Outlander Filming Locations in Scotland

by JoHarrington

Want to know where Starz's Outlander was filmed in Scotland? Looking to walk in the footsteps of Jamie and Claire? Well you've come to the right place!

For thirty-eight weeks, during the dismal autumn and winter of 2013, two hundred cast and crew descended upon Scotland.

They were there to dramatize Diana Gabaldon's 'Outlander', an epic series of novels about a time-traveler finding herself in 18th century Scotland.

Claire Randall might be desperate to return home to the 20th century, but she gets to know and love these people, especially Jamie Fraser. She also knows something that they don't. Looming on the horizon is the '45 and the horrors of Culloden.

Here's where those memorable scenes were brought to life.

Falkland in Fife Doubles as Inverness in Outlander

Presumably there were good reasons why they didn't just go to Inverness...

Image: Falkland in FifeOn October 16th 2013, Twitter erupted with Outlander hashtags.

It seemed that the entire population of Falkland, in Fife, had their camera phones out to capture the excitement in the heart of their town.

Let's face it, we all wished we were there too. I know I looked it up on a map and calculated the distance!

This picturesque location features in the very earliest scenes from Starz's Outlander. This was where Frank and Claire Randall lodged in Mrs Baird's Guesthouse, using it as a base to explore the rest of the Scottish Highlands. (Yes, we know that Fife is in the Lowlands, but Falkland was here pretending to be Inverness.)

The entire center of the town, particularly the area surrounding the Bruce Fountain, was stripped of all traces of the 21st century. For one day, it was Inverness in 1947.

Falkland Parish Church was renamed Dalneigh Parish Church (the real one is still in Inverness).

Across the road, The Covenanter Hotel became practically unrecognizable. The pillars outside its door, plus all of the window and door-frames, were repainted. This included the dining area alongside it, which was cunningly re-imagined as garages, with the help of fake frontages.

The hotel's own signage was removed and its menu boards taken in. In their place was inserted a hanging sign reading Mrs Baird's Guesthouse, est. 1865.

Further along the road, Greenhouse Chinese Restaurant became Farrell's Hardware and Furniture Store. Internal boards concealed the real interior, while its windows were stocked with authentic period merchandise.

Lomond Pharmacy was transformed into Campbell's Cafe. Bizarrely, this appears to have become a permanent fixture. A real life Campbells Coffee House and Eatery opened in the same building, as soon as the Outlander film crew left! Now that's what I call opportunism.

Meanwhile, next door, Violin Shop Falkland was changed into H Allingham's Music Shop. The owner must have been gutted. His name is Bob Beveridge. That could have been the advertising of the century!

As the day drew on, further touches were needed in order to shoot more scenes. There was blood added to the door-jamb over the guesthouse.

By night, the weather had to take a turn for the worse. Unusually for Britain in October, it wasn't actually raining, but since when did that stop a film company?  Huge cranes held the sprinklers and lighting rigs necessary to recreate a storm.

Poor Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) and her husband Frank (Tobias Menzies) got very wet; and it was a wrap.

Falkland Film Location for Outlander

Outlander Film Set: Former Isola-Werke factory in Cumbernauld

This was the location of the sound studios, where the majority of the interiors in Outlander were filmed.

In theory, Falkland is now revealed as just a short bicycle ride (or car drive, if we're going by the novels) from the infamous stone circle of Craigh na Dun.

But don't rush there just yet.

Fans of Diana Gabaldon's writing have long since been disappointed to learn that particular monument is fictional.

Though I am highly amused that The Megalith Portal have felt the need to list it, presumably because they kept getting queries as to Craigh na Dun's location!

The reality of Craigh na Dun's filming location couldn't be less glamorous if it tried.

For many years, the Isola Werke UK factory was a sizable employer in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire. Based in the Ward Park area of the commuter town, a workforce of about 550 people manufactured circuit boards.

Then the recession hit and the factory was closed down. For eight years, the industrial complex sat there, slowly becoming derelict.

Entrepreneur Terry Thomson bought the site in 2013. He is the chairman of an engineering company, Thomson Pettie Group, but his vision was firmly attuned to the bright lights of the entertainment business.

He transformed 130,000 square feet of buildings and warehouses into a professional film studio. Then went after his first big contract - the US Starz adaption of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. Against the odds, he secured it too!

