Visit Outlander Filming Locations
In the early 1990s, the author Diana Gabaldon started to publish what would become a long-running series of novels which are initially set in Scotland, which would introduce her readers to different periods of history; to romance and time travel. An eclectic mix, with the key being the strong characters at the centre of the tale. I confess to having been a keen follower of the early novels, from Cross Stich, which was later called Outlander, through Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager and Drums of Autumn. Somewhere after this, life got in the way and I was to come later to the following books. The Outlander-Starz series got me back to the books, and I’ve now completed all of the main Outlander tales. I’ve yet to fit in the reading of some of the side-stories and other tales. To find the whole series and the short stories and novellas, I’d recommend heading over to the chronology on Diana Gabaldon’s website.
When Diana Gabaldon first wrote about her characters Jamie, Claire and the extended clans and families, she confesses she had not yet been to Scotland, and only visited after the first novel had been published and she had a contract for a series of three. Due to the level of detail and the complexity of the first book, it took a long time and several attempts to resolve the issue that it would be very difficult to cram the events into a short two-hour movie. It was only when the proposal to make a 16-episode series was made that it seemed that Outlander’s many fans would finally have their favourite novels brought to life. As Diana herself says in this interview for VisitScotland, “Scotland would be as much a character in the show as any of the actual cast members”.
Walking in Claire and Jamie’s footsteps: Locations in Fife
Fast-forward to 2017: the success of the first two Outlander Starz TV series has lead to the third and fourth being in production now. The excitement for us comes in preparing to welcome visitors to Edinburgh who may have been influenced to come here because of their interest in the Outlander stories.
For visitors who wish to take things at their own pace, and explore the locations used in the first series, VisitScotland have produced a guide and map to many of the Outlander locations, which you can download.
Short day trips out from Edinburgh mean that many of the locations are easily accessible for our visitors – try:
- Falkland Village – which becomes Inverness where the opening scenes and many of the 1940s stories were set
- Culross Village – to see the Abbey, Palace and houses which double as Cranesmuir
- Dysart – where the harbour doubles as the French port of Le Havre
- Aberdour Castle – which stands in as a French monastery
Other locations within easy reach for a day trip from Edinburgh
- Doune Castle – which became the fictional Castle Leoch
- Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway where the fond farewell of Claire and Frank was filmed
- Blackness Castle in West Lothian which becomes the Fort William HQ of Black Jack Randall
- Linlithgow Palace – known as the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, which stands in for the prison entrance and corridors where Jamie is imprisoned
- Midhope Castle – part of the Hopetoun Estate tickets and directions available from the Hopetoun Farm Shop.
- Hopetoun House – residence of the Duke of Sandringham and where Jamie fought the Macdonald’s in the grounds
Taking a Guided Tour on the trail of Outlander
For guests who would prefer to have a guided tour which adds to the rich experience of visiting historical locations, there are several Scottish tour guides who are eager to help you make the most of your visits. Here is a small selection for you to choose from. Please let us know if there are others which you experience and which provide you with an exciting trip. We’re very grateful to the Local Tourism Association from Dunfermline and West Fife who allowed me to go along to the Outlander familiarisation tour which they ran in November 2015 which allowed me to meet up with several locally based tour guides.
- Afternoon Tea Tours – “The Outstanding Outlander Adventure” so much more than afternoon tea! Helen Fraser will design a bespoke tour for you. We’re very happy to recommend Helen’s tours as she has previously guided tours for guests at our Edinburgh holiday home. For Outlander fans, she’s happy to guide you to locations for the TV Series, or to the historic locations related to events of the period
- Mary’s Meanders Outlander Location Tours – based in Linlithgow, we’re sure that Emma and Anne will make your visit extra special.
- Clan MacKenzie Routes Tour – find out more about the MacKenzie Clan and experience the Scotland of your ancestors with Donald and Alastair Mackenzie who are based in Dunfermline, Fife.
- Edinburgh Tour Guides – Sam Thomson’s family run business offers Outlander Location Tours as well as many other options and you can either have a private tour, or join with a small group of enthusiasts for even more fun
For those who prefer a self-guided tour in Fife, but would like some help and guidance along the way, Minikilt Tours self-drive touring guide “On the Trail of Outlander” is available to download from Amazon – you’ll find the links on Andrea’s website.
Find out more about Outlander Locations in and around Fife
Some useful links for our guests to help you research before your trip.
- Follow the Outlander Filming Fife Facebook page and associated Twitter account for up-to-the minute news.
- Visit Falkland – Falkland Palace, Falkland Centre for Stewardship
- Visit the Royal Burgh of Culross – Culross Palace, Culross Abbey
- Visit Dysart – where you will find the Harbourmaster’s House, the Headquarters of the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust and lots of information about walking the Fife Coastal Path
- Visit Aberdour Castle
- Visit Doune Castle
- Take a trip on the Bo’Ness and Kinneil Railway and visit the Railway Museum
- Visit Blackness Castle – ask Graeme the guide there to tell you about the experience of being an Outlander Starz film location
- Visit Linlithgow Palace
- Take a cookery course with Jenny from Courses for Cooks who offers you the chance to find out about cookery in the 18th Century, inspired by Outlander.
To book your stay at Craigwell Cottage simply select your check-in date from the “Book Now” box to the right of this page, or if you’re on mobile head to the Book page and scroll down to find the dates you require.
(This article was originally published on our Sandcastle Cottage, Crail site, and revised for our Edinburgh base in January 2017).