If there's someone who lives and breathes the old-school backpacker lifestyle more than anyone else, it's 100% April. She has travelled the world with enthusiasm, spontaneity, and a thirst of adventure since her late teens. Plus, she loves the outdoors and sustainable travel to the max - a true explorer!
Explore Scotland through Outlander Filming Locations
Working for one of Edinburgh’s busiest hostels, I have one goal: to help other people see Scotland at its best. My research began in 2014 on my first tour of Scotland and recently continued with HAGGiS Adventures. As a freelance travel photographer and writer, I have visited over 40 countries, but my favourite place worldwide has always been Scotland. And that's why I was so excited to embark on my next HAGGiS Adventures trip!
Leaving Edinburgh at 8:45am sharp, my buzz was high as I joined the 1 Day Outlander Trail. It was my first visit to Scotland since viewing the epic love story that is Outlander. I couldn’t wait to see the filming locations that inspired this must-watch series.
A historical TV drama, Outlander, is adapted from the best-selling books by Diana Gabaldon. The series follows the journey of Claire Randell, a combat nurse from the Second World War who time-travels back to Scotland in 1743.
There are many inaccuracies in modern-day portrayals of Scottish history. I discovered this in the pubs in Edinburgh, where locals were vocal about errors in Braveheart. Outlander is brilliant at giving excellent historical context with many dramatic, romantic twists.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for Outlander filming locations, read on for some of my favourite stops on my Outlander tour of Scotland.
Falkland as Inverness from the 1940s
Falkland is a village in the Kingdom of Fife. This village was used as a filming location to represent Inverness in the 1940s and 1960s.
Where the Scottish scenes of Outlander truly began, the streets of Falkland were the first significant Outlander filming location in Scotland. Inverness is where Claire and Frank arrive for a second honeymoon at the end of the Second World War, where Claire goes missing and begins her epic journey through Scotland's history. I was fortunate enough to meet two massive Outlander fans on my tour, in which we had loads of fun remaking the frames filmed in the first episode of Outlander.
Culross as the fictional Cranesmuir
Culross is the filming location for Cranesmuir, where the town accused Claire and Gaillius Duncan of witchcraft. Culross is an exceptionally preserved town with beautiful buildings from 17th and 18th century. For me it was an obvious choice as an Outlander filming location. Seriously, I had so much fun experiencing the magic of this town.
I recommend visiting Culross Castle as part of the adventure. The staff at this golden castle are outstanding at providing information on the filming of each scene — there are plenty of indoor Outlander filming locations in and around the restored building due to its many 18th-century rooms. The gardens behind the castle are also insanely gorgeous.
Doune Castle as the iconic Castle Leoch
Doune Castle isn’t only famous for appearing in Outlander. It also featured as a filming location for Monty Python, the Holy Grail, Outlaw King, and Game of Thrones.
Doune Castle often appears in the first season of Outlander as Castle Leoch, home to the Clan Mackenzie. If you’re a true Outlander fan, you will recognise many spots in and around the castle. My friends and I insisted on touching the castle’s stone and pinched ourselves to ensure the dream was absolutely real. If you visit Doune Castle, don’t forget to explore the nearby forest – it’s truly enchanting!
Blackness Castle featured as Fort William
Blackness Castle is an impressive 15th-century fortress and my favorite stop on the Outlander tour. You would recognise the castle as an Outlander filming location for Fort William, home to Captain Jack Randall's worst acts of violence (so horrible that it sends shivers up your spine). Fort William is the fictional setting where Jamie receives lashes from Randall, where Jamie’s father passes away after witnessing his son endure so much pain. It is also where Claire and Jamie were held hostages by Randall.
As you see, Blackness Castle aka Fort William features many times in Outlander, though mainly throughout the first season. It reappears in the last episode of season two when Brianna, being Jamie’s daughter, explores the grounds of this 15th century fortress and starts to feel a strange connection to the place.
I loved visiting this incredible castle and even had some fun reenacting the frames with my new friends I met on the Outlander Trail with HAGGiS.
If you are interested in more films that will make your tour of Scotland extra special, I highly recommend watching 'Outlaw King', - an action-drama film released in 2018. The history and filming locations in Outlander are similar, and the film gives you more context for important aspects of the history of Scotland.
For the best place to stay in Edinburgh, I recommend staying with CoDE Pod Hostels right in the heart of the city. From an affordable luxury hostel bed to a private room, this hostel has you covered. I have stayed there multiple times over the years and I just can’t stop returning. Plus, it's literally just a 5-minute walk away from HAGGiS Adventures shop on the Royal Mile. A perfect location to hop on an Outlander Filming Location Tour first thing in the morning!
See you on the next wild and sexy adventure.
By April Bright and Shae Maclean.