With filming for series six currently underway, we reveal some of the locations used in the smash-hit historical drama Outlander, which you can visit on your next trip
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Jamie and Claire’s time-travelling love affair from the Diana Gabaldon series of Outlander novels has had viewers hooked since premiering on Starz in 2014. Lockdown has done nothing to dampen its popularity: Series 5 is the most watched series of all and a seventh has just been commissioned.
If you are one of the million viewers that watches Outlander scrupulously, enthralled by Claire and Jamie Fraser’s love story, or by its Jacobite themes, then there are lots of places where you can put yourself in the story. Some excellent companies offer tours – Celtic Journeys and Highlander Tours, for instance – but if you’d rather visit them yourself, here are some of the places to add to your itinerary.
This picturesque village in rural Perthshire is the very real setting for the fictional Craigh na Dun, the stone circle via which Claire first gets transported through time. There is no stone circle here – Craigh na Dun is probably based on the Callanish Stones on Lewis (see page 14) – but the natural beauty of the area is real. Even if you don’t find the exact filming location (it’s on a private farm), a woodland walk from the village up to Rannoch Moor will give you a very similar view. You are also sure to recognise other backdrops from scenes of Claire and Jamie’s honeymoon.
Most avid fans of the series know that nearby Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, features in Series 1 as Wentworth Prison, where Jamie is imprisoned. But did you know that there’s another key location just down the road? The heritage Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway, just five miles north, was where Claire and Frank say goodbye in wartime London. Today (pandemic permitting), you can take a vintage steam train for the short journey between Bo’ness and Manuel Station.
The historic Fife town of Culross is a beautifully preserved 17th- and 18th-century burgh – the most complete in all of Scotland, thanks in no small part to the National Trust for Scotland’s care. Its Mercat Cross was at the centre of Geillis’s fictional hometown of Cranesmuir in Series 1 (though the cross and buildings had a temporary colour change). Lots of other scenes have been shot here since, including those of Balriggan Cottage in Series 4.
And, of course, as any die-hard fan knows, Doune Castle is the setting for Castle Leoch, where Colum MacKenzie and his clan lived in the 18th century. The castle also appeared again in an episode when Claire and Frank visit the castle ruins on a day trip. Outlander links aside, Doune Castle is a fascinating place to visit, as it was once a medieval stronghold that was the seat of Robert Stewart, the 1st Duke of Albany and Governor of Scotland, who is often referred to as the ‘Uncrowned King of Scotland’.
This is an extract. Read the full feature in the May/June 2021 issue of Scotland, out on 17th April.
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Published six times a year, every issue of Scotland showcases its stunning landscapes and natural beauty, and delves deep into Scottish history. From mysterious clans and famous Scots (both past and present), to the hidden histories of the country’s greatest castles and houses, Scotland‘s pages brim with the soul and secrets of the country.
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