jamie claire outlander

Book Your Trip: 16 Top Scottish Sites to Visit for Outlander Fans

Like many other fans, my journey with the Outlander series began when I first read Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling acclaimed novel in 1991 when it was first released. The love story of Jamie and Claire across different time periods and the history of 18th-century Scotland and the early colonial days of America captivated me, and I’ve been a devoted fan ever since. 

With Starz creating its hit show from all nine (so far) of the books, it has reached an even wider audience and broadened interest in Scotland travels, specifically for the sites used for shooting locations. I am one of those people. 

My husband and I were set to travel to Scotland in 2020 just as the pandemic hit, so we postponed the trip I have been dying to take since I was a teenager. However, these last four years have given me much more time to plan the vacation of my dreams, and these 16 spots will absolutely be on the itinerary!

1. Doune Castle

doune castle scotland
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When Claire arrives at Castle Leoch, home to Colum MacKenzie and his clan, her intelligence shines through. Facing the clan chief, Claire astutely places herself in the timeline and skillfully negotiates with her historical knowledge. Doune Castle, used as Castle Leoch’s exterior, adds to the intrigue with its dramatic ruins. 

Beyond its role in Outlander, Doune Castle has ties to the Jacobite cause. The Jacobites captured it in 1745. Accessible from Edinburgh or Glasgow, Doune Castle’s allure extends beyond its historical significance. It has appeared in other notable productions, like Game of Thrones and Monty Python: The Holy Grail, drawing fans worldwide.

2. Blackness Castle

blackness castle scotland
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Captain Jonathan’ Black Jack’ Randall reveals his dark and twisted nature in one of the series’ most disturbing yet powerful scenes from season one. His intelligence, misplaced in his career, collides with the horrors of war and his psychosis, culminating in the brutal flogging of Jamie. 

Blackness Castle is a 15th-century fortress built by Sir George Chricton and was the main port serving the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow, one of the primary residences of the Scottish monarch. 

3. Culloden Battlefield

culloden battlefield
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Heading further north, a visit to the rugged moorland of Culloden Battlefield is a must. Outlander fans are familiar with the tragic events that unfolded here—the decisive battle the brave Scottish warriors lost. 

Featured prominently in the show, Culloden is where Frank explains the battle’s history to Claire in the first episode and where the pivotal battle scenes are set in the past.

4. Falkland

falkland village scotland
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Falkland is a must-visit on your Outlander adventure list. Known for Falkland Palace, fans flock to this picturesque village for its role in the show’s memorable first episode. This village stands in for 1940s Inverness, where Claire and Frank begin their ill-fated second honeymoon. 

Fans can explore the town to spot filming locations, like the Covenanter Hotel as Mrs Baird’s Guesthouse. A highlight is the Bruce Fountain, where Frank sees Jamie’s ghost in a haunting moment during a storm. It’s a place where Outlander magic meets true Scottish history.

5. Linlithgow Palace

linlithgow palace
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Not far from Blackness Castle lies the once-majestic ruins of Linlithgow Palace. Commissioned by James I in 1424, this elegant ‘pleasure palace’ served as a royal rest stop between Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle—a harsh life of castle-to-palace travel for royals.

Today, the palace stands in ruins, yet visitors can explore its remnants and the adjacent loch. Fans of the show will recognize the palace’s entrance and corridors, which doubled as Wentworth Prison, where Jamie was imprisoned.

6. Hopetoun House

hopetoun house
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Just a 30-minute drive from Edinburgh sits Hopetoun House, a 17th-century stately home set amidst a sprawling 6,500-acre estate. Home to the Hope family for over 300 years, it epitomizes the aristocratic splendor of the early 18th century.

Hopetoun House’s grandeur made it a fitting choice for Outlander filming locations. In season one, it portrayed the Duke of Sandringham’s residence. Season two featured one of its rooms as part of Jamie and Claire’s Parisian apartment. In season three, its stables stood in for those at Helwater Estate, where Jamie served his parole.

7. Midhope Castle

midhope castle scotland
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Just a stone’s throw from Hopetoun House lies the quaint Midhope Castle, accessible with a vehicle permit due to its restricted access on the estate. Instantly recognizable as Lallybroch, Jamie’s family home in Outlander, the castle’s exterior has become iconic in the show. 

While no filming occurred inside due to its derelict state, many pivotal scenes occurred outside, including moments under the same archway Jamie and Claire walked. Fans can experience the atmosphere firsthand without the flogging Jamie endured beneath it.

8. Clava Cairns

clava cairns scotland
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While in Inverness, make sure to visit Clava Cairns. Though Craigh na Dun is fictional, the stones at Clava Cairns are said to have inspired its portrayal. This ancient site, dating back about 4,000 years to the Bronze Age, served as a sacred burial ground. 

Explore the grave sites, cairns, and standing stones, and be sure to bring your camera to capture this fascinating piece of history.

