The Starz tv show Outlander has become wildly popular. Due to its beautiful scenery and fascinating characters, people find themselves being drawn to Scotland. Tourists are flocking to the country like never before. Even my mom and I found ourselves planning our first trip to Scotland for an Outlander/Mary, Queen of Scots tour. Once there, I realized the country is so much more than Outlander. It’s fascinating history and stunning scenery captured my heart and I find myself going back time and time again, well past merely chasing a tv show.
While there are many places in Scotland that are in the novels and perhaps not in the show, today we focus primarily on filming locations that have made Outlander fantasy become reality. In addition, this list is by no way exhaustive. I haven’t explored many places past season 3, but you will see the ones found here are the most iconic, and/or the most easily accessible. In addition, most are an east jaunt from Edinburgh or Glasgow and are sure to fascinate even those who haven’t been swept up in the Outlander craze. They are beautiful and full of real Scottish history and deserve a visit despite their new claim to fame.
You can almost see Jaime and Claire walking through the streets of Edinburgh. It looks much the same today as it did in the 1700s. There are many places to be found here from the books and a few from the show as well. Edinburgh Castle, The World’s End Pub, and Holyrood Palace, to name a few come to life in the pages of Outlander, while one very important place in the show can be visited on foot.
Bakehouse Close: The brothel where Jaime lived, and his printshop-the location of the oh so memorable reunion of Jaime and Claire (sigh)
When Outlander is being filmed, the best place for a possible Sam and Cait sighting is Glasgow. A large percentage of filming is done in this city.
- L’Hospital des Anges: Where Claire volunteers and gives birth to Faith (sob!).
Glasgow University:Boston and Harvard University.
Seasons 2, 3, 4
Glasgow City Chambers: Frank and Claire’s wedding location.
Dowanhill Street: Claire and Frank’s Boston home.
Seasons 3, 4
Although the draw of picturing Jaime naked at this mill is enough of a reason for a visit, it really is a charming location in and of itself. Easily accessible from Edinburgh.
- Jaime naked in the water hiding from the redcoats at Lallybroch (wowza!).
This castle is also easily accessible from Edinburgh and has actually been used for filming many movies of late, Outlaw King being the most recent.
- Various scenes, including Ardsmuir Prison.
This locations has also become a very popular filming location for many movies. Both Outlaw King and Mary, Queen of Scots used this location as a film set. Outlander fans are sure to recognize this location instantly.
- Ft. William-Jaime is flogged and imprisoned (gasp!).
Seasons 1, 3
This location was used a lot for filming as France and scenes from the show can be viewed on a computer near the entrance of the home.
- The Duke of Sandringham’s home.
No place is more iconic than Midhope Castle. It’s a must-see for Outlander fans, and is typically pretty uncrowded.
Seasons 1, 2, 4
I’ve actually been here twice because it is the most charming little burgh I’ve seen. There is a lovely garden cafe for lunch and the yellow buildings add to the area’s quaint feel.
- The herb garden at Castle Leoch
I’ve also been here twice because it is just so cute and compact. This location has been used a lot in filming and is instantly recognizable as soon as you drive into the town square.
- Inverness: The window where Claire sees the vase, Jaime’s ghost, Claire and Frank’s second honeymoon, Roger trying to find Brianna, etc, etc!
Seasons 1, 2, 4
Drummond Castle Garden
Although this location is a bit of a drive, the formal gardens make it all worthwhile. You can just see Jaime and Claire dressed in all their finery strolling through this garden.
No one will ever forget the drama leading up to the battle of Culloden. In reality, this battlefield truly was the place that would change the face of Scotland forever. It’s a sobering location to visit and discover where fantasy meets reality.
While you’re in the area, take a quick jaunt over to Clava Cairns, an incredible historical location with real standing stones. But be advised, I tried to go through the stones and it didn’t work :(.
I hesitate putting this location into my recommended list because it’s a place I would truly like to keep all to myself. It is absolutely stunning and a natural wonder. It will also give you oodles of respect for the scouts of the show because it is so remote. Be aware that Finnich Glen is rather difficult to find and requires some harrowing climbing to reach (it’s at the bottom of a gorge).
- Where Dougal tests Claire at the “Liar’s Spring”
This may not be at the top of an Outlander’s fan’s list of places to see but it truly is a wonderful little place to visit. When we went we were by ourselves and it was fun to sit and envision where all the actors sat and how it all played out.
- Claire and Geilis’ witch trial
Also easily accessible from Edinburgh, this castle will delight everyone in your group. Not only has this castle been used for filming Outlander but also for Winterfell in Game of Thrones season 1 and perhaps even more importantly, for Monty Python and the Holy Grail. You can even buy coconuts from the gift shop and try your hand at clippity-clopping around the castle grounds.
- Castle Leoch
Other Honorable Mentions
Kinloch Rannoch, Scotland
I know you’re wondering why a place that is so iconic in the show isn’t on my list of must-sees. However, although this location is easily recognizable, the standing stones aren’t real. They were merely props constructed for filming (sigh). In addition, it took us a heck of a long time to drive to Kinloch Rannoch, making it a lot of effort for little reward.
- Craigh na Dun
This is one of my favorite places to visit in Scotland. It can be seen in the opening credits of the show where Jaime and Claire ride away together on horseback, as well as where Claire and Frank drive on their second honeymoon. In addition, Glenfinnan is the location where in real life, Bonnie Prince Charlie raised the standard rallying his troops for a march on Edinburgh. It is a fantastically beautiful location!
While not in the show, it is mentioned in the Skye Boat song in the opening credits and is another stunningly beautiful place to visit. Again, the real Bonnie Prince Charlie comes into play in that after he was defeated at the Battle of Culloden, he dressed up like a woman and escaped to this island.
Not only was this used a bit in filming but it’s also home to the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots. Beyond the show, it is a fascinating place to walk around and picture how the iconic people of Scottish history used to live. To me, it wasn’t a very memorable show location to visit, but the history of the castle more than made up for it!
- Wentworth Prison
While I may not recommend this location as a must-see, it is pretty neat to meet a real-life Laird of a castle. However, the visit is a bit lackluster and there are some cute but super stinky dogs that will follow you around the entire time.
- Wentworth Prison where the cattle stampede the door and Jaime is freed.
The Highland Folk Museum
This museum is a living recreation of Highland life in the 1700’s. It’s very interesting to walk around and discover first-hand how real Highlanders may have lived during the time of Outlander.
- The MacKenzie Village where rent was collected by Douglas and his crew.
There are so many places in Scotland where one can experience a piece of Outlander. From the city to the Highlands, the story of Jaime and Claire can be felt throughout this amazing country. It’s a lovely tale that mimics history, making an Outlander-themed vacation something to please both the die-hard fans (women) and the die-hard haters (husbands) of this story ;). I hope you too will get the chance to enjoy the beauty and history of Scotland. Like me, you may fall in love with the country far beyond Outlander, and find yourself returning time and time again just to experience all the wonderful country has to offer.
Final Thoughts & Things
We booked our Outlander tour through Edinburgh Tour Guides. Sam was very knowledgeable about all things Outlander and was very accommodating when helping us plan our trip.
This is a great website for all Outlander filming locations: outlanderlocations.com
We’ve had many adventures in Scotland. Here are a few more you can check out:
Adventures (and misadventures) on the Isle of Iona