The Scottish government, and its arts subsidiary Creative Scotland, immediately took notice. Perhaps not quite believing their luck, permission was granted for Ronald D Moore's crew to film wherever appropriate within Scotland's historic heritage buildings.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond allocated a budget of £640,000 to further facilitate the development of the former Isola-Werke factory into a credible film studio. Down in Westminster, Chancellor George Osbourne announced that there would be substantial tax breaks, as a further incentive for filming high-end, high-budget shows in Britain, instead of, say, Ireland. (Everyone was very bitter about missing out on Game of Thrones.)

It was a sound investment. It's expected that Outlander will boost the Scottish economy by £20 million!

Unfortunately for the prying public and rabid fans (myself included), the studio is off limits. High walls and tight security kept us from getting a glimpse of what's going on inside.

However, this is where all of the interiors for Outlander were filmed. Craigh na Dun exists only on a sound stage within that complex. Though whether they'd nailed the whole time passage aspect of it remains to be seen.

Isola Werke, Cumberland - Film Studio for the Outlander Show

If you haven't read these books yet, you seriously do not know what you're missing!
Enter the world of Outlander and you'll never come out again. Diana Gabaldon's amazing story is about to become a global television phenomenon too.

Hunterston House in West Kilbride is Rev Wakefield's Rectory

This mansion house is still home to the head of Clan Hunter, and it has featured in several other productions prior to being an Outlander film location.

There is the cutest story about the Outlander filming location for Reverend Wakefield's rectory.

Tiny Rory Burns plays the young Roger Wakefield in flashbacks. He received a personal limousine to pick him up (with Mum) and got to film a scene eating a biscuit.  As there were three takes, he had three biscuits. This was apparently the highlight of his life!

I can't help thinking that one day he's going to be old enough to look back, and realize that, in the vast scheme of things, the biscuits weren't the actually most exciting aspect here...

The interiors for the rectory in Outlander were all filmed at Hunterston Mansion House, in West Kilbride, Ayrshire.This is where Frank and Rev Wakefield talked genealogy, and Claire had her tea-leaves read by Mrs Graham, amongst other scenes.

It's not the first time that the home of Clan Hunter has been used as a television or movie location. Various rooms turned up in The 39 Steps, Vincent Van Gogh - Painted with Words, Sherlock Holmes, Child of Air, Young James, Rebus and a documentary about the Glencoe Massacre.

Hunterston House was built in 1799 for clan leader Robert Hunter and his wife Eleanor. It's not open to the public. Visitors can go four miles across the Hunterston Estate to the old Clan Hunter HQ at Hunterston Castle. However that's only on one day in every year. Contact the current clan chief Madame Pauline Hunter for details.

UPDATE:   In the comments here, Angus from Hunterston House has confirmed that only the interiors were filmed there. He does not know where the exteriors were shot. Which brings us to this current mystery:

Where was Reverend Wakefield's House Film Location in Scotland?

The exterior doesn't look like Hunterston Mansion House to me. Anyone know where this is? It's always possible that it's a different aspect to that seen in pictures.
Image: Rev Wakefield's Rectory in Outlander
Image: Rev Wakefield's Rectory in Outlander

Check out another view of Reverend Wakefield's house, plus comments, on Imgur.

Location of Rev Wakefield's Rectory Film Location in Outlander

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Highland Folk Museum, Newtonmore - Scottish Crofts in Outlander

In the very first episode Jamie, Claire and posse visit a croft for shelter. You can visit it too! Not to mention other towns in Outlander.

There are authentic 18th century, turf-roofed crofts in Badenoch's Highland Folk Museum. Reconstructed buildings, they are historically accurate in every detail. Which made them perfect as Outlander film sets.

Located in the village of Newtonmore, the living history museum was the brainchild of Dr. Isobel F. Grant, who traveled around the Highlands collecting and preserving cultural materials. The crofts and other buildings were taken down, brick by brick, from their original locations, then carefully reassembled at the site near Aviemore, Badenoch.

The ready-made backdrop of an 18th century township meant that the Highland Folk Museum could be used whenever an Outlander scene called for ordinary houses. The cast and crew were there for much of late March/early April 2014.

It doubled as the crofter's house in episode one, plus a MacKenzie village later on. It turned up again in episode five, where authentic houses were needed over and over again while Dougal collected the rent.

Location of the Highland Folk Museum - Leoch in Outlander

Tulloch Ghru, Aviemore - Outlander TV Show Film Site

Stunning scenery in the Cairngorms stands in for the journey from Craigh na Dun to Castle Leoch. It's in the opening credits too.

Image: Tulloch GhruTulloch Ghru is part of the Cairngorms National Park, just outside Aviemore, where some filming took place. 

