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Things to do in

Speyside

Our most recommended things to do in Speyside

From Edinburgh: Speyside Whisky Trail 3-Day Small Group Tour

1. From Edinburgh: Speyside Whisky Trail 3-Day Small Group Tour

A warm welcome awaits you in Speyside, home to more than half of Scotland's malt whiskey distilleries. You’ll have a chance to sample the whiskey and enjoy the magnificent scenery of Cairngorm, Speyside and Royal Deeside. Day 1: Head north through the Kingdom of Fife to Lindores Abbey Distillery. This modern Scottish distillery is built on the site of the first-ever recorded distillery in the country. After lunch in Pitlochry, sample the delights of Scotland's highest distillery at Dalwhinnie, near the source of the River Spey. Once you’ve warmed with this dram of “the gentle spirit”, continue through the Cairngorms National Park before reaching Grantown on Spey - your base for 2 nights. Day 2: Enjoy a whole day exploring Scotland’s most famous whiskey region. After a scenic drive towards the coast, make your first stop of the day at Glen Moray distillery, where you can try whisky matured in a wide selection of casks. Travel back up the Spey River to Craigellachie for a visit to the Speyside Cooperage*, where you see another aspect of the whiskey-making process. After lunch in nearby Aberlour, visit Cardhu Distillery, which is the first distillery pioneered by a woman, Helen Cumming. Today, Cardhu is the most important whisky in Johnnie Walker Black Label. From here, travel back to Grantown on Spey. *Speyside Cooperage is only visited on Monday and Wednesday departures. Day 3: In the morning visit Scotland's highest distillery at Dalwhinnie, set in splendid mountain scenery at the heart of the Cairngorm National Park.  Then, enjoy the majesty of Royal Deeside. Pass by Balmoral Castle, and stop in the village of Braemar in the heart of the National Park. From here, the route south passes over Scotland’s highest mountain pass, through Perthshire, and back to Edinburgh.

From Inverness: Cairngorms National Park and Whisky Tour

2. From Inverness: Cairngorms National Park and Whisky Tour

Depart Inverness and travel through the spellbinding landscapes of Speyside towards Dava Moor for some great views of the Cairngorms National Park. Keep your camera ready to capture the vibrant color of blooming heather if you’re visiting in the summer and autumn months. Visit the forest village of Carrbridge. Here, you can get some refreshments, breathe in the cool mountain air, and wander around the Old Packhorse Bridge. Continue south to Glenmore Forest Park, where you'll have free time to explore. Take an optional walk through the woods to Loch Morlich, which is one of Scotland’s most scenic and popular lochs. You can admire a sandy beach and large and ancient pine trees before you make your way back to the mini-coach. If you prefer not to walk, there’s a café and exhibition at the visitor center. After working up an appetite, head to Aviemore for lunch at your own expense. Finish off with a dram of whisky at Tomatin Distillery*. Savor the aromas of fruit and spice, and feel the passion for community and environment in this little town clustered around the distillery. Leave the remote landscapes behind and start your journey back to Inverness, where you'll arrive in the early evening.

From Inverness: Speyside Whisky & Moray Firth Tour

3. From Inverness: Speyside Whisky & Moray Firth Tour

Depart Inverness at 9:15 AM and head to the first distillery of the day. At Glen Moray Distillery, opt to join a tour and discover the different areas of whiskey production and sample the golden-hued spirit itself. Next, move on to Elgin, where you can eat lunch, explore the ruins of a cathedral and look for whiskey gifts at a world-famous whiskey shop. After lunch, you arrive at Cardhu Distillery, which is the first distillery pioneered by a woman, Helen Cumming. Today, Cardhu is the most important whiskey in Johnnie Walker Black Label. You may take an extensive tour including a tasting of their delicious whiskies. On your final leg of the journey to Inverness, have a photo stop at Speyside Cooperage, one of the largest concentrations of whiskey casks. Finally, return to Inverness at approximately 6:45 PM.

Speyside Whisky Trail 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

4. Speyside Whisky Trail 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

Leaving Aberdeen in the morning you’ll arrive first in Royal Deeside, one of the favored holiday locations of the British royal family. At the Cambus O’May forest, walk in the woods and reenergize in the pristine environment that makes this area such a draw for visitors. Invigorated by the walk, head deeper into the national park as you travel past Cockbridge and Tomintoul. This legendary stretch of road regularly sees the first of the snowy winter weather and crosses the mountain pass known locally as the Lecht. You’ll have plenty of time for photo opportunities on this unforgettable route. Then, delve into the home of whisky in the Speyside region. Stop at the Speyside Cooperage where you’ll get to know the history of Scotland’s oak casks. Next, head to one of the Speyside towns for lunch before visiting Cardhu distillery. This is the first distillery pioneered by a woman, Helen Cumming. Today, Cardhu is the most important whisky in Johnnie Walker Black Label. You leave Cardhu full of appreciation for whisky and arrive in Aberdeen in the early evening. It’s now up to you whether you continue the whisky tasting into the night.

