Scotland's gin scene has exploded in recent years, with craft distilleries popping up all over the place. Botanicals from land and sea are combined in wonderful and imaginative ways, and there are now so many top-of-the-range Scottish gins available that we were spoilt for choice when putting together this itinerary. This trip combines the opportunity to sample some of our favourite Scottish gins with excellent and informative distillery tours and unforgettable experiences, as well as some pretty incredible scenery! We hope you'll love it as much as we do.
Touring with a private chauffeur is the best way to enjoy the delights of Scottish gin without needing to worry about how you're getting back to your accommodation.
Image: Unsplash / Jez Timms
Day 1 - Arrival
- Overnight in: Glasgow
- Distance: 9 miles
- Travel time: 15 minutes
After landing at Glasgow Airport, you'll meet your driver and be taken a short distance to your overnight accommodation.
Take your time to explore Glasgow city centre's many cultural attractions and experiences, including the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum and Glasgow Cathedral. Scotland's second city is an excellent place to spend a day or two.
Day 2 - Strathearn Distillery
- Overnight in: Pitlochry
- Distance: 95 miles
- Travel time: 2 hours
Today you'll head out with your driver from Glasgow to Strathearn Distillery, a small craft distillery located in a converted farm steading. Here, master distiller Tony makes his single malt whisky, small batch gin and occasionally rum, just to mix things up a bit.
'Hand-crafted' is the name of the Strathearn game, with one of the only remaining hand-operated mash tuns in Scotland and taste-determined cut points. Strathearn is not normally open to the public, but private tours are a possibility.
A short drive from the distillery takes you to Pitlochry, where you'll stay for the night. If you have time, why not spend some time exploring the city of Perth on your way past? You can check out one of its many castles, visit the famous Scone Palace, or take a short detour to discover the beautiful Tay Forest Park and Loch Tummel. Pitlochry itself isn't short of things to do - as well as exploring the town, we recommend a trip to Faskally Wood. This area is particularly magical from October to December, when The Enchanted Forest - a spectacular sound and light show - takes place every evening. This part of Scotland, in our opinion, is at its most special outside of the main tourist season.
Image: Visit Scotland / Kenny Lam
Day 3 - Balmenach Distillery (Caorunn)
- Overnight in: Grantown-on-Spey
- Distance: 70 miles
- Travel time: 1 hour 20 mins
Balmenach Distillery is the home of Caorunn, one of the more ubiquitous Scottish gins. You might expect a large, corporate experience to match this well-known brand, but in fact tours of Balmenach are intimate and personalised, revealing the artisanal production process that makes this gin so special.
You'll discover the locally-foraged botanicals that combine to give Caorunn its unique flavour, and have the opportunity to sample the produce neat and with tonic. Tours depart every two hours on weekdays and can be booked to suit your preferred schedule.
After your tour, a short drive takes you to Grantown-on-Spey, where you'll spend the night. This is an excellent base from which to explore all that the Cairngorms National Park has to offer - mountains, forests and even a herd of reindeer! We highly recommend spending at least two nights here to make the best of the area.
Image: Visit Scotland / Kenny Lam
Day 4 - Badachro Distillery
- Overnight in: Torridon
- Distance: 131 miles
- Travel time: 3 hours
Badachro Distillery near Gairloch is truly off the beaten track, but you won't regret visiting this incredibly remote and beautiful part of Scotland. The best part is that you can just relax and enjoy the amazing scenery while your driver gets you safely from your accommodation to your next tasting.
Distillery owners Gordon and Vanessa are wonderful hosts, and their copper still, Delilah, produces excellent gin using local botanicals from the hillside and coast.
You'll hear about the selection of botanicals, how they are collected from the local area, the distilling process and the story of how Badachro went from dream to reality, before paying a visit to Delilah and sampling some of this increasingly renowned Scottish gin.
After your distillery tour and tasting experience, you'll head to Torridon for the night. Don't miss the wild and wonderful beach at Red Point on your way down. If you want some truly spectacular views, ask your driver to head to Applecross via the notorious Bealach na Bà. The destination is well worth the time and trouble, with views to die for, and the journey itself is an adventure you'll remember for a lifetime! What better way to experience this than with a skilled professional driver at the wheel who is familiar with all the quirks of Scottish roads.
We recommend taking the coastal route back to Torridon via Shieldaig - the views out to the Isle of Skye, Raasay and Rona are out of this world, and in the summer months you may even be lucky enough to spot whales and dolphins as you go. You'll find it much easier to keep a lookout with a chauffeur at the wheel - you can concentrate on trying to spot fins among the waves!
