Raise a Glass to the Whiskey Experience!
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Wheelchair
At the top of the Royal Mile, and just next to the Castle, you'll find The Scotch Whiskey Experience. Incredibly helpful staff, who are keen to make this attraction as accessible as possible.
Transport & Parking
There is no parking directly for this venue, but is disabled parking bays on streets nearby. This is a city, so it can be busy. Public transport doesn't take you straight to the venue, but is only a 5-10min walk away. There are buses, tram and trains in area (nearest train station is Waverley)
The Royal Mile (the street the venue is on) is a hill, and the road is cobbles in places, so takes a bit more effort if in a wheelchair. The Whiskey Experience has a flat entrance from the pavement and an automatic door. The entrance/ticket desk is low, so can be reached from a wheelchair. We were going on a tour, which starts with a 'Barrel ride,' we were impressed they had a wheelchair accessible 'barrel.' For this, there is ramped access into the front of the barrel. There is room for one person in a wheelchair and one carer/friend to sit in it. From the outside, it looks exactly the same as the other barrels. It follows a track to take you on a short ride explaining the history and processes of whiskey. It is a smooth ride, moving fairly slowly, it's not scary. There are some flashing/bright lights, but say to a member of staff if this is a concern (it's also possible just not to go on the ride if you choose). There is only one accessible barrel, perhaps having another would be good especially if you were visiting in a group with more than one person in a wheelchair. In each of the rooms you go into on the tour, there is room for at least two wheelchairs, and at all times you are made to feel part of the group no matter your needs. There is lift access to the different floors. Information is presented in different ways, using technology, film clips, staff talking, sound and lights. We particularly liked the scratch-and-sniff cards which explained about the different regions of Scotland different Whiskeys come from. Having this mix may suit people's needs, or just keep people's interest! It's quite multi-sensory and interactive. While talking to staff, they said how keen they were that the Whiskey Experience is accessible. They said they now have British Sign Language and American Sign Language tours available.
There are accessible toilets, but we didn't use it, so I can't comment.
Extremely friendly and helpful staff. Felt we could have asked for any assistance we needed.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
I felt this is a venue which has really put effort into being accessible. Their website gives an extensive guide on this. This experience is suitable for children (or people who don't drink alcohol) - Irn Bru is given if you don't want to taste the whiskey. It is an interesting tour, and you learn a lot. The 'Collection' is worth seeing! As well as practical aspects of the building and facilities, the attitude of the staff made this experience even better.