Speyside Explorer Tour

About the Speyside Explorer 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. We will also visit the River Spey and enjoy a ‘wee dram’ at one of it’s most scenic spots.

This tour is run on the same vehicle as our Whisky Bus – to book for 2019 please contact us.

Tour Gallery

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!

Speyside Explorer Tour itinerary

Expand full itinerary below       Close all  
Warehouse workers at Tomatin

1. Tomatin Distillery

Take a tour to find out about Scotland’s national drink.
Read more...

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.

ballindalloch-_dollarphotoclub_600

2. Ballindalloch Castle

We are assured a warm welcome at this, “Pearl of the North”.
Read more...

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!
Read more...

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.

Telford Bridge River Spey 2 400

4. The River Spey

We stop at Craigellachie Bridge to admire this vitally important water source, and toast to it!
Read more...

The scenic River Spey is world-famous due to its importance to the Scottish salmon and whisky industries.  On the banks of this beautiful stretch of water your guide will present you with a unique WOW glass, and we’ll drink a dram and have a toast to the source of the, “uisge beath” (water of life)!
Macallan-Bottle-and-Casks-400

5. Macallan Distillery

Modern contrasts with traditional, plus Highland Cows!
Read more...

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.

Upon arrival you will have an opportunity to snap a photo of the historic building that features on bottles of Macallan; Easter Elchies House. You can then venture inside the visitor centre, where a member of staff will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.  There are some impressive displays of Macallan to admire and you can also get a view of some of the stills. 

For those keen to sample some whiskies, there is an extensive selection of whisky available at the bar (not included in price).  There is also a gift shop and a coffee shop here. 

In addition to being the home of Macallan, this is also the home of some particularly cute Highland cows, and fortunately they are  usually keen to say hello and pose for some photos (as long as they are not away on their hols)!

Carrbridge_Dollarphotoclub_42293963_400

6. Carrbridge

We stop for a photo of the iconic packhorse bridge, which dates back to 1717 and still stands strong.
Read more...

In the quaint village of Carrbridge you can admire the black, peaty waters of the River Dulnain and marvel at the engineering ingenuity which has seen this 18th Century bridge stand up to many ferocious floods over the years.

More info about the Speyside Explorer 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 6 years old. Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate children under the age of 6.

Prices
The tour is priced at £69

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.

Section currently under construction.

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 and 2018 for providing “exceptional” tours.

Also, we have been consistently rated as “excellent” on Trip Advisor  as of March 2018 1420 out of 1490 reviews rate us as excellent) and are proud to be ranked as the number 1 activity in Inverness.

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 Inverness Chamber of Commerce 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.

I am planning to stay in Dingwall/Conon Bridge/Muir of Ord/Beauly – can I join the tour?

If you would like to go on the Isle of Skye Tour or Speyside Whisky 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 for the 0830 departure time, then get back again in the evening. For more details, click here

If you would like to go on the Orkney Day Tour you will not be able to get public transport from outlying towns to Inverness early enough in the morning, as the tour departs at 0530.

I am planning to stay in Elgin/Forres/Nairn – can I join the tour?

If you would like to go on the Isle of Skye Tour or Speyside Whisky 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 Orkney Day Tour you will not be able to get public transport from outlying towns to Inverness early enough in the morning, as the tour departs at 0530.

I am planning to stay in Edinburgh/Glasgow – can I join the tour?

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 Speyside Whisky 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 2015.

If you are interested in the Isle of Skye Tour 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 the tour, all in one day then you will require your own transport (the drive takes approx 3 1/4 hours to either city).

I am planning to stay in Aberdeen/Inverurie/Huntly – can I join the tour?

If you have a car then you can certainly drive to Inverness, park for the day and join the tour.

If you wish to travel by train, unfortunately it it not possible to take the first train in the morning from Aberdeen to Inverness, as it arrives at 0836 (after departure time for the Isle of Skye Tour, and after check-in has closed for the Speyside Whisky Tour).  However, if you can stay in Inverness the night before the tour then there is a train back late evening at 2133 (except on Sundays, when the last train is at 2103 – we would strongly advise against taking this train if you are on the Isle of Skye Tour as we sometimes arrive back later than planned).

Consequently, for these tours we would suggest that you stay in Inverness the night before the tour, then return to Aberdeen on the last train back after the tour.

For our Orkney Day Tour it is not possible to get the train from or to Aberdeen on the day of the tour so you will need to stay in Inverness the night before and after the tour.

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 any other group tours?

Yes, our scheduled group tours from Inverness are listed below;

Isle of Skye tour
Whisky Bus
Highland & Speyside Explorer Tour
Outlander-inspired Walking Tour

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, have 5 stars and have been awarded a Certificate of Excellence – which means we rate amongst the top 10% of TripAdvisor businesses worldwide – every year since we started the business in 2010!)

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?

Once you have booked your tour we are happy to send you our list of recommended accommodation providers in Inverness and Skye. As a start, click here for a short list of where to stay in Inverness and Loch Ness.

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 5 star rating from VisitScotland in 2016, 2017 and 2018 for providing “exceptional” tours.

Also, we have been consistently rated as “excellent” on Trip Advisor (as of  May 2019 we had 1420 5 star reviews) and are proud to be ranked as the number 1 activity in Inverness.

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 Inverness Chamber of Commerce and local tourism body; Visit Inverness Loch Ness.  WOW Scotland has also featured in a number of local and national publications including Wanderlust, Coast Magazine, The Houston ChronicleThe Boston GlobeThe Vancouver Sun,  Scotland Outdoors Magazine, Scottish Life magazine (Autumn 2013 p 49), German TV programme Euromaxx and the Inverness Courier (our logo has even featured in the Hollywood blockbuster Johnny English Reborn..and we are looking out for logo in a new Hollywood film soon – watch this space!).

What forms of payment do you accept?

All payments are taken through our secure online booking system, which utilises Stripe. We 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!

We have never had to cancel a tour yet but, if the weather forecast was so bad that we considered it dangerous to travel, then we may have to cancel a tour. However, this is extremely unlikely, and we would do our utmost to accommodate you 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 and Whisky Bus 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.