The TV series Outlander whisks you away to the romantic Scottish Highlands, into the wild and treacherous 17th century, and follows the love story between Jamie Fraser and English nurse Claire Randall. Visiting Outlander filming locations in Scotland is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the story, learn more about Scotland’s history, meet fellow fans and fall in love with this beautiful country. Where is Outlander filmed? Most of the Outlander filming took place in Scotland's central belt so if you are basing yourself in Edinburgh or Glasgow you are in the ideal place.
Outlander was a series of books before it ever became a TV series. The series of books by author Diana Gabaldon has its fair share of fans from all over the world. The first book, Outlander, or Cross stitch in the U.K., was released in 1991 and Gabaldon has since wrote another 7 books. The ninth, Go tell the bees that I’m gone, is due for release soon. There are also several short stories, novellas and graphic novels to accompany the main stories. The legions of book fans I have spoke to over the years have long known about the draw they feel to Scotland and the country has seen a large increase in tourism since the TV series began.
When the first season of Outlander, the TV series, was released in August 2014 these wonderful stories won over a whole new army of fans. Fans who visit the Outlander filming locations, who plan their trips to Scotland with a list of locations they want to see, who book Outlander tours with the many companies here that now offer them and who take away memories of Scotland they cherish and will never forget.
Scotland is a special country (I may be biased), Lonely Planet has just named it the most beautiful country in the world and I have to agree. If you have a nosy around my Scotland travel blog you’ll see why I love it so much and by exploring these filming locations I hope you begin to love it as much as I do.
You can visit the majority of the filming locations by basing yourself in Edinburgh and Glasgow and taking day trips to the locations. I would recommend hiring a car as this will make it far easier to go exactly where you want to go but it is possible to visit most by train or bus. If you don't want to hire a car buses and trains are regular, affordable and reliable. A great app to plan your journey beforehand, and while you are in Scotland is TravelLine Scotland.
Outlander Filming Locations
The Royal Mile is a mile long street leading from Edinburgh Castle at the top to Holyrood Palace at the bottom. You can visit the castle for panoramic view over the city, see the Honours of Scotland, the oldest Crown Jewels in Britain and hear the one o’clock gun. The Royal Mile has seen the cast of Outlander several times and you can visit the locations as you head down towards Holyrood Palace. The Tolbooth Jail where Jamie’s men were locked up is no longer there but the spot where the entrance used to be, near St Giles Cathedral, is marked with the ‘heart of Midlothian’, a brick heart on the pavement. People still spit on it today to show their disgust!
In the third season the Jamaican Governor's mansion was filmed inside the nearby Signet Library, where you can enjoy a pretty delicious afternoon tea. You could also pop into St Giles Cathedral, although it has nothing to do with Outlander, it is stunningly beautiful and it's free to enter.
Bakehouse Close, next to the Museum of Edinburgh and across the road from the People's Story (both museums are also free to enter) was used as the location for Jamie's print shop on 'Carfax Close'. The church across the road, the Canongate Kirk, is where Colum arranges to meet Jamie in the third season. You also see glimpses of the surrounding buildings when Claire is looking for Jamie. Tweeddale Court is also in season 3, filled with market stalls. Next you'll find the World's End pub, where Jamie and Claire found Mr Willoughby. This pub is named after the walls of the city. After the Battle of Flodden in the sixteenth century walls were put up around the city to protect it and if you look at the ground outside the pub you can see the brass plates where the walls lay. As far as Edinburgh locals were concerned the walls were literally the end of their world!
When Claire watches the Druids at the stones she is witnessing their Beltane celebrations. If you visit Edinburgh at Beltane you can witness and take part in the festival at Calton Hill.
