For my birthday this year, I decided I would go surprise my friend Lianne, who lives just outside of Glasgow. I was there only seven months ago, but Scotland can’t keep me away for much longer than that. It without a doubt, is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to. With our shared love of Outlander and visiting the show’s film locations, we of course had to see some more while I was there. Last year, we visited Castle Leoch (Doune Castle) and Lallybroch (Midhope Castle), which you can read more about in my post, An ‘Outlander’ Journey Through Scotland P. 1.
Since we were in Edinburgh for my birthday, we had to stop at Bakehouse Close. Along the Royal Mile in the Old Town, there are small archways throughout the street that have names such as, Brown’s Close, Coopers Close, etc. Bakehouse Close in particular, was chosen to be filmed as the exterior of Jamie’s Print Shop from season three of Outlander.
Before entering Bakehouse Close, we passed by the pub known as The World’s End. For whatever reason, I assumed it was written about in Harry Potter, so I took a photo and moved on. However, when we passed by it a second time, there was a man in a kilt giving a woman a tour of Edinburgh. They had stopped outside of this pub where we heard him explaining the part in Voyager (book and season three) where Jamie and Claire are there with Mr. Willoughby. My ears shot up, I kicked myself for not remembering, and then we decided this was the next stop for a smooth glass of Glenlivet whisky. Although the scene was filmed on a set, it was cool to imagine drinking a glass of whisky there in the 1700’s and witness Jamie and Claire reuniting for the first time in 20 years.
It’s become tradition to do some castle hopping on my last day in Scotland, so the day before I left we decided that we would visit Linlithgow Palace, Blackness Castle, and Dean Castle; all used as filming locations for Outlander.
Upon our arrival, we learned that Linlithgow Palace was also the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. It’s in a quiet little town, just 18 miles west of Edinburgh, by a lake (referred to as a ‘loch’) and lucky for us, it was close to empty so we had it all to ourselves to explore. Admission is £6.00.
Linlithgow Palace was used in Outlander season one as Wentworth Prison. This is where Jamie was imprisoned before being completely violated and tortured by Jack Randall.
Even though this palace was used to represent a disturbing and terrible place, Linlithgow is beautiful and old, making it feel like you’re walking through history.
Just a ten-minute drive away is Blackness Castle, which was used in Outlander as Fort William for multiple scenes throughout the show’s seasons, but it is most famously known for the scene where Jack Randall is flogging Jamie for the second time. We also see it in the season two finale when Roger and Brianna visit the castle together in the 1960’s.
This castle is unique. They refer to it as “the ship that never sailed” as it’s literally shaped like a ship and reaches out into Blackness Bay. The way Blackness Castle was built is really quite interesting as its shape and overall presence is not something typical with most castles.
As you can see, the ground is not laid out with brick, but is still the natural, rocky beach ground, on which it’s built. The north end of the castle goes out into the water and the view is pretty amazing. We learned that many people were kept prisoner here, some even had their own apartments and had their wives live with them. However, some were not as lucky and were left in the dungeons, trying to survive the tide that came in twice daily.
The kind woman who sold us our tickets (admission is also £6.00) let us know that the new feature film, Mary Queen of Scots, had a few scenes filmed at Blackness Castle as well. We found this pretty exciting considering we visited her birthplace earlier and also because we would be seeing the film just a few hours later.
Our last stop was Dean Castle, located in Kilmarnock. Unfortunately, it is currently under renovations so we were unable to go inside. However, I did get to see a lot of deer in the park, so at least there was that. It was used as Beaufort Castle in Outlander where Jamie and Claire try to persuade Jamie’s grandfather, Lord Lovat, to send his men to aid Charles Stuart. We all know how that turned out.
A video of our visit to Linlithgow Palace and Blackness Castle…
We’ve obviously all heard of how beautiful Scotland is well before the Outlander TV show ever aired, but it would be ignorant to say the show didn’t boost the country’s tourism. The show, especially the first season, is like a love letter to Scotland. After watching the show I realized how jaded I’ve been with Britain’s history, especially with the conflicts between Scotland and England. I’ve learned so much watching this show, and it’s exciting to share that knowledge and see these landmarks in Scotland celebrate their history and the exposure Outlander has brought to it.