What do Outlaw King, Trainspotting, Outlander, James Bond, and Harry Potter all have in common? They were all filmed in Scotland*, and it’s not just the actors that have the starring roles. Scotland’s mountains, castles, lochs and glens are sharing the spotlight, and the best thing? They are just as breath-taking off-screen as they are on.
Film-makers are shining a spotlight on Scotland with the recently released Outlaw King being the biggest film to be shot entirely in Scotland (according to the boundaries of Scotland in the 13th century in which it is set). During the last few years, Outlander, T2 Trainspotting and The Avengers franchise have called upon Scotland for its backdrops, as has the eagerly awaited Mary Queen of Scots movie.
Mary, Queen of Scots, starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, which is out in cinemas across the UK now, focuses on the challenging relationship between Mary and her distant cousin Queen Elizabeth I. The film is a look into Britain’s rich history and Mary’s time in Scotland. With filming having taken place at several locations across the country, Scotland’s stunning landscapes and magnificent castles are set to shine once more.
As Scottish landscapes dazzle on the big screen, here are some of the top picks of other breath-taking locations that have featured in recent TV and film highlights.
For more information about film in Scotland visit www.visitscotland.com/ film
The recently released Netflix film, Outlaw King, follows one of Scotland’s most important historical figures, Robert the Bruce and his first victory against the English army as well as capturing his romance and marriage to Elizabeth de Burgh.Directed by Scottish native, David Mackenzie, the film was shot entirely in (what was 13th century) Scotland and is the biggest movie to be made on Scottish turf to date. Here are a few of the filming highlights:
- Portencross Castle
Portencross Castle is a 14th century castle located on the north Ayrshire coast which dates to the Bronze Age. It is said to have royal links to the old kings of Scotland who would lay here before being transported over to the island of Iona for burial. In Outlaw King the castle and its surroundings serve as the backdrop for northern England and various other scenes throughout the film.
- Mugdock Country Park
In 1307 Robert the Bruce claimed his first major victory over the English in the Battle of Loudon Hill where he defeated King Edward I. In Outlaw King this battle was filmed at Mugdock Country Park, not far from Glasgow. Visitors can view the remains of the 14th century Mugdock Castle and Craigend Castle.
- Seacliff Beach
This hidden gem is found in East Lothian, near North Berwick. Believed to be the smallest harbour in the UK, Seacliff Beach is completely unspoilt. Above the beach lies the ruins of Tantallon Castle, once home to and a stronghold of the Douglas family. In Outlaw King the castle stands in for Kildrummy Castle where Robert the Bruce’s wife and daughter sought refuge after his defeat against the English at the battle of Methven.
Explore all of the locations of Outlaw King and download the VisitScotland Outlaw King map: https://outlawking.visitscotland.com/
This TV series is the arguably the biggest introduction to Scotland on the small screen. The story of travelling back in time to the 17th century brought Scotland’s rich history to life to many new audiences. People from across the globe continue to visit Scotland to see the places where the two main protagonists met and travelled. Many of the filming locations are well known but with so many stately homes, castles, landscapes and historical sites across Scotland portrayed, it would be a shame to miss out on these less well known locations:
- Drumlanrig Castle
This magnificent 17th century Renaissance castle is located in Dumfries and Galloway and boasts 40 acres of gardens. The interiors and exterior became Bellhurst Manor in the second series of the show with one bedroom being slept in by Bonnie Prince Charlie on his way to Culloden. Visitors can explore the collections of silver, French furniture and art.
- Drummond Gardens
These gardens featured in the second season of Outlander as the ornate gardens of the Palace of Versailles. The Drummond Castle gardens, designed in an Italian parterre style, are located near Crieff in Perthshire. If lucky, visitors might catch a glimpse of the peacocks that wander the gardens.
The picturesque harbour of Dysart and the Harbourmaster’s House in Fife were transformed to portray the port of Le Havre in the second series of Outlander. The harbour dates back to the 15th Century and was popular for trade, exporting salt and earning Dysart the nickname ‘Salt Burgh’.
Explore all of the locations of Outlander here: https://static.visitscotland.com/pdf/outlander-film-locations.pdf
James Bond and Scotland are no stranger to each other; the movie franchise has long been associated with Scotland through James Bond’s Scottish roots. The 2012 Bond film, ‘Skyfall’, sees the main part of the action take place amidst some spectacular scenery at 007’s family home in Glencoe. Skyfall was the fourth film to feature Scotland as its backdrop with many other locations playing a starring role before Daniel Craig.
- Eilean Donan Castle
The picturesque castle has an unforgettable cameo in the movie, The World is Not Enough, where it serves as the Scottish headquarters of MI6. The castle is one of the most photographed monuments in Scotland, sitting on its own island where three sea-lochs meet.
- Loch Craignish
This sea loch, located near Oban in Argyll, featured in the Sean Connery classic, From Russia With Love. Rather than being chased across the water in Turkey, James Bond was pursued across Loch Craignish by the Spectre agents. The loch has many walking routes which offer great views across the loch and the surrounding islands that are within it.
- Glen Etive
Glencoe and the nearby Glen Etive offer undoubtedly some of the most spectacular scenes in recent James Bond movies. Those looking to seek out the Skyfall location where ‘M’ and Bond stand by his Aston Martin admiring the view, can follow the driving route along River Etive. Glen Etive was also used as a location in the Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.
Explore all of the locations featured in the James Bond franchise here: www.visitscotland.com/see-do/attractions/tv-film/skyfall/
* Not all of these films and series were filmed entirely in Scotland. Only certain films within the James Bond and Harry Potter franchise were filmed in Scotland. Of the films and series filmed here some shot entirely in Scotland while others featured only certain scenes that were filmed in the country.