Edinburgh

10 Outlander locations to visit in Scotland

21 Jan 2021

The historical drama series 'Outlander' based on the novel series by Diana Gabaldon, has become a global phenomenon, with already 5 seasons to its credit. We invite you to come and explore the land that inspired the epic series. Travel across Scotland’s landscape and discover the real life Jacobite connections and historic sights where Outlander was filmed. We have chosen ten locations, each steeped in their own rich history and whether you are an avid Outlander fan or not, you’ll love exploring these sights! 
 

 The opening credits of the Outlander series, showcasing the mountainous landscape, are actually set in the Glen Coe valley in the Scottish Highlands. The road is intertwined through the mountains and is best experienced by car so that you can stop at the side of the road and soak up the landscape. Glencoe is a 30 minute drive from the bigger town of Fort William.
 

1. Hopetoun House, South Queensferry

Season: 1, 2 & 3 
Hopetoun house and estate was built in 1699 and has been home to the Hope family for over 300 years. The 6,500 acre estate is one of Scotland’s finest stately homes. The House is the setting for the home of the Duke of Sandringham in the first season. Scenes were filmed in the Red Drawing Room and the exterior of the building was also used. The courtyard behind the Stables Tearoom also features as a Parisian street backdrop in season two.
 

Also on the Hopetoun Estate is Midhope Castle (pictured here) which is the location for fictional Lallybroch, the family home of character Jamie Fraser. Midhope Castle dates back to the 15th Century, and the exterior of the building and the tower is still intact, but inside is derelict and laid to ruin. 
Hopetoun house estate is a 40 minute drive from Edinburgh.

2.Falkland, Fife

Season: 1 & 2
The charming small town of Falkland near St. Andrews is most famous for being the set of Inverness in the 1940’s. The streets and stone houses were used as the backdrop, although you may not find any vintage cars you should look out for the Fayre Earth Gift Shop, which doubles as Farrell's Hardware and Furniture Store in Outlander. Falkland was also the place where Claire and Frank had their honeymoon in the first episode. Situated in the main square is the fictional Mrs Baird’s B & B. The building is actually a real life hotel, named the Covenanter Hotel. The hotel is open for overnight stays.
 

The town of Falkland is also home to Falkland Palace, the 1500’s Palace and gardens are rich in Scottish royal history and are worth a visit. It was used during the filming in season two as the apothecary in the episode “The Hail Mary” set in 1745 Inverness.
Falkland is around 1 hour, 14 minutes drive from Edinburgh.

3. Blackness Castle, Linlithgow

Seasons: 1 & 2
Blackness Castle overlooks the waters of the Firth of Forth and is a 15th century fortress. The shape of the castle is long and narrow and juts out into the sea, and because of that the castle has been nicknamed  as "the ship that never sailed".

In Outlander the castle features as Black Jack Randall’s headquarters set in Fort William. It is inside the courtyard where Jamie is flagged with 100 lashes and tortured in the series. When you walk through the entrance gate underneath the tunnel you’ll recognise it from season 1, episode ‘The Reckoning’ - It’s where Jamie breaks into Fort William to rescue Claire from Black Jack Randall. They capture a Redcoat soldier and force him to tell them where Claire is being held and eventually knock him out. Make your way up to the roof of the central tower and you will be rewarded with great views across the water and the 3 rail and road bridges. 
The Castle is approximately a 45 minute drive from Edinburgh.

4.Linlithgow Palace, West Lothian

Season: 1
Linlithgow Palace was home to Scottish monarchy through the 1500 and 1600’s. Perhaps Linlithgow is best known as the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, although she left the palace as an infant, it would be more than 20 years before she returned again.  The Palace is now a ruin, however one of the most preserved  and restored pieces is the water fountain inside the main courtyard - it reputedly flowed with wine when Bonnie Prince Charlie visited.

