6 Of The Best Whisky Distilleries In Or Near Edinburgh
With a colourful history spanning over 1000 years, whisky plays an important part of our cultural identity here in Scotland. Also know as Scotch or the ‘water of life’, our national drink is lovingly crafted in over 100 distilleries throughout 5 regions and distributed across the globe for a worldwide audience to enjoy.
The good news is that you don’t have to travel that far to taste the nation's biggest export, as some of the best whisky distilleries are located right here in Edinburgh and the surrounding area.
Each distillery is accessible by public transport and within a two hour journey from the capital. You will enjoy fascinating tours, witness the production process and learn all about each whisky’s history, unique flavours and distinct character. Take the stress out of your journey and travel by public transport, sample a dram or two along the way and discover the perfect Scotch to suit your palette!
Distilleries in or near Edinburgh
|Distillery||Distance from Edinburgh (miles)||Approx journey time by car||Approx journey time by public transport|
|Holyrood Distillery||0||City centre location||City centre location|
|Glenkinchie Distillery||15.6||33m||1hr 20m|
|Deanston Distillery||44||1hr 5m||1hr 30m|
|Clydeside Distillery||49||1hr 10m||1hr 15m|
|Tullibardine Distillery||51||1hr 10m||1hr 20m|
|Glenturret Distillery||54||1hr 30m||2hr|
Photo source: Holyrood Distillery
Set within a 180-year-old building next to Holyrood Park and within easy walking distance of the city centre, Holyrood Distillery opened its doors to the public for the first time in July 2019.
As Edinburgh’s first new malt distillery for almost 100 years, the ‘Holyrood Whisky Experience’ tour lasts just 60 minutes and will introduce you to the world of single malt whisky. Although it doesn’t have its own whisky (yet), the distillery does brew its own gin and gin liqueurs and there are a number of whisky tours and masterclasses to choose from.
Holyrood Distillery Tour: £14 per person, 1hr
St Leonard's Lane, Edinburgh, EH8 9SH | t: 0131 285 897719
Photo source: Luke Harold on flickr
Situated just 15 miles from the capital in the rolling farmland of East Lothian lies Edinburgh’s unofficial distillery, home of the ‘Edinburgh Malt’.
Glenkinchie Distillery houses a museum about malt whisky production and features an illicit still, a large scale model of a distillery and various other whisky-related displays to grab your attention.
After the tour you’ll get to sample a glass of the Glenkinchie 12yr old and enjoy a spot of shopping in their well stocked shop.
Best of all, they operate a shuttle service from the centre of Edinburgh to Glenkinchie twice a day, 7 days a week although the advice is to call to book this service.
Glenkinchie Tour: £10 per person, 1hr 15m
Glenkinchie Distillery, Pencaitland, Tranent, EH34 5ET | t: 01875 342012
Photo source: Dave - resting on flickr
Eight miles from the historic town of Stirling lies the Deanston Distillery, on the banks of the River Teith.
This historical Highland Single Malt combines locally grown crops and skilled craftsmanship to produce the fresh, honeyed, sweet taste it is so well known for.
Visitors can enjoy a journey through time, from Deanston’s beginnings as a cotton mill, to their modern-day distillery.
The warehouse tour gives the opportunity to purchase and label your own bottle to take home.
Warehouse Experience: £35 per person, 1 hr
Standard tour: £9 per person, 50 minutes
Deanston Distillery Near Doune, Perthshire, FK16 6AG | t: 01786 843 010
Photo source: Beth on flickr
Hop on the train to Glasgow and immerse yourself in an interactive whisky tour at the Clydeside Distillery. Visitors can make their way through 140 years of Dockside history brought to life through pictures, films and words.
Located within the Pumphouse building, the distillery began its first distillation in November 2018 so its inaugural whisky will be matured and ready for release in 2020.
The distillery offers a Clydeside ‘tour of three parts and 3 Wee Drams’ featuring a self-guided walk around the Dockside Story, a guided tour of the distillery and an expert-led nosing and tasting experience. Children needn’t feel left out as they are offered a taste of Scotland’s other national drink…Irn Bru.
Clydeside Tour: £15 per person, 1hr
Chocolate and Whisky Tour: £28 per person, 1hr 30m
The Clydeside Distillery, The Old Pump House, Queen's Dock, 100 Stobcross Road, Glasgow, G3 8QQ | t: 0141 212 1401
Photo source: Sandy Stevenson on flickr
Tullibardine Distillery is located in the Perthshire town of Blackford - the gateway to the Scottish Highlands.
The Danny Burn that provides the distillery with fresh, clean water is fed with water that comes from the surrounding Ochil Hills. Once distilled, the whisky is matured in American or European oak casks and produces a smooth, fruity flavour.
Tours are available 7 days a week and include the classic 45 minute tour of the whisky process from start to finish. Alternatively why not try the 90 minute whisky and chocolate tour, where each of the four whiskies you taste is paired with a chocolate truffle.
Classic Tour: £9 per person, 45m
Whisky and Chocolate Tour: £25 per person, 90m
Tullibardine Ltd, Blackford, Perthshire, PH4 1QG | t: 01764 661809
Photo source: Karen Bryan on flickr
Glenturret is one of Scotland’s oldest working distilleries, based in the heart of Perthshire on the banks of the Turret River. The distillery employs a number of traditional production techniques including a hand operated mash tun and Douglas fir wash backs. An unusually long fermentation time of up to 100 hours helps to give the Glenturret its distinctive fruity characteristics.
The ‘Distillery and Tasting Experience’ brings to life the history and heritage of this iconic brand, or why not experience the Warehouse Tour with a guided nosing and tasting session in a specially built sample room.
Distillery and Tasting Experience: from £10 per person
Warehouse Experience: from £40 per person
Glenturret Distillery, The Host, Crieff, Perthshire, PH7 4HA | t: 01764 656565
This is a just a selection of some of the distilleries which can be accessed from central Edinburgh. Perhaps you have already visited one of them or ventured further afield to a distillery not included on our list? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.