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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 28 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Lucy Gillmore

The lush countryside of Speyside is home to more than half of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries, and the only malt whisky trail in the world.

The eight on the trail include bijoux Benromach, Glenfiddich (home to the most popular whisky in the world), Cardhu (a distillery pioneered by a woman) and The Glenlivet (the first licensed distillery in Scotland). The Glen Grant distillery, founded in 1840, has a beautiful Victorian garden threaded with paths and woodland walks and a small waterfall – a lovely place to meander. One of the eight – the Dallas Dhu distillery – is a historic distillery and is not operational.

There are tastings and insights into each distillery’s unique blend, plus the Speyside Cooperage where you can watch the ancient art of barrel-making.

Don't miss

Dufftown is a small town in the heart of the region, and a good base for exploring. It’s also home to the charismatic Dufftown Whisky & Heritage Centre – a good place to go for whisky history, memorabilia and distillery tips.

While you’re there 

The Speyside Way, one of Scotland’s long-distance walking trails, passes close to a handful of distilleries. The six-mile ramble from Aberlour to Knockando and Cardhu is a popular leg.

Recommendations

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Dufftown Whisky & Heritage Centre

Dufftown, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

Whisky Museum in Dufftown. The museum houses a selection of distillery memorabilia. Exterior view with doors and windows.

A gem of a museum, offering a fascinating insight the history of whisky, how it was and is manufactured, who made it, sold it – and even smuggled it. It houses all kinds of memorabilia and whisky-making equipment. It’s also a great place for the latest tips on distilleries and where to get the best drams in Speyside.

Best for ages 18+

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Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 18
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

From the A9, the main route is north to south, veer off to take the A95 through distillery country. From Inverness, it’s easier to head east on the A96 to Aberdeen off which you’ll find the Benromach at Forres and Glen Moray in Elgin. Follow the brown signs.

There are around 50 distilleries in the area although not all are open to visitors: just eight feature on the Trail. The website has a trail map. Do a little homework. Some distilleries charge for their tours, others offer complimentary tastings. Some you need to book, while at others you can just turn up.

Plan on at least half a day, to take in at least one tour and tasting, shopping and lunch, and a visit to a cooperage to see barrels being made.

When to do it

The distilleries are open all year round. There are whisky festivals in May and September when distilleries closed to the public suddenly fling open their doors. Locals get in the party spirit with ceilidhs and whisky-themed events.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Highland Lochs, Glens & Whisky Day Tour Including Admission

Edinburgh

Highland Lochs, Glens & Whisky Day Tour Including Admission
*Includes tour and tasting at Dewar's Aberfeldy Distillery. Fancy sampling a wee dram o' whisky and exploring the rugged landscape of the Scottish Highlands? Combine the two on a small-group day trip from Edinburgh, and discover the real taste of Scotland! You’ll see the area’s beautiful scenery, full of lochs and glens, and sample Scotland’s favourite beverage. With a maximum group size of 16 passengers, this special full-day tour allows you to have a memorable and personal experience.

Price: £82

Min age: 5

Rating 4.80 / 5 [529 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Discover Malt Whisky Day Tour from Edinburgh Including Admissions

Edinburgh

Discover Malt Whisky Day Tour from Edinburgh Including Admissions
*Includes entry to Glengoyne and Deanston Distilleries in the tour price. Scotch whisky is ingrained within Scottish culture. The ancient Scots used it to heal common ailments and keep warm throughout the winter. And now, Scottish whisky exports make up one quarter of the UK’s international food and drink trade. It’s a fascinating part of Scottish heritage, and on this tour, you learn about it at two distinct distilleries. You visit Glengoyne, a tiny, quaint distillery located at the foot of a delightful hill. And you explore Deanston distillery, a large distillery with a fascinating industrial past. What’s more is you blend these delicious flavours with a visit to one of the most famous lochs in the whole of Scotland at the Loch Lomond National Park. So take this tour, sample a delectable range of whiskies, and learn about Scotland’s national drink.

Price: £89

Min age: 18

Rating 4.67 / 5 [246 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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The Ultimate Whisky Experience from Edinburgh

Edinburgh

The Ultimate Whisky Experience from Edinburgh
Take a trip into Whisky paradise on our 1 day Ultimate Whisky Experience tour from Edinburgh. Visit two distilleries; Dewar's and The Glenturret; and enjoy a relaxing stop in the village of Killin on this Scottish Whisky trail. *Glenturret Distillery is closed in January, March 18th and April 20th and we will visit Blair Athol Distillery instead.

Price: £52

Min age: 4

Rating 4.65 / 5 [157 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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4 Day Islay Whisky Tour from Edinburgh

Edinburgh

4 Day Islay Whisky Tour from Edinburgh
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION This tour takes you to the island of Islay, a Scottish island paradise, with stunning scenery, ancient history, traditional culture and home to some Scotland’s finest whisky distilleries, many of which you will have the opportunity to visit. WHAT’S INCLUDED? • Minibus transport (max 16 guests) • Return Ferries to/from Islay • Services of a professional tour guide • Lagavulin Warehouse Experience • Tour and tastings at Ardbeg • Tour and exclusive tasting at Laphroaig • Tour and tasting Bruichladdich • Tour and exclusive tasting at Kilchoman • Cask Tasting at Bunnahabhain • 3 nights B&B accommodation at The Bowmore House or Island Bear

Price: £975

Min age: 18

Rating 4.97 / 5 [101 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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3-Day Speyside Whisky Tour from Edinburgh Including Admissions

Edinburgh

3-Day Speyside Whisky Tour from Edinburgh Including Admissions
*Selected attractions are included in the tour price. Soak up the spirit of Speyside on a 3-Day small-group whisky tour! Explore Scotland’s principle malt whisky producing region, which is noted for its elegant and subtle-tasting whiskies. Your tour will depart from Edinburgh with a maximum of 16 people and head to the north-east area of Scotland. The region of Speyside follows the path of the River Spey, stretching from the west of the Cairngorm National Park to the east coast. Boasting an impressive scene of winding lochs, green glens and dramatic peaks, the region has something for everyone. Enjoy visits to four of the region’s famous whisky distilleries, Lindores Abbey, Royal Lochnagar, Glen Moray and Dalwhinnie and enjoy tastings and samples. Speyside is home to another 42 operating distilleries, so there’s certainly plenty more to see if time permits!

Price: £514

Min age: 18

Rating 4.88 / 5 [99 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Scottish Highlands

Scottish Highlands, United Kingdom (UK)

Ruins of Kilchurn Castle on the edge of Loch Awe with brown hills behind

Magnificent mountain scenery slashed by silvery lochs and peppered with brooding castles: all laden with rich Scottish heritage, history and tradition. Drive the NC500 road trip, or ride on the spectacular West Highland Line.