Lallybroch. Castle Leoch. And, of course, Craig na Dun. Any fan of the TV series Outlander (Starz Network) knows these places and the roles they play in Jamie’s and Claire’s timeless love story. Most of the Outlander filming locations are found in Scotland, even the Gardens of the Palace of Versailles. Below are ten of the top Outlander filming locations.
1 – Kinloch Rannoch and Rannoch Moor (Craig na Dun)
This is where it all began, the stone circle that sent Claire back to 1743. To be clear, there is no actual stone circle on Rannoch Moor – according to legend, Gabaldon’s inspiration for the standing stones came from either the Callanish Stone Circle on the Isle of Lewis and/or Clava Cairns near Inverness. However, the hill on which Claire’s standing stones are located in the TV series is just off the road near Kinloch Rannoch, south of the Dunalastair Reservoir.
2 – Doune Castle (Castle Leoch)
Doune Castle was built in the late 13th century, almost certainly damaged during the Scottish Wars of Independence, then rebuilt by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, in the late 14th century. It was particularly important because of its location, near the geographic center of Scotland and only five miles from Stirling Castle. The castle passed to the crown in 1425 and became a popular hunting lodge and dowager house. Doune Castle has survived, relatively unchanged and complete, to modern times. It is a popular filming location, having been used for the films Ivanhoe and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, as well as serving as Castle Leoch in Outlander.
3 – Blackness Castle (Fort William)
On the south shore of the Firth of Forth is the 15th century fortress, Blackness Castle. Because the site of the castle juts out into the firth and the castle itself has a distinctive long, narrow shape, Blackness Castle is known as “the ship that never sailed.” Built by Sir George Crichton in the 1440’s, it passed to the crown in 1453 and was massively fortified to serve as a state prison and artillery. The castle fell to Cromwell in 1650 and was an important military base until the 1870’s. The British Army also briefly used it during World War I. Given its centuries of service as a military outpost, it is easy to see why it was chosen as the location for Fort William.
4 – Midhope Castle (Lallybroch)
Midhope Castle is a 16th century tower house located on the Hopetoun Estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh. On the north side of the courtyard is an elaborate gateway that creates the view of Lallybroch fans know best. While visitors can view the outside of the property, the house itself is an unsafe ruin and no one is allowed inside. Although it’s not certain who built Midhope Castle, in 1678 John Hope acquired it and incorporated Midhope into the Hopetoun Estate. The Hopetoun Estate includes Hopetoun House, otherwise known as Bellhurst Manor, the Duke of Sandringham’s estate.
5 – Linlithgow Palace (Wentworth Prison)
On the road between Edinburgh and Stirling is Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots. Originally a 12th century royal manor, King James I began rebuilding Linlithgow as a grand residence after the 1424 fire that destroyed the town of Linlithgow. The palace continued in use through the second Jacobite war, until Bonnie Prince Charlie was driven out by the Duke of Cumberland, who set the palace ablaze when he left. And those centuries of improvements and fortifications resulted in an imposing edifice that very ably stands in for the impenetrable Wentworth Prison.
6 – Aberdour Castle (Sainte Anne de Beaupré Monastery)
Aberdour Castle is one of the two oldest datable castles in Scotland, and possibly the oldest; the hall house dates from sometime between 1150 and 1200, built by the de Mortimer family. It was associated with Scottish nobility for centuries, including Robert the Bruce, Mary, Queen of Scots, and was even used as a garrison during the Jacobite Uprising of 1715. The Old Kitchen and the Long Gallery, from around the 17th century, were used in filming.
7 – Falkland (1940’s Inverness)
In Fife at the foot of the Lomond Mountains lies the breathtakingly beautiful village of Falkland, better known as the Randall’s honeymoon destination on Outlander. Falkland Palace was the summer hunting lodge for the Stewarts from the mid-16th to the mid-17th century, then abandoned after a fire in 1654 (which occurred while the palace was occupied by Cromwell’s troops). Restoration began in the late 19th century, and by 1970 the whole of the township of Falkland had been designated Scotland’s first conservation area. While exploring the town, make sure to stop in at Covenanter Hotel, otherwise known as Mrs. Baird’s guesthouse.
8 – Culross (Cransemuir)
On the north shore of the Firth of Forth, and a bit further inland than Blackness Castle, is Culross. The Royal Burgh of Culross is a National Trust of Scotland property that is arguably the best, most complete example of a 17th-18th century burgh in the country – as well as the town of Cranesmuir in Outlander. Must-see sites include the 1597 Palace, including the gardens, and the 1626 Town House with its 1783 Tower.
9 – Dean Castle (Beaufort estate)
Jamie’s deplorable grandfather, Lord Lovat, made his home in Beaufort Castle and declined to leave it when Jamie asked for men to support Bonnie Prince Charlie (though he did send his son). The home Lord Lovat refused to leave is actually Dean Castle, located in Kilmarnock in western Scotland. Robert the Bruce gave the lands to Robert Boyd for his service in the Scottish Wars of Independence, and the Boyd family held the land and castle for centuries…until Lord Boyd was executed for treason for supporting Bonnie Prince Charlie in the Second Jacobite War.
10 – Deanston Distillery (Jarrod’s wine warehouse in Le Harve)
On the River Teith just a stone’s throw from Doune Castle and at the entrance to Loch Lomond & the Trossachs is the Deanston Distillery. The distillery actually started in 1785 as a cotton gin, but changed to whiskey production in 1965. The waters from the River Teith not only produce a superior whiskey, they also provide all the (hydroelectric) power used by the distillery. And one of their warehouses full of whiskey stands in for Jamie’s cousin Jarrod’s wine warehouse in France.
All these places offer the barest introduction to Outlander filming locations in Scotland. Other sites include Tulloch Ghru, where Claire and Jaime first meet; Glencourse Old Kirk, where they married; Culloden Battlefield, where they say goodbye; and Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, where they are reunited 20 years later. There are also numerous locations in Glasgow, like George Square and Glasgow Cathedral. Much of France’s Le Harve was recreated in Scotland’s Dysart Harbour. And then there are the many sites used to create Bellhurst Manor, the Duke of Sandringham’s estate, including Hopetoun House, Callendar House and Drumlanrig Castle.
If you’re a fan of Outlander, be sure to check out our Outlander Tour of Scotland!