Published in the UK as Cross Stitch, but known worldwide as Outlander, the saga mixes elements of historical fiction, romance, fantasy and adventure. But to top this all off – it’s set in the magically beautiful land of Scotland, which Diana herself admits plays a starring role in the series.
The best-selling novels centre around Claire Randall, a WWII nurse living in the 1940s with her husband Frank. While on their second honeymoon to Scotland, Frank researches his family history and to pass time, Claire goes plant-gathering near a stone circle from where she gets mysteriously sent in time back to 1743 war-torn Scotland. She meets a young and chivalrous Scottish warrior Jamie Fraser, falls for him and is left torn between her 18th and 20th century lives.
If you, too, have found yourself caught in this mystic and spell-binding saga and wish to be swept away to Claire and Jamie’s world, why not experience first-hand the places your heroes and heroines lived?
When you embark on that unforgettable journey to Scotland to follow in the footsteps of your favourite characters, make sure you mark these as your ‘must-do’ experiences:
WARNING - may contain spoilers if you haven't read all the books yet!
- Roam the streets of Inverness in the Highlands where Claire and Frank went for their second honeymoon and find your own cosy Mrs Baird’s Bed and Breakfast to stay in.
- Venture off beyond the city walls in search of the mysterious Craigh na Dun, a split stone of the stone circle that sent Claire back to Jacobite times. Although fictional, this could have been inspired by the Clava Cairns, one of Scotland’s most evocative sites dating back to Bronze Age, with remnants of stone circles surrounding the sacred burial grounds.
- While in the area, explore the magnificent ruins of Urquhart Castle where the characters picnicked, cruise the calm waters of Loch Ness and see for yourself if you can spot the legendary Loch Ness Monster.
- Culloden Battlefield is where Claire and Jamie said their goodbyes before the disastrous Battle of Culloden. Visit the site and pay respect to those who lost their lives in the last battle ever fought on British soil.
- Don’t miss one of the most romantic and unspoilt castles in Scotland, Castle Leod near the Victorian town of Strathpeffer. Lived in by the Mackenzie clan for well over 500 years, could this be the inspiration behind Castle Leoch, the seat of Colum and Dougal Mackenzie in the books?
- Or how about extending your stay in the area and taking in the village of Beauly which is strongly associated with Clan Fraser of Lovat from whom Jamie descends? Explore the tranquil ruins of Beauly Priory where Claire met Maisri the seer.
- To search for the place where Jamie was held captive by Captain Randall, head to Fort William, a Highlands’ town dramatically set on the shore of Loch Linnhe. As you travel through from the north, you will be met by the awe-inspiring vistas along the Great Glen and the Caledonian Canal.
- For a romantic walk, stop by Glen Affric and uncover the magical mix of native Caledonian forest, glistening lochs and haunting moorland which served as a honeymoon destination for the newly-wed Claire and Jamie. There’s no doubt that romance is in the air there!
- In Edinburgh, take time to explore the Palace of Holyroodhouse. You may not be able to stay there as the characters did during Charles Stuart’s return to Edinburgh in the fall of 1745, but you will certainly be impressed – it’s Her Majesty The Queen’s official residence in Scotland.
- A walk along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is mandatory. As you wander around, look out for Canongate Kirk and the World’s End – the tavern that Claire and Jamie dashed out into the pouring rain to pick up Mr Willoughby, while the National War Museum located within the grounds of Edinburgh Castle houses a great collection of artefacts of the Scottish forces from those times.
Retracing the steps of your book idols is just one way of exploring Scotland. To help you truly appreciate the country’s natural beauty and rich heritage, learn more about Scotland's fascinating history, arts and culture, delicious food and drink and splendid nature.