individuals who are integral to The Glenlivet today from the local farming community to the cask management team. Followed by a visit to Warehouse 1, and a tutored tasting of three (3) Glenlivet whiskies: The Glenlivet 12 year old, 15 year old and a Distillery Exclusive edition. £20.00 per person and approximately 90 minutes duration. Over 18s only. Online advanced bookings are highly recommended as The Glenlivet is a very popular distillery.

Glenlivet Single Cask Tasting

Tutored tasting of four (4) Glenlivet exclusive single cask editions from the Distillery Reserve Collection. £40.00 per person and approximately 60 minutes duration. Over 18s only. Online advanced bookings are highly recommended as The Glenlivet is a very popular distillery.

The Glenlivet Archives Tasting

Start your experience in bonded Warehouse No. 3, where you will learn of The Glenlivets finely tuned processes for cask selection and warehousing, followed by a guided tasting in one of Glenlivet's private tasting rooms, enjoying The Glenlivet’s oldest and rarest whiskies including The Glenlivet XXV, The Glenlivet 30 Year Old Cellar Collection and a dram from one of the Glenlivet archives. Available at 2.30pm Friday to Sunday (subject to availability) this tour must be booked in advance. Alternate times for group bookings can be arranged by emailing theglenlivet.admin@pernod-ricard.com. £100.00 per person and approximately 120 minutes duration. Over 18s only.

Glen Moray Distillery

Glen Moray Distillery was founded in 1897 by a consortium of local businessmen, the Glen Moray-Glenlivet Distillery Company (another Glenlivet appended distillery). Current owners La Martiniqueaise purchsed it in 2008 and have dramatically expanded production for their Label 5 blended scotch, one of the best selling whiskies in France (where Glen Moray is sold as a Single Malt under the label Glen Turner). Glen Moray is situated in the town of Elgin (north Moray) - the distillery began life as a brewery in the late 1820s/early 1830s. Glen Moray have a long history of using ex-wine casks for maturation, with Marsala and Sherry being used since the early days - one of their current tasting experiences pairs wine (Port and Madeira) with whisky.

Children are welcome at the distillery and on tours and admission is free for under 18s.

Glen Moray Distillery Opening Hours

  • May to September: Monday to Saturday: 9am to 5pm Sunday: Closed
  • October to April: Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday: Closed

Glen Moray Distillery Tour

  • 9.30 am, 11.30 am, 1.30 pm and 3.30 pm

Guided tour of Glen Moray distillery along with an optional complimentary tasting of two (2) whiskies. £7.00 per person. Online bookings not available, though advanced bookings are recommended by phoning +44 1343 550 900 or sending a message by their contact us page. Children are welcome on the tour and their entry is free of charge.

Glen Moray Wine to Whisky Tasting Experience

  • 11:00 am Tuesdays and Thursdays, subject to availability

A tasting masterclass (no tour) exploring the connection between Glen Moray whisky, Porto Cruz port wine and Henriques & Henriques madeira wine. This tasting will give the chance to try the wines that have come from the casks originally plus 3 Glen Moray whiskies finished in the same casks. £50.00 per person and 60 minutes duration. Online bookings not available, though this tour is available only by prior appointment: phone +44 1343 550 900 or send a message by the Glen Moray contact us page.

Glen Moray Chocolate and Whisky Tasting

  • 3:00 pm Tuesdays and Thursdays, subject to availability

Tasting of four (4) Glen Moray whiskies paired with hand crafted COCO chocolates - suitable for groups of up to 10 people. £50.00 per person and 60 minutes duration. Online bookings not available, though this tour is available only by prior appointment: phone +44 1343 550 900 or send a message by the Glen Moray contact us page.

Knockdhu Distillery

Knockdhu is Gaelic for Black Hill, also known as Knock Hill (which is technically Hill Hill...). The idea for Knockdhu Distillery came about in 1892 when John Morrison acquired Knock Estate and discovered a spring of crystal clear water on the southern slopes of Knock Hill. The actual construction of Knockdhu distillery in 1894 was overseen by Distillers Company Ltd (DCL), and it was the first distillery commissioned by the company (which would eventually become Diageo). For more information see Charles MacLean : Spirit of Place.

Knockdhu Distillery whisky trades under the label anCnoc (pronounced "a-nock") - named to avoid confusion with Knockando Distillery - and also a local name for Knock Hill. Knockdhu is generally considered a Speyside distillery, however, it is nowhere near the river Spey, so technically it is an East Highlands Distillery - they're a great example of where the regional classifications often mean very little in terms of the actual whisky, and can even be unhelpfully confusing.

