Whisky Tour of Dornoch and Speyside
Futuristic distilleries meet ancient fortresses and selections of worldly whiskies meet the quintessentially Scottish loch in Inverness, a place with plenty to offer the wandering whisky aficionado.
What with a host of vertical tastings, laid-back lunches, private cruises, and castle stays, Inverness is the place to go for a tastedbud-tantalising UK stay — whisky-lovers, prepare to be whisked off your feet. In this whisky-producing region, well-established stalwarts and innovative upstarts share equal kudos, and rightly so. From the proud traditions of Glen Ord and Glenmorangie to the maverick makers of thoroughly modern Knockdhu, the gamut of delicious whiskies is represented. It’s not just about the tastings though. We walk the halls of historic castles (and even stay in one overnight), see those all-important casks in the making, and take a leisurely cruise on the infamous Loch Ness — nosing glass in hand, naturally.
We depart from our pick-up points and head to Inverness, stopping en-route for a welcome pub lunch before our exploration Glen Ord Distillery. We spend the afternoon on a tour of the distillery, including an excellent exhibition and a vertical tasting at the well-stocked tasting bar. We continue to our hotel, where we enjoy dinner, later this afternoon.
On our first full day, we spend the morning at Glenmorangie Distillery. Found on the banks of the Dornoch Firth, the distillery is hidden away in the beauty of the Scottish Highlands, surrounded by golden fields of barley. We line our stomachs with lunch at Glenmorangie before moving on to Dornoch Castle for an international whisky tasting. Sample aged malts and enjoy a sumptuous dinner before taking the rest of the evening at leisure.
Today we go on the trail of one of Scotland’s most infamous legends as we venture south to the banks of Loch Ness, where we pause for a photo opportunity at the haunting ruins of Urquhart Castle. Then, it’s time to set sail for our serene private cruise on the Loch, with blind whisky tasting included on board.
After returning to shore — where we enjoy a lovely lunch at the Cawdor Tavern — we travel on to Cawdor Castle, a name immediately recognisable to anyone who has seen Shakespeare’s Scottish Play performed… The castle is, in fact, the much-loved family home of the Cawdor family, with over 600 years of history to its name.
After our visit, we check in to Dowans Hotel, a glorious 19th century mansion, and our home for the next two nights.
Today starts with a visit to the Knockdhu Distillery, where we embark on a special guided tour. The distillery is set in the picturesque village of Knock and has an unusual approach to the tradition of malt whisky-making. This is a very different style of brand, producing a ‘light’ whisky which is perfect for contrasting with the more traditional malts we’ve experienced so far on our trip. After lunch, we turn to the rolling hills and fog-cloaked horizons of Craigellachie, where spend an afternoon at Speyside Cooperage, journeying through the life cycle of the cask and see the highly skilled coopers at work. Finally, we return to the hotel for dinner this evening.
Our whisky tour may be coming to an end, but we still have one more visit to make. This morning is spent at Ballindalloch Castle and Gardens, built in a time when feuds among the Highland clans were rife. This turreted fortress is at once an architectural delight pulled straight from the pages of a storybook and a medieval strong-hold whose walls have borne witness to gruesome deeds.
After a final lunch as a group, we prepare to say our goodbyes, and this afternoon we return to our pick-up points, and head home.
- Four nights: two at Dornoch Castle and two at Dowans Hotel
- Five lunches; four dinners with wine, followed by a whisky
- All coach transfers
- Visits to Glen Ord distillery, Glenmorangie Distillery, Cawdor Castle and Knockdhu Distillery; Speyside Cooperage Tour; private Loch Ness cruise
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Gratuities (driver and tour manager)
- Bottled water on all coach journeys
Supplements per person
Single room: £175
Travel and overnight accommodation before or after the tour available on request
2018 Insurance Prices
As part of our booking conditions, our travellers must have adequate insurance protection for any holidays overseas but we strongly recommend that you are covered for any of our tours. Our travellers are welcome to take out their own insurance policy, providing that we have the details of this before departure. Alternatively, we can provide our own recommended single-trip travel insurance for all holidays, please see the most upto date prices below:
Under 65, from £18.00 | 65-74, from £35.00 | 75 and over, from £52.00
Under 65, from £32.00 | 65-74, from £64.00 | 75 and over, from £96.00
Prices on application