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Outlander Tour In Scotland Review From Edinburgh

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In this post, I will share with you my Outlander Tour in Scotland review from Edinburgh.

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.

Outlander tour in Scotland review

Booking The Tour

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 center.

Other tours that I am interested in are the Loch Ness, Inverness, & Highlands Tour, and the Isle of Skye, The Fairy Pools & Highland Castles Tour. 

They are two-day trips and require an overnight stop but they both sound amazing! 

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Outlander tour review

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!

Having a guide is one of the biggest perks of being in a tour group.

The tour stops as you can see on the map above include:

  1. Culross (Known as Cranesmuir Village in Outlander season 1).
  2. Doune Castle (Known as Castle Leoch in Outlander season 1).
  3. Callendar House – (Known for the kitchen where the Duke of Sandringham comes to an end in Outlander season 1).
  4. Linlithgow Palace (Known as Wentworth Prison where Jamie was held by Black Jack Randall in Outlander season 1).
  5. Blackness Castle (Known as Fort William in Outlander season 1).
Culross Village Outlander tour in Scotland review

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 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.

Check out the herb garden mittens knitting pattern. – Herb Garden Cable Knit Mittens Pattern

The Mercat Cross

You can also go and see the old Mercat (market) Cross that traditionally stands at the center 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.

Culross village Claire's herb garden and the mercat cross

2. Doune Castle

Doune Castle is a medieval stronghold near the village of Doune in central Scotland.

Doune Castle which was used as Castle Leoch in Outlander season one is 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.

Check out the Mackenzie clan beret knitting pattern here. Scottish Beret Outlander Knitting Pattern 

Fun Fact – Doune Castle has been featured in the classic Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1975) but also in the Game of Thrones tv series (2011) as Winterfell the home of The Starks. (The North Remembers!)

Doune castle Outlander tour in Scotland review

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:

You can also purchase the Outlander Patterns Ebook Set with 20 knitting patterns inspired by the knits seen on the show.

Grab your copy hereThe Ultimate Outlander Knitting Pattern Collection

Outlander Claire cowl knitted with brown yarn

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.

Callendar house kitchen Outlander tour in Scotland review

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.

Callendar house kitchen with pots and pans

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.

 Linlithgow Palace loch 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.

Linlithgow Palace Outlander tour in Scotland review

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.

Blackness castle landscape

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.

Blackness castle outlander tour

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 day trip tour was amazing and we really enjoyed it.

Not only because we visited all the notable film locations and I got to walk in the footsteps of Jamie but also the scenic drive and the historic sites.

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 and 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 center.

This included four places:

  1. Carfax Close – The location of Jamie’s Printshop in season three.
  2. Cannongate – Where Claire is looking for Jamie in season 3.
  3. Holyrood House – Used as inspiration for the Palace of Versailles in season two.
  4. 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 sees Claire after all those years!

Carfax close in Edinburgh

2. Canongate

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.

Canongate in Edinburgh

3. HolyRood Palace

Holyrood Palace is an official royal residence and was the home of Her Majesty the Queen when she visited 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.

Grab your Outlander 8 Book series here.

Holyrood Palace

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 a 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 colors.

The gallery has free entry.

National Portrait Gallery Scotland

Outlander FAQs

Is an Outlander day tour worth it?

Yes! you get to see lots of places used for the Outlander filming locations in series one mainly. You can explore these places and recognize them from the show easily. It is easier to go on an organized 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. Plus Having a guided tour with other Outlander fans is a lot more fun compared to doing a private tour on your own. You will need someone to geek out with at your favorite filming location.

Where is Outlander filmed?

Outlander is filmed in Scotland, primarily at the Wardpark Studios at Cumbernauld near Glasgow.

Is Outlander filmed in North Carolina?

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.

Where are the standing stones from Outlander located?

The stones used in the TV series are made of styrofoam and installed on location at Kinloch Rannoch in Perth and Kinross. Unfortunately, you can’t visit the stone set but you can still visit the locations. 

