Outlander Filming Locations
Written by: Caitlin
Published: 2nd December 2020
Outlander, the television series based on the books by Diana Gabaldon, is mostly set in the Highlands of Scotland, but a surprising number of locations are in fact further south in Central Scotland. Although the world she has created in this series may be fictional, there are some historical accuracies, as well as a whole lot of inspiration taken from the standing stones, peaks and valleys, and fairytale castles existing across Scotland.
Outlander Tours have seen a huge surge in popularity over the last few years, with a variety of tour operators offering you the chance to explore the filming locations of the series.
But if you are just interested in finding out more about any of the places for yourself, or maybe you’d like to plan your very own trip, then this guide to the Outlander locations could be just what you are looking for.
Whilst not technically a filming location for the cast, we do catch a glimpse of stunning Glencoe at the very start of the opening credits of every episode of Outlander. The majestic mountains towering above the valleys are shown off beautifully in these shots, setting the mood for the rest of the series, providing a perfect example of the rugged beauty of Scotland.
Voted as the most romantic glen in Scotland, this famous glen is named after the river Coe that runs through it.
So much myth and legend surrounds this iconic location, and it has a dark and bloody history that you may have heard of in the form of the Glencoe Massacre.
Just 89 miles from Edinburgh, and 65 miles from Glasgow, Glencoe is located in the Lochaber area of the Scottish Highlands, and is accessible by road, rail or bus service. Glencoe is world renown as a centre for mountaineering and hillwalking, but it is also the ideal location in which to relax or to use as a convenient base to tour the western highlands of Scotland.
Should you wish to plan a visit to Glencoe for yourself;
This small town in Fife was used in the Outlander series to portray the historic Inverness. It is first shown in episode one of series one, when Claire and Frank arrive on their honeymoon. Although much of the village was altered for the filming to appear as Scotland would have done in the 1940’s, when you enter the town square it is still an instantly recognisable scene.
It is clear to see why the producers chose this location instead of modern day Inverness, because Falkland still retains a lot of the charm of years gone by, with all it’s beautiful grey stone buildings and cosy feel. And if entering the square alone isn’t enough to give you chills, there are a number of other specific Outlander filming locations within Falkland. Including:
- The Covenanter Hotel – This real life hotel in the town square of Falkland is used to portray the exterior of Mrs Baird’s B&B at the beginning of Outlander. The building looks exactly like it does in the series, minus the splatter of blood on the door of course, and the best news is- you can actually stay here! It is even possible to request the exact room that Claire and Frank stay in, although understandably this does book up early, but you can get your enquiries in today, HERE. This bedroom aside, the interior of the Covenanter Hotel wasn’t used much for filming, in fact Hunterston House of Clan Hunter in West Kilbride near Glasgow was used to portray the inside of Mrs Baird’s B&B, and you can read more about that here (internal link to Hunterston house). But the Covenanter Hotel still does really embrace the theme, from displaying 1940s memorabilia, including Inverness bus schedules and vintage tour posters, and having Outlander souvenirs available to buy in the gift shop, guaranteeing fans of the show a really special experience when visiting.
- The Bruce Fountain – This is an absolute must in terms of a photo opportunity! You will recognise this fountain in the town centre from the scene in which the ghost of Jamie is staring up at Claire brushing her hair in Mrs Baird’s B&B (or the Covenanter Hotel). All the while Frank is looking on at Jamie doing so in the rain. The only difference in the fountain from its appearance in the series is that the bright red lions were muted out.
- Falkland Palace – It might surprise you to know that this popular country residence with historical monarchs was actually featured in season 2 of Outlander. It was used briefly in the episode “The Hail Mary”, as the apothecary where Claire meets Mary Hawkins, who is buying medical supplies to attend to the sick Alex Randall. There is so much else to see at this fabulous location for Outlander buffs, and more generalised history enthusiasts, and being only 100m away from the Covenanter Hotel, we highly recommend popping in. You can find out more about it HERE.
- Falkland Village Old Town Hall – This derelict building is hard to miss, being only metres away from the Covenanter Hotel, and it features in Outlander when it doubles up as the Inverness County Records Office. Claire, Brianna and Roger visit here when they were on the hunt for Jamie, and it is here that they find the deed to Lallybroch and commence the search for records for any mention of his name.
