Established in 1988 in an old private-school building, the Scotch Whisky Experience offers visitors a range of tours and tastings. The center, located in the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Old Town of Edinburgh, houses the world’s largest collection of Scotch whisky—nearly 3,400 bottles—as well as a restaurant, bar, and shop.
A Scotch Whisky Experience tour is the perfect way to begin a day of exploring the Royal Mile or to end a visit to Edinburgh Castle. Various tours are on offer, including the Silver Tour, a 1-hour overview of Scotch whisky and two tastings; the Gold Tour, which builds on the Silver with additional tastings and perks; a Masterclass for those with a preexisting love of the drink; and the Taste of Scotland, a showcase of the country’s cuisine with whisky pairings. Most tours begin with the Barrel Ride, an interactive journey through a replica of a whisky distillery.
Also in the Experience building is Amber Restaurant, which serves an à la carte menu featuring seasonal Scottish ingredients; a whisky bar that boasts more than 450 varieties; and a state-of-the-art souvenir shop, where experts can pair you with the perfect bottle to take home.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Scotch Whisky Experience is a must for whisky lovers visiting Edinburgh.
- The center’s bar and coffee shop open daily at 10am.
- Be sure to book tours in advance, as popular time slots may fill up quickly.
- The center is accessible to wheelchair users, and sign language tour videos are available free of charge.
How to Get There
The Scotch Whisky Experience is located on the Royal Mile, just steps from the entrance to Edinburgh Castle. The nearest transit stop is Princes Street on buses 1, 22, 25, and N16; Waverley rail station is a half-mile (800 meters) away.
When to Get There
Tours run daily from 10am; check online for schedules. The center is busiest on Friday and Saturday afternoons and evenings. If booking last minute, aim for a morning tour or afternoon tour earlier in the week. However, because tour numbers are capped, tours and tastings never feel overly crowded.
All Are Welcome
There is always a place for nondrinkers and children at the Scotch Whisky Experience. In addition to offering a compelling history of Scotland’s national drink, tours heavily involve scratch-and-sniff cards in learning about the smells and flavors of the finished product. Those who do not drink whisky are always offered a complimentary Irn Bru, Scotland’s most popular nonalcoholic carbonated beverage.