The Outlander books and TV series have captured imaginations and hearts across the world, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no exception. As a history fan who grew up in Scotland, it’s been fascinating to follow the story of Jamie and Claire and delve a little deeper into the tumultuous period of the 18th century Jacobite risings.
Outlander was filmed on location in Scotland, and I’ve created a list of my top 10 Outlander film locations to help you plan an Outlander-inspired adventure in Scotland …
The striking 14th century Doune Castle features as the fictional 18th century Castle Leoch, being home to Clan MacKenzie. The castle is remarkably well preserved, and the excellent self-guided audio tour (narrated by Sam Heughan from Outlander and Terry Jones of Monty Python fame) will guide you through the castle’s history and its use as a film location. Explore the vast Great Hall and wind your way up the spiral staircase to enjoy views over the River Teith to the beautiful surrounding countryside.
The Royal Burgh of Culross in the Kingdom of Fife features heavily in seasons 1 and 2 as the fictional village of Cranesmuir. The Mercat Cross is instantly recognisable from scenes such as the witch trials, and when I visited the gardens of Culross Palace they held such an air of mystery I could imagine Claire roaming the rows of her 1740s herb garden searching for remedies.
The cobbled medieval streets provide a chance to explore a rare example of an 18th century Scottish village, and taking the time to wander the winding lanes is a must.
This expansive stately home sits just outside Edinburgh in South Queensferry, and has been home to the Hope family for over 300 years, with the current Earl of Hopetoun still living there today.
Scenes in all 3 seasons have been filmed on the estate, and it will be particularly recognisable to fans as the Duke of Sandringham’s home. The lawn and steps to the rear of the house provided the set for the duel between the Duke and the head of the McDonald clan, and the dramatic sword fight in season 1. Venture upstairs and you’ll find yourself in Claire’s Parisian bedroom in season 2.
Visitors to Hopetoun House are encouraged to wander around the house and grounds at their own pace and step back through time. I’d recommend making your way up to the roof viewing platform where you’ll be treated to great views across the Firth of Forth towards the three bridges.
Also on Hopetoun Estate is Midhope Castle, the location for Lallybroch or Broch Tuarach, the ancestral home of Jamie Fraser. This was my personal favourite location! As soon as the castle came into view I felt as though I was in the Scottish Highlands, and the resemblance of the exterior to Lallybroch was incredible. The building is derelict so only the outside can be explored, but this adds to the atmosphere. It’s a definite must-see.
I was instantly transported back to 18th century Scotland at Blackness Castle, on the shores of the Firth of Forth. Used as Fort William in the TV series, the castle was Black Jack Randall’s headquarters, and several of Jamie’s prison scenes were filmed there. In fact, another round of filming had just finished when I visited, so perhaps we’ll be seeing more of Blackness Castle in the future.
To blow away any cobwebs, I ventured through winding passageways and onto the battlements walk, where I was treated to fantastic views across the Firth of Forth towards the Kingdom of Fife
Linlithgow Palace in West Lothian is a popular filming location and it’s easy to see why. The ruined Royal Palace of the Stuart kings and queens is surrounded by a large park and sits alongside Linlithgow Loch, meaning that on a calm day the imposing structure eerily reflects in the cool water. As the birthplace of both James V and Mary Queen of Scots, the Palace has lots to offer history buffs as well.
In Outlander, Linlithgow Palace was used as the entrance and corridors of Wentworth Prison, where Jamie was taken by the redcoats to face Black Jack Randall. It’s also the setting for perhaps the most intense event: “those” torture scenes with Jamie and Randall. See the location for yourself, if you dare…
You’ll find two particularly poignant Outlander locations near the city of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. The first is Clava Cairns, thought to be the inspiration for the Craigh na Dun standing stones which transport Claire back to 1743. Although no scenes were actually filmed here, these ancient burial stones are definitely worth a visit.
Culloden Battlefield was the site of the final battle of the failed 1745 Jacobite uprising. Featured in seasons 2 and 3, stones lie on the field commemorating the Highland clans who lost men in April 1746. After walking across the windswept moor, learn more at the excellent Culloden Visitor Centre.
Have you ever wondered what life was like for people living in the Scottish Highlands hundreds of years ago? Now you can experience it for yourself at the Highland Folk Museum – Britain’s first open air museum – which has been created to give visitors a real taste of how Highland people lived and worked.
For Outlander fans, the star of the show is the recreated 18th century township which was used in filming as the MacKenzie village.
The impossibly picturesque village of Falkland in the Kingdom of Fife is now famous around the world thanks to its appearance in the opening scenes of season 1 as 1940s Inverness, home to Claire and Frank during their post-war second honeymoon.
Falkland Palace is nearby and definitely worth a visit. Once the country residence of the Stuart royal family, it’s now revered as an excellent example of Renaissance architecture and houses a palace garden and orchard.
A magnificent French Renaissance-style mansion in the grounds of Callender Park in Falkirk – the kitchens at Callendar House date back to the 14th century and stand in for the Duke of Sandringham’s kitchen in season 2 of Outlander. The kitchens are still in full working order, and staff are on hand to tell visitors what it was like when they were transported back to the 18th century on set, and to provide tasty samples of period recipes.
The rest of the house is packed full of information about the history of the area, including the building of the Antonine Wall by the Romans (a section of it went through the grounds of the house), and the transformation of the region at the dawn of the industrial era.
If you’d like to experience the magic of Outlander for yourself, our self-guided Outlander Tour takes in all of these incredible sites – and many more.
Send us an enquiry and start planning your dream trip to Scotland today.