Whisky and Castle Tour

About the Whisky and Castle Tour

This is an amazing day combining a tour of Tomatin Distillery, a visit to Ballindalloch Castle, observing the coopers at work at the Speyside Cooperage and a visit to one of Scotland’s greatest architectural achievements of recent times; the legendary Macallan distillery.

£60 + £30 for Admission Fees 10 hours Departs Inverness Bus Station April –  September

Why choose WOW Scotland?

Luxury mini-coach with A/C, WiFi and USB ports

Family-run local business

Free cancellation up to 72 hours prior to departure

Guaranteed departures with no minimum numbers

Our tours are not available on any other website!

Whisky and Castle Tour itinerary

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Warehouse workers at Tomatin

1. Tomatin Distillery

Take a tour to find out about Scotland’s national drink.
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At Tomatin Distillery whisky production has been a way of life since the fifteenth century. You will be taken on a one hour tour to explore the distillery and find out how whisky is produced. You will visit the still house and the warehouse, as well as having a unique opportunity to step inside a mash tun. This in-depth tour will give you a great overview of the illicit history of our national drink.

After the tour you will be encouraged to, “experience the softer side of the Highlands”, with tutored tastings of three specially selected drams. You will then have the opportunity to browse the gift shop, which features many special whiskies and unique Tomatin merchandise.

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2. Ballindalloch Castle

We are assured a warm welcome at this, “Pearl of the North”.
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First and foremost a family home, Ballindalloch Castle has been lived in continuously by the Macpherson-Grants since 1546, this magnificent building is resplendent with family memorabilia, fine furniture and paintings.

You will be able to independently explore the castle and its lush gardens; The Rockery, The Courtyard Garden and the Walled Garden. 

This will also be your opportunity to purchase lunch from the delightful tearoom, which serves hearty soups, homemade cakes, scones and tray bakes.

You may also wish to purchase souvenirs in their shop, which is well stocked with beautiful cashmere goods from Johnstons of Elgin, and local products ranging from jewellery and gifts to honey and sweets.

You will spend around 2 hours at Ballindalloch Castle.

Cooper at work at Speyside coopeage

3. Speyside Cooperage

It may not be on your must-see list but trust us on this one!
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Watching these incredibly skilled craftsmen at work is a real highlight of today’s tour, and we guarantee you will be enthralled!

The Speyside Cooperage is the largest working cooperage in the UK and the highly experienced coopers are still using traditional skills to restore and repair casks, which are an integral component of the whisky production process.  When we arrive we will watch a audio-visual presentation about the history of the cooperage. Then for the intriguing part; you will be shown up to the viewing gallery where, with the backdrop of a local guide talking you through the repair and restoration process, you will have the chance to watch this live from the viewing gallery.  There is lots to take in, and one cannot fail to be impressed!

After the tour you will have the opportunity to browse the gift shop or pick up a coffee at the on-site cafe.

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4. Macallan Distillery

Tour the outstanding new visitor centre and enjoy a triple tasting of whisky too!
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Completed in 2018, at a cost of £140 million, the Macallan Distillery Visitor Centre sits at the heart of the Macallan estate, and its ultra-modern multi award-winning home has become a must-see destination in Speyside. Following a 15 minute tour of the visitor centre, we will head to the bar for a tutored tastings of 3 whiskies!

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Book direct for a free glass!

As a thank you for booking direct with WOW Scotland you will receive an exclusive WOW Scotland whisky glass (worth £8).

More info about the Whisky and Castle Tour

Tour Times
8.30am – 6.45pm

Departure Point
Inverness Bus Station

Luggage
You are welcome to bring luggage on the tour if required. Please contact us for details.

Children
The minimum age for this tour is 18 years old. Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate under 18s, due to age restrictions at the distilleries.

Prices
The tour is priced at £60 + £30 for admission/tasting fees.

Meals
It is possible to pre-order a sandwich lunch when you arrive at the bus stop in the morning. Please bring cash if you wish to do this.

Upgrades
We offer the opportunity to purchase front row seat upgrades for £20 pp and extra legroom upgrades for £15 pp.

Cancellation Policy
Free cancellation up to 72 hours prior to departure.

What sort of vehicle do you use?

Here at WOW Scotland we only have two coaches, both of which were built to our precise specifications, to ensure the highest levels of passenger comfort.  The vehicles have 30-seats and are very well-appointed with panoramic windows, comfortable reclining seats, USB ports under every seat and on-board WiFi.  You can rest assured that you will be able to relax and enjoy the majestic scenery in complete comfort.  You can read more about our coaches here.

