The Bushmills distillery tour is a fantastic opportunity to see the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world in action. It’s something not to be missed if you’re in Northern Ireland.
You don’t have to be a massive whiskey head to enjoy the Bushmills Distillery Tour. In fact it will probably appeal more if you’re not, but we’ll get into that in more detail a bit later.
The town of Bushmills itself is a popular base or stop off for people visiting the incredible Giant’s Causeway. Which let’s face it, should be on every Ireland itinerary.
But while lots of visitors will stay a night or two in Bushmills, most only spend a couple of hours marvelling at the unique charms of the Giant’s Causeway itself. And since the Bushmills distillery tour lasts roughly an hour, that should make it easily doable to squeeze in a visit to discover how they turn water into gold, even for the tightest of itineraries.
Bushmills Distillery Tour Review
This blog post will give you everything you need to know before you book a Bushmills Distillery tour. Including what the tour involves, where to buy tickets and accommodation recommendations for staying in Bushmills town overnight.
What the Bushmills Whiskey Tour Involves
The Bushmills Distillery Tour takes you through the entire process of whisky making from grain to glass, via a journey through their old distillery.
I say old distillery because also on site there is a brand spanking new 36 million pound facility that was only completed in 2022. But they’re super secretive about that and you’re barely allowed to look at it as you walk past, let alone visit as part of the tour.
Along the way you’ll learn about the raw ingredients that go into whiskey, the machinery and equipment that turns it into a spirit, the ageing process and the barrels used at the Bushmills distillery, as well as a look at the bottling process.
A Few Things to Know About Bushmills Distillery
There is absolutely no photography allowed throughout the tour. They say it’s due to the alcohol vapours in the air and the danger poised by battery operated devices. However I’ve never not been allowed to take photos on a distillery tour before (see our Jameson Experience Middleton review as evidence).
At the end your £15 ticket can be redeemed for a single drink, either the Bushmills Original, Black Bush, 10 Year Old or 12 Year Old Distillery Reserve.
The distillery has its own bar called 1608 Bar where you can purchase a wide selection of drinks separately including soft drinks, cocktails or a hot toddy. The bar is beautiful and the prices are pretty reasonable.
There are extra tastings available to buy separately at the 1608 Bar for £10 or £25 where you get to sample the Black Bush, 10 year old and 12 year old distillery reserve or the 12 year old distillery reserve, 16 year old and 21 year old respectively.
Bushmills Distillery Tour Price
The Bushmills Distillery tour price currently stands at £15. Included in this is the roughly hour long guided tour through the old distillery and a single drink at the end.
There is only one type of Bushmills Whiskey tour available to purchase at the moment so there are no extra options to select from.
Bushmills Distillery Tour Tickets
The best way to purchase your Bushmills Distillery tour tickets is online direct via the Bushmills website.
It’s a very simple process of choosing your date, time and number of attendees and then entering your card details to complete the payment.
Tour groups ordinarily have a maximum size of 12, and this is the maximum number of tickets you are able to book online per slot.
However, if you have a larger group that you would like to enquire about being accommodated then you can email them directly to ask about this.
Either message email@example.com or alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org for help with any unusual requests or options for your Bushmills Distillery tour tickets.
Bushmills Distillery Tour Times
Tours run daily Monday to Friday, with none running on the weekend.
Bushmills Distillery tour times are every hour, on the hour starting at 10am and with the final tour commencing at 3pm.
This means the available Bushmills Distillery tour times to book online are at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, or 15:00.
Bushmills Distillery Tour From Belfast
If you’re looking to do a Bushmills Distillery Tour from Belfast then there are various options available to you.
If you have your own transport then it’s just over an hour’s journey from Belfast to the town of Bushmills.
But if you’re wanting to taste some whiskies and not fall foul of drink driving laws then your best bet will be to join an organised tour.
We’d recommend this one which also includes a visit to the Giants Causeway, The Dark Hedges and Dunluce Castle. Alternatively theres’s a Hop-on Hop-off Northern Ireland Bus Tour with 1-3 day passes which has a stop off in Bushmills Town.
Bushmills Distillery Opening Times
- Monday 10am–4pm
- Tuesday 10am–4pm
- Wednesday 10am–4pm
- Thursday 10am–4pm
- Friday 10am–4pm
- Saturday Closed
- Sunday Closed
Is the Bushmills Distillery Tour Worth Doing?
If you have never done a whiskey tour before then the short answer to “is the Bushmills Distillery Tour worth doing?” is absolutely, yes.
However, as I alluded to at the beginning of the post. If you’re slightly more knowledgeable about whiskey production and have been on some whiskey tours before then you might be better off skipping this one.
The reason for this is that the production of whisky essentially involves exactly the same process the world over. The thing that makes visiting different whiskey distilleries worth it are the elements that are unique to each individual distillery.
This could be anything from an interesting history to a singular philosophy. But while a Bushmills Distillery visit is a good introduction to the production of whiskey, it’s very light on what distinguishes Bushmills from every other distillery.
Having said that, Bushmills does produce very high quality whiskey. So while the tour itself might not be the best option for whiskey aficionados, it’s still well worth visiting the Bushmills distillery, skipping the tour and heading straight to the 1608 bar for a tasting.
The £25 option, which includes a dram of Black Bush, the 12 year old distillery reserve, 16 year old and 21 year old, is a great way to sample the best stuff that Bushmills makes.
Where To Stay In Bushmills Town
Unless you have a designated driver, you are likely going to want to stay overnight in Bushmills Town. It’s also a great base for visiting other nearby Northern Ireland tourist attractions. Bushmills a great little town with lots of amenities and quality accommodation.
Here’s a handpicked selection of our favourites:
The Lambing Shed | Just 15 minutes walk from the distillery, this modern self catering apartment with cosy log burner, pretty terrace and secure parking is ideal for a couple.
Check prices, availability & reviews
Bushmills Inn | This historic hotel dates back to the 1600’s has an on site restaurant and bar for convenience. Double and twin rooms are available. It’s a 10 minute walk to the distillery.
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Maison | A riverside townhouse with two ensuite bedrooms, this is perfect for a small group. It’s less than a 10 minute walk, has a pretty garden, an open fire in the lounge and parking.
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Travel lover, professional writer and football (soccer) obsessive, James loves nothing more than getting outside and exploring little known corners of the globe. He’s also very partial to a drop of Guinness.