There are a lot of Whisky distilleries near Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland. If you’re looking to add a distillery tour to your vacation and sample some of Scotland’s finest whisky then you’ll be glad to know that the Highlands will not disappoint!
I am lucky enough to have a husband who loves his whisky and so get to come along and learn about how the drink is made. He is lucky enough to be married to a non whisky drinker which means he gets to sample it all and not worry about driving afterwards!
We’ve had many trips to Inverness and the Highlands of Scotland in the past 10 years and we’ve still got so many distilleries to discover. You see, there’s not just one distillery there, there are so many whisky tours to try!
If you need a little help to find the best whisky distilleries near Inverness then read on for 8 options that you can consider.
This article probably contains affiliate links.
This means that if you buy or book after clicking, I may get a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
Our Top Pick
Let someone else drive!
Taking a tour so you can fully enjoy the distilleries and tastings without needing to worry about driving!
This one goes from Inverness and visits two distilleries as well as the small town of Elgin in Speyside.
A note from the writer: Hey! I’m Kirsty and I’m a UK travel expert – while I grew up in Scotland, as an adult I now return to visit almost every year – there’s so much to see! Shout (or comment below) if you have any questions about your next trip and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
New Feb 2024 – Join my friend Lisa Johnson’s free Challenge and create a new income stream for MORE TRAVEL!
About the whisky distilleries around Inverness
Some Inverness distillery tours in this area are small and some are much larger. They also are probably one of the mainstream brands you’ve seen before. They all have one thing in common though and that is a love of the drink and a passion for making it well!
So why visit a whisky distillery in Scotland? For some it’s simply to learn about this distinctly Scottish spirit and how it’s made. They’re interested in the history of the drink and how it changed the culture.
Others are connoisseurs and want to taste each one to and see what’s different. Many distilleries have different aged drinks and some have unique blends to try too.
You can also purchase limited edition bottles in many of the distilleries – perfect gifts for whisky lovers back home! Or just as a reminder of your trip!
2023 Update – This post has been updated thoroughly since I first posted it way back in 2013 and spoke about visiting distilleries with kids. We’ve since visited more distilleries in the Inverness and surrounding area much to James’s delight too!
We also don’t have young children any more so I’ve expanded this guide to a more general distillery tour guide and left our tips for bringing kids in a section at the bottom of the page.
Scotch, whiskey, whisky or whiskie? Which is right?
The proper Scottish term is whisky without the ‘e’. If the ‘e’ is present then it’s likely to be an Irish spirit.
There are a lot of distilleries in the Highlands of Scotland so you could spend an entire vacation looking for new ones to explore.
This post is looking at some of the options that are near to Inverness, the largest town in the Highlands and a good place to base yourself for some day trips in the area.
Many of the distilleries are on what is known as the Malt Whisky Trail in Speyside. In the Speyside region of Scotland there are huge numbers of single malt whisky distilleries and many of them have tours and tastings.
You’re not restricted to just that area though, you’ll find some north of Inverness as well (on the famous NC500) so I encourage you to explore!
Since there’s so many distilleries around in Scotland, if you’re planning to visit a few, a whisky map like this one might come in handy!
8 whisky distilleries near Inverness to visit
Glenfiddich Distillery Tour
Distance from Inverness – 60 miles, approximately 1 hour 20 mins
One of the first distilleries we visited was the very famous Glenfiddich which is located in Dufftown.
Our tour guide was lovely and really took time to speak to all of the people on her tour. We had Australians and Americans along side some people from the UK too. After showing us round we got to the main part which is the whisky tasting! Glenfiddich are extremely generous, another sign of their size I guess, and each adult is allowed 3 measures of whisky in total, one each from the 12, 15 and 18 year old single malt range.
We found them to be really welcoming and friendly despite the size of the company. Glenfiddich is still family owned, not owned by other parent companies and I think you can tell.