Unfortunately I'm struggling to locate it on a map (though Larig Ghru is right there). Hence if you visit, it might be best to nip into Aviemore and ask somebody for directions. The location can be seen on the map above.

However, there is a Tulloch just to the north-east of Aviemore, as you can see from the old map reproduced left. No Ghru, but it may be the same one.

As far as I can currently ascertain, the first episode scenes - where Claire rides with Jamie and the Highlanders - were largely filmed there. There is plenty of woodland around. The ancient remnants of the Caledonian Forest run parallel to the area, from Abernathy Forest in the north to Rothiemurchus in the south-west.

A further hint might be in the translation from the Gaelic of Tulloch Ghru itself. It means 'wooded hill alongside the (River) Druie'.

Doune Castle in Perthshire Becomes Outlander's Castle Leoch

The great Inverness seat of Clan MacKenzie is located just outside Stirling in reality.

Amongst the properties made available by Alex Salmond's government was the former royal residence of Doune Castle, in Perthshire.

Built in 1400, the castle was home to Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, who acted as Regent of Scotland from 1388-1420. Part of it was damaged during the very Jacobite Uprising depicted in the show.

Making the property available was a huge commitment. Doune Castle is a major tourist attraction, yet filming Outlander there meant that it had to be closed to the public for several weeks.

Doune Castle is the substitute for the fictional Castle Leoch, home to Colum MacKenzie and the central point for the whole of Clan MacKenzie.

That blind-sided everybody, who'd naturally assumed that Castle Leod - the real life seat of Clan MacKenzie and Diana Gabaldon's inspiration for Castle Leoch - would be the filming location.

But Castle Leod is the private residence of the Earl of Cromartie, and it was completely renovated in the late 19th century. It simply doesn't look the part anymore. While Doune Castle most certainly does!

Doune is seen in both the 18th and 20th century portions of Outlander. In the latter, Frank and Claire visited the castle in ruins. Digital manipulation was used to create that illusion.

Back in 1743, the Great Hall and other interiors were reproduced back in Cumbernauld. Great care was taken to ensure that all of the measurements were exact, to produce as perfect a replica as possible. They even went as far as to make castings of the stonework, so that the sets would match back in the studio!

This might seem like a lot of work, when there's a perfectly serviceable Great Hall right there, not to mention the rest of the castle's extremely solid rooms.

But Doune Castle is a historical monument. Permission could not be granted to change any aspect of it, which was a necessity when a film crew had to fix equipment to the walls and change the furnishings to make it all seem authentically 18th century.

Plus the sound stage versions could lose a wall or two, if needful for lighting purposes.  It was safer all round just to do it there.

Location of Doune Castle, aka Castle Leoch in Outlander

Incidentally, if Doune Castle looks familiar, you may have seen it before. Scotland might have lost out to Ireland, as the filming location for Game of Thrones, but it did have one stake in the show. Doune Castle was Winterfell, the home of the Stark family!

Those of us with even longer memories will recall another of Doune's glory days. It was where Monty Python and the Holy Grail was filmed!

Doune Castle as Winterfell in Game of Thrones

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Glasgow's Pollok Park as the Grounds of Castle Leoch

Claire establishes herself here as the castle medic, after travelling back in time to 1743. She wanders the estate looking for medicinal herbs and other plants.

On November 14th 2013, Caitriona Balfe and a gaggle of child actors descended upon Pollok Country Park in Glasgow. Naturally they took the film crew with them.

Three miles away from the city center, this is the only country park within Glasgow. But parts of its 146 hectares were closed to the public, while Outlander filming took place there.

The park will double as the grounds of Castle Leoch, when we see it on-screen. It's here that Claire interacts with Hamish MacKenzie and friends, while keeping a sharp eye out for a glimpse of Jamie.

Outlander Film Location: Pollok Country Park in Glasgow

Cranesmuir Scenes for Outlander Filmed in Culross, West Fife

The town of Cranesmuir is the setting for some of the more dramatic scenes in 'Outlander'.

Image: Mercat in CulrossCulross is such a tiny, rural village, nestled in the heartland of West Fife.  But it was decidedly busier between November 19th-21st 2013.

That's when the Mercat area was transformed into the fictional village of Cranesmuir.

The beautiful disruption of an Outlander crew descending spread further than that. In the run up to filming, residents were warned that several streets would be closed to traffic. They were West Green, Lower East Sandhaven, Back Causeway, Mid Causeway, Wee Causeway and Tanhouse Brae.

