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12 Must See Places for Outlander Fans In & Around Inverness

 

We wanted to bring you the 12 Must See Places for Outlander Fans in and around Inverness.  Blockbusting TV series Outlander showcases some of the Highlands most iconic locations. The Scottish Highlands are backdrop to Claire and Jamie’s love story, the place where it all began. The story unfolds across a stunning Scottish backdrop, from the haunting standing stones of the Clava Cairns, to the battlefields of Culloden, and the ruins of Urquhart Castle. The Inverness and Loch Ness area offer Outlander fans the chance to discover and explore many of the locations featured in the series.

We’ll explore the 12 must see places for Outlander Fans in & around Inverness. We hope these inspire you to take a little road trip to see some of the show’s filming locations and places that will add to your Scottish experience.

12 Must See Outlander Fan locations

  1. Inverness

Inverness Castle taken from Ardross Street

Many of the scenes in Outlander take place right here in Inverness – but you wouldn’t necessarily know that by watching the show. That’s because the scenes set in Inverness were actually filmed in Falkland in Fife!

Inverness is where the scenes set in the 1940s take place: it’s where Claire and Frank visit after their long separation during the second world war and where Frank looks for his missing wife after she is transported to the Jacobite era. Today, Inverness is known as the unofficial capital of the Highlands and is a popular destination for people wanting to experience Highland culture and enjoy the amazing nature that surrounds the city.

  1. Culloden Battlefield

Battle of Culloden

Culloden Battlefield is where a few key moments of Outlander take place. In season one, it’s one of the places Claire and Frank visit on their second honeymoon in 1945. And in the season one finale, it’s where Claire and Jamie say their tearful goodbyes before the bloody Battle of Culloden in 1745 – a battle Claire tried in vain to prevent.

Culloden Battlefield is now a popular tourist attraction commemorating the tragic battle that left 1600 men dead – 1500 of them Jacobite rebels loyal to Bonnie Prince Charlie. The visitor centre has a 360-degree battle immersion theatre that lets you have an idea of what it would have been like on the battlefield. Guided tours are held on the field to visit the memorial cairn and the graves of the Jacobite soldiers who lost their lives here.

  1. Clava Cairns

Clava Cairns – Bronze Age Standing Stones

Claire gets sent back in time after she wanders to Craigh Na Dun, a mystical stone circle that acts as a portal between her own time and the 1700s. While Craigh Na Dun is a fictional place, similar stone circles can be found in many places in the UK. Clava Cairns is located a few miles outside Inverness, making it the likeliest inspiration for Craigh Na Dun since Claire goes missing while on holiday in Inverness.

Clava Cairns is a Bronze Age monument used for burials. It comprises of cairns, standing stones and rocks arranged in circles that once housed the dead. Located near Culloden Battlefield, it’s easy to visit Clava Cairns on the same trip. The site is quiet and beautiful, so sit in the tall grass and spend some time imagining the lives of the people buried here more than 4000 years ago and what the various stone arrangements might have signified to them

  1. Castle Leod

Castle Leod courtesy of Craig Wallace – Geograph

As die-hard fans of the show might already know, Castle Leod is the inspiration behind the fictional Castle Leoch in Outlander. This is where Jamie takes Claire after she is transported to 1743. Both of the fictional castles are home of the Mackenzie clan, though the Mackenzies featured in Outlander are fictional characters. In the show, Doune Castle, located near Stirling, acted as a stand-in for Castle Leoch.

Located 20 miles outside Inverness, Castle Leod is still home to the Mackenzie family. Just like its fictional counterpart, Castle Leoch played an important role in the Jacobite uprising of 1745 and history is everywhere in this well-preserved Highland castle.

Castle Leod is open to visitors for guided tours during a good number of open days organised throughout the year. Some of these are organised by the current Mackenzie Clan Chief, John Mackenzie, Earl of Cromartie himself. The castle is also a popular wedding venue for those who want to feel like true royalty for a day.

  1. The Highland Folk Museum

Neil Williamson Highland Folk Museum

The Highland Folk Museum has a small collection of turf-roofed crofts that are replicas of 18th-century originals. This makes it a great filming location for period scenes. It stands for the Mackenzie village that is heavily featured in the fifth episode of season one, as Claire, Jamie and Dougal’s men visit the village to collect rent from its residents.

Most buildings are open to visitors, with furnished interiors, offering a glimpse to how many Highlanders lived from the 1700s all the way up until the 1950s. Located in Newtonmore, the Highland Folk Museum makes for a great stop on a day trip in the Cairngorms National Park. The drive to the open-air museum takes about an hour from Inverness and entry is free.

  1. Fort George

A dramatic view of Fort George from above

Fort George is only a short drive from Inverness and a chance for you to experience life as a Redcoat in a real Highland Fortress. A fantastic day out, a chance to see, explore and discover this outstanding military fortification. Fort George was established in the Highlands by the Redcoats. You can explore this enormous military base protected by almost 1.6KM (1 mile) of massive walls. Discover what it was like to be a Redcoat inside this garrison fortress built in 1748-69, it has barely changed in 250 years of active service.  Plus you could also join one of our Dolphin Watches, scouring the Moray Firth for its resident population of bottlenose dolphins.  This is a super attraction that will add to your Outlander knowledge. There is much for visitors to see including defences bristling with cannon, historic barrack rooms, a superb collection of weapons and the peaceful Regimental Chapel that holds many old colours or battle flags.

  1. Abertarff House

Abertarff House courtesy of Kenneth Allen

Only a 5 minute walk from the Best Western Inverness palace Hotel and Spa is Abertarff House is the oldest building in Inverness, dating back to 1593! Although Jamie Fraser of Outlander is a fictional character, we thought it may be interesting for you to experience this fabulous building home of the Frasers of Lovat. In July 2018 National Trust for Scotland opened Abertarff’s doors to the public for limited dates annually. See for here more information.

