DAY 1: Welcome!
Take some time to settle into the city and enjoy the rest of your day at leisure to explore. Local tip: take a walk around town on the Mural Trail: https://www.citycentremuraltrail.co.uk/About . This evening, we begin our whisky immersion.
Glasgow’s West End Whisky Tour Get a new perspective on Glasgow on this guided visit of the city's West End that introduces you to the culture of Scotland's national drink: whisky. Visit off-the-beaten-track bars missed by many visitors and enjoy a complete cultural and educational storytelling experience about all things whisky—its regional variations, influence on artists, and role in the history of the city—while, of course, sampling a few drams along the way.
DAY 2: Glasgow City Immersion
Your second day in Glasgow will be aimed at taking in more of its beautiful and iconic sites. Make use of your 24hrs Sightseeing Hop-On Hop Off -Bus ticket and visit Glasgow’s most famous landmarks, such as Glasgow Cathedral, and Kelvingrove Museum.
Local tip: you can experience “a play, a pint and a pie” at the local Òran Mór Theatre located in the West End of Glasgow. Lunchtime shows run Monday to Saturday and are a local favorite.
For dinner, head to the wonderful “Mharsanta,” located at 26 Bell Street in Glasgow’s merchant City. Mharsanta means merchant, from the Scottish Gaelic and here you will be taken on a whisky and food journey by Sophie and her team; the food is brilliant, the whisky choice wide, and the atmosphere ever so charming.
DAY 3: Isle of Islay
Today you will join your fellow program participants and head to the beautiful Isle of Islay, “Queen of the Hebrides,” and home of peaty and smoky whiskies. You will meet your transport at a central Glasgow location and depart north, towards the Highlands.
The landscape becomes more mountainous, and your expert will share the history and culture of this stunning part of Scotland. Passing Loch Awe and into Argyllshire, with some great photo stops along the way, the group will arrive in the Victorian town of Oban. Take a tour of the distillery and enjoy a tasting, after which you will have free time for lunch and for some exploring.
This is the seafood capital of Scotland, so make sure you make the most of it. The seafood shack at the harbor is perfect. Get the platter if you’re feeling hungry.
The journey continues to the ancient Neolithic landscapes of Kilmartin Glen, to explore some of the many hundreds of ancient monuments and historic sites in this region.
Then it is off for a short drive down the Kintyre Peninsula to Kennacraig, where you board the evening ferry to Islay. The ferry crossing takes approximately two hours and offers beautiful views of the islands of Gigha, Jura, and Islay as well as the area surrounding West Loch Tarbert.
Before arriving at your destination, there is time to relax in the ferry bar with an Islay whisky, enjoy dinner from the restaurant, and soak up the sea air. On arrival into Port Ellen or Port Askaig, it is a short drive to Bowmore to check in to The Bowmore House or Freewinds for your three-night stay.
DAY 4 - 5: Isle of Islay
With two full days, there are plentiful sights to explore and your expert will share some of their favorite places with you. These may include empty beaches, whitewashed villages, ancient sites, the Kildalton Cross, medieval strongholds, fresh seafood spots, local wildlife, and traditional cultures.
With only around 3,000 people and nine world-class distilleries, the chances of finding a ‘wee dram’ on Islay are pretty good.
The distillery and whisky experiences will give you an insight into Islay’s most famous export. We’ve planned a wide range of tours and tastings, including a warehouse experience at Lagavulin, a tour and a full-range tasting at Ardbeg, and a look at the Laphroaig maltings, with a few extra special drams to finish your day.
Your second day on Islay brings a private tour of Bruichladdich and a chance to sample some of their whiskies, or, perhaps a Botanist gin is your idea of the perfect morning drink.
You’ll then get a behind-the-scenes peek at the independent Kilchoman before gazing over the Sound of Jura from the Bunnahabhain and delving into some casks in their warehouse. Learn the ins and the outs of the distillery business.
Each night of your stay on Islay, there will be plentiful options for eating, drinking, and relaxing. Your tour guide and wonderful hosts at the Bowmore House will let you know all the best places to get the most out of your time there.
There is an eating option for all budgets and tastes, and with so much local produce on offer, you will be spoiled for choice. The whisky bars aren’t too bad, either. Slainte Mhath, as they say in Gaelic!