Fast forward to the present day, and Knockdhu (owned by Inver House Distillers/International Beverage Holdings/ThaiBev since 1988) has undergone some rather impressive sustainability upgrades. Knockdhu has developed wetlands on the distillery grounds - comprising six separate cells (2,000 square metres) of 17 different plant species (>21,000 individual plants). The wetlands catch and filter the wastewater from the mash house, tun room and the spent yeast residue from the Spirit Still.

Water extracted from the Knock Hill spring is used at least seven times in processing to minimise waste, from cooling the wort to pre-heating the wash still and flushing out the washbacks before being sent to the wetlands. While many associate Scotland with rain (it is a rather damp and soggy climate much of the time) , drought has wreaked havoc on the whisky industry multiple times over the past 150 years. Many distilleries are now looking to implement similar measures for waste minimisation in an increasingly erratic climate, as it is impossible to make whisky without a lot of water.

Knockdhu Distillery Opening Hours

  • Monday to Friday: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Knockdhu / AnCnoc are not currently open for tours due to COVID-19 - the distillery are trying to minimise the impact on their workforce/whisky production.

The Macallan Estate

Macallan Estate underwent a spectacular £140million refurbishment in 2018 (see video below) and now offer a range of experiences, as long as you are over the age of 18 (children are not permitted at the distillery, though they are permitted in ground floor areas including the Boutique, Elchies Brasserie and Jewel Box.). All tour and tasting experiences must be booked in advance - they will not accept walk in bookings. Elchies Brasserie and The Boutique and the Jewel Box are open to the general public without a prior booking, though only on Saturday and Sunday.

The new Macallan distillery is a spectacular achievement in design and engineering and is unlike any other distillery we've visited. The distillery is integrated with the visitor experience, all under one roof in an open-plan layout of epic proportions.

Accessibility - all guest areas within The Macallan Estate Distillery are wheelchair accessible, though there is a small section in the Still House that mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs will be unable to pass through. There is a lift for mobility access to all levels, and four disabled parking spaces. Flooring within the production area is grated which assistance dogs may find uncomfortable. See the Macallan's tour terms and conditions page for further accessibility details.

The Macallan Distillery Opening Hours

  • Year Round: Open Saturdays and Sundays: gates open at 9.30 am and the Visitors Centre opens at 9:45 am
  • From the 30th June 2022 to 28 October 2022 the Macallan Estate is also open on Thursdays and Fridays BUT you MUST pre-book

The Macallan Discovery Experience

  • From Thursday 30 June 2022 to 28 October 2022: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 am and 11:00 am
  • From Saturday 29 October 2022: Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 am and 11:00 am
  • Bookings for 2023: not yet available

This expertly led 2.5 hour experience commences with The Macallan roast coffee and scones, followed by an initiation into The Macallan's heritage and 'acorn to glass' distillery process, followed by a sampling of The Macallan whiskies, first in the Cave Priveé for a tutored tasting, before ending up in the Macallan Bar. £50.00 per person. Advanced bookings are essential.

The Macallan Mastery Experience

  • From Thursday 30 June 2022 to 28 October 2022: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 12 noon
  • From Saturday 29 October 2022: Saturday and Sunday: 12 noon
  • Bookings for 2023: not yet available

Believe it or not, this is not the ultimate Macallan Experience (check out the Bentley Motors or Edition No. 6 Fishing Experience for that), but it's close. A four hour in-depth deep dive into Macallan with a matched-wine dining experience at Elchies Brasserie followed by a carefully curated tutored tasting of The Macallan in Cave Priveé before heading onto a whisky flight tasting in the Macallan Bar. You even get a commemorative glass to take home. If you can afford it, go for it, as this should be an experience to remember, if you can after all that. This would be our pick - now, who's paying?  £250.00.00 per person. Advanced bookings are essential.

Strathisla Distillery

Licensed in 1786, Strathisla (sometimes known as Strathisla-Glenlivet and Longmore's Strathisla) is the oldest working licensed distillery in Speyside, and possibly considered the oldest working distillery in all of the Highlands, depending on how you look at Glenturret's establishment date (Glenturret wasn't licensed until 1818 but the distillery has been running since around 1763). Purchased by Seagram/Chivas Brothers Holdings in 1950 the majority of Strathisla whisky was then and is now destined for Chivas Regal (now owned by Pernod Ricard).