At the foot of the Royal Mile is Holyrood Palace which, although filming didn't take place there, has lots of Jacobite connections. Jamie met Bonnie Prince Charlie and his court there in Dragonfly in Amber. The King's rooms are fascinating and since Charles II copied the idea from his cousin Louis XIV in Versailles you get a feel of the rooms that you seen in the Palace of Versailles in season 2. The rooms used by Mary, Queen of Scots has lots of Jacobite memorabilia. The palace is open year round and it costs £15 per adult and £8.70 per child. You can book tickets here.
Craigmillar Castle, often said to be Edinburgh’s second Castle, is just a short trip out of Edinburgh. Being outside the city it was used as a retreat or a hideout, depending on who was visiting! The mighty castle was used as Ardsmuir Prison in Season 3. Run by Lord John Grey it's where Jamie is imprisoned. We see it twice, once when a redcoat leads John Grey in and the outside is seen when the men are taken away. You can see the castle walls, doorways and ruined staircases.
You can get a bus from Edinburgh Bus Station to Craigmillar Castle which takes 30 minutes. It is looked after by Historic Environment Scotland so if you are a member entry is free, if not an adult is £6 and children £4.80 each.
Claire and Jamie got married in Glencorse Old Kirk in East Lothian in season 1 but the Kirk is closed to the public so I’d recommend instead visiting Prestonmill. This watermill was used until 1959 and you can take a guided tour to learn more about the watermill and how the millers worked. You might recognise the large wooden wheel at the side of the building , it was used in the scene at Lallybroch, when Jamie hides under the water wheel to escape the redcoats. It’s immediately recognisable and a superb place to take photos, especially if you also visit the strangely shaped Phantassie Doocot across the river which was used to house pigeons over the winter when meat was scarce.
You can get a bus from Edinburgh Bus Station to Prestonmill which takes around 1 hr 10 minutes. If you want a guided tour please book in advance. It is run by the National Trust for Scotland so if you are a member entry is free, if not Adults are £6.50 and children are £5 each.
The grand neoclassical Gosford House, in Longniddry, was one of two mansions used to film Ellesmere and Helwater and several scenes at the stables of the Palace of Versailles were also filmed here. It is only open for part of the year and private tour can be arranged but the gardens are open all year and it's a lovely place to visit.
You can get the train to Longniddry from Edinburgh Waverley which takes 20 minutes, then take the bus to Gosford House, taking 5 mins. To find out which days the house is open and for details of the tour click here
The area surrounding Linlithgow and Falkirk has been used many times during filming. Linlithgow Palace was used as Wentworth prison where Jamie is subjected to Jack Randall. One of the arched rooms on the ground floor and the hallway can be scene at the end of season 1. This huge castle ruin is where Mary, Queen of Scots was born and if you climb your way to the top you are rewarded with stunning views of Linlithgow Loch. There is also an amazing ornate fountain in the courtyard where you can the watch flowing in July and August. This palace was a pleasure palace, much like Falkland Palace which I'll tell you about a little further down. It was a nice location for the royals to stop at on their way from Edinburgh Castle to Stirling Castle. The fresh air and beautiful countryside often meant the royal babies spent their childhood here. Linlithgow Palace is run by Historic Enviroment Scotland. The train from Edinburgh Waverley to Linlithgow takes 19 mins. From Glasgow the train takes 27 mins. If you aren't a member entry tickets cost £6.40 per adult, children are free. (Closes during the winter months)
Between Linlithgow and the Forth Bridges is a row of four filming locations. Bo'ness Railway is where Claire waves to Frank on the way to war in season 1, the steam train is the same train they used in filming. You can explore the adjoining Museum of Scottish Railway and book a trip on the steam train, you can even have a cheeky wee afternoon tea. The train only runs on certain days and doesn't run during the winter months but if you find it is open when you visit it's a lovely attraction to add to your itinerary. The museum also has limited opening hours so check the website here before you travel.
