In this post, I will share with you my Outlander Tour in Scotland review.
As a treat and for research purposes for my future Outlander knitwear collections I wanted to go on an Outlander tour.
What better way to explore than in early January, when it’s cold wet and grey!
We were visiting family over Christmas and thought it was a great time to have a short visit to Edinburgh.
My husband Fotis, who has never actually seen Outlander was looking forward to the tour, to learn some Scottish history and to explore the castles.
I booked the tour with Timberbush Tours, a one day tour that left from outside of the Ensign Ewart pub on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh city centre.
Outlander Tour From Edinburgh
The tour started early, the minibus left at around 8 am from the meeting point and headed out towards our first stop.
Our driver and guide Jamie T was an excellent source of information right from the beginning.
He was very much like a seasoned history professor giving interesting lectures about the places we visited during the day and had lots of interesting facts and tips about Scottish history, the Gaelic language and of course Outlander!
The tour stops as you can see on the map above included:
- Culross (Known as Cranesmuir Village in Outlander season 1).
- Doune Castle (Known as Castle Leoch in Outlander season 1).
- Callendar House – (Known for the kitchen where the Duke of Sandringham comes to an end in Outlander season 1).
- Linlithgow Palace (Known as Wentworth Prison where Jamie was held by Black Jack Randall in Outlander season 1).
- Blackness Castle (Known as Fort William in Outlander season 1).
1. Culross Village
Culross is a rustic old village overlooking the Firth of Forth and is the setting for the village of Cranesmuir in Outlander season one.
The buildings are the same as they were in the 17th and 18th Centuries with vintage features like the small windows and doors.
The Herb Garden
You can walk up behind Culross palace to see the garden that was used as Claire’s herb garden at Castle Leoch.
This is where Claire and Geillis collect their herbs and medicinal plants while wearing beautiful knitted capelets.
The Mercat Cross
You can also go and see the old Mercat (market) Cross that traditionally stands at the centre of many Scottish towns and villages.
This one appeared in Outlander season one in Cranesmuir village where Claire pretended to faint so that Jamie could rescue a young boy.
2. Doune Castle
Doune Castle which was used as Castle Leoch in Outlander season one, the fictional seat of the Clan Mackenzie.
Here you can go inside to explore for around £16 each and get an audio guide that is narrated by the lovely Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser).
The inside of the castle has great rooms with larger than life fireplaces and many spiral stairways.
The castle’s kitchen was the inspiration for Mrs Fitz’s stone-arched kitchen though a replica was built for the show, so they didn’t damage the stonework in the castle.
Knitwear Worn By Claire At Castle Leoch In Outlander Season one
In season one we see Claire wearing the knits that so many of us loved instantly, inspiring us to make our own versions.
This included her knitted brown cowl, cable knit brown arm warmers, cable knit blue arm warmers, basic knit wrist warmers, heavy knitted shawls, capelets and a fur cowl.
You may be interested in the following Outlander knitting patterns:
- Claire’s Outlander Cowl Knitting Pattern
- Castle Leoch Arm Warmers Knitting Pattern
- Faux Fur Scarf Pattern
- Je Suis Prest Arm Warmers Pattern
- Outlander Claire’s Cable Knit Wrist Warmers Pattern
- Claire’s Rent Shawl Pattern
You can also purchase the Outlander Patterns Ebook Set with 20 knitting patterns inspired by the knits seen on the show. Grab your copy here!
3. Callendar House
Callendar House in Falkirk is worth a visit to see the large kitchen that was used for the final scene of the ‘Vengeance is mine’ episode towards the end of season one for the grisly ending to the Duke of Sandringham.
The kitchen has a large open fireplace and a guide dressed in original costume gives a talk on the filming of the scenes and how the production changed the look of the kitchen.
They also have a display of the scenes filmed in the kitchen and some information to tell you how it was done.
They also have a copy of the Outlander Kitchen book with recipes inspired by Claire and Jamie’s journey together. Grab your copy here!
Callendar House has free entry to the house and grounds.
4. Linlithgow Palace
Linlithgow Palace is a HUGE place overlooking a natural lowland loch and is the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots.
There is such a beautiful landscape surrounding the palace that you can walk around to take in the view.
The palace became Wentworth Prison where Jamie was held by Black Jack Randall at the end of season one.
The outside landscape of the palace is very scary and intimidating, so you can see how they could choose this as the location for the prison.
We didn’t have much time here because we wanted to get some lunch, so we didn’t go inside of the palace but you can and entry is around £7.20 per adult.