Image: Unsplash / Ian Cylkowski
Day 5 - Pixel Spirits Distillery - Gin School
- Overnight in: Fort William
- Distance: 131 miles
- Travel time: 3 hours 15 minutes
So far on this trip, you'll have sampled some of the best craft gin Scotland has to offer, and no doubt enjoyed the stunning setting of the distilleries you've visited. Now it's time to get your hands dirty and make your own gin!
You'll be taken south from Torridon along the coast, drinking in views of the Isle of Skye before turning inland, and no doubt stopping off at many of the wonderful viewpoints along the way. You'll eventually reach Pixel Spirits near Ballachulish and get ready for your day at Gin School!
After learning about the art and science of gin-making, the selection of botanicals and the finer points of the distilling and bottling process, you'll be let loose and have a chance to make your own uniquely crafted gin. You'll choose, measure and mix the botanicals that appeal to you most, consider how best to combine your selected flavours, and even do a bit of maths to figure out the right proportions. You'll then distill them to make your own special concoction. Your work doesn't end there - you'll optimise the alcohol content of you batch of gin, make some final tweaks and taste, bottle and label your gin before taking it home with you to enjoy. The whole experience takes approximately half a day, and in our view it's half a day very well spent. Discover your inner master distiller and give gin school a go!
Your overnight stop is in Fort William, an excellent base from which to explore the southwest Highlands. We recommend spending a couple of days in this location to allow you to hike, drive and experience all that the area has to offer. Head north to Loch Ness and see if you can spot the elusive monster, climb the UK's highest peak, Ben Nevis, drive and hike the spectacular area around Glencoe or make the short hop over on the Corran Ferry to explore the wild and remote Ardnamurchan peninsula. You won't regret dwelling here a while - we're absolutely certain of that!
Image: Visit Scotland / Airborne Lens
Day 6 - Return to the airport
- Distance: 100 miles
- Travel time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Today you'll be taken south from Fort William and head back to Glasgow via Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. The scenery just keeps on coming - you'll be treated to mountains, forests and lochs galore as you make your way along this beautiful route before catching your flight home.
This really is a glorious part of Scotland and your holiday definitely isn't over yet, so make sure you leave plenty of time to stop off as and when the mood takes you. We especially love the Falls of Falloch, which can be accessed as you head around Loch Lomond (and it's even better after heavy rain!). If you wish, you can ask your driver to take a longer route back to Glasgow with a lunch stop in the seaside town of Oban.
All of our tours are bespoke and tailored to exactly what you want to do. This itinerary is just an example - get in touch and let us customise it for your perfect holiday.
Whitetail Distillery & Cafe, Isle of Mull
It's been said that no Scottish adventure is complete without a trip to one of the country's many islands, and we totally understand why! If you'd like to add an island to your gin-filled itinerary, we have the perfect solution.
After your overnight stop in Fort William, you'll head south to the seaside town of Oban. There's plenty here to keep you busy, and when you're ready you can take a short (45-minute) ferry trip over to the beautiful Isle of Mull.
Approximately a 40-minute drive from the ferry port of Craignure, you'll find the Whitetail gin distillery, cafe and shop. Tucked away next to Loch Scridain - one of the best places in Scotland to spot seals and otters, incidentally - this little gem is an excellent place to relax and enjoy some incredible home baking along with your gin and tonic. Named for the rare and magnificent sea eagles that live nearby, Whitetail gin is a personal favourite of ours and its growing popularity speaks for itself.
You'll spend the night on the Isle of Mull before making your way back to Oban for the return journey.
If you just can't get enough of Scottish gin (we totally understand!), we have another treat for you to add on to this very special itinerary.
From Fort William, you'll head south via Oban and drive down the beautiful Kintyre peninsula. After as many beach and photo stops as you want (and you'll want a lot), you'll reach Beinn an Tuirc distillers, the home of Kintyre gin. A friendly and relaxed tour takes you through the distilling process and allows ample time for sampling.
You'll stay overnight on the shores of Loch Fyne before heading north again.
Here at The Tartan Road, we specialise in Scottish self-drive holidays. All of our self-drive tours are completely bespoke: we customise them to give you the perfect holiday.Our self-drive packages …
Some of Scotland's islands are really only accessible for those able to stay for a few days, particularly as they often require considerable time to reach. Many are uninhabited or …