A little further along the road is the formidable Blackness Castle. This stood in for Fort William and when you step into the inner courtyard you'll instantly recognise it as where Jamie was whipped by Jack Randall. It was a harrowing scene and this castle seems to ooze the same eerie and torturous atmosphere. I wish I had visited this castle before I had watched Outlander to see if I still felt the same, it may just be me being weird! But then it was never meant to be a nice relaxing place to be, it has previously been a state prison, a garrison fortress and, more recently, an ammunition depot. If you walk through the door on the left you can walk the walkway out into the Firth of Forth and if you look back at the castle you'll spot where Claire and Jamie jump into the sea to escape.
Blackness Castle is run by Historic Environment Scotland so again is free if you are a member, or adults are £6 and children £4.80.
Not far from the Forth Bridges you can also visit the magnificent Hopetoun House which was used in the first three seasons of filming. The Red Drawing Room was used as the Duke of Sandringham's house in the first season and in season two Hopetoun doubled as the Hawkings Estate. Some Parisian street scenes were also filmed here as was the guest room in Jamie and Claire's Paris apartment. In season three Hopetoun became Ellesmere and the stables at Helwater.
Hopetoun House is open April-September. Entry to the house and gardens cost £10.50 per adult and £5.50 per child. You can visit the gardens only which is cheaper. Sometimes guided tours of the house are available, ask a member of staff.
Also on the Hopetoun Estate is Midhope Castle, or Lallybroch. This is a private building and is derelict and unsafe so you aren't allowed inside but you can visit and take photos from the outside. It is often closed for activities on the estate and is in an area where there are working farms so take special care driving and double check it is open here before arriving.
A permit to park is £3.50 per person and is available at the ticket kiosk.
Close by to Linlithgow is Beecraigs Park which was used in season 4 as the North Carolina woodland and it's where Jamie and Claire rode when they left River Run.
The picturesque village of Falkland is in Fife. It has been used in filming during season 1,2 and 4. In fact one of the first scene of episode one, after the absolutely stunning panoramic scene in Glencoe, is in Falkland when Claire gazes at the blue vase in the shop window. That shop is actually a lovely little shop called Fayre Earth. Across the square is Campbell's Coffee shop and has the same name in the show. The ornate fountain in the middle of the square is where the ghost stands and watches Claire at the window of the Mrs Baird's B+B, which is actually the Covenanter Hotel, across the lane from Fayre Earth. I've wrote a more indepth blog about Outlander filming in Falkland which you can read here. The village was used as 1940's Inverness and in season 2+4 it doubled as Inverness in the 1960's. You can take the train to Kirkcaldy and then hop on a bus to Falkland, the journey will take 1 hr 31 mins. The train from Glasgow will stop at Perth where you can get the bus to Falkland.
The amazing little village of Culross, in Fife, is home to Cranesmuir. The village has been restored by the National Trust for Scotland and is just like how it would have been in the 17th and 18th century so allow time here to walk around, taking in the cobbled lanes, marriage lints (which can also be found in Falkland) and colourful houses and cottages. In season 1 the Market Square is where the young boy had his ear nailed to the post and the house nearby with the stairs was Geillis Duncan's rooms.
The recreated 17th century Jacobite garden behind the mustard-coloured Palace was Claire's herb garden and rooms inside the palace have also been used in filming. The kitchen and pantry became the tavern and the High Hall is where the Jacobite assembly was filmed. One of the rooms was also Jamie and Claire's bedroom for one scene.
The Black Kirk where Claire finds the flower which poisoned Tammas Baxter is actually the West Kirk which can be found a short walk from the east of the village.
In season 2 the Jacobite encampment and makeshift hospital was filmed in the village and in season 4 filming also took place, Balriggan Cottage, where Laoghaire and her daughter lived is also in the village. I've wrote a more indepth blog about Outlander filming locations in Culross here. Getting the train from Edinburgh or Glasgow is complicated but you can catch a bus from Princes Street in Edinburgh to Dunfermline then change there for Culross. The train from Glasgow leaves from Buchanan Bus Station and you can change in Dunfermline for Culross.
