Get transported to your favourite Outlander locations! Outlander tours (Scotland) will whisk you away to walk in the footsteps of Jamie and Claire at the grand entrance of Castle Leoch, maybe pick herbs in Claire’s herb garden and stroll the cobbled streets of Cranesmuir. Our guide to Outlander tours includes day trips and multi-day tours from Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as a popular Edinburgh walking tour.
Outlander, originally a series of books by author Diana Gabaldon, has taken the world by storm since being made into a British-American hit TV show. Outlander has fans worldwide and sees visitors flocking to Scotland to tour the sites used during filming. Starting in 1945 Scotland Claire, played by Catriona Balfe, is a wartime nurse who returns to her husband Frank (Tobias Menzies) who whisks her away to ‘Inverness’ for a second honeymoon.
Here, after finding a collection of standing stones, Claire is hurtled back in time to Jacobite Scotland where she meets Highlander Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). Now showing Season 3, with season 4 being filmed as we speak (release date, this November), the show is massively popular. The Outlander filming locations, mainly in Scotland, have seen their visitor numbers double, even triple and you too can see the sights of this hit show with Outlander tours from Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Best Outlander Tours Scotland
Why should you book a tour of Scotland’s Outlander sites? There are a couple of reasons why visiting the hotspots as part of a tour is better than doing it alone:
- Although Scotland’s cities are well connected by train lines, many of the Outlander filming locations are not in the city. For example, the stunning Hopetoun House’s (season one, two, three and now four) closest train station is Dalmeny (South Queensferry) but it takes at least one hour to walk from Dalmeny to Hopetoun House.
- Scotland’s infrastructure is notoriously poor. The further north you go, the worse it gets. Expect Sunday service for buses every day of the week. Our ‘A’ rounds (single track) in the Highlands and on the West Coast are not for everyone, cautious drivers may not enjoy the experience.
- The Outlander Effect is real, most locations have seen an increase in footfall (more people visiting = busy), Doune Castle enjoyed a 91% increase in customers! Tours often have pre-arranged time slots so you don’t have to fight your way through the crowds.
- You get more bang for your buck with Outlander tours. They include transport, knowledgeable and passionate guides and often entry fees.
- Tour guides will give you more than just Outlander information, you get to spend time with a real local. One of my favourite things about tours is being able to ask questions about real life topics!
- Bonus reason – you get to spend the duration of the trip with fans, I’m sure you can find at least one thing in common (Jamie?!)
Outlander Tour Edinburgh
Tours from Scotland’s capital leave daily which means visitors do not need to attempt to tackle our infamous A roads or drive on the left. There are a few options for Outlander day tours from Edinburgh so you can prioritise what you want to see.
Economical Outlander Day Tours from Edinburgh
This full-day tour by a very respectable company in Scotland (I took this tour and went to the Isle of Skye with their sister company) is not private but kinder on the purse strings and touches base at the following Outlander scenes:
- Visit Doune Castle aka Castle Leoch.
- Culross starring as Cranesmuir.
- Falkland – Inverness 1940s.
- Dysart Harbour – Le Havre Port.
- Meeting point: 60 High Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH1 1TB.
- Price £47 per person.
It’s not just an Outlander tour but also a Scottish history tour. You hear about the wars and celebrities that inspired Diana Gabaldon in her writing. You can read about my tour experience here.
Outlander Edinburgh Tour (In The City)
Short on time but still want some Outlander fun? This Edinburgh Outlander waking tour might just scratch that itch. Although no substitute for seeing the real filming sites, still popular with our readers.
- Starting at Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, your guide (in clan character) will take you underground to Edinburgh’s Vaults, avoiding the Hanoverian spies.
- See the famous Bakehouse Close where Jamie and Claire come together after years apart.
- The tour ends outside Holyrood Palace after discussion of the Jacobite movement.
- Price £15.
Private tour guided by former Scottish BAFTA member
Enjoy the 5 star rated full tour of Scotland’s Outlander literary locations. The tour includes readings from the book on location (!) and you can test the ‘expert’ guide on their Outlander knowledge.