5. Blackness Castle
Blackness Castle is a bleak place on the water that became Fort William in season one, where Randall did bad things to both Jamie and Claire.
This castle is tall and shaped like a ship, right in the Firth of Forth waters with lots of stairs and rooms to explore.
This is where Jamie rescued Claire from Randall – appearing at the window and telling him ‘get your hands off my wife!’.
After both Jamie and Claire jump from the battlements into the sea.
You can walk along those battlements to get great views of both the castle and the surrounding landscape.
Ticket prices for entry are around £16 per adult.
The End Of The Tour
The tour ended at around 6 pm dropping everyone off at the Ensign Ewart pub on the Royal Mile.
The tour was amazing and we really enjoyed it.
Unfortunately, the only place we didn’t go to, that I really wanted to see was Midhope Castle – known as Lallybroch in Outlander, Jamie’s family home.
I would definitely book this tour again and next time I am in Scotland I would do it all again!
Outlander Locations To Explore On Foot In Edinburgh
The next day we had our own tour of Outlander locations that are in Edinburgh city centre.
This included four places:
- Carfax Close – The location of Jamie’s Printshop in season three.
- Cannongate – Where Claire is looking for Jamie in season 3.
- Holyrood House – Used as inspiration for the Palace of Versailles in season two.
- The Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
1. Carfax Close
A small side street on the lower end of the Royal Mile – Bakehouse Close (changed to Carfax Close in the show) was the location for Jamie’s print shop in season three.
Who can forget Claire climbing the stairs here looking at the sign that says ‘Alexander Malcolm’ and Jamie fainting when he see’s Claire after all those years!
The Canongate lies towards the bottom end of the Royal Mile.
Here you will see a building with a large clock and that is the Canongate Tollbooth.
You will see this in season 3 when Claire is looking for Jamie.
3. HolyRood Palace
Holyrood Palace is an official royal residence and the home of Her Majesty the Queen when she visits Edinburgh.
Prince Charles Edward Stuart also set up court here for a few weeks in 1745 and this is where Jamie joins his court in the second Outlander book – Dragonfly in Amber.
This was used as inspiration for the second series of Outlander where Claire and Jamie are for some time in court in Versailles with Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Ticket prices for entry are around £16 for an adult and £9.50 for children.
4. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery
The Scottish National Portrait Gallery has a whole floor dedicated to the Jacobites, where you will see many portraits of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
You can also see portraits of Lords and ladies wearing full highland dress and a portrait of Flora Macdonald, who is said to have inspired The Skye Boat Song.
She helped Bonnie prince Charlie disguise himself as a woman to escape in a small boat to the island of Skye after his defeat in the battle of Culloden in 1746.
These paintings and sketches were an amazing inspiration for designing new knitwear and looking at tartans, argyle, fabrics and colours.
The gallery has free entry.
Yes! you get to see lots of places used for the Outlander filming locations in series one mainly. You can explore these places and recognise them from the show easily. It is easier to go on an organised tour, rather than hiring a car to do this yourself. You have the benefit of the driver and tour guide who gives you lots of historical information during the drive from place to place.
Outlander is filmed in Scotland, primarily at the Wardpark Studios at Cumbernauld near Glasgow.
According to Diana Gabaldon, the author of the books the show is based on, Fraser’s Ridge is located “up near Boone and Blowing Rock.” But scenes set in the U.S. are primarily filmed in Scotland, Scottish woods had to stand in for northwest North Carolina for much of filming.
The stones used in the TV series are made of styrofoam and installed on location at Kinloch Rannoch in Perth and Kinross.
While Craigh na Dun is a fictional stone circle, many such structures exist all over the British Isles, including Scotland. Craigh na Dun is modelled off of the Callanish Stones in the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. The stones in the TV series were made of styrofoam and installed on location at Kinloch Rannoch.
Lallybroch is actually Midhope Castle, located between South Queensferry and Linlithgow on the edges of the private Hopetoun Estate. All of this is less than 10 miles from Edinburgh making this a relatively easy place to visit if you are staying in Edinburgh, Fife or the Scottish Borders.
Very, but not everything is 100% accurate, of course. While Outlander may be a show that is considered fantasy/historical fiction there are actually plenty of important events and details that are completely historically accurate.
Clan Fraser (Scottish Gaelic: Clann Frisealach, French: Clan Frasier) is a Scottish clan of French origin. The Clan has been strongly associated with Inverness and the surrounding area since the Clan’s founder gained lands there in the 13th century.
I hope you have enjoyed my Outlander tour in Scotland review and when possible can see yourself going one day in the future!
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments!