Arts and Culture

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.

Transport

Car

Days

7

Miles

715

Route

from Machars peninsula to Callendar

Highlights

Film locations, landscapes

Areas Covered

All of Scotland (South, West, East and North)

see full route

Day 1

overview

Machars peninsula, Port Logan & Stranraer

Your first day begins in Dumfries & Galloway for a whole range of settings associated with the cult film The Wicker Man.

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Logan Botanic Garden, Port Logan

Stop 1 - St Ninian's Cave

The fearsome wicker figure burned in the sacrifice scene at the end of The Wicker Man was set up at Burrows Head in the Machars. Explore the otherworldly St Ninian's Cave nearby, where Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) tracks Rowan.

Stop 2 - Logan Botanic Garden

Head to the gorgeous Logan Botanic Garden and admire the impressive tropical plants which thrive in the warm atmosphere created by the Gulf Stream. The beautiful garden filled in as Lord Summerisle's lush garden in the movie.

Stop 3 - Castle Kennedy

Travel north and west, via the Galloway Forest Park, to Castle Kennedy, which featured in the stone circle and May Day procession scenes. The beautiful gardens which surround this impressive ruined castle are the perfect place for a walk in the countryside or you could stop for a tasty snack in the tearoom.

Day 2

overview

Maybole & Glasgow

The second day of your itinerary begins at your final film location from The Wicker Man, Culzean Castle, before you travel north to explore the bustling city of Glasgow, where you can see settings from World War Z, The Angel's Share and Cloud Atlas.
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Culzean Castle, Ayrshire © Ayrshire&ArranTourismTeam

Stop 1 - Culzean Castle

Travel to Maybole, where you'll recognise the exterior of Culzean Castle as the grand mansion of Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee) from The Wicker Man. Perched on the side of a dramatic cliff, this Robert Adam designed masterpiece is packed with treasures for you to discover as well as peaceful walks in the stunning grounds.

Stop 2 - Glasgow

Spend the rest of your day exploring 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.

Day 3

overview

Roslin & Edinburgh

On your second day head east to Roslin and explore the magnificent Rosslyn Chapel, star of the Da Vinci Code. Next head into Edinburgh and see which film locations you recognise - check out this Edinburgh film map for inspiration.
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Rosslyn Chapel, Roslin

Stop 1 - Rosslyn Chapel

Head to Rosslyn Chapel and admire the extraordinary architecture and medieval stone carvings which provided the backdrop to Dan Brown's the Da Vinci Code book and the movie adaption. Walk in the footsteps of Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) as you explore this stunning chapel.

Stop 2 - Edinburgh

Continue to Edinburgh. Scotland's capital city has featured in many films and TV productions over the years. The Edinburgh film map takes you to the places where your favourite movie moments happened. 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 book a Trainspotting tour of Leith to see some of the locations featured in this classic for yourself?

Day 4

overview

St Andrews & Ballater

Your third day on the itinerary takes you through the beautiful landscapes of Scotland's east coast. Drive along the coastal route to St Andrews, featured in Chariots of Fire, before heading north to Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire where Balmoral Estate, featured in The Queen, awaits you.
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Balmoral Castle and Estate, Royal Deeside

Stop 1 - West Sands beach

From Edinburgh, cross the Forth Bridge and follow signs east for St Andrews. This handsome east coast town's West Sands beach 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!

Stop 2 - Balmoral Estate

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 HM The Queen, Elizabeth II.

Day 5

overview

Stonehaven, Pennan & Inverness

Day five on the itinerary takes you to Dunnottar Castle, which is said to have inspired Merida's family home in Brave, the quaint town of Pennan, a setting in Local Hero, and Loch Ness, featured in The Water Horse - Legend of the Deep.
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Dunnottar Castle, near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Stop 1 - Dunnottar Castle

Head to Dunnottar Castle, said to be the inspiration for the DunBroch family home in DisneyoPixar's Brave. Explore this fascinating ruined castle, perched dramatically on cliffs above the North Sea.

Stop 2 - Pennan

Follow the Aberdeenshire coastline north 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.

Stop 3 - Loch Ness

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.

Day 6

overview

Fort William & Glenfinnan

Spend a day exploring Fort William, the Outdoor Capital of the UK and one of the most frequently used film locations in Scotland. Round off your stay in the area with a train ride along the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, which features in several of the Harry Potter movies.
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Glenfinnan Viaduct, Lochaber

Stop 1 - Fort William

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 most dramatic 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.

Stop 2 - Glenfinnan Viaduct

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.

Day 7

overview

Glencoe, Killin & Doune

Your final day will take you through some of Scotland's most impressive landscapes. Drive along the same route James Bond followed in Skyfall at Glencoe, stop at the Falls of Dochart (another Bond site) before travelling on to Doune to explore Doune Castle, which boasts connections to the Outlander TV series and Monty Python.
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Doune Castle, Doune © Heartland Arts / Fotolia

Stop 1 - Glencoe

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

Stop 2 - Falls of Dochart

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.

Stop 3 - Doune Castle

Turn south via Callander to reach Doune Castle, a key location in the hit TV series Outlander where it stands in for the fictional Castle Leoch, home to Colum MacKenzie and his clan in the 18th century episodes. The castle is also firmly associated with Monty Python and the Holy Grail and is still very much a place of 'pilgrimage' for Monty Python fans.

Summary

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