A Guide To: The Scotch Whisky Experience

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The Out About Scotland complete guide to The Scotch Whisky Experience

About The Scotch Whisky Experience

If you’re embarking on a visit to Edinburgh then your trip will not be complete without a visit to the famous Scotch Whisky Experience, located just a short walk from Edinburgh Castle Esplanade on The Royal Mile. The attraction comprises various tours and whisky tasting sessions along with a very enjoyable journey through the history of one of Scotland’s most famous exports, brought to you by several resident ghostly tourist guides!

This is a really good attraction in the centre of Edinburgh and one that’s very popular so you might want to give it a miss during the peak tourist seasons, but I think you’ll enjoy it whatever time of year you visit. The only thing I’d suggest is to only visit the attraction if you actually like whisky. When I recently visited half the tourists in my group admitted they didn’t even like the stuff when offered a sample. Bit of a strange choice of attractions to pay to visit then…



Things to do at The Scotch Whisky Experience

At the beginning of the tour you sit inside a whisky barrel-shaped carriage which will transport you back in time and take you on a journey through a replica distillery. Information about the distilling process is told by the ghosts of the old distillery, and at the end you’re directed out to meet your very-much-alive tour guide for a tasting session. Each available tour is led by a highly knowledgeable guide who will teach you the history of whisky production from its very first beginnings to the multi-billion pound industry that it has become today.

The high point of any of the available tours has to be the whisky collection which has the record of being the worlds largest, housing an incredible 3384 bottles. The entire collection took over 35 years to build up, and walking around the collection is truly mesmerizing. You’ll hardly believe so many different types of whisky were ever created. At this point you’ll also be able to sample a dram of the golden liquid which is the perfect end to a fascinating voyage of whisky discovery.

In addition to the barrel ride there’s a first-class restaurant where you can sample some of Scotland’s finest cuisine, a whisky bar where you can sample a vast range of spirits from all over Scotland, and an extremely well-stocked shop which sells just about every variety of whisky imaginable.

If you love a good dram then a visit to this attraction will be right up your street, and even though the tickets are a little on the pricey side I think they’re worth it, especially considering you get a sample of whisky on the tour.


The history of The Scotch Whisky Experience

The Scotch Whisky Experience is housed in one of the many beautiful building that lines the Royal Mile, each of which has its own fascinating history. This one though was formerly the premises of the Castlehill School, which opened in 1888 and taught a mixture of both boys and girls.

However, the children were segregated by a number of separate stairways which can still be seen as you walk around the attraction today. The school eventually closed in 1951 and the building had various uses until finally becoming the Scotch Whisky Experience in 1988.


What I liked about this attraction

  • The ride in the whisky barrel is great fun
  • The whisky tasting sessions are very informative
  • The staff are very knowledgeable

What I didn’t like about this attraction

  • The ticket cost and the tours are a bit too expensive in my opinion
  • Likewise, I think the on-site whisky shop prices are a bit high. But they do have a fantastic selection

Address and directions map

The Scotch Whisky Experience can be found at the upper end of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, just a few yards down from the entrance to the castle.

354 Castlehill,


Contact details

Prices and opening times

Prices – The Scotch Whisky Experience has a range of tour experiences with various times and prices as listed below (as of 2018):

The Gold Tour: ‘After enjoying a full silver tour, you’ll compare and contrast four regional single malts whilst relaxing in our beautiful McIntyre Gallery’. Duration: 70 – 90 minutes. Standard price: £28.00

Morning Masterclass: ‘If you have an existing love of whisky, our Morning Masterclass is the perfect opportunity to further develop your skills.’ Duration: 90 minutes. Standard price: £40.00

The Platinum Tour: ‘Booking is recommended for our luxurious evening tour, which includes a comparative whisky tasting, and an extended collection viewing.’ Duration: 90 minutes. Standard price: £39.00

The Taste of Scotland: ‘This ultimate experience combines our Platinum tour with a sumptuous seasonal Scottish tasting menu in our award-winning Amber restaurant.’ Duration: Approx 3 hours. Standard price: £75.00

The Silver Tour: ‘Become a ‘one-hour-whisky-expert’ as our guides impart their expertise, culminating in a tasting in our stunning whisky collection.’ Duration: 50 minutes. Standard price: £16.00

Educational Tours: ‘Find out all about our business and how it has developed and diversified over the years. Official student groups of 20+ only.’ Duration: 50 minutes. Standard price: £14.00


Opening times:

  • Jan – March: 10am – 5pm
  • April – May: 10am – 6pm
  • June: 10am – 7.30pm
  • July: 10am – 8.20pm
  • August: Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm
  • August: Saturday & Sunday 10am – 5:40pm
  • Sept – Dec: 10am – 5pm




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If you liked this guide check out The Out About Scotland Guide to Scotch Whisky.

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Craig Smith

Craig Smith is your guide to the best attractions in Scotland. He loves exploring the Scottish wilds and is happiest when he's knee-deep in a muddy bog in the middle of nowhere.

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