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5 Locations for an Outlander Themed Weekend in Scotland

Outlander. 2014 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All Rights Reserved

Outlander combines historical fiction, romance, fantasy and time travel into an exciting Scottish adventure. The story follows Claire Randall, a nurse who is swept back in time from 1946 to 1743, where she is immediately thrust into the world of the Jacobite rebellions. You can read the books or watch the TV series, but one thing’s for sure – you’re guaranteed to be on the edge of your seat.

For Outlander fans, the weekend starts here. We’ve selected five locations where you can spend a few days immersing yourself in Claire’s world. From a city break in Edinburgh, to an action-packed weekend in Fort William, choose your destination and get ready to visit castles, filming locations and points of historic interest with an Outlander twist.

Think of the following locations as a starting point from which you can branch out and explore the surrounding area by car, public transport, or even on your bike.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh

Scotland’s capital city has been the backdrop to many fascinating stories down the centuries, both real and imagined. You’ll find Outlander filming locations in and around Edinburgh, as well as historical locations that will reveal the real history behind the books.

Start your weekend off in Edinburgh’s famous Old Town – the atmosphere in this part of Edinburgh is amazing. You might recognise some of the narrow wynds and closes that dissect the Royal Mile, including Bakehouse Close and Tweeddale Court which were used in season three. And if you want to see how life was lived hundreds of years ago be sure to visit Gladstone’s Land, a restored 17th century tenement house.

Away from the city centre you could visit Craigmillar Castle, which was also used in filming for the TV series. The building was once a prison, inhabited by Mary Queen of Scots.

To get the most out of your trip you may want to take a day trip to the areas surrounding Edinburgh. For some wild Scottish scenery just outside the city limits you could travel to the Pentland Hills. Or what about a trip to East Lothian? Here you’ll find Preston Mill in East Linton, which doubles up as Lallybroch on the show. Gosford House near Longniddry is also worth a visit, the building is a stand in for Versailles in the series, where Claire and Jamie meet Bonnie Prince Charlie.

On the other side of Edinburgh, in West Lothian, you’ll find Linlithgow Palace, Midhope Castle and Hopetoun House, which all feature in the show. They are fine attractions in their own right, offering a rewarding day out in the Scottish countryside.

Inverness 

Clava Cairns, near Inverness

Nothing beats a weekend in The Highlands and the city of Inverness is the perfect base for an Outlander themed adventure. While the city was not actually used as a filming location, it is one of the key locations in the books and series. There are lots of places with Jacobite connections in and around Inverness that fans will want to see, including an important battleground.

Inverness is the city that Claire visits at the very beginning of the Outlander saga, on her honeymoon. The city is home to a range of top visitor attractions, among them Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, Inverness Botanic Gardens, Leakey’s Bookshop and the city’s Victorian Market. And it’s always worth taking a stroll along the River Ness, a beautiful stretch of water.

Staying in Inverness also means you can visit some classic Highland places around the city. There is nowhere more epic than Loch Ness, home of the famous Loch Ness Monster. Did you know the loch contains more water than all of the lakes in England and Wales combined? In the books, Claire meets a strange water horse here, thought to be a tribute to the famous myth of the kelpie.

Take an afternoon to visit Culloden Battlefield, a rugged piece of countryside where the Jacobites took their last stand against the Hanoverian army. Out on the battlefield you’ll see headstones dedicated to the different clans involved, and the front lines of both forces. An interactive visitor centre will take you through the story of the battle.

Located just south of Culloden, you’ll find Clava Cairns – a set of mysterious standing stones that will bring to mind Claire’s time travel episode in the books. Perhaps you’ll find yourself transported back in time too – although we can’t make any promises!

Elsewhere in the Inverness area, you’ll want to pay a visit to the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore. You’ll be able to see what life was like for real Highlanders from the 1700’s right up until the 1960’s.