- Castle Leoch, home to Colum MacKenzie.
- Captain Jack Randall’s Stronghold.
- Lallybroch, Jamie Fraser’s childhood home.
- Meeting point: 17 Waverley Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1BQ + Glasgow pre-arranged collection point.
- Return point: Hotel/pick up point in Glasgow or Edinburgh (early evening).
- Price: £595 for 4 member group.
Outlander tours Glasgow
This Outlander day tour leaves from Scotland’s biggest (and best?!) city, Glasgow and not only focusses on the show locations but also the Jacobite story. Looking for more around the city? Stop by Glasgow University’s in the West End (where Gemma graduated!) The 4th oldest university in the English speaking languages is used as the show’s Harvard University where Frank teaches. Close to the University, you will find Kelvingrove Park aka Outlander’s Boston Park. In the city centre, head to the Glasgow Cathedral to see where Claire volunteers as a nurse at L’Hospital Des Anges in Paris.
- Doune Castle, home of the Clan MacKenzie as well as Deanstoun Distillery, Jamie’s cousin’s warehouse.
- Linlithgow Palace, Outlander’s Wentworth Prison (stunning without the Outlander tag).
- Blackness Castle headquarters of Black Jack Randall.
- Meeting point: 266 George Street, Glasgow (08:30).
- Notes: refreshment stops along the way including a stop at Deanston Distillery.
- Price £39 per person.
Due to the majority of locations being captured in around the Central Belt of Scotland (where Gemma lives!), there are no tours Outlander Tours leaving Inverness but there is one important location near Inverness and that is Glen Affric, near the village of Cannich (acting as Culloden Battlefield). This is where Claire and Jamie said their tearful goodbyes. Forget the TV set though, you can see the real Culloden battlefield. This is where the Jacobites, who were supporters of the Roman Catholic James VII of Scotland and II of England, took their last breath as they fought for their country on 16th April 1746. Told you it was worth a spot on every Scottish itinerary! If you are heading North you should definitely make sure that it is part of your tour or independent itinerary. Check out this 2-day tour which leaves from Edinburgh and visits Culloden and Clava Cairns, the real-life Craigh na Dun!
10 Outlander Filming Locations – Where is Outlander Filmed?
1. Clava Cairns/Culloden
Although Culloden wasn’t officially used for filming, the event is such a major part of the series so visiting the battlefield is an emotional and saddening experience. The new award-winning visitor centre has brilliant exhibitions and a 360-degree immersion theatre puts you right in the centre of the battle. There is an audio guide to listen to while you walk the battleground so you can listen to Gaelic, songs and tales and immerse yourself in the story of this momentous battle.
Nearby are the amazing Clava Cairns standing stones, including a majestic cairn with an atmospheric split. However, it must have lost its magical power as there have been no reports of transportation, only visitors staying firmly in this century, disappointingly.
Clava Cairns Outlander
2. Highland Folk Museum
The Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore is a favourite location used by the Outlander production team. With the mighty Cairngorm mountains set as a backdrop, the 17th-century township really makes you feel like you are in the heart of the gritty Jacobite Highlands and lucky for us, it is live all year around. You can witness how people used to live.
The township was used in the rent episode where Claire helped Dougal to collect the rent. Every year the museum holds an Outlander day where you can “waulk the wool”, sing traditional songs and meet traditional crafters, Highland cows and fellow fans.
New to Outlander? Buy the books
3. Doune Castle, Outlander
Another of the most popular locations, Doune Castle in Perthshire, was the setting for Outlander Castle Leoch, home to Colum MacKenzie and his Clan. This 14th-century courtyard castle was also used for Monty Python and the Holy Grail and (this is a lesser-known) it was Winterfell in the pilot of Game of Thrones. A castle of many talents! Update 2018, Netflix Outlaw King also used Doune Castle as Black Douglas’s home. Find out more here.