In 'Outlander' the main entrance and ground floor corridors feature as Wentworth Prison where Jamie was imprisoned and attacked. If you want to explore the tunnels and stone staircases it is on the right next to the ticket office when you are facing the grand courtyard. The staircase was used in 'Outlander' when Claire walks down trying to avoid the Redcoats when she breaks into Wentworth Prison and attempts to free Jamie.
Linlithgow is a 20 minute train journey from Edinburgh. 

5.Cullross, Fife 

Seasons: 1 & 2
Cullross is not too far from Falkland in Fife and is another beautifully preserved cobble stoned village. Culross is one of  Scotland’s most complete examples of a Royal burgh of the 17th and 18th century. When you visit Cullross you’ll feel like you have stepped back in time. During the  first episode, Claire visits her friend Geillis in the fictional village of Cranesmuir where they meet to make remedies and get to know one another. The village used was Cullross. 

In the centre of the village is the palace which has a reconstructed period garden, complete with herbs, fruit and vegetables. The garden was used in 'Outlander' as Claire’s herb garden at Castle Leoch. In the centre the 'Mercat Cross' (Market Cross) becomes the area where Geillis Duncan lives. The palace drawing room doubles as Geillis Duncan’s parlour room. The Study Building was used for Geillis’ house, and the square was the setting where the young boy had his ear nailed in the pillory. In real Scottish history, Geillis Duncan was in fact an unfortunate soul who was accused and sentenced to death under the Witchcraft Act of 1563 in the town of North Berwick. Cullross is 1 hour, 15 minutes drive from Edinburgh. 

6. Doune Castle, Stirlingshire

Seasons: 1,2 & 3 
Doune Castle @TravelKat
If you visit just one 'Outlander' filming location then it should be Doune Castle. This 14th century castle is the setting of the famous Outlander Castle Leoch - the home of Clan Mackenzie. Situated near the city of Stirling, Doune Castle has real life Jacobite connections. During the uprising in 1745 and the 1746 Battle of Falkirk, political prisoners were held at the castle. Take the tour around the castle and step into the kitchen and servery to imagine how great banquets were prepared. You can also take the free audio tour, which is narrated by the late Terry Jones from Monty Python.

The audio tour also covers 'Outlander' filming highlights, and some parts are narrated by Jamie himself (Sam Heughan) who provides behind the scenes information. The Castle has been used for a variety of filming backdrops such as 'Game of Thrones', 'Outlaw King' and 'The Bruce'. If you have a limited amount of time in Scotland, make a visit to Doune, they also have an 'Outlander' inspired gift shop - perfect for your souvenirs. 
Doune Castle is around 1 hour’s drive from Edinburgh.

7. Kinloch Rannoch, Highlands

Season: 1, 2, 3 & 4 
One of the most iconic 'Outlander' locations is the standing stones at Craigh na Dun. The stone circle and local scenery are visited many times throughout the series as Claire tries to return to her life in the 1940’s. The filming location is at Rannoch Moor is an expansive area of wilderness, which has outstanding views across Loch Rannoch. However, there is no stone circle here as depicted in the TV series, allegedly they are made from polystyrene foam…
 

Despite this, there is a chance to take a lovely walk through the woodland to the dramatic peaks on the moor. If you are heading further north to Glencoe this is a good pit stop location. If you do want to experience some real standing stones and stone circles you can visit the largest ones on the Isle of Lewis at Callanish. 
Rannoch Moor is around 2 and a half hours by car from Edinburgh. 

8.Culloden, Inverness

Seasons: 2 & 3 
Situated on the outskirts of the Highland city of Inverness is the real life battlefield of Culloden. The atmospheric battlefield is where the 1745 Jacobite Rising came to a tragic end. It was the last pitched battle on British soil and, in less than an hour, around 1,600 men were slain – 1,500 of them Jacobites. Bonnie Prince Charlie and his followers, including clans such as the Frasers and MacKenzies, were defeated by the Duke of Cumberland's government troops. In the 'Outlander 'series the moor is mentioned where Jamie fights in the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

When you visit, look out for the two flags in the field that mark the battle lines for the opposing armies. Throughout the battlefield, memorial stones mark the loss of the Clan members. There is a Clan Fraser stone there and in 'Outlander' Claire kneels down before it.
 