Rest of Fife
There are many filming locations in Fife. As well as the villages of Culross and Falkland Aberdour Castle, thought to be one of the oldest in Scotland, was transformed into Abbey Ste Anne de Beaupre, the Benedictine Monastery. The kitchen, stables and long gallery were all used when Claire and Murtagh brought Jamie to the monastery to recover.
A little further along the coast Dysart Harbour became the French port of Le Havre where Claire and Jamie arrive at the beginning of season 2. Pretty French chateaus were superimposed into the huge wall that lines the harbour. The ship they arrive on, the Cristabel, was actually the Reaper, which is based outside the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther which is 20 miles away, further up the coast. The ship spent most of her life in Shetland as a herring fishing boat and retired to Anstruther where she was restored to how she was when she was built in 1902. She is now a floating museum teaching visitors about the herring industry and you can visit for free when it is open and isn't touring.
When Claire and the MacKenzies plan the rescue of Jamie from Wentworth they rest at the home of the MacRannochs, which was filmed at Balgonie Castle, a little further inland. Buses in Fife are regular and will take you between all of the locations in the Kingdom. The main bus stations are in Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline.
Stirling and Falkirk
Stirling University, specifically the Pathfoot building, was transformed into 1960’s Inverness University. Brianna and Roger visit to do some research in the final episode of season 2 and find Geillis Duncan leading the White Roses rally. You can grab a map from reception and head out to Airthrey Loch, at the far end you’ll find Airthrey Castle which the filming team used while filming in the neighbouring woodland.
Callander House in Falkland is a stunningly impressive mansion house set in extensive grounds which includes a section of the Antonine wall. The grand ornate turrets gives the appearance of a large French chateau. It’s a house that is used for lots of different events including weddings and the tea room does amazing afternoon teas (I kinda like afternoon teas, can you tell?) There is a small museum that is well worth a look too, the Park Gallery has an ever changing exhibition of contemporary art and the Story of Callander House tells the story of the house and the town of Falkirk. The restored 1825 Georgian Kitchen became the Duke of Sandringham’s candlelit kitchen in ‘Vengance is mine’ when Murtagh finds out the truth about Mary Hawkins being attacked in Paris. If you visit the kitchen there are usually costumed actors there to show you around and let you sample some recreated dishes.
In season 4 Grey Buchanan Park just outside Falkirk saw the filming of the scene where Gavin Hayes was buried by Jamie and young Ian.
Trains from Glasgow Queen Street to Stirling take around 30 mins, trains to Falkirk from Glasgow take 17 mins. Trains from Stirling to Falkirk take around 15 mins. Trains from Edinburgh Waverley to Stirling take 40 mins and from Edinburgh to Falkirk take 22 mins.
Dunmore Park is home to one of the strangest building I’ve found, a long low building with a massive pineapple on the roof (!) It was in the grounds that you’ll find where the field hospital was in the first episode, when Claire gets covered in blood.
Nearby is one of the most popular Outlander filming locations, Doune Castle which was, of course, Castle Leoch, the seat of Clan MacKenzie. It’s immediately recognisable as you drive the short winding road to the car park in front of the castle. The front has been seen in several episode in the first season. First as an abandoned ruin when Claire and Frank visit then later when she arrives with Jamie into a bustling courtyard which you will find when you enter. You’ll also recognise many of the spiral staircases from episode 2. You are in for a real treat when you visit as Sam Heughan is now on the audio guide, letting us in on some of the filming gossip. He is joined by the original story teller, Monty Python’s Terry Jones, another film shot at the castle.
A short ten minute drive away is Deanston Distillery which was once a cotton mill. It’s here that the inside scenes of the warehouse at the port of Le Havre (the outside being filmed in Dysart). Here, Claire discovers the boy with small pox at the beginning of season 2. While you are at Deanston you can take a tour and sample some of the traditionally made whisky.
