A Tourist's Guide to Sampling Whisky on the Edinburgh Royal Mile

by Steve Forrester

A Tourist's Guide to Sampling Whisky on the Edinburgh Royal Mile

Where better to pursue the pleasure of a good Scotch whisky than on Edinburgh's Royal Mile? The succession of streets known as the Royal Mile forms the main thoroughfare of the Old Town in the city of Edinburgh, and as the name implies it’s roughly one Scots mile long. The Royal Mile runs downhill between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, and is the busiest place in Old Town.

Many local whisky aficionados and holiday-makers descend upon the Royal Mile where you can find the best Scotch whiskies and all things whisky-related. There are a number of pubs, bars and restaurants where you can sample from hundreds of whiskies, see the world's largest collection of Scotch whisky, and learn the history of one of the world's most loved spirits. Let's take a look at some of the top destinations for whisky lovers on Edinburgh's Royal Mile.

The Scotch Whisky Experience

For a truly unique experience, check out the Scotch Whisky Experience where you can be whisked around literally within a whisky barrel in a replica distillery. You'll see the process of whisky-making first-hand as experts guide you on their range of over 300 whiskies. Another very cool must see at the Scotch Whisky Experience is the Diageo Claive Vadiz collection, the world's largest collection of Scotch whisky with nearly 3,500 bottles of Scotch. While at the Scotch Whisky Experience, be sure to stop in at the excellent Amber restaurant. They offer mouth-watering fare all of which pair nicely with any of the 300 whiskies available. Located at 354 Castlehill, Royal Mile.

Deacon Brodie's Tavern

Check out Deacon Brodie's Tavern, situated on Lawnmarket and Bank Street. This large, traditional pub features a wonderfully ornate thistle ceiling. A top choice of tourists, the friendly pub includes a restaurant upstairs. Located at 435 Lawnmarket, Edinburgh

World's End Pub

The World's End Pub is adjacent to the former Netherbow Port, a defensive gateway which stood across the Royal Mile separating Old Town from the Canongate. The pub is divided into a bar and dining section and features dark panelling and stone walls that create a cosy atmosphere for those looking for a more intimate setting. You’ll find it at 4 High Street, Edinburgh

Royal Mile Whiskies

Specializing in single malts since 1991, Royal Mile Whiskies insists the staff sample each whisky so that the customer may benefit from their expertise. As a result, you'll not likely find a more cheery and enthusiastic group of sales associates anywhere else in Edinburgh. It is located at 379 High Street, Edinburgh.

Royal Mile Whiskies in Edinburgh, Scotland

WM Cadenhead

WM Cadenhead is Scotland's oldest independent bottler, doing business since 1842. You'll find a variety of whiskies from different distillers. Each whisky is from individually selected casks, guaranteed never chill-filtered, nor will there be added colouring agents or any chemical alterations to the products WM Cadenhead bottles. You can enjoy whisky tastings of WM Cadenhead's offerings in a local pub, giving you a chance to sample from their broad range of delectable flavours. It can be found at 172 Canongate, Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Tolbooth Tavern

The Tolbooth Tavern is a traditional pub located on Canongate, forming part of the Old Tolbooth. Popular with locals and tourists alike, you're likely to hear a lot of interesting accents here: Italian, Spanish, German, American, and English. You can enjoy your choice of whisky and then dine at the elevated dining area in the rear of the pub where some awesome steak pie, mashed potatoes and peas are served daily. It is located at 167 Canongate Royal Mile, Edinburgh

The Ensign Ewart

The closest pub to Edinburgh Castle is also the highest located pub in Edinburgh. With a rich history dating back to 1680, you'll find the Ensign Ewart retains much of its original charm. 4 cask ales are offered, along with an ever-changing and dynamic selection of whiskies. You can enjoy live music, fresh local foods, and second to none Scottish hospitality. It is located at 521 - 523 Lawnmarket.

 Scotch Malt Whisky Society

A short walk from the Royal Mile itself, one extravaganza you definitely will not want to miss is the Scotch Malt Whisky Society which offers single cask whiskies from 126 different distilleries. These single malts are considered the finest Scotland has to offer.

For the privilege of sampling these remarkable whiskies, you'll need to be a society member in order to enjoy your drink at the member's rooms at Leith and Queen Street. Members can sign up three guests each, so quickly find a member and charm your way in. If that doesn't suit your fancy, non-members are welcome at the Dining Room restaurant and can sample from a variety of whiskies with dinner.

It is located at The Vaults, Leith and 28 Queen Street. Advance booking for the Dining Room is recommended. Society membership starts from $100, with an annual subscription fee.




Steve Forrester
Steve Forrester

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