Strathisla is considered to be one of the prettiest distilleries in Speyside, with its twin pagoda chimneys and neatly restored buildings and grounds. 

Strathisla experiences are for persons aged 18 years and older only.

Watch the following Chivas Taste Discovery video in full screen mode as you can pan around 360 degrees.

Strathisla Distillery Opening Hours

  • 1st May to 31st October: Monday to Sunday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • 1st November to 30th April: Monday to Saturday (Closed Sundays): 12 noon to 5:00 pm

Strathisla Distillery Tour

  • Daily at 10:00 am

Start your morning with a Highball cocktail before commencing your guided tour of Strathisla, learning of the history of the distillery and of Chivas Brothers, and finishing with a tutored tasting of four (4) whiskies. £20.00 per person and approximately 80 minutes duration. Online advanced bookings are highly recommended.

The Chivas Cellar Tasting

  • Monday, Thursday, Saturday until 31 October: 3:00 pm

Guided tasting experience (no tour) of drams drawn straight from the casks in the Chivas Regal Cellar of Warehouse No. 3, including a Bourbon barrel of Chivas Regal 12 year old, a sherry butt of Chivas Extra, a hogshead of Chivas Regal 18 year old, a sherry butt of Chivas Regal 25 year old and a barrel of Chivas Ultis. £40.00 per person and approximately 45 minutes duration. Online advanced bookings are highly recommended.

Strathisla Distillery Reserve Collection

  • Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday until 31 October: 3:00 pm

Guided tasting experience (no tour) of five (5) Strathisla single malts from the Distillery Reserve Collection. £50.00 per person and approximately 60 minutes duration. Online advanced bookings are highly recommended.

Speyside Distillery

The Speyside Distillery is quite a distance from the other Speyside Distilleries, off to the south west on the River Tromie, a branch of the River Spey. It is a solid rival to Strathisla for prettiest / most historic and photographable Speyside distillery (we're going to give the Macallan the title of most photographable modern Speyside distillery). While Speyside Distillery looks old, it wasn't a distillery until 1990! The buildings were part of a barley mill and croft dating back to the 1700s, and active until 1965.

The distillery is not wheelchair accessible (stairs) and persons must be aged 18 years or older to visit the distillery.

Speyside Distillery Opening Hours

Speyside Distillery Tour and Tasting

Tours of the Speyside Distillery must be booked in advance as the distillery is not open to the general public. Tours include a guided history of the distillery and four (4) tastings of single malt. £35.00 per person.

Tomintoul Distillery

Tomintoul Distillery (aka Tomintoul-Glenlivet), a relatively 'new' distillery built in 1964, is located on the 23,000-hectare Glenlivet Estate (not to be confused with The Glenlivet, though this distillery resides within the Estate). From the 1500’s to the early 20th Century, the Estate of Glenlivet belonged to the Gordon family (later the Dukes of Richmond and Gordon) but has been part of The Crown Estate Scotland since 1937.

Tomintoul Distillery Tour

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm

Guided tour of Tomintoul Distillery followed by a tasting of three (3) Tomintoul whiskies. £20.00 per person and approximately 90 minutes duration. Online bookings not available, though advanced bookings are essential by phoning +44 1807 590 274.

Speyside Cooperage

Not a distillery but should be on your list to visit and see how casks are crafted (such an important part in the whisky making process), and learn the history of Coopering (the origins of the craft are over 5000 years old). There is also a cafe on site serving sandwiches, cakes and coffee, as well as a gift shop.

The Speyside Cooperage is mostly wheelchair accessible. There is a ramp leading to the visitors centre and the mini cinema is also accessible. The viewing platform is up 15 stairs; if you're unable to manage the stairs they have a live video link you can watch (and pan and zoom) from the reception area accompanied by your own guide who will explain it all to you. The Speyside Cooperage Accessibility Statement is available as a PDF download. There is also an accessible bathroom and five disabled parking bays.

Children are welcome at the Speyside Cooperage.

Speyside Cooperage Opening Hours

  • Monday to Friday: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Speyside Cooperage Classic Tour

  • Monday to Friday, Hourly Tours, on the hour (e.g. 9:00 am, 10:00 am ...) last tour at 3:00 pm

Guided tour through the Speyside Cooperage exhibition which includes an informative cinematic presentation followed by a visit to the viewing gallery where you can watch the Coopers at work. £5.00 per person and approximately 45 minutes duration. Bookings are not essential but are highly recommended in summery. To make a booking call +44 1340 871 108 or email enquiries@speysidecooperage.co.uk.

