The pandemic has forced many of us to swap real life travel for binge watching shows like Outlander to feed our wanderlust.
Now, it finally looks like international travel is set to return, with Scotland confirming that fully vaccinated travellers visiting from non-red list countries will not even have to provide evidence of a negative test result before travelling to Scotland.
Millions of people around the world have fallen in love with the WWII nurse who gets transported back to 18th century Scotland and finds herself falling in love with a handsome Highlander and in the middle of the Jacobite uprising.
Adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s famous novels, the TV series’ 5 seasons to date have been filmed at many locations in and around Edinburgh.
And, now that travel is back, fans can finally transport themselves to Scotland and the many famous places seen in the series.
Real Life Outlander Locations You can Visit Near Edinburgh, Scotland
Where to Stay for Easy Access to Outlander Sites
Edinburgh is without a doubt the best place to set yourself up if you want to explore a large number of Outlander filming locations. Not only is the Scottish capital surrounded by dozens of famous locations form the series, it also boasts plenty of intriguing Jacobite history itself.
And the best part is that you won’t have to rough it like they did in the 18th century, as you now have access to countless Airbnb rentals that utilize Airbnb management services to ensure their guests are well taken care of throughout their stay.
Airbnb is said to boost Scotland’s economy by nearly £700 million annually, supporting nearly 35,000 local jobs when you factor in the local businesses that travellers visit while travelling.
The company has also recently created a £200,000 Edinburgh Community Fund, which sees a portion of each booked stay going back into investing in the local community.
Airbnb is also campaigning to bring attention to often overlooked destinations in and around Edinburgh to better spread tourism and its economic benefits. Local businesses are also being encouraged to create new unique stays and experiences for visitors.
Owners looking to list their properties for rent can utilise Airbnb management in Edinburgh to take all the hassle out of hosting and ensure their guests’ needs are met.
Top Outlander Sites to Visit Near Edinburgh
Just a stone’s throw away from Edinburgh Castle is a much quieter castle known as Craigmillar, but you may know it as Ardmuir Prison from Outlander.
This 14th century castle was used as the prison where Jacobite rebels including Jamie and Murtagh were imprisoned after losing the Battle of Culloden.
It is here where Jamie would first meet Lord John Grey who would later become a large part of his life in future seasons. In addition to the castle featuring in Outlander, it was also the place where Mary Queen of Scots resided shortly after the birth of her son James who would later become king of England.
The castle is open to the public where you can view the gaol cells and climb one of the country’s oldest tower houses to spot Edinburgh Castle in the distance.
About a 30-minute drive west of the capital near South Queensferry is Hopetoun House. It was built at the turn of the 18th century and used as the Duke of Sandringham’s residence in Outlander.
Regarded as Scotland’s finest stately home, Hopetoun and its gardens are open to the public each year from Easter to the end of September. Visitors can see where Outlander’s Duke had a duel with the head of the McDonald Clan and where one of Season one’s sword fights took place.
There are also trails where you can seek out local wildlife like red deer, foxes, and badgers, or try a bit of clay pigeon shooting.
It was also at Hopetoun where King George IV stayed when visiting Scotland, the first reigning monarch to visit the country in nearly 200 years. It was during the king’s visit that the Scottish tartan gained a lot of its fame.
Hopetoun House also featured in the TV series Belgravia which was adapted from a Julian Fellowes novel, Fellowes of course famous for Downton Abbey as well.
You’ll recognize Edinburgh’s Signet Library as the Jamaican governor’s mansion in Outlander Season 3.
This is where Jamie and Claire catch up with Lord John Grey while attending the Governor’s Ball and also surprisingly come face to face with Geillis Duncan whom they thought dead.
The stunning library was built just before King George IV’s visit which I touched on earlier. Today, the building houses the Colonnades at the Signet restaurant which serves up Edinburgh’s finest afternoon tea.
If you make your way to the Commissioners’ room, this acted as the private office of John Grey.
Image credit: Gary Campbell-Hall (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
Tucked away off the Royal Mile is Tweeddale Court which offers a glimpse of what 18th century Scotland would have looked like.
It is here where Claire is reunited with a now adult Fergus in season 3. She is forced to explain her absence after years of having gone missing and comes to learn of Fergus having lost his left hand.
While the court may have been made to look like a bustling market in the series, you will find it to be a quiet space to escape the city. Look for a remnant of the King’s Wall which once marked the medieval boundary of the city, as well as the famous Tweeddale House.
Nearby, you can also check out Bakehouse Close which is where Jamie had his print shop and is reunited with Claire for the first time when she returns to Scotland. Also nearby is the World’s End Pub which is talked about in the Outlander books.
East Lothian is home to Gosford House, but this glorious mansion doubled as the stable house at Versailles in Outlander.
It is here where Jamie discusses buying horses with the Duke of Sandringham and Claire is introduced to Jamie’s old flame Annalise from his younger university days.
A lot of CGI was used in Gosford’s transformation for Outlander so bits of it may look a bit different. Outlander tours of the house and grounds are available by appointment or you can research when their special public open days are scheduled each summer.
Image credit: Magnus Hagdorn (cc by-sa 2.0) via Flickr
Tucked away on 6,500 acres of a private working farm estate is where you’ll find the Fraser family home of Lallybroch. The small 16th century castle is actually named Midhope Castle in real life and lies derelict about 15 miles west of Edinburgh.
Midhope is where Jamie’s sister Jenny lives with her husband and children. It featured in many episodes of Outlander and you can actually visit the exterior of the castle.
All it will take is a vehicle and obtaining a vehicle pass from the Hopetoun Farm Shop.
Image credit: Jeff Hitchcock (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
Now looked after by the National Trust for Scotland, the 18th century Preston Mill was a commercial working mill right up until about 1960.
Located in East Linton, it’s one of the Outlander filming locations that is a bit further afield but can still be reached in under an hour’s drive.
You’ll recognize the mill when seeing its famous water wheel which dates to the early 1900s. Jamie attempts to fix the wheel when it became stuck and is forced to hide underwater when Redcoats happen upon the mill.
The mill is also home to the room where Claire and Geillis had their preliminary court hearing due to accusations they were witches.
Today, you can enjoy the mill via a guided tour. The wheel still turns thanks to the River Tyne and many of the mill’s workings are still operational. As an added bonus you may spot otters in the river.
Of course, there are many other famous landmarks and locales used in Outlander across Scotland including Doune Castle which doubled as Castle Leoch and Kinloch Rannoch which housed the makeshift stone circle that would be Craig na Dun in the TV series.
Let Outlander come alive by transporting yourself to Scotland and seeing all its magical places with your own eyes.