Outlander Filming Locations in Scotland | The Ultimate Guide
Living in central Scotland, we’re lucky in that we have quite a few different Outlander filming locations within a short drive of home. Some of these are places we’ve visited many times, without realising they’d been used in the show, while others (*cough* LALLYBROCH *cough*) are places we sought out purely because of the Outlander connection: although, to be fair, many of these historic sites are fascinating in their own right, and well worth a visit even if you’re not an Outlander fan – so please don’t let the fact that I’m talking about them primarily in the context of the show here put you off.
The Ultimate Guide to Outlander filming locations in Scotland
Oh, and a quick disclaimer: for obvious reasons, it wasn’t really possible to talk about Outlander filming locations without mentioning which scenes have been filmed in them, so if you’re not up-to-date with the current show, I can’t guarantee you won’t see any spoilers! And, with that said, here’s my guide to Outlander filming locations in Scotland, starting off with…
Claire’s hotel in Inverness
I’m kicking off this tour right at the very start: in the pretty little village of Falkland, in Fife – or, as Outlander fans will know it, “Inverness”. In the image above, I’m walking towards the hotel Claire and Frank checked into on their honeymoon – that’s the window Claire looks out of, in the top right of the photo – and I’m sure the rest of the street around me will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s watched Season 1.
In the show, this is Mrs Baird’s B&B. In real life, it’s The Covenanter Hotel – and a really nice spot for coffee and cake, as Terry and I can confirm. Although the interior of the hotel has an olde-worlde charm all of its own, it wasn’t actually used in Outlander, with all interior scenes being shot in a studio. The exterior, however, is fairly iconic to fans of the show, and the village itself is picture-postcard pretty, so worth visiting in its own right, too. Having left the safety of Mrs Baird’s B&B, however, Claire famously found herself falling through the nearby standing stones: so, naturally, we headed there, too…
Craigh na Dun – The Standing Stones
OK, so the first thing you’re likely to notice here is that, well, there ARE no actual standing stones, are there? Sadly for us, the standing stones used in the show aren’t real – they’re just Styrofoam props which were long gone on the day we visited. The hill they sit on, however, is located on Kinloch Rannoch in Perthshire (It’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but you’ll find the exact map location here…), and will be instantly recognisable to fans of the show: in fact, I could almost hear the title song strike up in my head as we walked up the hill:
Outlander filming locations you’ll recognize instantly
Outlander filming locations don’t get much more memorable than Lallybroch itself, do they?
In real life, Jamie Fraser’s ancestral home is actually Midhope Castle, near South Queensferry. Although it is open to the public, the castle is privately owed, and you’ll need a permit to access the site, which is occasionally closed, due to work on the neighbouring farm. We visited earlier this year, and I wrote an in-depth post about our experience here: in short, though, be aware that the castle is ruined, so you won’t be able to get inside, and there are no tourist facilities such as toilets or gift shops, etc.
Will you care about any of those things when you’re sitting on those famous steps, or walking underneath the entrance archway? Nuh-uh…
The Duke of Sandringham’s Home
Located on the same estate as Midhope Castle/Lallybroch, but this time fully open to the public, Hopetoun House is used frequently as an Outlander filming location. It’s most recognisable as the Duke of Sandringham’s residence in seasons 1 and 2, but the stable block and grounds also make regular appearances in the series: Terry and I visit the house fairly often, and we’ll frequently recognise random corners of the grounds or outbuildings in Outlander scenes, so it’s another one that’s well worth a visit, especially as it’s close enough to Midhope for you to see both locations on the same day.
Fortwilliam (The famous ‘whipping’ scene)
Remember THAT scene in Season 1, where Jamie is whipped by Captain Randall? It was filmed at Blackness Castle in West Lothian, which stands in for Fort William on the show. Here’s the very location, in fact:
Like many – if not all, in fact – of the Outlander filming locations I’ve mentioned here, Blackness is well worth a visit, even if you’re not remotely interested in the fates of the fictional Frasers. The castle itself is ruined, but still fairly well preserved, with many rooms intact – which was a blessing to us, when it started pouring with rain during our visit!