Is Craigh na Dun a real place in Scotland?

While Craigh na Dun is a fictional stone circle, many such structures exist all over the British Isles, including Scotland. Craigh na Dun is modeled 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.

Is Lallybroch real?

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.

How historically accurate is Outlander?

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. 
The Jacobite Rising, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s involvement in the Scottish Uprising, and The Culloden battle seem to have inspired the Outlander books.
Other parts like the witch trials in season one however are not. 
The last Scottish witch trial was in 1722 and Outlander takes place in the mid-18th century in 1743. 

How historically accurate are the Outlander costumes and the knitwear?

The Outlander series production did an amazing job on the costumes and the knitwear.
While not everything is historically accurate when it comes to their knitwear and costumes, nothing ever seems completely out of place.
There are some costumes that are accurate which include the costumes seen in season 1 where the period is set in 18th Century Scotland.
During that first season, the costume’s colors took inspiration from the landscape, with women wearing tight corsets and bum rolls underneath their skirts, which were commonly used in the 1700s.
Jamie wears his kilt accurately, laying it down, then lying on top of it and rolling himself up.
Jamie also wears a tam which is a woolen hat of Scottish origin, this looks like a grey beret worn slouched over on one side.
Check out the Outlander Costumes {Including The Knitwear And More!} blog post to learn all about them.

Was there really a Clan Fraser?

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.
Diana Gabaldon said in an interview for National Geographic that while doing research she read Eric Linklater’s Prince in the Heather and was inspired by Jamie’s last name. 

Was there really Clan Mackenzie?

Yes, Clan Mackenzie is very real and their ancestorial home is Castle Leod. They are a Scottish clan associated with Kintail and land in Ross-shire in the Scottish Highlands. 
Traditional genealogies trace the ancestors of the Mackenzie chiefs to the 12th century.

Other Places To Explore in Scotland 

Scotland is a beautiful country with beautiful scenery and a rich history that will captivate your interest.  

If you love a winter getaway Scotland is the perfect choice for you. 

Whether you decide to visit one or two places or do a road trip to the whole country you will absolutely fall in love with the wilderness of nature, the unique castles, the architecture, and the museums.

If you love history make sure to visit as many castles as you can, definitely the Culloden battlefield.

​And if you are an architecture enthusiast you are going to love the Glasgow Cathedral. 

Last but not least one of my favorite stops would be the Highland Folk Museum where you can time travel and experience the 1700s to 1950s Highlands. 

If you love fashion and textile you are going to adore it.

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.

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8 Comments

  1. Lovely to read about your tour Louise! I’ve literally only seen episode one of the first series of Outlander but I have Scottish ancestry so it’s fascinating for me from that angle.
    I really should learn to knit properly so that I can make some of your patterns in honour of my Douglas and Dunn ancestors 😃

    1. Hello Katie!
      I’m so happy you had a look at the tour review, we had an amazing time.
      The first series of Outlander is probably my favourite – because there are so many knits!
      Thanks for your comment 🙂
      Louise

  2. I’m just in loooove with this post of yours!!!
    I’m a Outlander addicted and Scotland passioned.
    This post is absolutly wonderfull for me!
    Thanks you so much for your work!!

    1. Hello Ana,
      Thank you so much for your kind words, I’m so happy you enjoyed the post 🙂
      Louise

  3. Beautiful! Thanks for this. I’m a wee bit Scottish and truly appreciate this.
    Ohhh those knit !!!❤️❤️

    Carol

    1. Hello Carol,
      I’m so happy that you enjoyed reading about the Outlander tour!
      Thanks for visiting my site 🙂
      Louise

  4. Beautiful patterns and love your information about your tour. The books about Jamie and Claire are the best. Have read twice. Now with your knit patternS from Outlander I will be enjoying knitting. Will be starting soon! Thank you