No modern vehicles could be parked in Sandhaven or Low Causewayside, suggesting that these streets would feature prominently in the shoot.

Cranesmuir is the village closest to Castle Leoch. It's where Claire visits for medicinal supplies, treats one or two residents (more as news like her gets round) and has a fateful meeting with the fiscal's wife, Geillis Duncan.

Half-tone Print of Culross from 1952

This photograph was taken from the Palace Garden and depicts an overview of the village. Close enough to Cranesmuir for you?

Claire's Herb Garden is in Culross Palace, Fife

One of Culross's most historic buildings is the Bishop's Palace owned by the National Trust for Scotland.

Behind Culross Palace is a beautiful herb garden, and that's where Claire's garden was filmed. It just looks like it's in Castle Leoch because of some clever editing.

Culross in Fife - Filming Location for Cranesmuir

Blackness Castle is Home to Black Jack Randall

At least it is in the Outlander TV production universe! (And not too far from it's actual history either....)

Its shape, and the fact that it juts out over the Firth of Forth, has earned Blackness Castle the epitaph of 'the ship that never sailed'.

In Outlander, this 15th century fortress doubles as the Fort William headquarters of Black Jack Randall. It's the place where Jamie was so horribly hurt during his incarceration.

Blackness Castle is a very fitting location for all of that. From its earliest mention in the records of 1449, it was already serving as a prison under the control of Sir George Crichton, Sheriff of Linlithgow and Earl of Caithness. Not to mention Lord High Admiral of Scotland.

Many a Highlander must have languished in its stone cells, dreaming of home just like Jamie.

During Jamie's time though, it was a garrison of the British Army.  It didn't become a prison again until 1759.

Outlander isn't the first time that Blackness Castle has been used as a film set.  It popped up as the backdrop in Hamlet (1990), The Bruce (1996), Ivanhoe (1997), MacBeth (1997) and Doomsday (2008).  (I recently watched that latter film. I will never get back that hour and half of my life. I do NOT recommend it. Unless you have guests whom you want to prompt into leaving. Baaaadddd film.)

However, it's worth noting that Graham McTavish - Dougal in Outlander - played Banquo in this production of MacBeth.

Graham McTavish in MacBeth at Blackness Castle

Movies Filmed at Blackness Castle

Outlander Film Location Blackness Castle

Where is the Lallybroch Film Location in Scotland?

This is a place very dear to all Outlander fans. It's Jamie Fraser's childhood home, and technically where he still lives as Laird of Broch Turach.

Image: Lallybroch from the Outlander showUPDATE:  Angela and James left a comment here explaining where Lallybroch is in reality. It's Midhope Castle, which is on the Hopetoun Estate, near to Edinburgh.

However, it IS unsafe and it's also on private property, so no-one go rushing there uninvited!  Go and read the comments for more information.

ORIGINAL POST:

I really wish that I could tell you the Outlander filming location of Lallybroch.  So far this one has me stumped!

We know what it looks like.  The concept art was revealed at the Outlander Fan Event Panel in New York, early in October 2013.

We also have some details about the property. The real life location of Lallybroch is actually a ruin. Behind that lovely exterior, the building is a shell.

The secrecy surrounding where it is may be due to the fact that it's dangerous inside. Fans rushing to have their picture taken there could get smacked by a bit of falling masonry.

Other clues to finding Lallybroch include the modern building, which sits just to the side of the property and has been air-brushed out of the images. We also know that it was chosen because the exterior is authentically 18th century.  Remember that this was a home constructed by Brian and Ellen Fraser, in order to raise Jamie and his siblings.

Because the interior is so wrecked - and it only appears once in flashback in the first season of Outlander - those scenes have been moved outside. We will see Jenny Fraser fight off Black Jack Randall in the courtyard, while Jamie's arrest takes place outside the archway on the road itself.

If anyone out there does know where this building can be found, please do leave a comment. I'd be thrilled to update this, with all due credit to yourself.

In all matters involving Jamie Fraser, 'Outlander' fans will usually cry, 'I Am Ready!' Only that's phrased 'Je Suis Prest' - the motto of Clan Fraser of Lovat.

