Sophie Pearce has travelled to over 50 Scottish Outlander locations but here are her personal top ten.
10 Best Outlander Locations
If you’re thinking of going on an Outlander pilgrimage to Scotland sometime soon, or you’re suffering from the endless weeks of Droughtlander, then you should definitely cast your eyes over this list.
I’ve been a fan of the Outlander series since it began (okay, some would call me borderline obsessed) and last year I decided to go to Scotland and see some of the locations for myself. My little project of only visiting a few locations in Edinburgh ended up expanding and took me around most of Scotland. I ended up clocking in over 50 locations in two weeks!
It was incredible and I was in my element. But, from my experience, not all Outlander film locations are created equal. So, if you’re looking to follow in the footsteps of Claire and Jamie, check out my top 10 destinations you need to visit!
1. Lallybroch: Midhope Castle
Did you even go on an Outlander tour of Scotland if you didn’t visit Lallybroch?!
As you walk down the iconic path towards Jamie’s ancestral home, it will give you the chills. It is exactly as it looks in the series. But, if you’re hoping to have a dram with Laird Broch Turach while you’re here, you may be sorely disappointed.
Lallybroch a.k.a Midhope Castle is a derelict property on the wider Hopetoun Estate near Edinburgh that is open seasonally to the public. But, it is still worth visiting and you can take a snap under the famous archway and sit on the steps like Claire and Jenny.
It’s a must for any Outlander fan.
2. Carfax Close (A. Malcolm Print Shop): Bakehouse Close
Who could forget the iconic episode in Season 3 where Claire and Jamie finally reunite after so long apart?
If you cast your mind back, Claire was searching for Jamie in the 1960s and she finally locates him as A. Malcolm running a print shop in Edinburgh. So, she goes back through the stones to the 18th century and finds Jamie in his print shop in Carfax Close. You can find this exact film location on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh as Bakehouse Close. There’s just one catch. There isn’t any A. Malcolm print shop!
You'll find the archway leading to the print shop and the steps leading up to where shop is but the stairs lead to…well nothing, actually. Despite this, you’ll still see masses of Outlander fans recreating the iconic scene where Claire heads up the steps to find her long-lost red-haired Highlander. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
3. Inverness: Falkland Village
Did you know that the Outlander team chose the quaint Falkland Village to play the role of the real Inverness in the 1940s? This is because it looks like it’s stuck in time.
The main square is like a temple for Outlander fans! You’ve got the Bruce Fountain where the ghost of Jamie looks up at Claire, the streets Claire walks down, shops which actually have blue vases in them and even Mrs Baird’s B&B!
Outlander fans may scream when they find out that they can stay in THE room where Claire is brushing her hair in the window at the Covenanter Hotel. But, if you’re just passing through, they do have an Outlander themed café. Look out for the old fashioned Inverness bus timetables on the notice board!
If you have time, you may also be interested to visit the locations of scenes from Season 2 in the side streets of Rotten Row, Brunton Row, Sharp’s Close, and the High Street. So, make sure you leave lots of time for Outlander locating hunting here!
4. Castle Leoch: Doune Castle
The iconic seat of the Clan Mackenzie waits to welcome you in their castle in Doune!
Castle Leoch was one of the castles I was most looking forward to when I visited Scotland and I’m sure fans will not be disappointed either. Most of the Castle Leoch scenes were shot outside of Doune Castle, but they did use the courtyard, a few of the rooms and the rooftop too. You can almost imagine Mrs Fitz rallying up the troops in the kitchens!
If you’ve ever dreamt of Jamie whispering sweet words in your ear, I’d take one of their audio guides. There is a special Outlander tour of the castle which is narrated by Sam Heughan himself! As Doune Castle is also the filming location of Monty Python’s The Holy Grail and featured in the pilot of Game of Thrones, prepare for this place to be packed out.
My advice: get there as early as possible.
5. Fort William: Blackness Castle
Blackness Castle is home to some of the more sombre scenes in the series as it plays the dreary Fort William.
Whether it was the time that Jamie was flogged by Black Jack Randall or Claire is held captive by him, nothing good can come from being trapped inside its walls. But, don’t worry, there won’t be any Redcoats on patrol when you arrive or a Pillory in the courtyard.
If I hadn't seen the Outlander series first, I might see it as quite a beautiful castle on the edge of the sea! Outlander fans should look out for the archway where Bree and Roger visit the fort in the 1960s, the courtyard where Jamie was flogged and the wall where Claire and Jamie escape by jumping off into the sea (althought this was done on a green screen).