So there really are a number of Outlander filming locations to visit, making Falkland a worthy stopping point for fans. The town is located at the foot of the Lomond Hills in Fife, and you can get to it easily by road or by public transport.
You can find out more about the town of Falkland;
This remote and pretty village lies on the eastern end of Loch Rannoch, in Perth and Kinross, in Scotland. It is a beautiful area of peace and tranquility that is still easily accessible, just a 15-mile scenic drive from Fortingalland benefits from the amenities of the nearby towns just a short drive away. The name of Kinloch Rannoch comes from the Gaelic term of ‘Ceann Loch’ meaning ‘end of the loch’.
Kinloch Rannoch features on our list of Outlander filming locations because this is the spot where the iconic Craigh na Dun scene was set. It may surprise you that the standing stone circle seen in the filming of the Outlander series was totally fictitious; stones created out of styrofoam and nestled on an area of private land in the sheltered copse of trees in the shade of the nearby munro, Schiehallion. When Diana Gabladon wrote this part of the book she had yet to visit Scotland so Craigh na Dun is not inspired by any existing stone circles, so a little creative license was required to replicate what she had created.
The exact filming location is quite a well guarded secret as such a picturesque and peaceful area is not equipped to deal with the volume of tourists that would surely flock to it, but people have reported exploring the local area on foot and discovering the iconic spot by its recognisable backdrop. So if you are traveling out this way, don’t be disappointed to not be faced with the magical stones you imagined, but rather embrace the stunning view and the aura of the countryside and have an explore around.
If you are one of the many visitors to Scotland who is looking to emulate Claire’s Outlander experience of stumbling through the stone circle, you might prefer to visit one of the ancient standing stone circles that actually exist already. The most popular one of these for Outlander tours is Clava Cairns, in Inverness. This site has been dated back over 4000 years, and is quite different from other similar setups around the country. It has often been suggested that Clava Cairns was the inspiration for Gabladon’s Craigh na Dun due to its similarity to the fictitious place. Tourists in fact have been arriving in their droves to see them and be photographed beside the stones. This has been a great boost for the local area and is often referred to as ‘the Outlander effect’.
Doune Castle is a medieval stronghold, originally built in the thirteenth century, near the village of Doune, 8 miles north-west of Stirling. This formidable building was built for the Regent Albany and contains one of the best preserved great halls in Scotland as well as a striking 100 ft high gatehouse and recognisable courtyard, accessed by a steep cobbled tunnel. The castle suffered much damage in the Wars of Independence, and was later rebuilt in its current form in the 14th century.
The striking Doune Castle plays a leading role in the Outlander series as it stars as the fictional Castle Leoch, in the episodes set in the 18th century, as the home to Colum MacKenzie and his clan. The castle is used in many episodes in series 1 and it is in this location that many important characters are introduced to the audience. The surrounding grounds, the extentensive courtyard and the remarkable Great Hall of Doune Castle are all featured heavily in filming, the biggest notable exception for inclusion being the castle kitchen. To make filming easier a replica set kitchen was created to represent the kitchen of Castle Leoch.
It is possible to visit Doune Castle, year round, for a small admission fee. You can explore both the exterior, as it first appears to viewers when Jamie brings Claire back here at the end of episode one, as well as the interior which is used in later episodes.
This sixteenth century tower house of five stories and a garret, with a lower wing added at a later date, is situated on the Hopetoun Estate, about 5 miles northeast of Linlithgow. The now derelict tower forms one side of the courtyard, and two-storey bartizans, minus the conical roofs that would have once crowned them, make up three of the corners. If you are interested in the history of Midhope Castle, the Hopetoun Estate have put together THIS great document explaining how the castle has exchanged hands over the years.
Midhope Castle stars in the Outlander television series as the fictional Lallybroch, also known as Broch Tuarach, which is the family home of Jamie Fraser. In the story, Lallybroch was left to Jamie by his parents and is also home to his sister, Jenny, her husband Ian Murray and their children. Much use is made of Midhope Castle for this plotline, with it first appearing in a flashback scene in episode 2 of series 1, before becoming a regular filming location later on in the series, as well as in series 2, 3 and 4.
