Outlander makes its long-awaited premiere on UK mainstream television tonight on More4 (Thursday 29 June) and while viewers fall in love with the story, Scotland’s starring role in the show is also likely to capture hearts.
Numerous stunning Scottish locations, such as Doune Castle, Linlithgow Palace and the Highland Folk Museum provide the backdrop for the television adaptation of author Diana Gabaldon’s, time-travelling love story.
Based on the best-selling novels, Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall (played by Caitriona Balfe), a married English combat nurse from 1945 who, while on her second honeymoon in Inverness, is mysteriously swept back in time to the 18th-century Scottish Highlands. There she meets Jamie (played by Scottish actor Sam Heughan), a chivalrous young warrior, with whom she becomes romantically entwined.
The blockbuster fantasy show, along with the successful books, have inspired a range of tours and catapulted the real-life attractions and places from the series into the spotlight.
Jenni Steele, Film and Creative Industries Manager at VisitScotland, said “The fact that the hugely popular Outlander series is both set and filmed on location in Scotland has been great for tourism. Claire and Jamie’s relationship may take centre-stage on screen but Scotland’s sweeping scenery, romantic castles and fascinating history are far from just the support act, helping attract thousands of visitors to our shores.As the show airs for the first time on UK mainstream television we look forward to introducing a new wave of fans to Scotland, the land that inspired Outlander.”
So whether it’s following in the fictional footsteps of Claire and Jamie or embarking on your own adventure, here are some of the best Outlander-inspired locations and experiences every fan should try:
Fan-friendly filming locations
Nestled in the shadow of Schiehallion, on the banks of the River Tummel, lies the pretty village of Kinloch Rannoch and the surrounding Rannoch Moor. The idyllic location is the backdrop for Claire and Frank’s second honeymoon and is a fantastic example of Scotland’s magical landscapes.
Many film and TV fans will already be familiar with the formidable sight of Doune Castle, which graced the screen in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It also takes a starring role in Outlander, substituting for the fictional Castle Leoch – home to Colum MacKenzie and his clan in the 18th century. You may also spot a 20th century version of the site which is visited by Claire and Frank on a day trip. With its striking 100ft high gatehouse, the 14th century courtyard castle is one of the best preserved great halls in Scotland.
Step back in time and enjoy a glimpse of Scotland from a different era with a visit to the pretty village of Culross. With its historic Mercat Cross and well preserved buildings, the Fife village doubles for the fictional Cranesmuir, while behind the stunning Culross Palace you’ll find the filming location of Claire’s herb garden at Castle Leoch.
The Fife village doubles for the northern city of Inverness in some of the first scenes of the Outlander series. Enjoy a stroll around the village centre where you’ll recognise a number of local shops, each transformed on screen into 1940s stores and guesthouses.Falkland is best-known for its Palace. The royal dwelling was once the country residence of the Stewart kings and queens as they hunted deer and wild boar in the forests of Fife.
Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway
The popular West Lothian attraction is almost unrecognisable when transformed into a busy wartime London railway station for Claire and Frank’s goodbyes in series 1. Home to Scotland’s largest railway museum, the charity-run heritage railway offers visitors the chance to journey by steam train.
Pollock Country Park
While Doune Castle takes on the role of Castle Leoch, it’s Pollok Country Park that doubles as the grounds surrounding the fictional site. Situated near Glasgow, the extensive woodland area is great for walks and an ideal place to visit for all levels of mountain biking.
The peaceful setting of Preston Mill provides the backdrop for a number of scenes during the Jacobite Risings.Located in the village of East Linton, East Lothian, Preston Mill is one of the oldest, working, water-driven meal mills in the country. Today, visitors can see and hear the mill mechanisms in action and learn about the millers who worked there.
Outlander dramatises one of the most bloody chapters in Scottish history, the Jacobite Risings - an attempt by Charles Edward Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, to regain the British throne for the exiled House of Stuart. Today, during the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017, many attractions, tours and experiences bring to life the momentous events of that era and allow you to delve deeper into the real-life experiences that inspired Diana Gabaldon’s story.
From Brodie Castle in Moray Speyside to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, the Jacobite Trail spans 26 properties and attractions throughout the country whose history is intertwined with Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites.
This new exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland explores the real story of Prince Charles Edward Stuart and the rise and fall of the Jacobites. More than 300 spectacular objects including paintings, costumes, jewellery, documents, weapons and glassware will bring to life the events of this turbulent period in European history.
Visit the site of the famous Battle of Prestonpans 1745, where Bonnie Prince Charlie won his first victory. Visitor can then explore the site of the battle on foot and discover three stone monuments. Smartphone users can also download a free mobile App to guide you are around the site.
At theWest Highland Museumin Fort William, you can see the Bonnie Prince's death mask, sword, and some of his clothing, including his fine silk waistcoat, as well as other Jacobite artefacts.
For more Outlander inspiration and to download VisitScotland’s dedicated Outlander Film locations map visit visitscotland.com/outlander
Notes to Editors
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- Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh) 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
- 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
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