Tour cost: £20 per person (tours are Wednesdays – Sundays)
Family friendly? Yes
The Glenlivet Distillery Tour
Location – Speyside
Distance from Inverness – 52 miles, approximately 1 hour 10 mins
The Glenlivet is owned by a larger company, and their tour is definitely a little more corporate in feel we thought. We still really enjoyed the tour though especially learning about the history there.
There is a nice exhibition and the Glenlivet tour itself is informative and I learned some things I didn’t know from other whisky tours. We weren’t allowed to take any photographs at all through the tour and it was a little shorter than we had before.
They have a number of tours available – we did the Original tour. If you’re serious about your whisky you might want to look at their more specialised options.
Tour cost: From £20 per person
Family friendly? No
Singleton of Glen Ord
Location: The Black Isle, North of Inverness
Distance from Inverness – 15 miles, approximately 25 mins
Begun in 1838 on the Black Isle this is one of the closest distilleries to Inverness. You can take 3 different experiences here depending on what your interest in whisky is.
The visitors centre at the Singleton of Glen Ord distillery and shop are worth a look even if you don’t book a tasting tour as you can pick up some great souvenirs.
(While located on the Black Isle, please note this is not an island but part of the mainland and easy to reach – no boats required!)
Tour cost: from £20 per person
Family friendly? Yes, 8+ years very welcome
Tomatin Distillery Visitor Centre
Location: Cairngorms south of Inverness
Distance from Inverness: 15 miles, 25 minutes
Another distillery very close to Inverness is the Tomatin Distillery. This is a true Highlands distillery with an interesting past and name.
The distillery dates back to 1898 but there is some thought that illegal whisky making happened here before since the name Tomatin actually means ‘Hill of the Juniper Bush’. Juniper was known for burning without smoke and was often used by black market whisky makers.
Like many other distilleries they do a basic tour and some more unique tastings for people who want a more unique experience.
Tour cost: £15 for over 18s. £5 for under 18s, under 5s are free
Family friendly? Yes
Location : Dornoch Firth near Tain, North of Inverness
Distance from Inverness: 37 miles, approximately 50 minutes
James visited this one with some friends and came back raving about the tour. It used to be solely for over 18s only – it’s changed now in 2023 and kids can go on the classic tour)
Glenmorangie is one of the more well known brands in Scotland. They do two different tours with the Innovation tour being for those who want to learn more about whisky and perhaps are looking for a more special tour. They also have some other whisky tasting options too that are new for 2023.
Tour cost: Classic tour is £20 per person (£15 under 18s). Innovation tour is £50 per person
Family friendly? No
Guided tour option – Dunrobin Castle and Glenmorangie Distillery
Location: Keith, Speyside
Distance from Inverness: 55 miles, approximately 1 hour 25 mins
Strathisla Distillery is the Scottish Highland’s oldest operating distillery in the and also the home of the Chivas Regal brand which is known worldwide.
They have some distillery tasting options for you to book. Either spend some time creating your own blend of whisky or sample some of the limited edition whiskies at the distillery.
Tour cost: From £30 per person
Family friendly? No
Glen Moray Distillery
Location: Elgin in Speyside
Distance from Inverness: 38 miles, approximately one hour
Finally, until we go and visit some more, we have the Glen Moray Distillery visitor centre. On the outskirts of the town of Elgin this could be a good combined trip with the stunning cathedral ruins.
Glen Moray run family friendly tours showing you around the distillery and teaching you how whisky is made and the history of the company. They also have a number of special tours for those really wanting to get the lowdown on the drink from here!
Tour cost: £10 (under 18s go free)
Family friendly? Yes
Locatiion – Inverness centre
New for 2023 is the Uile-bheist distillery which, unlike the others on this page, is actually a whisky distillery IN Inverness! It’s located right in the town on the banks of the River Ness.
While you can choose from a number of different tours in this small distillery you can also enjoy a restaurant on site and grab a bite to eat. They also brew beer here too!
Tour cost – from £30pp
Escorted tours from Inverness to distilleries
If you want to explore the distilleries around Inverness and the Highlands but you don’t have a car or don’t want to rent a car from Inverness then it can be a bit tricky since many are out in the countryside.