DAY 6: Loch Fyne Whisky-Loch Lomond-Glasgow
After a final hearty breakfast, you'll catch the morning ferry back to Kennacraig. Arriving on the mainland, head to the loch-side town of Inveraray.
This is the seat of the Clan Campbell, home to the Loch Fyne Whisky shop and your stop for lunch. After lunch (and some last minute whisky shopping), your journey now hugs the shores of Loch Fyne and Loch Long.
Then it is off to the shores of Loch Lomond. With time to stop for some lovely views and a stretch of the legs, this is the last stop on your tour before crossing the River Clyde and into Scotland’s largest city of Glasgow.
DAY 7: Masterclass Glengoyne Distillery-Your Own Blend
Today, you dip into the bag of whisky-knowledge acquired in Islay and experience a Whisky Masterclass at Glengoyne Distillery. Glengoyne is located in Dumgoyne Hill, just 14 miles north of Glasgow.
The X10 bus (destination Balfron) departs from Buchanan Bus Station in the center of Glasgow and stops at the gates of Glengoyne. The Masterclass is one of the most in-depth whisky experiences in Scotland.
You will have the opportunity to create your own 200-ml. bottle of whisky, which you can take with you at the end of the visit, alongside a bespoke gift and Master Class certificate.
Over the course of the five-hour experience, you will taste five Glengoyne whiskies, and a range of sherries. You’ll also create your own single malt. There will be a full tour of the distillery, of course, where you will explore in far more detail than at our other tours. You’ll also see into the Glengoyne warehouses.
After a day of tastings, you will leave with the coveted knowledge of a master blender.
Curriculum: THE TEST OF TASTE
First, we put your nose to the test, but not with whisky. Each of the 20 tiny bottles in front of you holds a unique scent, from lavender to pear drop.
In fact, it’s a test developed by the Scotch Whisky Association to recruit master blenders. You will be provided a full vocabulary of scents as you taste the 12-year-old and the 18-year-old single malts, our selection of specially chosen Single Casks, and a range of sherry samples.
Tasting such a broad range will give you unmatched insight into the whiskies that we craft, each one with a distinct character. We provide a light lunch, too.
THE MALT MASTER
And there’s more! You’ll create your own Glengoyne Highland Single Malt. It’s exactly the same as the Malt Master tour, with samples from five very different Glengoyne single casks.
With everything you’ve learned during the day, you will have a clear idea of what you like, and what to look for. Taste and nose, add and stir: we’ll let you create your very own 200-ml. bottle of absolutely unique whisky: Created by you, presented in a Glengoyne bottle, and boxed with a label.
It’s a fine end to a remarkable day. At the end of the visit, guests are presented with a 200-ml. bottle of their one-off creation, a bespoke gift and Master Class certificate.
DAY 8: The Ultimate Whisky Experience
Here is yet another possibility to fully immerse yourself in the art of whisky-making, before your adventure in Scotland draws to an end. Today you will reach Glenturret Distillery in beautiful Perthshire via a private coach.
This fully immersive experience provides the opportunity to take in the entire daily process on site. At the conclusion, at approximately 3 p.m., a private transfer will bring you back to Glasgow for your final overnight stay.
Local tip: a bit unconventional, but if you have a taste for Vietnamese food, head to the secluded Hanoi Bike Shop in the West End. This is an absolute local gem and a very rustic place, but the food is outstanding.
As this is an extremely popular spot for locals, advance booking is necessary. If you want something a little less defined, head to Stravaigin in the West End, it offers a mix of different cuisines, combined with some delicious Scottish produce.
The Ultimate Whisky Experience is a fantastic in-depth experience that is ideal for the whisky lover who would like the opportunity to delve behind the scenes!
Spend the day with our Stillman and work alongside them, hand-rousing the malted barley in our open mash tun, the only place where you can do this in the world. Learn about run rates and cutting spirits, see how and why we need to regularly check on our whisky while it sleeps and learn about the art of blending.
This Experience includes a two-course lunch, a bottle of our excellent Glenturret, and a Glenturret-branded gift to take home.
DAY 9: See You Again!
Extend your journey on one of our numerous programs in Europe or beyond.
We look forward to welcoming you back on another Learning Journeys immersion. Perhaps you’re interested in exploring the role of a winemaker or brew master?
Study Bourbon production on our Kentucky Whiskey Trail? Whatever your interest, Learning Journeys can assist you with finding the perfect program to fulfil your dreams.