As I prepare to dive head-first into Season 4 of Outlander this weekend, I figured now was as good a time as any for a quick look back at some of the Outlander filming locations Terry and I have visited over the past few years.
Living in central Scotland, we’re lucky in that we 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.
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!
Where it all began…
FALKLAND / 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.
The village gift shop, Fayre Earth, appeared as Farrell’s general store, whose window Claire gazed into in episode one.
A.K.A. MIDHOPE CASTLE
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…
Home of the Duke of Sandringham on Outlander
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.
Tickets for the house and/or grounds are available from the ticket office next to the car park.
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….
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!
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 recognisable.
OUTLANDER FILMING LOCATIONS
These are far from the only Outlander filming locations in this part of the world – they’re just the ones I happen to have visited personally, recently enough to be able to remember a bit about them! I’m always on the lookout for new locations to explore, though, so if you’ve visited any yourself, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!