9. Glasgow Cathedral

glasgow cathedral
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Glasgow, a beloved Scottish city, delights visitors and Outlander fans alike with its nearby filming locations. Don’t miss Glasgow Cathedral, a medieval marvel built where St. Mungo, Glasgow’s founder and patron saint, was laid to rest.

In the show, Glasgow Cathedral’s crypt transforms into L’Hopital des Anges, an 18th-century hospital in Paris. Here, Mother Hildegarde and her trusty companion Bouton provide solace for Claire during her tumultuous days in the city, offering refuge from the Parisian bourgeoisie.

10. Signet Library

signet library edinburgh
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One of Edinburgh’s finest Georgian buildings, the Signet Library stars as the Governor’s Jamaican mansion in season three (or book 3), Voyager. Its Upper Library was transformed into a magnificent ballroom, setting the stage for dramatic twists—a hallmark of the series. This venue also hosts one of Jamie and Claire’s cherished intimate moments.

Moreover, the Signet Library shares a deeper connection with the story. It belongs to the Writers to the Signet, the legal society to which Ned Gowan, the beloved lawyer in season one, belonged. His adventures with Claire, Jamie, and Dougal included rent collection, showcasing the library’s historical ties.

11. Bakehouse Close

bakehouse close edinburgh
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This scene is the most heart-stopping in the series. After 20 years apart, Claire returns to the past to reunite with Jamie. Bakehouse Close, doubling as Carfax Close, where Jamie ran his print shop, holds sentimental value for fans. While the print shop is fictional, exploring this alley allows fans to immerse themselves in the show’s poignant moments. 

It also offers a glimpse into historic Edinburgh with its solid stone walls and atmospheric alleyway. Easily accessible on foot in the Canongate section of the Royal Mile, the alley’s entrance is near the Museum of Edinburgh, inviting visitors to step back in time.

12. Craigmillar Castle

craigmillar castle
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Jamie has faced his share of hardships, including imprisonment at Ardsmuir prison. Craigmillar Castle in Edinburgh was transformed into this grim setting for the show—dark, cold, and filled with rats. Yet, amidst the bleakness, Jamie’s encounter with Lord John Grey in season three occurred here, a pivotal moment.

Beyond its Outlander ties, Craigmillar Castle is a must-visit for its rich history and association with Mary Queen of Scots. Its ancient walls whisper tales of intrigue and power, offering visitors a glimpse into Scotland’s storied past.

13. Glencorse Old Kirk

glencorse old kirk
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Located just thirty minutes by car from central Edinburgh, Glencorse House is a stunning country estate set amidst expansive parkland. Of particular interest to fans is the Old Kirk, where Jamie and Claire exchanged vows in the TV series. 

Dating back to the 17th century, the Kirk boasts picturesque surroundings, including lush parkland, a serene lake, and charming gardens. It continues to serve as a popular venue for weddings and other ceremonies, maintaining its historic charm.

14. Culross

culross village scotland
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No visit to Scotland is complete without strolling through a charming village like Culross, frozen in the 17th and 18th centuries with its cobbled streets and red-tiled roofs. Culross, celebrated as one of Scotland’s most picturesque villages, is renowned for its restored palace.

Featured prominently in Outlander’s first two seasons, its Mercat Cross served as the fictional village of Cranesmuir, home to the problematic red-headed witch, Geillis. Don’t miss the palace gardens, standing in for Claire’s herb garden at Castle Leoch—an essential stop for fans exploring this historic gem.

15. Drummond Castle Gardens

drummond castle gardens
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Claire and Jamie were entangled in plenty of mischief and drama during their time in France, though many fans were relieved when they returned to Scotland. 

Drummond Castle, renowned for its formal terraced gardens labeled by Historic Environment Scotland as the finest in the country, served as the gardens and orchard of the Palace of Versailles in the show—the perfect choice given its absolute beauty.

16. Glencoe

glencoe scotland
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A visit to Scotland isn’t complete without experiencing Glencoe. This majestic landscape served as the backdrop for Outlander’s iconic opening scene, where Claire’s voiceover famously begins with, “People disappear all the time.” 

Glencoe’s awe-inspiring beauty feels almost unreal, whether you’re driving through, hiking, camping, or simply capturing photos. It’s a place that transports you to a fantasy realm, inspiring a deep sense of wonder. While you may not journey back to the 1700s, visiting Glencoe promises an unforgettable experience that captures Scotland’s rugged natural beauty.

With a passion for travel, great food, and beautiful art, Julie put aside her 15-year career in the tech industry and dove head-first into a more creative sphere. Utilizing her degree in Communications, she is pursuing freelance writing. An avid traveler, Julie has experience writing and documenting the amazing spots she has visited and explored, the delicious food she has tasted, and the incredible art she has admired and purchased! When she’s not writing, she can be spotted around Austin, TX, at various art gallery openings, having a delicious meal with her husband and friends, and playing with her two dogs.