Hopetoun grants public access to the castle grounds, but all visitors must adhere to some guidelines and obtain a vehicle pass to visit. Whilst the exterior of the castle is intact and affords a fabulous photographic opportunity, the derelict interior of the castle is not accessible for safety reasons. Travelling by car is the quickest and easiest way to reach Midhope Castle, via the A904, but it is also possible to catch a train from Edinburgh to Linlithgow, and then catch a bus for the final leg.
If you decide to make the journey up to visit Midhope Castle, there are a number of other spots on the Hopetoun Estate that have been used as Outlander filming locations.
- The Red Drawing Room in Hopetoun House is where the scenes set in the home of the Duke of Sandringham in Series 1 are filmed.
- The Sea Trail and West Lawn to the rear of Hopetoun House features as the location for the duel between the Duke and the head of the McDonald clan.
- The rear steps of Hopetoun House were used to shoot a sword fight scene in Season 1.
- The courtyard behind the Stables Tearoom features regularly as a Parisian street location in Series 2.
It is possible to take a guided tour of Hopetoun House and see these locations for yourself between Friday and Sunday, year round.
Just a short trip along the road from Midhope Castle, you will find Linlithgow Palace, which is a magnificent ruin of a great Royal Palace, set in its own park next to Linlithgow Loch. Just 15 miles from Edinburgh, Linlithgow Palace is easily accessible to visitors looking to explore its rich history. Once upon a time in the 15th and 16th centuries, the palace was one of the principal residences of the monarchs of Scotland and is perhaps best known for being the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. It was maintained for a while after this but ended up burnt out in 1746 after years of little use. It is now a popular tourist attraction run by Historic Scotland.
The majestic ruins of Linlithgow Palace star as an Outlander filming location for the fictional Wentworth Prison, standing in for the prison entrance and corridors in the scene where Jamie Fraser is imprisoned. Whilst it may be a brief appearance for Linlithgow Palace in series 1 of Outlander, it is definitely a memorable one; who could forget the horrendous ordeal that Jamie endured being tortured at the hands of Black Jack Randall. The very friendly Historic Scotland staff at Linlithgow Palace today would be more than happy to show you the bits of the palace that were used for filming. This includes a staircase and some “basement” rooms.
Aberdour Castle is one of the two oldest datable castles in Scotland, with parts of it hailing from around 1200, and it is located in the village of Easter Aberdour, Fife, Scotland. The castle is open to visitors these days so you can explore the impressive complex and its delightful walled garden and terraces, imagining what it would have been like to be present there in medieval times.
Easily accessible by train and road, there is a whole lot of history to discover in this castle, check out this map to see more of the highlights before you visit.
Different parts of the castle were used as an Outlander filming location, including the stables, gallery and kitchen, to represent the Benedictine monastery, Abbey Ste Anne de Beaupre where Jamie recovers from his injuries at the hands of “Black Jack” Randall. If you are anything like me this scene will have stuck in your mind as you’ll remember watching Claire tend to poor Jamie’s wounds and wishing you could switch places with her!
The picturesque village of Culross is Scotland’s most complete example of a burgh of the 17th and 18th centuries; it’s no wonder really that it has been snapped up as an Outlander filming location! Located in Fife, and with an estimated population of 395, the village was originally a port city and is believed to have been founded during the 6th century.
During the 17th and 18th century, when most houses centered around the quaint cobbled streets were erected, the village was a centre of the coal mining industry. Nowadays the bustle on the streets is predominantly tourism related. The Outlander effect has been strong in Culross, with hundreds of visitors flocking to walk down the pretty little streets that have starred many times in the hit television series.
In Series 1 of Outlander, the village streets of Culross featured as Cranesmuir, a fictional village located in the Scottish Highlands. In Series 2, the area was seen as an encampment during the Jacobite rebellion and then again in series 4, a house Culross cropped up, this time playing the role of Laoghaire’s residence, who is a young maiden from Castle Leoch who is besotted with Jamie.
Historic Scotland, who are responsible for protecting and preserving the area of Culross, ask that visitors respect the residents of the area and the sanctity of the narrow winding streets by not driving through the village, but instead by using one of the free car parks provided on the outskirts- plus we’d like to add that the village is so much more awe-inspiring when discovered on foot.
