Islay Whisky Connoisseur Tour
4 day / 3 night tour
The Hebridean island of Islay is famed for its natural beauty, history, wildlife and whisky! On this four-day island odyssey there is the chance to visit and sample the whiskies of six Islay distilleries – Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Laphroiag, Bruichladdich, Kilchoman and Bunnahabhain. Add a visit to Deanston Distillery too and you’ll see why this is the perfect tour for whisky aficionados.
Price range: £650 - £735
Deanston Distillery - discover the heritage behind one of Scotland’s most popular whiskies
Kilmartin Glen - explore Scotland’s birthplace and see where ancient kings were crowned
Ferry to Islay - look out for dolphins and basking sharks during the scenic crossing
Bowmore - savour island life with a relaxing three-night stay in the attractive village of Bowmore
Islay Whisky - get to know how Islay whisky is lovingly produced by visiting six different whisky distilleries including the Lagavulin Warehouse Experience
Movie Locations - The Maggie, Kidnapped and Rob Roy
Guest house accommodation included
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 -
We will spend today touring to the Queen of the Hebrides. From Edinburgh we travel westwards to Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city. There is sure to be a song in your heart as we enter the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and make our way along the "bonnie, bonnie banks”. Enjoy the wonderful views of Ben Lomond as we travel towards the pretty little village of Tarbet. Our ascent of the impressive Rest and be Thankful Pass will provide wonderful views of Glen Croe. We’ll stop at the summit to admire the panorama from the viewpoint. This part of Scotland has strong connections with Rob Roy MacGregor so as we travel through Glen Kinglas there are sure to be stories of cattle rustling and tales of ancient clan rivalries to be told. Soon we reach the pretty white-washed town of Inveraray which sits at the head of Loch Fyne just a short distance from impressive Inverarary Castle, the home to the Dukes of Argyll. We’ll make a photo-stop so you can capture the scene. From Ardrishaig there are fine views over Loch Fyne all the way to pretty Tarbert from where we turn towards West Loch Tarbert. At the port of Kennacraig we board our ferry for our crossing to Islay.
Day 2 - Exploring the Isle of Islay
The exact itinerary for these days will vary depending on weather, seasonal and natural attractions. Our flexible approach will ensure that you will enjoy the very best experience. The island of Islay (pronounced "eye-la”) has always been blessed with nature's bounty - rich farmlands which each autumn witness clouds of geese arriving to winter on the mild pastures. Loch Gruinart in the north is the island's main reserve, with barnacle and white-fronted geese flying in from Greenland. Elsewhere keep your eyes open for golden eagles, seals, otters, whales, dolphins, wild geese, red deer and much more. During our tour we’ll get the chance to stroll along a deserted beaches and gaze over the Sound of Jura when we visit pretty Bunnahabhain Distillery. Islay has a proud Gaelic culture that extends back over a thousand years as we will discover when we visit some of the traditional villages that cling to the rough Atlantic Coastline. One of the most famous is Bowmore, Islay's main town, which has a unique, round church, said to have been designed to ensure that evil spirits had no corner in which to hide.
Day 3 - Lagavulin and Laphroig Excursion
Peat is still cut from the mosslands which cover much of the interior, giving the unique flavour to the 'Islay malts' - world-famous whiskies such as Bowmore, Laphroaig and Ardbeg. We’ll make visits to several distilleries so you can watch the production process and, even better, sample their delights! Later visit the Kildalton Cross which will transport you back in time more than 1200 years to the ancient seat of the Lords of the Isles at Finlaggan.
Day 4 - Port Ellen - Loch Lomond - Edinburgh/Glasgow
Sadly we board our ferry and bid a fond farewell to Islay. On our return to the mainland we will make the short drive to the attractive fishing port of Tarbert. We’ll make a stop for lunch here so you can enjoy some freshly-landed seafood. From Lochgilphead we make a detour to visit Kilmartin Glen. This mysterious Glen has one of the most concentrated areas of prehistoric sites in Scotland including a linear cemetery – a line of burial cairns that stretch for over 2 miles. Nearby is Dunadd, a hill fort that dates from the Iron Age. Dunadd was the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada so this part of Argyll has played an important part in the creation of modern Scotland! Our return journey will take us along the banks of Loch Fyne towards Inveraray then it's onwards to the Argyll Forest Park and the little village of Arrochar. A short drive will take us to Loch Lomond once more. The loch has some 30 islands and we will get a good views of some of the larger ones as we make our way southwards. The Kilpatrick Hills will guide us towards Clydebank, the famous shipbuilding town and then Glasgow. Once we have bid farewell to our friends who are leaving us here we travel across Scotland to end our tour in Edinburgh.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect on this Connoisseur Tour?
For the discerning whisky enthusiast these special tours will immerse you in the traditions and heritage of whisky making. With unique behind-the-scenes access at some of Scotland’s most distinctive distilleries you’ll get the chance to learn the age-old methods of production from experienced whisky makers followed by tutored nosings and tastings. Each tour is led by a professional driver/guide, who has been chosen for their enthusiasm, driving skills and knowledge. This specialist tour is limited to a small group of just 16 whisky fans. Comfortable guest house accommodation featuring en-suite bathrooms, tv and other amenities is included in the price. A wonderful Scottish breakfast will be served each morning of your stay. Admission fees and tastings are included in the price.
Can children travel on this tour?
For all our tours, all guests must be a minimum of 18 years old. If you look under 25, you may be asked to provide identification at the distilleries we visit.
Tell me what the visit to a whisky distillery will be like?
A visit to a traditional whisky distillery is a feast for all the senses. After a warm welcome you’ll normally have a short audio/visual presentation on the the history of the distillery and the traditional methods used in the distilling process. Next is a tour of the distillery where you you will experience all stages of the whisky making process from mashing and fermenting to distilling and maturation. Your tour will end with a tutored tasting of a malt whisky and the opportunity to buy a souvenir of your visit in the distillery shop.
Will there be stops for meals and are they included in the price of the tour?
Meals are not included in the tour price, but we will make stops where you can get refreshments and something to eat. If you wish, you can bring a packed lunch or pick up lunch items at a previous stop. Vegetarian food is widely available in Scotland.
Can I book seats on the coach?
The seating on the coach is not allocated so you are free to sit in any vacant seat. We recommend that groups arrive at the boarding point together so that you can be seated in the same part of the coach.
- 3 nights guest house accommodation
- Location: Bowmore, Isle of Islay (3)
- Scottish/Continental breakfast (3)
Visits, Admissions and Experiences
- Tour and tastings at Deanston Distillery, Ardbeg Distillery, Laphroaig Distillery, Bruichladdich Distillery, Kilchoman Distillery and Bunnahabhain Distillery
- Admission to the Lagavulin Warehouse Experience
- Transportation by luxury air-conditioned minicoach
- Live commentary in English
- Services of an experienced driver/guide
- Service charges and taxes
- Admission charges unless otherwise stated above
- Meals, snacks or items of a personal nature
- Gratuity to your driver/guide
From 1 Parliament Square
Royal Mile/High Street
Edinburgh EH1 1RE
Check-in: 07:45 hrs
Tour Departs: 08:00 hrs
Tour Returns: 18:30 hrs
We are sorry but children aged under 18 years cannot travel on this tour.
The price of this tour includes guest house accommodation with en-suite bathroom.
Distillery visits and tastings are included in the cost of this tour.
Please see the FAQ section for more information on this tour.
Rating:07 Feb 2017
Great tour!Peter from Pakenham, Australia
Rating:09 Aug 2016
Excellent trip and great guideKim from Charleston, United States