Inverness: Moray Coast, Puffins and Speyside Whisky Tour

5. Inverness: Moray Coast, Puffins and Speyside Whisky Tour

Explore the beauty of the Scottish highlands on this guided tour. Take the opportunity to explore local villages, visit a whisky distillery, see the adorable Puffin, and more, on this unforgettable tour experience. Depart Inverness and head straight for the historic village of Findhorn for a walk along the gorgeous beach. Trail the coast to Portknockie, where Bow Fiddle Rock, a dramatic sea arch, sits just off the shore.  Afterward, continue the village-hop to picture-perfect Cullen, home of the famous soup, Cullen Skink. Explore, eat lunch, and get excited about the next stop.  Take a walk at Troup Head Nature Reserve and look out for puffins and sea birds; you might even be lucky enough to spot marine life. Then, journey inland on the Malt Whisky Trail to learn all about single malt production at a Speyside whisky distillery, and judge for yourself whether experience is the best teacher. Make one final stop at the oldest stone bridge in the Highlands, in the small village of Carrbridge, before returning to Inverness in the evening.

Inverness: Craigs Speyside Highland Private Whisky Tour

6. Inverness: Craigs Speyside Highland Private Whisky Tour

Be immersed in the stunning Scottish Highland scenery and discover world-famous scotch whisky distilleries on a private customizable tour from Inverness. Following a pickup from your hotel, take the A9 trunk route and head North on what is possibly one of the most beautiful trunk routes anywhere in the UK. Driving through Cairngorm National Park you'll be conveyed onto the Speyside Whisky area where you can visit the distilleries of your choice from Balvenie, Macallan, Glenfiddich, Cragganmore, Glenlivet, Cardhu, Glenfarclas, Benriach, Aberlour, Glenmoray, and Benromach. Decide if you'd like to tour the working part of the distillery, take a tutored whisky tasting, or simply visit the shop and visitor center to browse and perhaps purchase. Spend as little or as much time as you want each distillery or make unscheduled stops at any other attraction as you wish during the experience. Although not a distillery, Speyside Cooperage provides a popular tour showing how they make barrels for the Whisky industry.

Scottish Highlands 4-Day Castle Tour From Edinburgh

7. Scottish Highlands 4-Day Castle Tour From Edinburgh

Day 1: Depart from Edinburgh and travel north into the ancient Kingdom of Fife. Visit Falkland Palace, built in the 16th century and is set in the medieval village of Falkland. Continue to St Andrews and explore the cobbled lanes and ancient university buildings. Travel north towards Aberdeen and admire the House of Dun, a beautiful Georgian mansion located within a woodland estate. In the afternoon, visit Dunnottar castle - a ruined fortress on the top of the cliffs. Day 2: Spend the day in the Royal Deeside area, famous for its many castles. Visit Castle Fraser, one of the grandest of the Scottish baronial tower houses. Round off your visit with a walk through the beautiful 18th century walled garden. Later on, visit Banchory and look for salmon jumping at the Falls of Feugh. After lunch, explore the house and stunning gardens of Crathes Castle at your own pace. Wander through the outstanding, world-renowned June Borders, and admire beautiful vistas of the castle through the fusion of colourful flowers. Return back to Aberdeen for the night. Day 3: Heads further north and start the day with a visit to Fyvie Castle dating back to the 13th century and holding a fine collection of arms and armour as well as 17th century tapestries. Continue on and travel through beautiful scenery towards Nairn, and enjoy a lunch at nearby Brodie Castle. Explore this imposing castle’s unusual plasterwork and art collection. In the afternoon, take The Clan Stone Walkway which was designed to commemorate the Scottish Clans and their clansmen who fought at the battle of Culloden. After the visit, continue to Forres for your overnight stay. Day 4: Travel south through some of the most stunning scenery Scotland has to offer to Dalwhinnie Distillery and taste the ‘Water of Life’. After a lunch stop in Pitlochry,  head to Loch Leven. Next, you head south to Blair Castle. Here, you can learn about Mary Queen of Scots, discover a ballroom adorned with 175 antlers, and roam the 9-acre Georgian garden at your own leisure before you return back over the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh.

Other Sightseeing Options in Speyside

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What people are saying about Speyside

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 169 reviews

We had a very enjoyable and interesting day. Just one other couple and the driver/guide Stewart, who was extremely friendly and informative. Apart from the tours of the Glen Moray and Cardhu distilleries, we were taken to Nairn (the guide's home town), Elgin (including the apparently little known but beautiful Biblical garden), Aberlour (lunchtime stop) and Craigellachie Bridge. Rightly or wrongly, we had thought that on a whisky distillery tour, the admission price to each of the distilleries would have been included (otherwise what's the point of booking such a tour - surely nobody would then opt out of visiting the distilleries?!) but it wasn't, so having paid £46 each at the outset, we paid a further £24.50 each on the day (£7 for Glen Moray and £17.50 for Cardhu). Stewart was very uncomfortable about asking us for the extra money. If it was made known on the website and/or when booking, it must have been decidedly inconspicuous. Still, overall it was a great day out.

It was my second tour with Rabbies and they are really amazing tours, in small groups and with great guides! This Whisky tour was everything I hoped it would be, we visited two distilleries and also stopped at three places. Amazing excursion!

Craig is a great guide, giving us good wine tasting, lunch, and local visitor site suggestions. Fun to ride with, interesting man. We highly recommend him.

Would highly recommend Rabbies tours. Our tour leader was very personable, knowledgeable, and a lot of fun. Very enjoyable day.

Helen was wonderful, knowledgable and funny. We enjoyed every minute.