Sometimes, it’s the last minute, spur of the moment trips with linger most fondly in our memories. The impromptu road trip, to surprise weekend away – these are what the Malt Whisky Trail is here for.
Accessible and rural
Getting here is so simple
It’s incredibly simple and easy to find yourself on the Malt Whisky Trail – especially at the last minute. You can fly here direct from London, Paris, and Amsterdam to either Inverness or Aberdeen international airports. The Malt Whisky Trail towns of Keith, Elgin, and Forres lie on the main train line, providing easy access from Edinburgh and Glasgow. You can even sleep while you travel by hopping on the Caledonian Sleeper from London to either Inverness or Aberdeen.
Driving to the Malt Whisky Trail is also a beautiful experience. The Trail is accessible via the A9 and A89 turns roads. When you start to see our famous brown ‘pagoda’ signs, you’ll know you’re on the Trail.
Get the full experience
Our guide to a quick stop on the Trail
Sometimes you’ll be short of time, but you’ll still want to experience the richness and vibrancy of the full Malt Whisky Trail. Here are a few pairings to help you along the way.
The Glenlivet, Cardhu and…
If you’re visiting The Glenlivet distillery in Ballindalloch, or the Cardhu distillery further north, take some time to travel north to Aberlour. Take a walk along the Speyside Way, have a little picnic in the wooded river-side park, and take some time to browse the town’s many independent shops – like the Spey Larder or the original Walkers Shortbread store. In the evening, find yourself having supper at the Dowan’s Hotel for refined Speyside fayre, or in the legendary Mash Tun whisky bar for a few drams and some good pub grub.
You’ll also find the historic Knockando Woolmill near Cardhu – a fantastic way to experience the area’s rich textiles heritage.
Glenfiddich, Strathisla, and…
If you’re visiting the Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown, be sure to immerse yourself in the whisky town’s rich heritage.
Take a trip on the old railway to Keith, where you’ll find the historic Strathisla distillery and experience rail travel from a bygone era. In Dufftown, be sure and visit the Whisky Shop to take a few bottles of Speyside home with you, and in Keith make sure to visit Mither Tongue for local gifts rooted in Moray Speyside’s historic dialect. Dufftown is home to a number of fine spots to eat and drink.
The Speyside Cooperage, Glen Grant, and…
If you’re visiting the Speyside Cooperage near Craigellachie, or the Glen Grant distillery in Rothes, then you will find yourself in the heart of malt whisky country.
In Rothes, take a spot of lunch at Toots at the Station Hotel. The town is home to a very special little antique and vintage shop, which is always full of surprises.
Take the short drive down to Craigellachie, and walk off your lunch along the Speyside way (you’ll find ample parking at Thomas Telford’s famous bridge). Take a meander around the little village’s independent shops, before rounding off the evening at the Craigellachie Hotel. The luxury hotel’s ground floor houses the Copper Dog pub, a country bar with hearty local produce at its heart. Finish the evening upstairs in the hotel’s world-famous Quaich bar – a centre of rare old whiskies furnished with sumptuous Edwardian finishings.
Glen Moray and…
If you’re visiting the Glen Moray distillery in Elgin, you’ll find an array of diversions during your time in the old royal burgh and cathedral city.
Johnston’s of Elgin is a world-famous cashmere mill, producing fine tweeds and other textiles for giants of the fashion industry. The mill’s large cafe and shop is a fantastic lunchtime destination, and is located close to the town’s ruined (but very grand) cathedral. Elgin’s town centre is home to a number of small, independent shops – like Pencil Me In, a contemporary Scottish design store.
Alternatively, take a short drive north to the fishing village of Burghead. On a sunny day, the Burgher’s beach, dunes, and harbour makes for a relaxing seaside walk. Finish your time here in the Bothy cafe for the freshest local seafood.
Round-off your time in Elgin with supper and a few drams at the Drouthy Cobbler – a relaxed and well-restored whisky bar which serves fantastic local food, and often hosts traditional music, theatre, and comedy. The bar’s lively alleyway is a gathering place on a sunny day.
Dallas Dhu, Benromach and…
If you’re visiting the Dallas Dhu and Benromach distilleries in the Forres area, be sure to make the most of the region’s varied offering. In Forres, you’ll find the Knockomie Inn – a charming little inn which serves good local cooking in beautiful surroundings.
Drive a little to the south, along the River Findhorn, and discover Logie Steading – a collection of art galleries, antique shops, bookshops, craft studios, cafes, bottle shops, and more.
Drive a little to the north, and find yourself in the seaside village of Findhorn. The village is set among dramatic sand dunes, and is a centre for watersports. Have lunch at the Findhorn Bakehouse, which serves wonderful bread and hearty organic cooking, or enjoy a seafood supper and a few drams at the Kimberley Inn. Near to the village, you’ll find the Findhorn Foundation and The Park – a centre of contemporary architecture which houses The Moray Art Centre and the Universal Hall, which regularly hosts music, theatre, and dance.