Where is the pick-up point in Inverness?

We pick-up from Stance 7 at Inverness Bus Station, Margaret Street, Inverness, IV1 1LT. Look out for the kilted WOW guide and WOW-branded coach and you won’t miss us!

Can I reserve seats on the tour?

Yes. Due to customer demand, we have a booking system for the following seats;

  • 4 front row seats – these give you unparalleled views out of the front windows, and the opportunity to disembark first at every stop.  Our most popular seats.
  • 4 second row seats – many guests prefer to sit near the front of the coach, or be reassured that you will be seated together if they are a couple/group, both of which you get with this option.  These seats also have a little more legroom than these front row seats.  These are available on some tours only.
  • 2 extra legroom seats – these are situated near the back of the coach and have approximately 50% more legroom than regular seats.  They are particularly suited to those who are tall, or like to stretch out.
  • 4 back row seats – these are ideal for groups who wish to sit together.  Unlike on most other coaches we have removed the fifth/middle seat so the seats are spaced further apart, giving you more elbow room.

The price of the upgrades vary depending on which tour you are on, with prices between £2.50 and £22.50 per person.  If they are available, upgrades will be given as an option when booking.

Please note that it does not make any difference which side of the coach you sit on, so we don’t take requests for specific sides.

The rest of our seating works on a first-come-first-served basis, as we feel that this is the fairest system of allocating seats. It is not possible to reserve window seats, or seats together if you are travelling as part of a group but, if you do wish to choose your seat, we would recommend arriving early at the bus stop (i.e. a few minutes before check-in closes). If you are unhappy with your seat please let your tour guide know and he will do his best to accommodate your requests, although obviously many guests would prefer a window seat so it is not possible for everyone to have these!

Note that any fees paid for seat upgrades are non-refundable if you cancel your tour.

What time does the tour start and finish?

This tour departs promptly at 8.45am (0845). Please ensure that you are ready to board the bus at 8.30am (0830) as we will leave promptly at 8.45am (0845), and are unable to wait for any latecomers! The tour will return to Inverness city centre at approximately 6.45pm (1845) – it is possible that we may return a bit later than this although we always try to keep to our schedule as much as possible.

Can we be picked up and/or dropped off somewhere else?

For our Whisky Tour and Whisky & Castle Tour we can offer pick-up from Carrbridge Train Station, for those travelling by train from Edinburgh or Glasgow. The pick-up is at around 1050 (to meet the train arriving at 0957). You must inform us if you want to do take this option, as we will not stop in Carrbridge otherwise.

We can also drop you off in Carrbridge at the end of the day, to get the 1916 train back to Edinburgh/Glasgow.

Note that you will miss Tomatin Distillery if you take this option.

Where will we be stopping for lunch?

We will take orders on the coach for a sandwich lunch from The Glenlivet Distillery. The lunch offers really good value at £7 for your choice of sandwich, soft drink, crisps, fruit and a chocolate bar. Please bring cash as lunch cannot be paid for by card.

To see the full menu please click here to go to the Whisky Tour lunch menu page.

Will we be stopping for coffee/snacks enroute?

There are coffee shops at Ballindalloch Castle, Speyside Cooperage and Macallan so there will be plenty of opportunities to purchase refreshments along the way.  All of these places accept credit/debit card.

Will I be able to purchase souvenirs?

Yes, of course.  There are shops at Tomatin Distillery, Ballindalloch Castle, Speyside Cooperage and Macallan. The shop at Ballindalloch Castle has the widest variety of gifts, whilst the others offer a vast-array of primarily whisky-themed gifts.

Can children come on the this tour?

The minimum age for this tour is 18 years old.  Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate children under the age of 18 on this tour, due to age restrictions at the distilleries we visit.

 

Why should we choose WOW Scotland?

We know that you have a choice of tours, and we are always reviewing our offering to ensure that we are providing the best tour, combined with the best value for money and best customer care, from the minute you land on our website.  We are confident that we do this, and are proud to have been awarded a 5 star rating from VisitScotland in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 for providing “exceptional” tours.

Also, we have been consistently rated as “excellent” on Trip Advisor  as of November 2019 1680 out of 1760 reviews i.e. 95% rate us as excellent) and are proud to be ranked as the number 1 tour operator in Inverness (out of a staggering 94!).

For those who are unsure about booking with a small company, please click on any of the following links for assurance that we are a member of the national tourism body; Visit Scotland and also of the Federation of Small Businesses and  local tourism body; Visit Inverness Loch Ness

I am planning to drive to the tour pick-up point then leave my car – is this possible?