Regardless if you are an 'Outlander' fan or not, Culloden battlefield deserves a visit. On site there is also a sensitive Culloden Visitor Centre, which stands beside the battlefield, featuring many artefacts from both sides of the battle and interactive displays that reveal the background to the conflict.
Culloden Battlefield is a 3 and half hour drive from Edinburgh.

9.Highland Folk Museum, Kingussie

Season: 1
The Highland Folk museum is a living open air museum that showcases what Highland life would have been like in the 1700’s right up until the 1960’s. The museum is expansive and includes an 18th-century style township, working crofts built using traditional methods, houses with thatched roofs, transport methods and a schoolhouse. You can enter into some of the houses and really get a feel of what life during the Jacobites must have been like.

The township that was used for the MacKenzie Village in 'Outlander'  was based on a real township in the nearby town of Kingussie. The houses were salvaged from an abandoned township and they are placed in the museum exactly how they would have been in the 1700s. This location from season 1, in the episode “Rent” is where Claire and Jamie visited, accompanied by Dougal, when they were sent to collect taxes for Clan Mackenzie. You may recognise some of the buildings, including the blacksmith shop. All of the outbuildings are authentically built (using 18th century methods). One of the houses was where Claire helps the village women dye cloth with urine!

If you want more information, ask the staff about 'Outlander', some of the staff were used as extras during filming. Every June, the museum holds a dedicated event to the 'Outlander' series. The scenery is beautiful with pine forests and you can spend a good few hours exploring. 
The Highland Folk Museum is a two and half hour drive from Edinburgh.

10. Old Town, Edinburgh

Seasons: 3, 4 & 5
The city of Edinburgh’s Old Town makes for the perfect film set, the well preserved stone buildings and narrow alleyways and closes are well suited. It is no surprise that some of the streets in the Old Town area were used for filming 'Outlander'. Three of these sites are within close proximity to each other on the Royal Mile
The Bakehouse @TravelKat

The first one is Bakehouse Close (next to the Museum of Edinburgh). The archway dates back to the 1570’s and was named after the corporation of bakers who owned the building. In 'Outlander' it was used as Carfax Close where Jamie ran a print shop under the false name of Alexander Malcolm. During the scene it is where Claire and Jamie meet after 20 years apart. Further up the Royal Mile is Tweedsdale Court, another quiet alleyway. It was named after the Marquess of Tweedale who was an advisor to King Charles 2nd. 

During the filming of 'Outlander' it was used for the filming scenes of a busy bustling market area with stalls and produce. It’s here where Claire reunites with Fergus, the French orphan boy who is like a son to Jamie. 
The final stop is the Signet Library, which is situated in the shadows of St. Giles Cathedral.  The elegant Georgian library is home of The Society of Writers to Her Majesty’s Signet – an association of Scottish lawyers. The building has an upper and lower library and if you want to treat yourself you should try their afternoon tea. 
In terms of 'Outlander' it was used as the Governor’s Jamaican mansion in season three.

There was also another 'Outlander' reference here, Ned Gowan the lawyer in Outlander, was a previous Writer of the Signet and owner of the beautiful building. 
Edinburgh’s Old town is best explored on foot. 

Whether you are an 'Outlander' fan tracing the footsteps of your heroes or just someone keen to discover Scottish history, these sights offer plenty to keep everyone fascinated. The majority of the filming locations are within reach of the capital, Edinburgh and make for a perfect day trip away from the city.  These locations can be visited on an organised tour from Edinburgh - however, we believe the best way to visit these locations is by yourself over a few days (with a hire car if need be) to fully absorb the beautiful scenery.

Please note that due to pandemic measures some of the sights are currently not open to the public - January 2021

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