Scotland’s largest city has played host to the cast of Outlander several times. The studios are based in Cumbernauld, not far away, so Glasgow is a popular location. Glasgow Cathedral became L’Hôpital des Anges in Paris where Claire offers to help treat patients. This Cathedral is magnificent and I’d highly recommend a tour. It is actually older than the city itself and dates from the 12th century. There are a few buildings nearby that are worth a visit too such as Provand’s Lordship, the oldest house in the city, and St Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life. Not far from here is Tennent’s Brewery and while filming didn’t take place here there is a big ol’ piece of art on the wall outside of Sam Heughan as Hugh Tennant, the founder of the famous drink.
The wedding proposal in the first season, which was in London in the series, actually took place in John Street in Glasgow and the sign which says City of Westminster Registry Office was stuck on the back entrance of Glasgow's City Chambers (also worth having a nosy around).
When Frank is working at Harvard as a historian the scenes are filmed in Glasgow University. Panning shots show off the impressive Victorian turrets of the quadrangles (when the Dean is discussing American power post-war) and the beautiful oriel window of the Gilbert Scott building (at the beginning of season 3 when the scenes are flicking between 1740's and 1940's). The Cloisters are magnificent and are seen as Brianna shows Roger around the university. The exterior of Claire and Frank's Boston home was filmed just west of the university in Dowanhill Street. We see a stylish silver car pull up outside and we see it as number 124 in episode 1 of season 3 and see the house again as Frank arrives in a yellow cab in episode 5.
Kelvingrove Park is seen a few times in season 3, first when Claire is pushing Brianna in her pram through the park, where we also get a glimpse of Kelvingrove At Gallery and Museum and again when Claire gives money to the bagpiper on the bridge. It is free to visit the art gallery and museum and I recommend it, it's a fascinating way to wile away a few hours.
Pollock Country Park has been used in all four seasons of Outlander. The grounds of Pollock Park stood in for the ground of Castle Leoch in season 1, the French countryside in season 2 and the site of the Carolina Scottish Festival attended by Brianna and Roger.
Just outside Glasgow, about 30 minutes away the fantastic Calderglen Country Park was recently used in season 4 for the scenes when Jamie took Willie on the fishing and shooting trip. Also used in season 4 is St Andrews in the Square, the centre for Scottish Culture, which became the theatre in Wilmington that Claire and Jamie attended with Governor Tyron. The outside of the theatre was filmed in Midlothian.
When Jamie and Claire leave for France by boat they leave from a beautiful beach in Troon, on the Ayrshire coast, about 40 minutes west of Glasgow. They film the scene where Jamie, Claire and Murtagh say goodbye to Willie, Rupert and Angus and row a small rowing boat across to the Cristabel, which we can see in the background of the scene, out at sea. Further down the coast is Dunure Harbour which was used in season 3 and 4. The harbour is in the pretty little fishing village of Dunure and was transformed to see Claire and Jamie off on the Armetis on their search for young Ian. The nearby Dunure Castle was used as Silkie Island which young Ian swims to in search of the gold.
Dean Castle became the home of the 'Old Fox' Lord Lovat, Jamie's grandfather and scenes were filmed here when Jamie arrived to ask his grandad for support for bonnie Prince Charlie. The castle is being renovated and will be closed until 2021 but the gardens are open and you can take a guided tour, or even take a tour of the renovations and hear more about the important work that's being done.
There are a few filming locations further north which would make a day trip from Edinburgh or Glasgow more difficult so I've included the distances from each so you can decide whether or not you want to do it in one trip. Another option would be to spend a night or two away from the city, perhaps in Pitlochry or Callander. This means you will be able to see the rest of the Outlander locations, many of which are absolutely beautiful and well worth visiting, without long periods of driving.
Tibbermore Church in Perthshire is a tiny picturesque church and is where the witch trials took place in 'The Devil's Mark' in season 1. Claire and Geillis Duncan stood in the dock (and you can too!) accused of witchcraft and although Claire was spared Geillis wasn't so lucky. To get access to the church you have to arrange the visit beforehand and you can do this here. Distance from Edinburgh Waverley - 1 hour. Distance from Glasgow Queen Street - 1 hour.
