Whisky Heritage Discovery Tour

Ideal for all travellers, the North Coast 500 boasts breath taking scenery, from  awe-inspiring mountain ranges, Meditterean-style beaches, haunting castle ruins to charming lochs and rivers, the North Coast 500 has it all…including a fabulous array of whisky distilleries!

Whisky from the Gaelic (uisge-beatha) “water of life” has been produced in Scotland for hundreds of years. Scotland is split into five whisky producing areas: Highland, Lowland, Speyside, Islay and Campbelltown. The north Highlands boast an array of distilleries, each with their own distinct character and flavour. No two distilleries are the same – tour the NC500 whisky trail and discover how the distinct setting and story has shaped the unique tastes created.

Most distilleries have a range of tours to choose from

Discover the right tour for you! From the whisky amateur to the whisky connoisseur…! Many tours offer you the chance to indulge in tastings – specific to your tour! There are also opportunities for group tours and that special VIP experience.

Refer to distillery websites for opening times prior to visiting.

Whisky Heritage Discovery Tour - Day 1

Are you ready for the ultimate whisky pilgrimage?!

AM Inverness to Strathpeffer

How would you like to travel the NC500? Clockwise or anti clockwise? There is no right answer! You can go one of two ways. However, if whisky wets your whistles then taste your way up the east coast first where you will find the majority of the distilleries…alternatively, you may wish to save the best for last!

One last thing to think about!! Have you purchased your NC500 passport yet?! You may want to leave Glen Ord Distillery until the end of your trip – once you have ‘stamped’ your way around the NC500!  You will receive an NC500 engraved whisky glass at Glen Ord Distillery on completion of your trip and the passport. For more information on the passport scheme see here! Please note that the passport is offered free of charge to all our Explorer Members.


Welcome to the city of the Highlands – the start and end of your North Coast 500 journey! Spend your morning exploring the bustling wee city of Inverness. Despite being one of the smaller cities in Scotland with a rising population of approx. 55,000 inhabitants, the city boasts an array of exciting things to see and do -ease yourself in with a relaxing stroll around the city and islands.

For the best view of Inverness and the surrounding area, visit Inverness Castle. The north tower has recently opened its doors to the public with a 360 degree viewing platform (the castle is in fact the court house and is otherwise not open to the public). Check out of season opening times!

On your way to the top enjoy a taste of the most famous myths associated with the City. The Brahan Seer, the legendary 17th Century highland mystic, many of whose prophecies actually came true. Also learn how St Columba met and banished the monster from the River Ness thus beginning the legend of Nessie.

Lunch
Inverness is fast becoming a foodie haven – with a sharp focus on Scottish, locally sourced produce, Contrast Brasserie within Glenmoriston Town House  is a refreshing addition to the city’s restaurant scene -located a short walk along the picturesque river from the City Centre.

PM Time to hit the road! Ever fancied part-owning a Scottish Whisky Distillery!?

Begin your journey west before heading up the east coast. Travel through the delightful villages of Beauly and Muir of Ord before reaching the delightful market town of Dingwall.

GlenWyvis is the world’s very first 100% community owned distillery and what’s more – it is entirely powered by renewable energy!

For hundreds of years, the people of Dingwall and the surrounding area have been making whisky – also known in Gaelic as ‘uisge beatha’. Ferintosh on the Black Isle, just across the firth from Dingwall, was once home to the largest legal whisky production site the Highlands had ever seen. During the 1760s, two thirds of legal Scottish whisky came from Ferintosh! Inspired by the local distilling history, the first 100% community owned distillery in the world –GlenWyvis Distillery should be open to the public around May 2018. Find out how you can be part of their story! Stop by their base camp in the Victoria Restaurant on the high street in Dingwall – their interim home for now and find out how you can be part of their story!

Before you leave Dingwall -Why not stop off at the famous Cockburn and Son Butchers – “Scotland’s First Champion Haggis Maker” …yes that is a thing..promise!

Cockburns Haggis is very popular throughout the North Highlands. Did you know haggis has gone from a once a year meal on Burns night to being used every week in a variety of dishes by housewives and restaurants alike? It is usually accompanied with a whisky sauce. Why not post a haggis home for your return while you reminisce on your NC500 travels..the perfect ensemble with a dram!

Evening Accommodation & Evening Meal

We hope you enjoyed your first taste of whisky along the North Coast 500. Spend the remainder of your day and evening in the charming Victorian spa village of Strathpeffer, just a few miles off route – famous for its collection of Victorian style buildings and hotels that were built up around the spa.