Absolutely.  Rose Street car park is right next to the tour pick-up point and you can find further information on parking here.

Can I take a train from Dingwall/Conon Bridge/Muir of Ord/Beauly to the tour pick-up point ?

If you would like to go on the Isle of Skye Tour, Speyside Whisky Tour or Whisky & Castle Tour then yes, absolutely! There is a train regular train service running between Dingwall, Conon Bridge, Muir of Ord, Beauly and Inverness, which allows you to get to Inverness in time departure time, then get back again in the evening. For more details, click here

If you would like to go on the Skye Fairy Pools Tour (0745 departure) or Orkney Day Tour (0530 departure) you will not be able to get public transport from these outlying towns to Inverness early enough in the morning, as the first train arrives at 0743.

Can I take a train from Elgin/Forres/Nairn to the tour pick-up point?

If you would like to go on the Isle of Skye Tour, Speyside Whisky Tour or Whisky Castle Tour then yes, absolutely! There is a train regular train service running between Elgin, Forres, Nairn and Inverness, which allows you to get to Inverness in time for the tour departure, then get back again in the evening. For more details, please click here

If you would like to go on the Skye Fairy Pools Tour (0745 departure) or Orkney Day Tour (0530 departure) you will not be able to get public transport from outlying towns to Inverness early enough in the morning, as the first train arrives at 0748.

Can I take a bus/train from Edinburgh/Glasgow to the tour pick-up point?

Unfortunately there is no public transport from Edinburgh or Glasgow which will allow you to arrive in Inverness before the tours depart, so for all tours you would require to arrive the night before.

If you are interested in the Isle of Skye Tour, Whisky Tour or Whisky & Castle Tour you will be able to get a train back at the end of the day as the last train to Glasgow and Edinburgh is at 2017.  If you are going to take the Isle of Skye Tour and take this train please let us know in advance so that we can endeavour to ensure we arrive back punctually at 2000.

If you are interested in the Skye Fairy Pools or Orkney Day Tour you will not be able to get public transport back to Glasgow or Edinburgh at the end of the day, as the last train is at 2015, before the tours arrive back in Inverness. Consequently, if you wish to travel from one of these cities, and take one of these tours, all in one day, then you will require your own transport (the drive takes approx 3 1/4 hours to either city).

Can I take a train from Aberdeen/Inverurie/Huntly to the tour pick-up point?

If you wish to travel by train from Aberdeen, Inverurie or Huntly then the following applies;

Isle of Skye Tour

This is the perfect tour for you! You can take the first train from the morning and depart on the last train in the evening.  For more details click here

Skye Fairy Pools Tour / Whisky Tour / Whisky & Castle Tour

Unfortunately it is not possible to take any of these tours if you arrive on the first train from Aberdeen, as this train arrives after the tours depart.  However, if you can stay in Inverness the night before the tour then you can return to Aberdeen after the tour; there is a train back late evening to Aberdeen at 2133.  If you book the Skye Fairy Pools Tour and are taking this train back please let us know in advance so that we can ensure that we arrive back in Inverness by our 2100 estimated tour end time.

Orkney Day Tour

As the tour departs at 0530 and does not return until 2130 it is not possible to take the train up on the day, or return on the day to Aberdeen.  You will require to stay the night before and after the tour in Inverness (but it will be worth it!).

 

Is the itinerary fixed/guaranteed?

The itinerary has been carefully planned to ensure that you get the most out of your day. However, there are factors outside of our control, such as traffic flow, road closures and adverse weather, which mean that, on rare occasions, we may not be to achieve everything listed in the tour itinerary. Consequently, we reserve the right to alter the itinerary if necessary, although this will be a last resort, and we will endeavour to visit alternative places of interest instead.

Do I need to bring cash with me on the tour? If so, are Euros/US dollars accepted in Scotland?

It is advisable to bring some cash (GBP £) on all tours. Credit/debit cards are widely accepted but, in some small shops (or for smaller purchases), cash is the only option.

Please note that American Express is not commonly accepted in Scotland, but Visa and Mastercard should be fine. Unfortunately very few places will accept other currencies such as Euros or US dollars.

Can I bring dogs and other pets on the tour?

Unfortunately dogs and other pets are not able to travel on our tours. If you are partially sighted or blind and use a guide dog to get around please do get in touch to discuss ways in which we can accommodate you and your dog.

Can I bring luggage?

Yes, we do have space for a limited amount of luggage. If you wish to bring luggage please contact us before booking. There are also left luggage facilities at Inverness train station for those travelling back to Inverness (please contact the station to find out opening times of this facility prior to use).

Who will our tour guide be?