Drummond Castle and Gardens became the stunning gardens of the Palace of Versailles. Although you can't visit the castle the gardens are immediately recognisable. You can climb the grand stairs which are in the famous shot of Claire in her elaborate red dress, see where they are surprised by Black Jack Randall and see where Jamie and Murtagh fought with their swords. The gardens are beautifully formal and you can easily spend a couple of hours here exploring all the different areas. You need a ticket to enter the gardens which can be bought there or online in advance here. Distance from Edinburgh Waverley - 1 hour 18 mins. Distance from Glasgow Queen Street - 56 mins. Read my blog about Drummond Castle and gardens here.
When Brianna and Roger take a road trip to get to know each other at the end of season two they do so at Loch Katrine. The roads around here are amazing and on the loch you'll find the SS Sir Walter Scott steamship which you can board and take a trip out onto the loch. Distance from Edinburgh Waverley - 1 hour 59 mins. Distance from Glasgow Queen Street - 1 hour 33 mins.
This is where the scenery gets really special. The scene where Claire and Frank drove with the rolling hills and mountains as a backdrop? That is Kinloch Rannoch and it's an outstanding area. Further to the east is the magical and mysterious Glencoe which we spot in the opening scene in the first season. Glencoe is one of my favourite spots in Scotland and I highly recommend not rushing your time here, take it all in, soak up the view, perhaps take a hike and enjoy! Distance from Edinburgh Waverley - 2 hours 5 mins. Distance from Glasgow Queen Street - 2 hours 8 mins.
This next location is actually one of my favourite filming locations as it just screams Outlander as soon as you see it. The Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore is a free to enter and is an outdoor museum with buildings spanning the centuries which you can go inside and explore. There is a 1930's working croft, a church from the 1900's, a school house from 1925 and many, many more. The highlight for an Outlander fan though is the 1700's township, used to film the 'Rent' episode in season 1. Distance from Edinburgh Waverley - 2 hours 14 mins. Distance from Glasgow Queen Street - 2 hours 17 mins. You can read more about the location in my blog here.
The woodland surrounding Dunkeld House Hotel can be seen in season 4 in the dramatic scenes when Jamie, Claire and young Ian search for Roger in the North Carolina woodland. Distance from Edinburgh Waverley - 1 hour 20 mins. Distance from Glasgow Queen Street - 1 hour 22 mins.
South of Edinburgh in Midlothian is Arniston House, a beautiful mansion house used to film the outside of the theatre which Jamie and Claire attended in season 4. Distance from Edinburgh Waverley - 34 mins. Distance from Glasgow Queen Street - 1 hour 20 mins.
Further south still, in Dumfries and Galloway, the outside, living room and bedrooms of Drumlanrig Castle became Bellhurst Manor in season 2. Distance from Edinburgh Waverley - 1 hour 42 mins. Distance from Glasgow Queen Street - 1 hour 13 mins.
Day trip ideas
This list will give you an idea of day trips you can do if you are staying in the city. Edinburgh and Glasgow are only half an hour from each other via train.
Day 1 Edinburgh and East Lothian
Day 2 Linlithgow and Falkirk
Day 3 Fife, Culross and Falkland
Day 4 Glasgow
Day 5 Ayrshire
Day 6 Perthshire
If you are a fan of Outlander you'll love visiting Scotland. As well as all these filming locations there are many free to enter museums with Jacobite history, thousands of castles, pretty villages and stunning mountain ranges and beaches.
To read more about Culross as a filming location read my guide - Culross
To find out more about Falkland as a filming location read - Falkland
You can read more about the amazing Highland Folk Museum on m blog - Highland Folk Museum
Click here to take you to my Outlander page with all my Outlander blogs