Best Places To Stay In Speyside

There are a large number of accommodation options in the Spey and Moray districts whether you wish to stay in a hotel or self-catered accommodation.

Grantown-on-Spey Hotels

Grantown-on-Spey is one of the biggest towns in Speyside with quite a few accommodation options to chose from and a wide selection of restaurants and bars.

Located in the centre of Grantown-on-Spey, the Grant Arms hotel is a short stroll to the Craig Bar for a whisky tasting (and some apparently fabulous pies) or  The Wee Puffin for dinner (and also perhaps a wee tasting). They have 50 en suite rooms to choose from, including two Four-Poster Rooms, one of which accommodated Queen Victoria in 1860. The hotel dates back to 1765 and is pet-friendly.

The Brooklynn Guest House is a beautiful little family-owned bed and breakfast in a well-maintained late-Victorian house just off the main street of Grantown-on-Spey. All four bedrooms have en suite bathrooms with walk-in showers. Sit down in the morning to a full Scottish breakfast, or perhaps a bowl of Golspie mill porridge (the benefit of staying at a bed AND breakfast), with gluten-free and vegan options available.

Aberlour and Craigellachie Hotels

Aberlour (where you’ll find the Aberlour Distillery) and Craigellachie are two villages right in the middle of all the distilleries with some fabulous options to combine accommodation and whisky tasting.

Combining the style and elegance of a bygone era with the most modern of hotel facilities with 26 en-suite rooms to choose from, overlooking the River Spey and the famous Craigellachie Bridge. After a meal in the Copper Dog Pub, relax in the Quaich Bar and start tasting some of the 700 single malt whiskies that adorn its walls

There are five en-suite bedrooms to choose from, all named after local distilleries. A roll-top bath enhances The Glenlivet Room, while the Macallan Room, which follows the curve of the building, looks towards Easter Elchies House - the original home of The Macallan. Downstairs you'll find the Mash Tun Bar and Restaurant, home to a wide and varied selection of whiskies, including the exclusive Glenfarclas Family Cask Collection.

Just north of Craigellachie, the wee village of Rothes is right near the Glen Grant Distillery and Visitor Centre. It is another excellent choice of hotel, especially for its wide selection of Speyside whisky, available in Toot's Cafe, Bar and Bistro, including their own Station Hotel Bottling. The Station Hotel has 15 en suite rooms, including six suites.

Other Things To See and Do In Speyside

Hard as it is to believe, there are non-whisky things to see and do in the Spey and Moray regions, though we're aware the following suggestion are somewhat whisky-related:

  • Elgin Cathedral - these medieval ruins are right around the corner from Glen Moray Distillery and the Gordon and MacPhail Whisky Shop where you can do a fabulous tasting from their Discovery, Distillery Labels and Connoisseurs Choice ranges, or go all out on an extra special Rare and Vintage Tasting.
  • Glen Grant Gardens - even if you don't want to tour the distillery, the gardens are a lovely space to meander the paths along the Black Burn without venturing too far from whisky. Great location if you have kids in tow. Dogs are not permitted on the grounds, however.
  • Ballindalloch Castle and Gardens - Ballindalloch Distillery is part of the Ballindalloch Estate, home of Ballindalloch Castle and Gardens. The castle is situated on the banks of the River Avon where it meets the River Spey and has been the home of the Macpherson-Grant family since 1546; the lands themselves were granted to John Grant of Freuchie by King James IV in 1498. The castle and gardens are open from mid-April to the end of September, Sunday to Thursday (closed Fridays and Saturdays), and no advanced booking is required.
  • The Old Packhorse Bridge - the oldest stone bridge in the Highlands (built 1717) and the first to cross the Dulnain River
photograph of a circular bridge with a river running under it, surrounded by green trees

The Old Packhorse Bridge over the Dulnain River in the Speyside region of Scotland

References & Further Reading

book cover of Charle's macleans spirit of place showing black and white phograph of whisky barrels in front of twin pagoda roofed kiln houses

Treating Scotland as eight distinct regions (splitting the Highlands into Central, North, East, and West, plus the usual designations of Lowlands, Islay, Speyside and Islands), the Spirit of Place provides insight and imagery for fifty of Scotland's greatest distilleries. Beautifully photographed by Lara Platman and Allan MacDonald, this is a captivating modern companion to Alfred Barnard's great Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom.

This is an affiliate link: if you click this link and make a purchase we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

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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