Scotland in film

Glen Coe, the Highlands
Films ››

Discover Scotland's connections with the world of film.

Brave's heroine Merida being guided by a mythical wisp.
Disney•Pixar's Brave ››

See Scotland's landscapes and legends on the big screen in Disney•Pixar's movie Brave

Looking across a calm Loch Duich to Eiliean Donan Castle, Kyle of Lochalsh
Film locations in Scotland ››

Scotland provides the perfect backdrop for the world of cinema with its rugged landscape and stunning scenery.

Buachaille Etive Mor
Skyfall ››

Stunning locations are a key ingredient of James Bond films and Skyfall is surprisingly the fourth film to feature Scotland.

More than just a backdrop, Scotland has added its own particular ambience to a wide variety of films, from the Da Vinci Code’s mysterious Rosslyn Chapel to the breathtaking Highland scenery found in Braveheart, Harry Potter and Skyfall. Follow this itinerary to see these very locations for yourself, and find out why the sheer dramatic impact of these landscapes lures filmmakers back to Scotland again and again.

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  • The Aberdeenshire coast with Dunnottar Castle in the distance
    Dunnottar Castle
  • Buachaille Etive Mor with Allt Nan Gubhas in the foreground, Glen Coe
    Buachaille Etive Mor, Glen Coe
  • The Jacobite steam train passing over the Glenfinnan Viaduct at the head of Loch Shiel, Lochaber
    The Jacobite steam train passing over the Glenfinnan Viaduct at the head of Loch Shiel, Lochaber
  • The ornate stone carved Prentice Pillar of Rosslyn Chapel, Roslin
    The ornate interior of Rosslyn Chapel, Roslin
  • Looking across the beach of West Sands to St Andrews, Fife
    West Sands beach, St Andrews, Fife

Start in Glasgow, where in 2011 the city centre was transformed into the streets of Philadelphia for the zombie apocalypse movie World War Z, starring Brad Pitt. The city’s renowned architecture has also been the backdrop for the critically acclaimed The Angel’s Share, and Cloud Atlas which stars Tom Hanks and Halle Berry. 

Continue west to Ayrshire, where Culzean Castle’s exteriors are Lord Summerisle’s grand home in the cult film The Wicker Man. Head south and east via the Galloway Forest Park for a whole range of other settings associated with the film, including Castle Kennedy and the beautiful Logan Botanic Garden. The fearsome wicker figure burned in the sacrifice scene at the end of the film was set up at Burrows Head in the Machars, with St Ninian’s Cave nearby.

Turn north east to Rosslyn Chapel, with its extraordinary medieval stone carvings providing the backdrop to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code movie and book.

Continue to Edinburgh. In the city centre you can admire some of the buildings which featured in iconic shots from One Day, the romantic comedy based on the novel by David Nicholls and starring Anne Hathaway.

The gritty portrayal of Leith in Trainspotting is already history. The old seaport has had a far ranging facelift and now offers a fine range of eating and drinking venues as well as quality shopping. Why not take a Trainspotting tour to see some of the locations featured in this classic for yourself?

From Edinburgh, cross the Forth Bridge and follow signs east for St Andrews. This handsome east coast town’s West Sands features in the opening sequences of Chariots of Fire, with its distinctive Vangelis soundtrack. Golf fans will recognise St Andrews’ famous Royal and Ancient Golf Clubhouse in the background, and real film buffs will observe the camouflage netting covering parked cars in one shot here!

Continue north via the Tay Bridge and Dundee and pick up the A93 to drive through the Spittal of Glenshee for Balmoral Castle. This beautiful attraction has been the Highland home of the Royal Family since 1852 and featured in the Oscar winning film The Queen, a 2006 portrayal of Her Majesty The Queen, Elizabeth II.

Head east to Dunnottar Castle, said to be the inspiration for the DunBroch family home in Disney•Pixar's Brave.

Alternatively, go north through Huntly and Banff to another Scottish film icon. Clustered below the cliffs and with Scotland’s most famous phonebox, Pennan was one half of the fictional village of Ferness in Local Hero.

From Pennan, head westwards along the A98 towards Inverness and to the top of the Great Glen and Loch Ness, the setting of the film The Water Horse – Legend of the Deep, an enchanting story about its most mysterious inhabitant, the Loch Ness Monster. Ardkinglas House in Argyll was used as the main exterior location in the film.

Follow Loch Ness down through the Great Glen to Fort William and Glen Nevis, in the shadow of Ben Nevis. With some of Scotland’s finest scenery available, filmmakers have used this location repeatedly, including scenes from films such as Braveheart, Rob Roy, Highlander and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Other locations nearby include the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, which featured in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The spectacular train chase scene features the Hogwarts Express and a flying Ford Anglia car, crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct on the Glenfinnan estate in the west Highlands. Experience your own magical train journey by taking a trip on the Jacobite Steam Train between Fort William and Mallaig.

From Fort William head along the A82 through Glencoe, where scenes from Skyfall were filmed in the shadow of Buachaille Etive Mor.

Continue east for Killin and the picturesque Falls of Dochart, the backdrop to the 1967 Casino Royale and the 1959 remake of The 39 Steps. Turn south via Callander to reach Doune Castle, forever associated with Monty Python and the Holy Grail – and still very much a place of ‘pilgrimage’ for Monty Python fans.