An Outlander Day Tour of Scotland

During my recent 9 day tour of Scotland with 7 lovely ladies from the USA, one of the top priorites was to see as many Outlander sights as we could.  For those who are unfamiliar with Outlander (and that is most people in the UK) it follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives. The “Outlander” series spins the genres of romance, science fiction, history, and adventure into one epic tale.

I’ve watched a few episodes and I found it a bit too Hollywood and romanticised, violent and pornographic.  As with so many American shows English folks are primarily cast as villainous.  If you can think of an American show or movie which brakes this stereotype, do tell 🙂  Anyway, it is still a decent TV show and it is only because I like history so much that I likely see the flaws slightly more clearly.

As with most television shows, locations that seem close together onscreen can often be far apart in real life so I picked a few locations that looked like they would make for a good day trip and wouldn’t result in us travelling hundreds of miles to make quick pit-stops.   All my tours are substance over style and I like to explore things more in depth.

The first location we went to was in the old kingdom of Fife, Aberdour Castle.  In Outlander it plays the part of the Benedictine monastery, Abbey Ste Anne de Beaupre. It is here that Jamie recovers from his injuries at the hands of “Black Jack” Randall. Aberdour Caste which in real life dates back to the 1100’s and famous for its painted ceiling and ruined sections as well as the beautiful St Fillans Church which is from the Norman period.

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Much of Aberdour Castle was devastated in an accidental fire.

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A Dovecote

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This section of castle completely collapsed and lain where it fell for countless centuries.

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The beautiful St. Fillians Church…. nestled away behind a walled garden.  My friend Maddie and I found this as we explored and were a little startled when a bat of Swallow flew out of the front porch as we opened the door.

Next up we travelled to the beautiful little village of Falkland which to both myself and all the tourists or Magnificent 7 as I labelled them, found to be one of the highlights of the entire holiday.

Falkland gets its name from the the fact that the Stuart dynasty used to come here to hunt with falcons (birds of prey).  Whilst he we saw a national cycling race and gate-crashed a wedding.  Though we went round together, from time to time we all would split off and follow our own interests.

In Outlander, Falkland stands in for the city of Inverness which in reality is 3 or 4 hours journey further north.   Filming has taken place here as recently as 7 weeks earlier.

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Falkland drinking fountain was built thanks to the donations of a rich local.

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We all enjoyed the hearty menu in Campbells which also featured in Outlander.  I got chatting to the eldery chap who owns the anqitue shop next door.  He told me he got paid £500 to remove his modern window sign for a few minutes as an actor walked past his window.  Good money!

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Falkland Church also featured in Outlander

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This building stood in as an Inverness Bed and Breakfast hotel in Outlander.

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The entrance to Falkirk Palace where a wedding was taking place

After Falkland it was a bit of a drive to the small town of Culross which in Outlander is the location for Cranesmuir. Here we find Geillis Duncan’s house and the historically picturesque town square where Geillis is sentenced to burn for being a witch. It is also here that Jamie and Claire rescue the thief, Tammas, when his ear is pinned to the post. Much of the town was painted a dark grey colour for filming, which has reverted to the original white Despite this, there is no mistaking this idyllic-looking location.

Later, in spring of 2018, the Outlander cast and crew returned for season 4 filming. This time, with Nell Hudson, a scene was filmed using a house near Mercat Cross.  I guess everyone will have to wait a few more months to find out exactly what was going on.

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The home of Geillis Duncan

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We took our large 12 seater vehicle down roads that were really meant for horses and carts.  There was much deep intake of breaths and a few prayers uttered in the back seats.

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The Mercat Cross…. a good palce for an execution.

Finally we squeezed in Midhope Castle which in Outlander is the setting for Lallybroch.  In reality, it is hidden deep away in a maze of lanes on a large country estate and suffers from extortionate charges that I personally would never pay but tourists are tourists 🙂 and the owners are very knowledgable of just what an exortionate charge they can make.

The Magnicifent 7 loved the old castle which is actually almost in ruins inside (and in the rear) but the wonders of Hollywood make it look a thriving place in Outlander.

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Midhope Castle

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Lallybroch

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Midhope Castle is a 16th century Tower House on the Hopetoun Estate.

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If you’d like to do an Outlander tour with our fabulous local guide Andy then why not check out our Outlander Tour which goes to these and sometimes equally good but different locations depending on the weather/filming etc.  We also do several other Edinburgh and Scotland Tours.

 

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About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
This entry was posted in history, Life, television, Travel, Ye Olde England Tours and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to An Outlander Day Tour of Scotland

  1. Ankur Mithal says:

    Enjoyable virtual tour as always

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ellen G. Pancoe says:

    It was a wonderful Outlander day. Yes, Outlander is a bit of a soap opera,but it has some interesting history and gorgeous scenery. We Americans may have our share of British villains but we also love the British shows, e.g., Masterpiece Theater is hugely popular.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maddy says:

    Thank you Stephen for giving in to our romantic American whims. The 9 day tour of Scotland was wonderfully scenic and informative. You and Kevin were the ultimate guides 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Maddy. You were all pretty cool tourists too! I keep thinking what we were doing 2 weeks ago 🙂 I could do with another trip to the Gelato Company given how hot it is in London these days!

      Like

  4. Malla Duncan says:

    How I wish I could afford all of this tour! I adore Outlander – have all the DVD’s (given as birthday presents) and can’t wait for season four. What a great idea for a tour. I love the love the history and the mystery of the show, it is so, so well done. One of the best. I think I had better start saving…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am sure you would be in line for a very special discount Malla!! I love coming up with new ideas for tours, All the big companies just visit the same old places but I like to go off exploring!

      Like

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