One of our highly competent local guides will lead your tour – you can read all about the team on our About page, or have a look at their reviews on TripAdvisor.

Should I tip my guide?

If the tour meets or exceeds your expectations then please feel free to tip as it is always very much appreciated. However, please rest assured that tips are not expected in Scotland, so no offence will be taken if you don’t tip. It is worth noting that, if there is a separate driver and tour guide on your tour, they always split any tips equally, so it is fine to give money to either one of them.

Does the tour only run on the dates listed on your website?

Yes, you’ll find the most up-to-date tour dates on our calendar.  Scheduled tours will only run on the listed dates.

Do you offer foreign language tours?

At the moment we only offer tours in English, and we are unable to offer any translation services.  This is something which we are working to improve in the future but, for now, hopefully the fantastic Highland scenery can speak for itself!

Do you have any reviews?

Yes, lots! Check out our TripAdvisor ratings to see what our customers say about us (we are currently number 1 in Inverness out of over 94 tour companies, with over 95% of our reviews rating us 5 stars!)

You can also see reviews for WOW Scotland on YelpFacebook and Google

How do I get to Inverness?

To find out how to get to Inverness click here. 

Where can I stay in Inverness?

Inverness is a compact city so any city centre accommodation will be walking distance (up to 20 minutes) from our pick-up point at Inverness Bus Station.  Some hotels, such as the Premier Inn West and the Travelodge at Stoneyfield, are on the outskirts of the city but all are still easily reachable from the bus station (these are both 2 miles/a 10 minute taxi ride from our pick-up point). You can see a list of suggested accommodation in Inverness and Loch Ness here.

Can I book with confidence?

Yes! We know that you have a choice of tours, and we are always reviewing our offering to ensure that we are providing the best tour, combined with the best value for money and best customer care, from the minute you land on our website.  We are confident that we do this, and are proud to have been awarded a coveted 5 star rating from VisitScotland in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 for providing “exceptional” tours.

Also, we have been consistently rated as “excellent” on Trip Advisor (as of  October 2019 we had 1690 5 star reviews) and are proud to be ranked as the number 1 tour company in Inverness (out of a staggering 94!).

For those who are unsure about booking with a small company, please click on any of the following links for assurance that we are a member of the national tourism body; Visit Scotland and also of the Federation of Small Businesses and local tourism body; Visit Inverness Loch Ness.

What forms of payment do you accept?

Payments are taken through our secure online booking system, which utilises both PayPal and Stripe. These accept almost any debit and credit card, including American Express (we cannot accept Diner’s Card or Discover).

 

What are your terms and conditions of booking?

Our terms and conditions can be found here. You’ll find a general overview of our cancellation terms in this FAQ section if you don’t want to read though all the T&Cs!

Is it possible to pay on arrival?

Due to high demand for our tours, we are unable to secure your booking unless you pay the full amount in advance. That being said, you are welcome to come to the bus stop in the morning and, if there are places available, you can join the tour and book/pay online on our website.

Do you offer guaranteed departures?

Yes, if you book onto one of our tours then we will run this tour, regardless if anyone else has booked on or not!

The only reason we would require to cancel a tour would be if the weather forecast was so bad that we or one of our suppliers (e.g. the ferry operators for our Orkney Tour) considered it dangerous to travel. However, this is extremely unlikely, and we would do our utmost to accommodate you  either on on an alternative tour that day, or on an alternative date.

Do you offer group discounts?

For groups of 10+ please contact us for preferential pricing.

Can I cancel my tour if I change my mind, or if I am unable to get to Inverness for any reason?

Yes, and our cancellation terms for the Isle of Skye Tour, Skye Fairy Pools Tour, Whisky Tour and Whisky & Castle Tour are as follows;

  • If you cancel your tour at least 72 hours in advance of the scheduled departure then we will refund you in full (note that any fees paid for seat upgrades are non-refundable)
  • If you cancel within 72 hours of the scheduled departure you will not be entitled to a refund. However, if we are able to re-sell your place then we will be able to issue a partial refund, so please let us know if you need to cancel, no matter how last minute it is.

Our cancellation terms for the Orkney Day Tour are as follows;

  • If you cancel your tour at least 7 days in advance of the scheduled departure then we will refund you in full (note that any fees paid for seat upgrades are non-refundable)
  • If you cancel within 7 days of the scheduled departure you will not be entitled to a refund. However, if we are able to re-sell your place then we will be able to issue a partial refund, so please let us know if you need to cancel, no matter how last minute it is.

Unfortunately we cannot make exceptions to these rules, as it would be unfair to treat customers differently.