The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh is an interactive, immersive tour that allows visitors to delve into the world of whisky. Situated at the top of the city’s historic Royal Mile, this attraction is a must-visit for whisky enthusiasts and novices alike.
Upon entering, you’ll be greeted with a replica of an old whisky distillery where you can learn about the intricate process of making Scotch whisky, followed by a barrel ride through the production process and a talk by tour guides who share interesting facts and anecdotes about whisky production.
The highlight of a visit is seeing the world’s largest collection of Scotch whisky which boasts over 3,500 bottles and is a fantastic photo opportunity.
|Monday - Sunday: 10 am to 6 pm
|Prices vary by tour
|No on-site parking
|0131 220 0441
|Restaurant, gift shop, toilets, guided tours, disabled access
|Click here to purchase
If you’re embarking on a visit to Edinburgh then your trip won’t be complete without a visit to The Scotch Whisky Experience, located just a short walk from Edinburgh Castle Esplanade on The Royal Mile. This attraction comprises several 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 the Scotch Whisky Experience’s very own ghost tour guide.
The highlight of the Scotch Whisky Experience has to be being taken through the history of whisky – from its humble origins in the 15th century to the massive distilleries of today – by one of the resident experts who’ll be only too glad to impart their expertise during a tasting session.
There are several tours to choose from and each one offers a slightly different experience lasting from one to three hours. If you just want an introduction I recommend the silver tour which takes you through the main exhibits and finishes with a tasting session in the world’s largest collection of Scotch whisky.
The Scotch Whisky Experience has done a good job of making the attraction accessible for all ages (kids can sample Irn-Bru instead of whisky) but it’s the adults who’ll get the most out of a visit, especially if they take part in the tasting sessions.
1: The ride in the whisky barrel is good fun and is the highlight of the attraction in my opinion. It’s not exactly a rollercoaster hair-whitening ride but it’s good family fun and even has a wee educational element to it.
2: The whisky-tasting sessions are very informative and you’ll get a good overview of what makes Scotch whisky such a renowned spirit. The guides are very knowledgeable and they’ll be only too happy to answer any questions you have about Scotch whisky.
3: Before you leave, grab a bite to eat in the Scotch Whisky Experience restaurant. The food is delicious and if you’d like to try haggis while you’re visiting Edinburgh you may as well go all out and enjoy it alongside a whisky or two.
1: The whisky selection in the shop is fantastic – one of the best in Edinburgh in fact – but you’ll find cheaper prices in the independent whisky shops beyond The Royal Mile.
2: If you have children with you they might get bored after the barrel ride is over when the tour moves on to the whisky tastings. Cheer them up by taking them to the Camera Obscura World of Illusions attraction which is directly opposite.
3: The Scotch Whisky Experience has a good selection of single malts, but the Scotch Malt Whisky Society is a step above. If you want to try the best whisky in Scotland I seriously recommend you get a membership. Become a member for exclusive access to the world’s biggest selection of single-cask whisky.
Tours range from an informal hour-long introductory session to a three-hour experience that includes Scottish cuisine in the on-site restaurant, but all include an automated ride through the production of Scotch whisky and a viewing of the world’s largest whisky collection.
During the ride, you sit inside a barrel-shaped carriage that transports you back in time on a journey through a replica distillery, and as you move through each section stories about whisky are told by the ghosts of the people who used to work there. It’s good fun and will probably be the highlight for children, but adults have a lot more to enjoy during a visit.
At the end of the ghostly ride, you’re directed to meet your (very much alive) guide for a tasting session, during which you’re told about the history of whisky production from its beginnings to the multi-billion pound industry that it is today.
The high point of the tour has to be viewing the whisky collection room which has the record of being the world’s largest, housing an incredible 3,384 bottles. The entire collection took over 35 years to build and walking around the collection is truly mesmerizing. At this point, you’ll be able to sample a dram or two, which is the perfect end to a fascinating voyage of whisky discovery.
In addition to the barrel ride, there’s a restaurant where you can sample some traditional Scottish food (haggis included, of course), a whisky bar where you can sample a 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 whisky then a visit to this attraction will be right up your street. Even though the tickets are a little on the pricey side I think they’re worth it considering you get a whisky sample and a tasting glass to take home.
Things to Do
Whisky Barrel Ride: Start your visit with a whimsical barrel ride that takes you through the entire process of whisky making. This immersive journey, guided by a ghostly distiller, introduces you to the art of turning grains, water, and yeast into Scotland’s national spirit.
Sensory Tasting Experience: After the ride, get ready for a sensory experience. You’ll be led by expert guides into a tasting room where you can touch, smell and taste the elements that whisky is made from. This is followed by a tasting session where you’ll discover the diverse flavours of Scotch whisky, from light and floral to rich and smoky.
World’s Largest Whisky Collection: Marvel at the Diageo Claive Vidiz Whisky Collection, the world’s largest collection of Scotch Whisky. Comprising an astonishing 3,384 individual bottles, it’s a sight not to be missed. For an extra-special treat, the collection room can be hired in the evening for private dinners and whisky tastings.
Masterclass: For true whisky enthusiasts, there’s the opportunity to delve deeper with a masterclass where you’ll learn to identify the subtle differences between whiskies from different regions and understand the influences of age and cask on the final product.
Scottish Dining: Finally, round off your visit with a meal in the Amber Restaurant where you can sample seasonally inspired dishes paired with a choice of over 450 drams. The restaurant caters to vegetarians and non-vegetarians and can accommodate groups of up to 80 people.
Things to Do Nearby
Edinburgh Castle. Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG. 2-minute walk.
Scotland’s most-visited tourist attraction. This 11th-century castle and barracks house the Scottish crown jewels and is the location for the National War Museum. It also features popular attractions like the Mons Meg cannon, the Argyll Battery, and the One O’Clock gun.
Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. Castlehill, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2ND. 1-minute walk.
A Victorian tourist attraction that displays a collection of optical illusions across multiple floors including the ‘Camera Obscura’. There is a gift shop on site.
Princes Street Gardens. Princes St, Edinburgh EH1 2EU. 1-minute walk.
Extensive landscaped gardens that border Princes Street. The gardens feature several attractions including the Ross Fountain, the Ross Bandstand and the Scott Monument. The Scottish National Galleries are located between the east and west gardens.
Gladstone’s Land. 477B Lawnmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2NT. 2-minute walk.
Historic restored house dating from the 1600s. A guided tour takes you through the history of Edinburgh and shows visitors how people lived in the days of ‘Auld Reekie’.
Tartan Weaving Mill and Exhibition. 555 Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2ND. 1-minute walk.
A multi-floor shop that specialises in Scottish cashmere and tartan gifts. The lower level features an exhibition about cloth milling with original mill machinery.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get to The Scotch Whisky Experience?
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. Address: 354 Castlehill, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH1 2NE.
How long is the Scotch Whisky Experience?
The Scotch Whisky Experience offers several tours, each with different tasting experiences:
Silver Tour: 50 minutes.
Gold Tour: 70-90 minutes.
Platinum Tour: 90 minutes.
Tasting Tales Tour: 60 minutes.
Visit the tour page for the latest times and prices.
Who owns the Scotch Whisky Experience?
The Scotch Whisky Experience is owned and operated by the distillery company Diageo.
What visitor facilities are there at The Scotch Whisky Experience?
The Scotch Whisky Experience has a gift shop, restaurant, bar, and public toilets. Visit the FAQ page for updated information on available facilities.