If Scotland’s tourism industry was flourishing before the TV programme Outlander first hit screens in 2014 (and it was), it’s gone from strength to strength since. The phenomenon known as ‘the Outlander effect’ has seen visitor numbers to locations featured in the series skyrocket – in some cases increasing by as much as 72% over the past year alone.
If you’re an Outlander fan yourself, that fact might not surprise you. After all, the 18th-century world depicted so compellingly in the programme feels strangely inviting, and it’s little wonder so many people want to step into it.
Well, the good news is, you can, and there are many different ways to do it. Take in major locations from Outlander alongside other key Scottish attractions on our Two Cities (Edinburgh and Glasgow) and Outlander Tour. Or, if you prefer to have more control over your itinerary, you can get in touch to craft a custom Scottish tour including Outlander locations. You might also be interested in our other Scottish tours.
Whatever route you pick, you can expect to encounter some beautiful and fascinating places on your trip – many of them with rich histories. For just a taste of what lies in store, here are five of our favourite Outlander locations.
The quiet lanes and historic buildings of the little town of Falkland made it an excellent choice as a stand-in for the larger city of Inverness in seasons one, two and four of Outlander. While Inverness itself still has more than its fair share of centuries-old architecture, its modern streets made it unsuitable as a 1940s filming location.
Stand in Falkland’s main square and you’ll soon start to wonder if you’ve unwittingly slipped into an episode of Outlander. Spot the Covenanter’s Hotel, the pretty building that featured as Mrs Baird’s B+B in the programme – the site of Claire and Frank’s second honeymoon. Other buildings, like Campbell’s Coffee House, are also sure to ring bells. And when you walk down streets such as Brunton Street, Rottenrow and Sharps Close, you’ll truly feel you’ve been transported.
Doune Castle is a bit of a star in its own right. Not only has it appeared as Winterfell in Game of Thrones, but it was also one of the major locations used in the iconic 1975 comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail. But fans of Outlander will know it best as Castle Leoch, the residence of the Clan Mackenzie, headed up by the laird Colum Mackenzie. The castle features in both the 18th-century and 20th-century portions of the programme, and throughout the course of the series is the site of numerous dramatic events, including a witch trial.
Learn about Doune Castle’s long and fascinating history, going back to 1390, as you take an audio tour narrated by none other than Terry Jones, of Monty Python.
Linlithgow Palace is a place of great significance both in our world and in that of Claire and Jamie. The palace appears in Outlander’s first season as Wentworth Prison, where Jamie is sentenced to death. In reality, the palace was the birthplace of King James V and his daughter, Mary Queen of Scots, who would eventually be imprisoned and executed by Queen Elizabeth I.
Parts of the palace date back to the 15th century, and while some sections are now ruined, there are still sweeping views from its ramparts. Better yet, fantastic events are held in its courtyard throughout the summer months, including traditional Scottish ceilidhs (country dances with live music).
The Highland Folk Museum
The Highland Folk Museum is a hugely ambitious project, an open-air attraction that sprawls over a vast area of ground in the Highland village of Newtonmore. The museum consists of painstakingly recreated shops, houses and businesses from various periods throughout Scotland’s history, and actors in period clothing will welcome you in.
The key point of interest for Outlander fans, however, is the wonderful 18th-century village, which was used for both interior and exterior shots of the Mackenzie village in season one. Look for the familiar blacksmith’s shop and step inside each of the houses to see how many you recognise from the programme.
The gloomy French hospital in which Claire suffers a miscarriage in season two makes an atmospheric setting for one of the most moving scenes ever to feature in Outlander. In fact, the location for the hospital is the crypt of Glasgow Cathedral. This spectacular 12th-century building is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Scotland’s largest city and sits next to equally historic sites including the huge graveyard that is the Glasgow Necropolis, as well as Provand’s Lordship, Glasgow’s oldest house.
Ready to make your dream journey into the world of Outlander a reality? Contact us today.