Doune Castle, Outlander
4. Falkland Outlander
Falkland, in the Kingdom of Fife, stood in for 1945 and 1960’s Inverness. The original thatched roof houses, cobbled streets and the pretty square made it the ideal location. Here you’ll find
- Mrs Baird’s B&B (which is actually functioning accommodation, check out availability at The Covenanter Hotel).
- Bruce Fountain where Jamie watches Claire in the window.
- Campbell’s Coffee Shop (same name in real life).
- Farrells & Sons Hardware store [Fayre Earth shop – repainted] is where Claire sees the blue vase.
Pre-Outlander effect, Falkland was a lovely village to visit, it’s great to see the show give visitors a catalyst to visit. Falkland features as the 1940’s location in season one and then is revisited in season two when we skip to the 1960s Inverness.
5. The Reaper Tall Ship
Sailing off into the distance on the Cristabel might not be possible but you can see the two-masted ship itself in the harbour of the fishing village of Anstruther in Fife. Anstruther is a popular Summer village in its own right, famous for its fish and chips!
Le Harve Port is actually located at Dysart Harbour near Kirkcaldy and also worth a visit to see where Claire and Jamie escape to France from.
If you want to see first hand what Scottish villages were like in the 17th-century visit Culross in the Kingdom of Fife. This time warp is often said to be one of the most picturesque villages in the UK. Culross was used a lot during filming as Cranesmuir.
The mustard coloured Palace was used in filming and Claire’s herb garden is, in fact, the palace’s gardens, which you can explore. The Mercat Cross was where the little boy had his ear nailed to the post and Geillis Duncan’s House is behind it. A lot of Outlander action for such a small (but cute) village.
» Let someone else do the driving: Read the reviews of the Outlander day tour from Edinburgh «
Watch Our Fife Video To See Claire’s Herb Garden!
7. Bo’ness Railway
If you fancy a trip on a steam train while you are in Scotland why not visit Bo’ness Railway Station and take a journey on the same train Claire waved from? You can even have afternoon tea on board!
8. Blackness Castle
The formidable Outlander Blackness Castle, overlooking the Firth of Forth was the perfect choice as the show’s version of Fort William. The castle was once used as a prison and a military fort and was built purely for defence. The courtyard was the setting for the horrific scene of Jamie’s whipping and where Claire and Jamie ran along the walls to escape.
9. Midhope Castle aka Lallybroch
Yes, you can visit the home of Jamie at Lallyborch and see where he was flayed (whipped) at the archway. This spot is usually very busy with tourists so you have to be patient! The building cannot be accessed, only the exterior was used in filming Outlander, like many of the locations on the Outlander tours.
10. Outlander Standing Stones
So where is Craigh na Dun? Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist, but you can see where it was filmed if you look hard enough. On the long, winding road between Queens View, near Pitlochry, to the village of Kinloch Rannoch, you may spot the hill, with the trees.
The producers added the stones. I have travelled this road at least ten times since I knew of the filming and I’ve yet to find it but I know others have. I know it’s on the left-hand side, that’s about it, so if you happen to spot it let me know.
Glencoe is shown off beautifully at the very start of the first episode and it’s the perfect place to truly see what makes Scotland so special. If you ask any Scottish travel lover what their favourite place is in Scotland most will say Glencoe. The huge, majestic mountains tower above you as you travel through and the scenery around you is truly stunning.
Frequently Asked Outlander Questions
- Where is Outlander filming now?
Season 4 filming has been spotted around Gray Buchanan Park in Polmont, Abercairny Estates Crieff and St Andrews in the Square (Glasgow) – cast even stopped for selfies.
- When will season 4 of Outlander be aired?
Season 4 will premiere on November 4th 2018. Expect new twists, familiar faces and new characters.
- Outlander Craigh na Dun – is it real?
Unfortunately not, you would have to use your imagination near Kinloch Rannoch to find the location.
- Where are the standing stones used in Outlander?
Like many good things in life, the standing stones are fiction but you can see similar standing stones around the UK.
These locations are just the start. With more Outlander locations being added every year and Outlander Season 4 in production there will always be more. You can download an Outlander locations map from Visit Scotland and why not consider an Outlander style wedding?!
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