This past June I flew over to Scotland to visit a friend and to see as many Outlander filming locations as we possibly could. I’ve visited many places, but I have to say that Scotland may be the most beautiful country I’ve ever visited. The memory of simply driving through the Highlands is one I’ll never forget. If you’ve never been, add a road trip through Scotland on your bucket list.
Our first stop was Midhope Castle, otherwise known as ‘Lallybroch’ to Outlander fans. It’s an old tower house outside of Edinburgh and sadly, is not in any condition for visitors to go inside safely. We arrived around 6PM on a Sunday and there were no parking attendants, so we were not only able to park for free, but we beat any crowd we assumed would be there. It was quiet and homely, which was the perfect start to our Outlander journey. As we were leaving, someone told us that the wooded area next to the parking was where they filmed the scene in the first episode where Claire meets Jack Randall. He also said the scenes of Jamie hiding in his cave after Culloden were filmed there as well. We couldn’t find these exact spots, but regardless, it was nice to stroll through and take in the scenery.
Making sure we saw the most recognizable locations from season one, our next stop was Doune Castle. This is where ‘Castle Leoch’ is filmed. However, just like Doune Castle, no scenes were actually filmed inside. The castle is rich in history and with the audio guide, has narrations from both Sam Heughan and Terry Jones (many scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail were also filmed here). If you’re a history buff like I am, Doune Castle is a spot you’ll definitely want to check out – regardless if you’re an Outlander fan. Before entering the castle, we received a map of all the locations used in the first two seasons of Outlander. Visit Scotland has created a PDF with all of the locations filmed throughout Scotland. Make sure to use this as a guide when planning your own Outlander trip! Download here.
After this, we drove for a few hours through the Scottish highlands. It’s so beautiful with fresh, crisp air. It’s hard to put into words just how vast and green it is, so I’ll leave you with a few photos I took throughout the trip.
There was no way we were going to drive the route we did from Doune Castle to Inverness without stopping at the Culloden Battlefield. The battle that took place here in 1746 seems to be a looming character in the show, so it was quite surreal to see it in person. The Battle of Culloden was quick and bloody, resulting in the death of over 1,000 Jacobites. Sadly, the result of this battle weakened the clans and Gaelic culture, nearly destroying it entirely. However, in this modern era, there are many descendants trying to preserve the Celtic identity.
The field is eerily quiet forcing you to reflect on the events that took place over two-hundred years ago. There are banners showing you where both the British and Jacobite armies stood. Walking around, you’ll also notice stones commemorating the many clans who lost their lives on that day. If you are visiting Inverness, make a stop here and learn about one of the most important events in Scottish history.
We planned on spending the night in Inverness and even though this is a location referenced in the show, no scenes were actually filmed there. Either way, it was a great little town to have a night out and relax after a long day of driving. You will have no problem finding a place to stay, there are bed and breakfasts’ everywhere!
On our way back to Glasgow from Inverness, I made sure we stopped at the Glenfinnan Viaduct. If you’ve ever seen Harry Potter, you would recognize this famous bridge from The Chamber of Secrets as Harry and Ron steal the Weasley’s car, flying it around the bridge with the Hogwart’s Express. The name of the train is actually the Jacobite Express, as it’s next to the historical Glenfinnan Monument where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard and started the Jacobite Rising of 1745. This location may have not been filmed in the Outlander series, but it is an important part of the story’s history.
We didn’t plan to be here at any particular time, which is why we unfortunately did not see the train crossing the bridge. However, I’ve heard that it passes along the Viaduct at 10:45AM and again at 3:15PM.
Sadly, I was only in Scotland for about five days and didn’t get to see all the locations on my list. But I have no doubt that I’ll be back to see the other locations for myself in this beautiful country. Here are some other shots from our trip that don’t really have anything to do with Outlander, even though I had the Skye Boat song playing in my head the entire time.
Have you ever been to Scotland? Leave a comment below of any recommendations you may have! Follow me on Instagram (@jo_hayward) for more photos of Scotland and of my travels.