A sensational trip through whisky heritage
This is perfect for anybody - whisky enthusiast or otherwise. It takes you through the history of whisky, how it is made and how each area makes whisky different in character and flavour. It's an accessible journey, right from the moment you enter the Scotch Whisky Experience. We were greeted by two friendly members of reception who confirmed our silver tour and we waited for the tour to commence. I would say the 'waiting area' could be bigger but we were only there for five minutes. It was the attentive nature of staff that made the visit for me. I attended with a powerchair user and the 'experience' starts with an immersive trip on a barrel that guides you through the history of whisky and what happens during the distilling process. Doesn't sound accessible, but the way the venue have adapted is inclusive. The staff member spoke us through every step of how it would work which makes you feel so welcome. You just knew exactly what to expect and that made it such an enjoyable visit. Even as somebody who has never been here before - embarrassing as a lifetime Edinburgh resident! - I was extremely impressed by the concise yet effective tour. The whole tour was short but it didn't feel rushed. While the tasting is great - and the journey at this point is even better - the colours to coordinate which whisky you want to taste could be a bit clearer. They didn't really match up with the colours told by the guide, so I ended up with Speyside (not complaining, it's my favourite) instead of Campbeltown. Oh, and you will LOVE the whisky collection they have!
Transport & Parking
It's up near the Castle esplanade which means there aren't any direct bus links, with narrow pavements and cobbled roads up to the venue. You could get a taxi, but for affordability getting a bus as close as possible to North Bridge would be wisest. There are several buses in the surrounding area: 3, 5, 7, 8, 14, 35.
The venue goes out its way to make you feel welcome and included. A few parts are a little narrow but staff are knowledgeable and make sure you're not guessing where to go. Level access on entrance and getting around the venue and they make it seamless to get onto the barrel experience at the start of the tour. Lift to all floors with plenty of space and doors wide enough to. Easy to navigate around the venue.
Accessible toilets on the bottom two floors via the lift which is ample for wheelchair and powerchair users. The new accessible toilet on the bottom floor next to the function room is delightfully roomy and bright (kudos for the Red Cord Card attached!)
Very polite, attentive. From reception to the end. The tour guide was supposedly a trainee but was articulate and charismatic, I would have guessed she had been there for years if it wasn't for the badge! But even the servers in the restaurant were professional, everyone just seemed on top of their game and so welcoming.