The National Trust for Scotland shop in Culross has a handy leaflet depicting all of the places in the area that have been used as outlander filming locations, so if you do visit, pop in and grab one! Some of the highlights include:
- Mercat Cross (series 1) – Gaelic for ‘Market Cross’, the Mercat Cross is the location where the pillory is set up in the square, and Claire begs Jamie to help her set free the young boy with his ear nailed to it. It is also the area where the pyre is set up pending the sentence of the witch trial in Cranesmuir. Although the houses were painted differently for the filming, the scene here mostly looks the same as it did in the programme so it is a fabulous photo opportunity.
- Tanhouse Brae (series 1) – One of the first glimpses we get of Culross in Outlander is of the row of houses leading down to Geillis Duncans’ House, for which Tanhouse Brae is used. In the series, these houses were painted black, but in reality today they are a series of bright colourful houses, which are understandably a favourite with photographers!
- Geillis Duncan’s House (series 1) – For this The Study Building, a protected building in Mercat Cross was used.
- Culross Palace- Many of the rooms in Culross Palace are used for different scenes in Outlander, so a trip to the Palace and Gardens should definitely be on your list of must do’s. Previous visitors have stated that standing inside some of the rooms used in Outlander is a totally surreal experience. These areas include the palace exterior, where in Outlander we see Claire extract a tooth in Bonnie Prince Charlie’s encampment in series 2, as well as Palace King’s room, where Jamie and Claire sleep in series 2, as well as many more. The fantastically friendly staff on site will issue you with a handy Outlander leaflet and can answer any Outlander questions you have.
Situated in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, in the Dean Castle Country Park, you will find the ancient stronghold for the Boyd family, Dean Castle. The country park covers a massive 200 acres and is a great place to visit for a fun free day out for all the family. The fabulous 14th century castle and its surrounding area was used as a filming location in series 2 of Outlander.
Memorable uses of Dean Castle were in the episode entitled ‘The Fox’s Lair’ where it stars as Beaufort Castle, when Claire and Jamie visit his Grandfather, Lord Simon Fraser of Lovat. The gates to the castle can be seen as an Outlander filming location when Claire and Jamie ride in through them, and if you go inside, you’ll be able to see the covered courtyard where Jamie thanks Laoghaire. The wooden keep where Laoghaire apologises to Claire is also here, although not yet open to the public as it is undergoing restoration work.
Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway Station
The Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway and Museum of Scottish Railways attracts over 60,000 visitors every year and is operated by the Scottish Railway Preservation Society (SRPS), which is essentially just a group of volunteer rail enthusiasts. The railway operates both steam and old diesel trains in a traditional railway setting and you may recognise it from its role in episode 3, series 1 as an Outlander filming location.
used as the London railway station where Frank says goodbye to Claire as she heads off to war, you can see the station office which provides the backdrop to Claire’s goodbye scene with her first husband. There is a tourist bus service that travels to Bo’ness station from Edinburgh, timed to arrive shortly before the steam train pulls into the station for the optimum photo opportunity.
Highland Folk Museum
The Highland Folk Museum was founded in 1935, and has existed in its current form since 1995. It is a museum and open-air visitor attraction located in Newtonmore in Badenoch and Strathspey in the Scottish Highlands, 45 miles south of Inverness. If you are a visitor to this fantastic piece of living history, you will learn how our Scottish Highland ancestors lived, from how they built their homes, to how they tilled the soil and how they dressed. A mixture of live actors and restored historic buildings bring the one mile long, 80 acre site to life, alongside a wealth of information and the opportunity to ask any questions.
In 2014 the 1700s Highland Township area of the Highland Folk Museum was used as an Outlander filming location. Since then they have held a yearly Outlander Day in June to celebrate all the best things about our favourite television show in this inspiring location. Most of the buildings are open for you to explore and fully immerse yourself in the experience. Things that you might particularly recognise include the homes, authentically built and furnished using 18th century methods, which Claire and Jamie visited in season 1, episode 5 when sent to collect taxes for Clan Mackensie. You can also see the buildings where Claire helps the village women to dye cloth with urine, and the blacksmiths shop.
The historic home of the lairds of Clan Hunter, Hunterston House, is located in West Kilbride in North Ayrshire. The manor house dates from the 17th century, but the keep is of the late 15th or early 16th century. The grounds used to be open for the public to visit but due to recent legislations due to the nearby nuclear power stations, access is now restricted to only the members of Clan Hunter and their guests. But you can still view the grand building externally if you are in the area!
