Six Must-See Places in the Highlands for Outlander Fans
Have you heard? Outlander is set to return to the small screen for its fifth season in February 2020! With the return of everyone’s favourite historical time travel drama growing closer, now’s the perfect chance to take a little road trip to see some of the show’s filming locations and spots that inspired it and the book series it’s based on.
In today’s blog post, we’ll explore six must-see places on the Highlands for Outlander fans. A chance to go over six fascinating places to visit in the Scottish Highlands for fans of the show and for those simply interested in learning more about Jacobite history and seeing some truly gorgeous scenery. Without further ado, here are six must-see places near Inverness for Outlander fans.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
Planning your Outlander trip in the Highlands
The area around Inverness as well as the wider Highlands area offer a huge amount of fascinating places to visit for Outlander fans. For some more inspiration for planning your trip, check out this interactive map of Outlander filming locations on the Visit Scotland website.
Stay with us
Inverness makes for an excellent base for discovering the real Jacobite history that inspired the Outlander books and TV series. The Palace Hotel & Spa is in Inverness city centre, right on the bank of River Ness with fantastic views of Inverness Castle. Opened in 1890, our hotel is not quite Jacobite, but its castle-inspired towers with conical roofs and overall Baronial style will make you feel like you’re a character in a period drama of your very own.
To book your accommodation for your Outlander adventure, email our concierge or call us on 01463 22 32 43 to #bookdirect.