There is also a window that resembles the one that Jamie climbed through. They were going to film it at the castle but Sam Heughan was too big! So, they recreated it in the studio.
6. Craigh Na Dun: Kinloch Rannoch
Ah, the stones that started it all! Craigh Na Dun is the legendary stone circle that teleports Claire from the 20th to the 18th century near Inverness. But, I will let you down gently now; that stone circle does not exist. They were all made of polystyrene and painted to look like real standing stones. However, you can visit the iconic location where they filmed these scenes in Kinloch Rannoch, Perthshire.
It is private property and in a pretty remote location, but the owners kindly let fans visit and take some photos at the site. It’s pretty surreal to be there, even without the stones and you get perfect views of the Scottish countryside. Just be mindful that it is private land. Follow the owners rules and don’t disturb the animals.
If you were looking for a similar stone circle to Craigh Na Dun, why not visit Clava Cairns near Inverness which was inspiration for the circle or the Callanish Stones on the Isle of Lewis?
7. Cranesmuir: Culross
One of the locations that truly surprised me with its charm was Culross (pronounced “Cuh-russ”). This town plays the small village of Cranesmuir near Castle Leoch.
Culross is brimming with Outlander locations from the Culross Palace which has rooms that Claire and Jamie stayed in, to the Palace Gardens which stand-in for the herb gardens of Castle Leoch.
But, fans will mostly be excited by Mercat Cross (the Market Cross). Here, you can find Tanhouse Brae where Claire is followed by Angus, the Study Building where Geillis Duncan lives and the Mercat Cross itself, which featured the Pillory with the boys ear nailed to it. If you carry on down Wee Causeway, you’ll find the pathway to Tammas Baxter’s House and even Laoghaire’s House in Series 4.
Make sure you leave enough time to explore here, it could take you all day.
8. The Black Kirk: Culross West Kirk
Are you brave enough to visit the haunted Black Kirk? When Tammas Baxter is sick in Castle Leoch, the Mackenzie’s blame the nearby Black Kirk of St. Nick. They say there is the presence of an evil demon and that’s what is causing the boys to die. But, when Claire and Jamie go to investigate, they find that it is in fact Lilly of the Valley (not wood garlic) that is causing the illness. A poison that has a cure.
The Outlander team chose the West Kirk near Culross to play the Black Kirk and it’s easy to see why. This ruined church does look a little haunted. The kirk is a little remote but its worth the journey and when you get here you can take photos and pose just like Claire in the series!
There’s even leaves that look exactly like Lily of the Valley here. Although it won’t harm you, I wouldn’t eat them if I were you.
9. Gardens of Versailles: Drummond Castle Gardens
Did you know that in the first half of Outlander Series 2, none of the scenes were actually shot in Paris? Yep, they were mostly all shot in Bonnie old Scotland. So, you don’t need to buy an expensive plane ticket to go find them. My favourite Parisian scenes were shot in the Gardens of the Palace of Versailles and you can actually visit these gardens in real life!
Drummond Castle Gardens is one of the finest examples of a manicured garden in the country. As you walk around you can almost imagine the French courtiers sauntering around or seeing Black Jack Randall grovel to Prince Louis. If the weather is nice, then this is the perfect place to bring a picnic and enjoy some sunshine. I visited in June and it was a beautiful sunny day where all the flowers were on show.
…And no, I’m still not over Claire’s red dress yet!
10. The Duke of Sandringham’s House: Hopetoun House
Outlander fans will love Hopetoun House in Edinburgh, mainly because there are over 17 filming locations here from Seasons 1-3!
This beautiful stately home near Queensferry plays the Duke of Sandringham’s property in Season 1. Inside the house, you can visit his famous red room which is a must for fans.
You can find the entrance to Maison Elise, Jamie and Claire’s Paris apartment, the rooms where Mary Hawkins recovers after her rape, the entrance to the Earl of Ellesmere’s home, the stables at Helwater Estate and many more. Make sure you pick up an Outlander map with all the locations on when you arrive. The staff are always happy to talk about some behind the scenes gossip too.
About our guest author Sophie Pearce:
Sophie is the Outlander-obsessed founder of Third Eye Traveller. Always on the hunt for a restless soul seeking adventure, she has now travelled to over 35+ countries, many of them solo. Leaving her heart in India, which gifted her a 'Third Eye', she felt inspired to share her travel stories in the hope of encouraging others to explore this big beautiful world of ours. Even if it's on their own!