A guided tour is a good idea to still be able to enjoy them – and it has the benefit of allowing you to enjoy your tastings too.
Obviously you’ll be going to the distillery that the tour operators choose but for those who want less hassle it’s a perfect way to enjoy them.
Speyside Whisky and Moray Firth Tour from Inverness: this one takes you to Glen Moray and Strathisla (Chivas Regal)
Tip – not all tours include your entrance to the distillery. Always check before booking!
Family friendly Whisky tours – do they exist?
When I originally wrote this post I wanted to encourage people to bring their kids to the whisky distilleries – many people don’t think it’s a family friendly attraction but in fact many distilleries do allow children.
If you want to bring your kids to a distillery there are a couple of things to bear in mind on a whisky tour
- Not all whisky distillery tours allow children
- If they are allowed on they may also be charged, even though they won’t get to taste anything (obviously!)
Many of the distilleries do accommodate younger visitors and make the day very accessible for them – we’ve always loved our trips!
Heading to Scotland with kids? Check out my ultimate guide to Scotland for families.
FAQs about Whisky Distilleries near Inverness:
Which malt whisky region is close to Inverness?
The Speyside malt whisky region is the closest to Inverness and is home to the malt whisky trail where there are a number of different distilleries to visit.
How long are whisky distillery tours?
Most basic tours last between 1 and 1.5 hours. You’ll be taken around the distillery and shown where and how the drink is made and stored. Often you’ll then be allowed to taste some of the drink at the end of the tour.
More specialised tastings are often available for people who have a more serious interest in whisky and these tours can last a little bit longer.
Can children go on whisky distillery tours?
Some distilleries only allow over 18 years olds to visit and take the tours. Some distilleries will allow children to come along for a cheaper price – always check before booking.
Which Scottish town is Glenfiddich?
Glenfiddich isn’t actually a town itself but the distillery is based in a town called Dufftown in the Speyside area of Scotland
Where is Chivas Regal distillery?
Strathisla Distillery is the home of the Chivas Regal brand and you can visit the distillery here in the Speyside area of Scotland which is between Inverness and Aberdeen.
Inverness Distillery Tours – conclusion
I hope that this post has helped you to make a start on including a distillery tour on your Highlands trip. They truly are a big part of the Scottish Culture and we’re very proud of the drink as you’ll see!
Enjoy, don’t drive after you’ve had a drink and perhaps bring some back as a souvenir so you’ll always remember this amazing part of the world!
Planning a Britain vacation? Join our FREE trip planning community!
Come and join our FREE Facebook group where you can get help with planning your Britain vacation of a lifetime!
🏴 Scotland Travel FAQ 🏴
Do I need insurance for traveling to Scotland?
YES! I always recommend people take travel insurance when exploring the world!
Check Travel Insurance Master for quote comparisons from different providers.
Do I need a car for visiting Scotland?
YES – If you’re wanting to explore Scotland fully then a car is worthwhile. It will get you to all the best sights and on your own timetable
I recommend DiscoverCars to compare car rental prices in Scotland
How to book accommodation in Scotland?
For hotels I recommend Booking.com
For apartments and cottages check out VRBO
Will my phone work in Scotland?
Perhaps – it depends if you have roaming enabled and beware this can be an expensive way to use your phone.
What to pack for Scotland
Keep yourself dry be prepared for any weather is my motto for Scotland! A rain jacket and comfy shoes are a must.
See my post about what to pack for Scotland
Do I need midge spray for Scotland?
YES – if you’re traveling in the summer months to any of the west coast, highlands, islands or lochs it’s recommended.
Locals swear by Avon’s Skin So Soft!
If you’re sticking to the cities or traveling in winter, early spring or late fall then you likely won’t need it.
What’s the best guidebook for Scotland?
I really like the Lonely Planet Guidebooks
Where to get flights for Scotland
Skyscanner is my first port of call for finding cheap flights to Scotland.
Do I need a visa for Scotland?
Many countries don’t need a visa for visiting Scotland as tourists (USA, Canada, Aus, NZ and Europe) – it’s always best to check first though.