The old building was built as a 2½-storey townhouse with a projecting turnpike stairway, Abertarff House remained in the Frasers of Lovat family for over 200 years. The Commercial Bank of Scotland acquired Abertarff House in the 19th century and gifted it to the National Trust for Scotland in 1963. Over the past 50 years, it has been used as the headquarters for An Comunn Gàidhealach – the regional headquarters and the Highland Council’s office base for Scotland’s Homecoming Festival.

In July 2018 National Trust for Scotland opened Abertarff’s doors to the public for limited dates annually. See for here more information.  Even if the house is not open during your visit, it is still worth a visit, it offers an interesting place to rest your feet  where you can sit outside on the bench for a great place to relax…

  1. Beauly Priory

Beauly Priory

There are many references to the Priory in Outlander. Beauly Priory was founded around 1230 by monks of the Valliscaulian order. They came from their mother house in Burgundy, in France, and settled beside the Beauly River, at the place where it enters the Beauly Firth. They were invited to do so by the lord, Sir John Bisset. And there their successors lived for the next 300 years, until the Protestant Reformation of 1560 brought their cloistered and contemplative life to an abrupt end. Today their legacy lives on, in their pretty, tree-fringed abbey church, the priory is now roofless but otherwise largely intact. It’s a very calm and serene place.

  1. Urquhart Castle

loch ness

Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness

Experience the dramatic ruins of this once magnificent Castle thought to be one of Scotland’s largest. This stunning location on the banks of Loch Ness features in the Diana Gabaldon series Outlander. Captain Randall and Claire enjoy a day trip to the site.  Come and explore the Castle for yourself you can climb the Grant Tower that watches over the iconic loch, peer into a prison cell, said to have held the legendary Gaelic bard Domhnall Donn, and imagine the splendid banquets staged in the great hall.

The location of the castle is stunning, it has panoramic views of the hills of the Great Glen and the shores of Loch Ness.  The castle has a distinctly Highland heritage, this is where St. Columba is said to have worked miracles in the 6th century, where acts of chivalry and defiance provided inspiration during the Wars of Independence and where the MacDonald Lords of the Isles struggled with the Crown for Power. It is definitely worth a visit on your Outlander tour.

  1. Clansman Center

A trip to the Clansman center is like stepping back in time, entering through the doors of a 19th century schoolhouse, you will take a step into the 17th.  You will step back in time to the interior of a Highland turf house.  See an authentically dresses Clansman bringing the past to life, stepping in Jamies’s shoes. There is also a wee shop, which specialises in Celtic and locally produced gifts.  The show must be booked in advance, learn about the food, clothing, clans, weapons and culture of 17th Highland life.  This is an interactive show, which brings history to life. The center is open 7 days a week April to October.  It is an intimate experience only seating 50 people at a time. Besides a quaint little shop specializing in Celtic and locally produced crafts and gifts we have recreated the interior of a Highland turf house, where an authentically dressed clansman brings the past back to life.

  1. Wardlaw Museum

Wardlaw Mausoleum courtesy of Craig Wallace Geograph

The Wardlaw Mausoleum is a magnate to fans of the Outlander Series and in general to all those interested in Scottish history. Lord Lovat is portrayed as the grandfather of central character Jamie Fraser, played by Sam Heughan.

The Wardlaw Mausoleum is an Outlander Site & historic site of interest. The mausoleum is one of the key Lovat Outlander sites near Inverness and Loch Ness, in the little village of Kirkhill (near Beauly). The Wardlaw Mausoleum is the final resting place of the real “Old Fox” Lord Lovat of the Jacobite rebellion, and Jamie Fraser’s grandfather in the Outlander Series. A wee historic gem just outside of Inverness, Wardlaw Mausoleum is becoming a favourite with Outlander fans.

You can visit a secret underground chamber that contains 6 ancient lead coffins. These include the 11th Lord Lovat’s headless body, following his execution at the Tower of London!

This popular Loch Ness Visitor attraction and Scottish Outlander site is set in the Wardlaw Graveyard at the top of Wardlaw Road in Kirkhill, just 8 miles west of Inverness. It was built in 1634 as the burial place for the Lovat Frasers on the end of the original parish church. The roof of the mausoleum was raised and a tower added in 1722 by the then Lord Lovat, the ‘Old Fox’ of the Jacobite Rebellion who was later buried in the crypt. It was used by the Lovat’s until the early 19th century. The building then fell into disrepair until the 1990’s when the Wardlaw Mausoleum Trust was formed to rescue it.

  1. Glen Coe

The iconic landscape of Glen Coe has been featured in countless films and TV shows over the years, and Outlander is no different: the season one credits get their backdrop from here. Located near the popular Highland resort of Fort William, Glen Coe is the location furthest from Inverness on our list.

That being said, it’s a great destination for a day trip from Inverness, located a 2.5-hour drive from the capital of the Highlands. You could also make Glen Coe one stop along a longer road trip – read our guide to the best road trips in the Highlands here.

Stay With Us

We are looking forward to welcoming you back from 15th July, we’re ready for you and hope you will be inspired to make your Outlander Road Trip! Inverness is the perfect base for walking in Claire and Jamie’s footsteps plus the chance to experience and learn about the history and culture of Scotland. See our explore page for more day trips and places to visit or our recent Magical Movie locations blog, even more places to explore! We hope you choose to stay with us at Best Western Palace Hotel & Spa, a family run hotel in the heart of Inverness; we look forward to welcoming you soon! Remember #bookdirect for your best offers.  

Plus a big Thank You to Neil Williamson at Flickr, who kindly let us use his lovely image of the Highland Folk Museum!

 

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