Situated in its own private garden grounds and a much loved Highland family home is Holly Lodge Bed and Breakfast . A short walk from the Strathpeffer Pavilion and village square, just beyond the old Free Church, Holly Lodge sits peacefully among some of Strathpeffer’s grandest Victorian villas. Holly Lodge is a wonderful example of late Victorian architecture and reflects all the extravagance and indulgence of the age, with a wealth of decorative cast iron work as well as a three storey tower.

Evening Meal

For your evening meal you can saunter down to the nearby Red Poppy Restaurant. The stylish elegant restaurant features a variety of exciting dishes and flavours with something for everyone. Their chefs are continually inspired by Scotland’s larder and all it has to offer from Coast and Glen’s sea delights to Tarradale Game’s tasty venison and Munro’s finest meats; this can be seen from the inspiring menus on offer.

Alternatively, enjoy the unique 18th Century architecture of the Coul House Hotel. Just a short drive away, relax in the lounge, have a drink in the bar, or take a walk in their beautiful gardens where guests of all ages enjoy their fairy trail, the mature woods and the pitch and putt. With comfortable rooms and delicious dining – experience the Coul House effect!

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Unlock our Full itineraries

Sorry but full itineraries are only available to North Coast 500 members. We hope you've enjoyed a taste of what's in itineraries. Become a member to unlock itineraries. Members also get a 10% discount on all merchandise purchased online, receive FREE gifts (selected membership only), get access to exclusive goodies and much more.

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Unlock our Full itineraries

Sorry but full itineraries are only available to North Coast 500 members. We hope you've enjoyed a taste of what's in itineraries. Become a member to unlock itineraries. Members also get a 10% discount on all merchandise purchased online, receive FREE gifts (selected membership only), get access to exclusive goodies and much more.

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Unlock our Full itineraries

Sorry but full itineraries are only available to North Coast 500 members. We hope you've enjoyed a taste of what's in itineraries. Become a member to unlock itineraries. Members also get a 10% discount on all merchandise purchased online, receive FREE gifts (selected membership only), get access to exclusive goodies and much more.

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Unlock our Full itineraries

Sorry but full itineraries are only available to North Coast 500 members. We hope you've enjoyed a taste of what's in itineraries. Become a member to unlock itineraries. Members also get a 10% discount on all merchandise purchased online, receive FREE gifts (selected membership only), get access to exclusive goodies and much more.

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Sorry but full itineraries are only available to North Coast 500 members. We hope you've enjoyed a taste of what's in itineraries. Become a member to unlock itineraries. Members also get a 10% discount on all merchandise purchased online, receive FREE gifts (selected membership only), get access to exclusive goodies and much more.

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Sorry but full itineraries are only available to North Coast 500 members. We hope you've enjoyed a taste of what's in itineraries. Become a member to unlock itineraries. Members also get a 10% discount on all merchandise purchased online, receive FREE gifts (selected membership only), get access to exclusive goodies and much more.

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Vehicle Hire Suggestions

Hire a car:

Whether you need a compact car, an off-roader or something to keep the whole family comfortable, Arnold Clark, official partner of the NC500 offer an unrivalled range of vehicles to take on every terrain.

  • Ecosse EV (luxury self-drive electric super car rental and chauffeur driven tours)

You can now experience luxury electric vehicles for both self-drive rental and chauffeur driven tours with Ecosse EV, official partner of the NC500.

Other car hire companies:

Hire a bicycle:

They provide transport for walkers, cyclists, bikes and all your gear between Inverness and Durness and all points in between.This is not a scheduled service but operates more like a cyclist taxi service.

Hire a motorbike:

Hire a campervan/motorhome:

Road Safety & Advice

General Advice:

  • Make sure to check our road safety section of our website- particularly how to drive single track roads!
  • Watch out for wildlife and farm life who also like to roam these roads!
  • The legal drink-drive limit in Scotland is lower than anywhere else in the UK: 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. If you are the designated driver and visiting breweries and distilleries across the route, many of them will provide samples for your to enjoy back at your accommodation provider or on your return home.
  • Make sure dogs are kept on leads. Adhere to the Scottish Outdoor Code. Wear sensible clothing and footwear.

Itineraries Info

All our itineraries are based on suggestions alone. If you would like a more comprehensive option please head to our interactive map. Itineraries are based on main seasonality opening times March-September – remember to pre book meals/activities/tours.

Alternatively, take a luxury chauffer driven tour by the all-electric Tesla supercar. Ecosse EV, is the official partner of the NC500 – providing luxury electric vehicles for both self-drive rental and chauffeur driven tours.

Or hire a motorbike and a guided tour with Haggis Tours.

 

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