Miscellaneous Filming Locations for Outlander in Scotland

Here I list all of those places in Scotland which were used as Outlander sets, but which I haven't much more information just yet.
  • Tibbermore Church in Perth.  My best guess was that this is the chapel used for the wedding scene in Outlander. But the current word on the street is that it'll be the place where Gellis and Claire's witch trial is held. I guess we'll wait and see.
  • George Square in Glasgow. This features in flashback (or forward) scenes from the 1940s involving Claire and Frank. It possibly recalls their own wedding day. Filming took place on May 18th and 19th 2014.
  • Barskimming Estate near Mauchline. This related to filming on August 4th 2014, so may well feature in season two, not one.  There were outdoor scenes involved.
  • The Study (and Three Sisters) in Glencoe.  This mountain range is seen in long shots of Scotland.
  • Lochan na h-Earba on the Ardverikie Estate near Loch Laggan, Badenoch.  Filming took place on the north side of the loch in scenery shots for the very first episode.
  • Glenn Kinglass, Arrochar Alps, near to the Firth of the Forth.
  • Loch Rannoch.
  • Limekilns, Fife. Fishing village on the Firth of the Forth.  Strong rumor that this was the location where Claire was married in Outlander, and that filming also took place at the harbor itself. The latter may be a long shot taking in the location of Outlander's Wentworth Prison.
  • Aberdour Castle, Fife.  The castle and gardens were closed between September 4th and 19th 2014 to allow the Outlander crew to film.

I will update them with their own sections, as I know more about their place in the show.

Guide to the Locations in the Outlander Novels

This Wizzley article has been all about the places found in the television drama 'Outlander', but there is plenty more to discover in Scotland.

The real life settings in Diana Gabaldon's work may not match those used in the television adaptation. The fictional ones unfortunately remain in the ether, to be imagined afresh by all who read those epic stories.

If you would like to track down the Scottish locations in Outlander, then may I recommend the Outlandish Companion as your guide? 

I've owned this volume for years. It's fascinating and wonderful, great to just dip in and out of as a coffee table book. Or you can do as I did, when I first held it in my sweaty hands, which was to lie on a settee and devour every word until it was read.

Through the Stones is a new one on me, though a comment on the Amazon page informs us that it's merely an over-priced, European copy of the Outlandish Companion.  I'd stick with the original, if I were you.

More of my Articles about Scotland

On April 16th 1746, the last pitched battle on British land took place on Drummossie Moor. Up to 2000 Jacobites lay dead, or injured and dying, in the heather. It was never over.
There's an auld song that keeps on being played across the waters, wherever the Scots found their clans. Remember your roots with some Scottish Christmas ornaments.
The Battle of Bannockburn marked a key turning point in Scottish history. Its 700th anniversary is in 2014. Robert the Bruce forged freedom for Scotland.
From the Romans to the English, the Scots had managed to repel every threat from south of its border. Until the conquerors came, not with swords, but with a crown.
Updated: 23 days ago, JoHarrington
 
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Cherish 1 day ago

There were some earlier comments about where the Black Kirk scene was filmed. I just read on another site it is the ruined West Kirk in Culross. After a quick Google Images search, I think that must be right! :)

JoHarrington 4 days ago

Nice one! Thank you very much, I'll update that tomorrow. :)

HighlandNick 5 days ago

Tullochghru,Aviemore is about 2 miles south east of Aviemore (and one mile south-east of Inverdruie).
Tulloch - a different place altogether, is north east of Aviemore and is on the edge of the Abernethy Forest near Nethy Bridge.

Cherish 7 days ago

Oh great! Thanks!

JoHarrington 7 days ago

No, unfortunately I'm a good 4 hours south of Glasgow, but I've just given a heads up to a Scottish friend prompted by your comment. :D

Cherish 7 days ago

How far do you live from Scotland? I'm in the U.S. Have you ever thought of leading a guided tour? (hint hint) ;)

JoHarrington 7 days ago

Nice one! Have fun. :)

Cherish 8 days ago

Haha. Yes! I hope to see as much as possible!

JoHarrington 8 days ago

It amazes me that no-one has thought to do a guided tour of filming locations. They're certainly missing a trick there. I bet there will be some sooner or later, when 'Outlander' becomes really big. My question was merely have you set your itinerary yet and will you be going to any of the 'Outlander' places? I know that I will be next time I go to Scotland, so it's more a case of me living vicariously through you in the interim!

Cherish 8 days ago

Sorry, I'm not sure what your question is. I don't have an itinerary for my trip yet. I've just begun the planning of it. I was hoping to maybe do a group, guided tour through Scotland, as I'll be traveling alone. I know there are several who do Outlander-themed tours, but they don't include the filming locations, I don't think. I'd love to find a group who did both (book & TV show filming locations.).




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