Stirling 

Outlander. Doune Castle. 2014 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All Rights Reserved

Stirling is one of the most striking visitor destinations in Scotland, full of historic intrigue, character and charm. It is home to one of the key filming locations for the Outlander TV series: Doune Castle. This picturesque ruin doubles up as Castle Leoch in the show, the home of Colum MacKenzie and his clan.

Get clued up on Scottish history on your trip to Stirling with a tour round Stirling Castle. Once the grand residence of the Stewart kings and queens, you’ll find out a little bit more about the dynasty the Jacobites were fighting for. Highlights include the Great Hall, Castle Exhibition, Tapestry Studio and the nearby Argyll’s Lodging, a 17th century town house.

And while you’re in Stirling it would be a shame to miss The National Wallace Monument, a special tribute to William Wallace, of Braveheart fame! You’ll even get to see his enormous sword, giving an impression of his size and stature.

We all know that Outlander fans love a castle and aficionados of the books will enjoy a day trip to Doune Castle, otherwise known as Castle Leoch. Take some pictures and explore the grounds – you may even learn about the real Jacobite history of the building, which was once taken by troops and used to hold government prisoners. Fascinating!

Another nearby destination that should be on your list is Drummond Castle Gardens. Said to be one of Europe’s finest formal gardens, this ornate space was used as a filming location for the Palace of Versailles in the Outlander TV series. Stroll around the grounds and soak up the atmosphere on what is sure to be a fabulous day out.

Fife

Falkland Village, Fife

Pick a weekend in the calendar and embrace the Outlander scene in beautiful Fife. Bits and pieces of the show were filmed in this part of Scotland, famed for its coastal scenery and pretty fishing towns. It’s a lovely holiday destination and spending a weekend exploring will definitely make you want to come back.

Step back in time to the 17th and 18th centuries in the seaside village of Culross. You may recognise parts of the town that were used for filming, including the cobbled streets around the market cross. Stop in at Culross Palace and explore the reconstructed period garden, complete with herbs and vegetables.

Further up the coast, pay a visit to Aberdour and see the 13th century fortified residence of Aberdour Castle. Used in filming for the third season of Outlander, the building is thought to be the oldest standing stone castle in Scotland. Admire the walled garden, teeming with scented flowers and a beehive-shaped doocot, which overlooks the waters of the Firth of Forth.

Top off your weekend with a day trip inland to the picturesque town of Falkland. In the Outlander TV series, Falkland is one of the first places shown on screen – the town doubles up as 1940s Inverness where Claire and Frank go on their second honeymoon. A visit to the grand Falkland Palace is a must – built in the 1500s, it became a favourite country residence for many kings and queens.

Fort William 

Glenfinnan Monument

Often described as the outdoor capital of the UK, Fort William is a place of glistening lochs, dense pine forests and open moorland. It’s Highland scenery like this that will really bring your Outlander dreams to life. Jacobite connections are on show all around Fort William, so it’s a great base for your next weekend-er!

Your first port of call may be The Glenfinnan Monument on the banks of Loch Shiel. Here Bonnie Prince Charlie raised the Jacobite flag in August 1745 (beginning the final Jacobite Rising), after arriving on the mainland from The Outer Hebrides. Climb the monument for views out across Loch Shiel and drop by the visitor centre to learn more about the 1745 Rising.

Delving deeper into the history of the Jacobite risings is easy at The West Highland Museum. Explore archaeological finds and treasures from throughout the area through permanent and changing displays. The museum also has a great Jacobite exhibition with lesser-known stories to uncover.

Try something different and take a ride through the Great Glen on The Jacobite Steam Train. Described as one of the great railway journeys of the world this 84-mile round trip takes you past a list of impressive extremes. Starting near Ben Nevis, it visits Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station, Arisaig, before passing close by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, Loch Morar. The journey then arrives next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis.

Enjoy the Outlander vibes on a weekend trip to Scotland. Wherever you choose to go, you’ll find lots of exciting places to visit. Check out The Scottish History that Inspired Outlander.

 

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