With its famous castle towering majestically over bustling Princes Street, twinkly Christmas lights, quaint independent shops and cosy pubs with vast whisky ranges, Edinburgh is the perfect winter destination.
Speyside is home to the world-famous 70-mile Malt Whisky Trail. This area is the heart of the whisky industry, and concentrated within a few miles are more distilleries than any other area in Scotland.
For more than 120 years, Gordon & MacPhail have been building their reputation as worldwide leading experts in the ageing process of single malt whisky. Their Whisky Room stocks approximately 1,000 single malt whiskies!
Home of some of Scotland’s wildest landscapes, the Cairngorms National Park offers endless opportunities for exploration. With snow-capped mountains, sparkling lochs, and quaint Highland villages to explore – the Cairngorms in winter is simply magical.
Visit the only working cooperage in the UK where you can learn about whisky casks and the ancient production of barrels.
Enjoy an included tour at Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown – home of the world’s most-awarded single malt whisky. The distillery was founded in 1886 by William Grant and is currently run by the fifth generation of his family. The Explorers Tour is led by an expert guide and features a masterclass tasting of at least four different malts.
This self-drive tour takes you into the heart of the Speyside malt whisky industry with an unforgettable journey along the world-famous Malt Whisky Trail. Take a magical journey through snow-capped mountains, stopping off at warming whisky distilleries and enjoying a dram by the fire in cosy pubs.
Winter is a fantastic time to explore the north east corner of Scotland, where whisky distilleries abound, with fruity and fragrant malts around every corner. Roughly half of all Scottish distilleries can be found in this beautiful region, and the variety and character of each is astounding.
Take a day to enjoy the bustling festive atmosphere of Edinburgh, which comes alive in winter, with cosy pubs offering a warm welcome and quaint shops lining cobbled streets. During your scenic journey north, enjoy the magnificent countryside of the Scottish Highlands, from the rugged snowy peaks of the magnificent Cairngorms National Park to the tranquil banks of the River Spey in the Spey Valley. Visit picturesque Speyside towns and villages, each fiercely proud of their own vital piece of the whisky industry.
Experience the legendary whisky distilleries of Glenfiddich in Dufftown and Macallan in Craigellachie, browse through a staggering 1,000 whiskies at Gordon & MacPhail’s Whisky Room, and visit the home of the Famous Grouse Whisky Experience.
This is our suggested itinerary for our Winter Whisky Escape self-drive tour. We design each itinerary around your interests, so think of this as a starting point which can be tailored into something completely unique to you.
We love the opportunity to use our first-hand knowledge and experience to design and deliver the perfect, bespoke holiday experience for you.
Arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland’s majestic capital city, and enjoy a City Sightseeing bus tour to get your bearings. Visit historic Edinburgh Castle and sample Scotland’s national drink at the Scotch Whisky Experience on the Royal Mile. This truly is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.
Overnight – Edinburgh
Take in the festive and welcoming atmosphere of Edinburgh, where the sightseeing opportunities are endless. Visit the Royal Yacht Britannia, the former floating home of Her Majesty The Queen, or hike up to the top of Arthur’s Seat – an extinct volcano which looms over the city – for breathtaking panoramic views.
Explore the Georgian grandeur of the New Town, or learn about Scotland’s turbulent and fascinating history at the award-winning National Museum of Scotland.
Overnight – Edinburgh
Travel north to Speyside and into the heart of Malt Whisky Country. A wonderfully scenic journey takes you to Dewar’s World of Whisky and on through the quaint town of Pitlochry.
Further north, travel through the stunning peaks of the Cairngorms National Park and pass Dalwhinnie Distillery – the highest in Scotland.
Overnight – Speyside
Today you will enjoy an included tour at Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown, which includes an expert-led tasting of four award-winning drams. This is sure to be an enjoyable introduction to the Speyside Malt Whisky Trail.
Elsewhere there are numerous distilleries to visit as you wind your way through charming towns and villages on Speyside. We would recommend a visit to the Speyside Cooperage at Craigellachie – a vital part of whisky production, while the village is home to the impressive Macallan Distillery.
After sampling the “water of life,” take the chance to visit the magnificent Spey Valley. The River Spey forms a focus for the area and is famous for the pretty riverside villages of Aberlour and Carron.
Overnight – Speyside
Continue your journey along the Malt Whisky Trail with visits to Glen Grant Distillery and Strathisla, the oldest distillery in the region which occupies a beautiful position next to the River Isla. Cardhu dates back to the 19th century and produces a full-bodied, peaty whisky.
No visit to whisky country is complete without visiting Gordon & MacPhail, the world’s leading malt whisky specialist. The company has been in business for over 110 years and offers more than 450 presentations of own-bottled single malts, up to 60 years old.
Overnight – Speyside
Today you will make your way back to Edinburgh where your Winter Whisky Escape will come to an end.
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We know that after a busy day of sightseeing an exceptional place to stay makes all the difference. That’s why all of the accommodation we select is hand-picked using our first-hand knowledge of the best places to stay.
Our discerning team has a wealth of experience, and we extensively research and regularly review all of the accommodation we select for our clients.
Please choose from one of our accommodation categories below. If you wish to combine these categories or perhaps upgrade for a special occasion let us know in your enquiry.
Our Premium category includes a unique collection of luxurious and stylish boutique Guest Houses and small 4* Hotels. These are wonderfully charming and intimate and run with great flair by their owners.
It also comprises larger 4* Hotels selected for their high standard of accommodation, exceptional service, and great location. These range from traditional luxury to contemporary Hotels.
A collection of quality 4* Guest Houses and 3* Hotels often located in beautiful locations which provide an excellent standard of accommodation.
Tastefully decorated and furnished, these properties are generally owned and operated by locals who have a genuine passion for their region which they are keen to share with you. Their warm hospitality is sure to be a highlight of your Scottish experience.
A collection of 3* B&Bs and Guest Houses offering comfortable accommodation close to local attractions. Your accommodation is great for the little personal touches.
A chat with your warm and friendly hosts and fellow guests over breakfast will arm you with local knowledge and tips for the day ahead.
From award-winning luxury Hotels to unique country retreats, all of which offer exceptional accommodation with superb facilities and outstanding service.
These are truly magical places and amongst the best Scotland has to offer. The perfect choice when you would like somewhere really special which can be a treat for the night or for your entire holiday.
Our packages include car rental and comprehensive insurance for the duration of your holiday. Absolute Escapes has an excellent relationship with a number of car hire operators and we are able to offer quality vehicles and great value for money.
If you plan to bring your own vehicle, we are also able to offer this itinerary without a rental car.