Although Outlander mostly used the courtyard and exterior of the castle for filming, the great hall, shown above, also looked really familiar to me, although I couldn’t find it on any of the lists of Outlander filming locations I looked at. Hmmm….
Read my full post on our visit to Blackness Castle here.
Geillis Duncan’s village, Cranesmuir.
I thought I knew about all of the Outlander filming locations in this part of the world, until one day earlier this year, when my parents came back from a visit to the town of Culross, in Fife, and kept talking about how, “It’s on that TV show you like: the one you’re always talking about?”
Well, I did some digging, and it didn’t take me long to find out that, yup, Culross is actually used a few times in the show: most notably as Geillis Duncan’s village, Cranesmuir. The streets of the town make many appearances here, but the show also used some of the interiors of Culross Palace (Which is actually just a very large house…). Here, for instance, is Geillis’s parlour:
While some Outlander filming locations do their best to play down their involvement in the show, during our visit to Culross Palce, we kept finding little notices dotted around the rooms, letting us know what they’d been used for: nice touch!
The grounds of the palace (Which are absolutely beautiful, by the way…) also appeared in season one, as the herb garden at Castle Leoch (You’ll find lots of photos of Geillis and Claire there, if you have a quick Google), and the town’s Mercat Cross was used as Cranesmuir, in later scenes where Geillis and Claire were sentenced to death: cheerful stuff, then…
Speaking of Castle Leoch, here it is! It’s actually Doune Castle, near Stirling, and we last visited it a few years ago, before I became obsessed with Outlander filming locations, so I can’t tell you much about it from a personal point of view: our visit was unplanned, and we got there just as the castle was closing for the day, so we only actually got to see the grounds!
Still, it’s pretty impressive, even from the outside, and if you get there at the right time, you can go inside, too – although be aware that only the exterior was used in Outlander: inside is mostly ruined, and nothing like Castle Leoch! As an aside, Game of Thrones fans might be interested to know that Doune Castle was also used as Winterfell in season one of the show, as well as being a filming location for Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
I grew up near Linlithgow, and have visited the palace and loch many, many times, but, even so, I totally failed to recognise it when it showed up as Wentworth Prison in season 1 of Outlander.
This is where THAT scene between Jamie and Black Jack Randall was filmed, and, unlike most of the other Outlander filming locations I’ve featured here, it’s actually the interior of the (now ruined) palace that’s most recognizable.
Outlander filming locations where Scotland stands in for other countries
The Governor’s Mansion, Jamaica
It’s not just the Scottish scenes in Outlander that were filmed here, and, as proof of that, here I am in the Governor’s Mansion, Jamaica – or Edinburgh’s Signet Library, as it’s better known. Filming for season 3 took place here, both in the restaurant area seen above, and in some of the upstairs rooms. If you want to see inside for yourself, I can thoroughly recommend the afternoon tea served in the restaurant: read my full review of it here.
The Palace of Versailles
Finally, from the ‘Outlander filming locations that don’t actually appear in the show’ files…
The cover of the book
I know this doesn’t actually count as an Outlander filming location, exactly, but if you’re also a fan of the books which inspired the series, you might be interested to know that the cover of the edition shown above features Glencoe, in the Highlands – we managed to track down the exact spot on our last trip there!
Outlander filming locations we haven’t visited yet
Although we’ve seem our fair share of filming locations, we haven’t yet seen all of them, so here are some of the next locations on our list:
Aunt Jocasta’s Mansion
As you might know, many of the North Carolina locations were, in fact, filmed here in Scotland, and Aunt Jocasta’s mansion is part of a film set constructed at Abercairny Estates, near Crieff.
The Mowhawk Village
Again, these North American scenes were filmed on a custom-made set in Scotland, and the Mowhawk village was built in Faskally Forest, near Kinloch Rannoch.
Have you visited any Outlander filming locations in Scotland? I’d love to hear about them, if so!
(Oh, and don’t forget, you can also follow my adventures in real-time over at Instagram…)