Whether you’re born and raised in Scotland and want to explore closer to home, or you’re visiting the country for the first time, paying a visit to its striking West  Coast should be an essential part of your itinerary, and more specifically, so should the coastal town of Oban!

Oban Distillery
Image from Flickr by Ibpyles

Tourists from all over the world visit the area for its scenery and sights of historical interest, as well as for its connections to the Inner Hebrides like Mull, Iona, Coll, and Tiree that lie across the water.  

Whether you’re just sleeping over before heading to the ferry or using Oban as a base for excursions in the area, there’s plenty to explore, including the must-see Oban Distillery.  

So, what can visitors to the distillery expect? In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know before planning a trip to the famous whisky distillery, here in Oban.   

What is the Oban Distillery?

Founded in 1794, the distillery sits at the heart of the town’s horseshoe-shaped harbour, a hub spot for locals and tourists alike. While there are many large distilleries to be found throughout Scotland like Laphroaig, Ardbeg, and the largest, Glenfiddich, Oban Distillery is, in fact, one of Scotlands smallest and has remained in the same location since its inception.  

Easily identifiable by its distinctive red chimneys, the distillery comprises just four rooms and is operated by a mere seven employees. While it’s among one of the distilleries with the lowest outputs, the single malts produced in Oban are renowned for their incredibly high quality, something the distillery team prides themselves on through meticulous attention to detail and dedication to their craft.  

The History Behind the Distillery

Going by its name, you would think the distillery was named for the most obvious of reasons. However, the distillery actually predates the town of Oban! Derived from the Gaelic word for ‘little bay’ of which the area is known, Oban was built around the distillery twenty or so years later, and recently celebrated its 200th birthday in 2011.

Black and white photograph of Oban Distillery

Although the distillery used to sit upon the bay itself, it has since moved further back following the construction of the town harbour. Now situated just 208 steps from the water, the distillery remains at sea level, with the salty air and local climate remaining a part of what makes the whisky such a unique and complexly flavourful proposition.  

Celebrated by novices and experts alike, the exclusivity and price of Oban’s single malts are justified by its rather unique production methods.

While some equipment has been updated to further refine the process, parts of the distillery have been in use for almost 100 years, helping to maintain consistency in the product’s flavour profile; favouring mostly wooden ‘worm tub’ condensers in favour of modern shell and tube models, these traditional methods filter out harsher notes from the final product, allowing for a fruitier, full-bodied taste.  

Planning Your Trip to the Oban Distillery

Now you know what the distillery is and its rich history, here are some helpful tips for planning your trip to the historic attraction!  

Where can I find the distillery? 

Nestled within the town’s harbour area, the distillery couldn’t be better situated for those visiting by car (typically accessible via the A82 via Tyndrum for those travelling from the central belt) or exploring the area on foot. 

Click here for Google Map directions to the distillery. 

Is there parking available?

For those visiting by car, parking is available but limited. Off-site car parking and street parking can be found within very short walking distance of the distillery, with local charges in application.  

Additionally, with large amounts of tourism in the area, particularly in the summer months, visitors should be mindful of an increased population and subsequent demand for spaces – if you’re planning on visiting during this time, be sure to plan accordingly to avoid disappointment, particularly with pre-booked tours.   

What about public transport? 

For those without access to a car, public transport is a convenient transport option. For parties visiting from Glasgow, trains are frequent from Queen Street Station, while additional bus services are also available via West Coast Motors and Citylink.  

For those travelling to and from the Western Isles, CalMac ferries offer services from Mull & Iona, Tiree & Coll, as well as Barra, Lismore, and Kerrera. You can visit their website to learn more about their journey times.  

What to Expect from a Tour of the Distillery?

Hopefully, we’ve whetted your appetite for the famous golden elixir by now. If so, then you’ll likely be considering a tour of the distillery itself; but what can you expect when you visit? With two separate tours on offer, let’s take a closer look: 

Oban Distillery Tour 

For those looking to dip their toe into the world of Scottish whisky, the distillery tour is an excellent option. Featuring a tour of the distillery itself and its storied history, take in the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells that go into making Oban’s famous malts.  

Of course, it wouldn’t be a whisky tour without a dram (or two, or three!) to try for yourself – bliss!

A Taste of Oban

For those among us with a little more experience of Scottish whisky, A Taste of Oban is the perfect tour experience for those looking to dive a little deeper under the surface.  

Featuring a tasting of four whiskies from expert guides, alongside a closer look at the distillery’s history and the individuals who have made its whisky a world-famous export.

Opening Hours

Oban Distillery is open seven days a week from 10am-5pm, with the distillery bar open 1pm-4.30pm. This may differ depending on seasonal holidays so be sure to get in touch if unsure. 


As you’d expect, this is an incredibly popular attraction and receives high praise from guests of all levels of experience with Scottish whisky. Visitors have described the tour as being fun, interactive, and packed with interesting information suitable for fans of Scottish whisky, culture, and history.

What Can You Expect to Pay?

The Oban Distillery Tour starts at £22ph for adult visitors and £6ph for children, while A Taste of Oban starts at £35ph for adult-only visitors.  

Where to purchase tickets

Tickets for the Oban Distillery and Taste of Oban tours can be booked here, or by visiting the distillery itself.

Where to Stay After Visiting the Oban’s Distillery

As you can see, Oban Distillery is a must visit attraction when visiting our seaside town. Whether you’re interested in the history of the distillery or you’ve dreamed of a guided tour, you’ll likely need somewhere to stay while here.  

Our luxury hotel is the perfect place to stay while you discover everything Oban has to offer. Click the button below to view our incredible handcrafted rooms.