It was in fact an upstairs bedroom here at Hunterston House that was used to portray the bedroom Claire and Frank stayed in at Mrs Baird’s. One of the rooms downstairs was also used as Reverend Wakefield’s sitting room in season 1 when Frank discussed the Randall family history with him, and again in season 2 when they talk again about Frank being the ‘father’ of Claire’s child. You might also recognise his library here, particularly memorable as being the first place that adult Roger is introduced. The kitchen at Hunterston House was also used, notably when Mrs Graham, the Reverend’s housekeeper, reads Claire’s tea leaves, although this was heavily dressed before filming to look more timely.
The Devil’s Pulpit is a strange rock with a sinister reputation which lurks within the crimson waters of a Scottish glen, and it’s really no wonder that it has been snapped up as an Outlander filming location!
The name the Devil’s Pulpit is now often used to refer to the entirety of the glen, but it was originally specifically used for the spooky mushroom-shaped rock that sometimes pokes above the rushing stream.
Some legends say that this rock is where the Devil once stood to address his followers, whilst others say Druids held secret meetings there or that witches used the rock as an execution block.
You will need some sturdy walking shoes if you wish to reach the rock and explore Finnich Glen, the 100 feet deep gorge where it is located in Stirlingshire. It is vitally important to stick to the paths and respect the fences and boundaries- it’s not unheard of for the mountain rescue team to be called to retrieve tourists that have wandered too far!
Since it was used to depict the fictional St Ninian’s Spring, also known as Liar’s Spring, in Outlander in 2014, the site has seen an explosion in tourism, with an estimated 70,000 visitors now coming to the site each year. In Outlander Claire was instructed to drink from the spring by Dougal to prove that she was telling the truth.
Interested in visiting this site for yourself?
Gosford house is a dominating neo-classical mansion, set in 5000 acres of land in West Lothian, a few miles east of Edinburgh. It is the seat of the Earls of Wemyss and March and building on it was completed in 1800. The house is only open for public viewing for part of the year, but the grounds are open year round.
The rear of the house, aided with a significant amount of CGI, was used as an Outlander filming location as the stables at Versailes in season 2. Whilst the ground floor was largely unchanged for shooting, many of the upper levels were significantly refashioned to the appropriate French 18th century style. It was in the episode shot here at Gosford House that we meet Jamie’s friend Annalise for the first time.
If you would like to arrange an exclusive Outlander tour of Gosford House, that can be arranged for just £15 per person by emailing [email protected]
This 15th century fortress sits on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, near the village of Blackness in Scotland. It was built in 1440, possibly on the site of an even earlier fort. The castle has been property of the crown since 1453, and has historically served as a prison, officers barracks and an ammunition depot at various times over the years.
The Castles unique position, jutting into the Forth, coupled with its long, narrow shape, means it has before been characterised as “the ship that never sailed”. The north and south towers are often named “stem” and “stern”, with the central tower called the “main mast”.
Nowadays, Blackness Castle is a tourist attraction, manned by Historic Scotland, and is a highly popular filming location, having starred in not just Outlander, but also in movies such as ‘Hamlet’, ‘The Bruce’ and ‘Doomsday’.
In Outlander, Blackness Castle is used to portray Fort William, as the original fort no longer exists. For the purpose of filming, some small changes had to be made to the castle to de-modernise it and make it look more authentic. This included replacing all of the metal handrails around the place with traditional wooden fences, and the construction of a pillory (the wooden frame where prisoners used to be held and punished). This process meant that the castle was closed to visitors for 2 months whilst they prepared for and shot the scenes.
Scenes that you may recognise from Outlander that were shot here at Blackness Castle include Jamie being lashed by Captain Randall, the death of Jamie’s father, and Jamie and Claire’s dramatic rescue and escape in the finale of season 1 when they jumped from the walls into the water.
There are of course even more Outlander filming locations, even more than we could ever imagine listing here, but as the popularity of the series has grown and grown, producers have taken to using more and more private residences to protect the cast and the show, so we have tried to stick to the ones that it is possible for you to explore for yourself. If you think we have missed any great locations that it is possible to visit, please let us know! We hope you have enjoyed reading.