If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of the TV series Outlander, a drama based on the series of books by Diana Gabaldon about a woman who finds herself transported back from 1946 Inverness to the Scotland of two centuries before. Her arrival in 1743 cues romance, tension, and lots of beautifully shot Scottish scenery – so it comes as no surprise that the series – and the books they are based on – have given quite a boost to the Scottish tourist industry in recent years. This Easter, we decided to take our own Outlander road trip in our campervan (because every good road trip needs a theme, right?) and duly set off from our home in the far north in search of some Outlander-inspired fun. So here are six of the best Outlander locations to add to your travel bucket list. If you love all things Scottish, otherworldly, and epic romance, I can guarantee you’ll find something you’ll enjoy!
CULLODEN BATTLEFIELD AND VISITOR CENTRE, NEAR INVERNESS
Culloden Battlefield has to be one of the most iconic Outlander locations and the site of the Battle of Culloden, which ended the Jacobite Uprising of 1745, features heavily in the series. Centuries later the battlefield – now under the care of the National Trust for Scotland – remains an eerie, mystical and fascinating place. Concerns have been raised about the so-called ‘Outlander Effect’ and occasionally inappropriate behaviour of some visitors, particularly around the clan graves. It’s worth remembering that in less than an hour, over 1500 men were killed on this site – a sobering thought, and a reminder to go gently through this very special place.
CLAVA CAIRNS, NEAR INVERNESS
Just a few minutes drive from the Culloden Battlefield are the Clava Cairns, a Bronze Age burial site thought to be the inspiration for (the fictional) Craigh na Dun in Diana Gabaldon’s book series. Most certainly the cairns and the standing stones which surround them evoke images of the dancing ladies in the opening credits of the TV show. Just be careful not to pass through them or you might end up back in the 18th century like Claire did! Then again, if Jamie Fraser is waiting for you on the other side you might be happy to go ahead and dive right in!
DOUNE CASTLE, PERTHSHIRE
Doune Castle was another must-see pit stop on our 4-day Outlander itinerary. The castle will be familiar to Outlander fans as Castle Leoch, where Claire is taken when she first arrives in 1743. It also has an impressive backlist of TV and movie credits, having been used in the pilot episode of Game of Thrones and famously, as a filming location for Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Sadly on the day we visited it was closed to the public, but we still enjoyed walking around its impressive exterior. Apart from my youngest son slipping in the mud down the hill in this picture, that is. Thankfully for the rest of our trip, better weather (and better judgement around mud-soaked hills) more happily prevailed 🙂 .
The beautiful area around Kinloch Rannoch is seen in early Outlander episodes while Claire and Frank enjoy their second honeymoon in Scotland. Back in the real world, the scenery is just as awe-inspiring, as this view we enjoyed over Loch Rannoch illustrates quite well! And just in case you’re wondering – I haven’t done anything to this photo. Those clouds framing the scene were nature’s very own spectacular vignette.
The lovely seaside town of Troon played host to the Outlander cast when they filmed there in season one as Claire, Jamie and Murtagh left Scotland and boarded a ship to France. When we visited the harbour featured, things looked a little more modern than they had in the 18th century. All credit to the film crew who must have done a very good job of hiding this marina filled with gorgeous yachts!
DUNURE HARBOUR AND CASTLE
The final stop on our Outlander itinerary was Dunure harbour, again in Ayrshire – which if you’ve been watching the latest series might be familiar to you as the harbour from which Claire and Jamie set sail in season 3. A stone’s throw away is Dunure Castle, which doubles as the castle on Selkie Island in the series. Fun fact: the castle isn’t actually on an island – it’s just around the corner from the harbour on the coast!
That’s it for my pick of six of the best places to visit on your Scottish Outlander Road Trip. Never fear though, Outlander fans – we have a few more Outlander-themed road trips on the horizon very soon. I’ll be posting more of our Outlander-themed adventures over the summer. In the meantime, happy reading, watching and exploring Outlander fans! 🙂
Click here to see a short video of our trip:
Pin this post for later: