Explore the Scotland of yesteryear on the Outlander Private Minibus Tour from Edinburgh. Follow Claire Fraser’s journey through time from the comfort of a luxury minibus.
Since becoming a global hit, the Outlander TV series helped bring the beauty of the Scottish countryside to the world. Set in both the 18th and 20th centuries, it also delves into the history of this great country, using past events to propel its storylines. Now you have the chance to visit these spectacular sites yourself and learn about their significance, both in the TV show and real-life history.
Your VIP Class minibus will stop at all of the iconic filming locations from the TV series.
Leaving Edinburgh in the morning, you will travel to Stirling. Here you’ll find the location for Castle Leoch, the home of Colum MacKenzie and his family. In real life, this building is known as Doune Castle, built as the home of Regent Albany, ‘Scotland’s uncrowned king’. Eagle-eyed visitors might also recognise it from its previous comedy career. It was used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
From Stirling you will travel to the Lothians, to see Blackness Castle, known to Outlander fans as Fort William. This is the fictional headquarters of Black Jack Randall, and where Jamie Fraser is flogged. The real-life garrison fort is known as ‘the ship that never sailed’ due to its maritime inspired architecture. From its walls you can enjoy breathtaking views of Firth of Forth.
Travelling through time and space, you will then be brought from 18th-century Scotland to 20th-century England. The Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway Station outside of Edinburgh was used as a stand-in for a station set in London. The scene filmed here sees Claire and Frank Randall say their goodbyes before she heads off for war.
And don’t worry about getting overwhelmed by the vast history of these locations.
Your expert tour guide will be on-hand to give you a detailed history of every area and answer any of your questions. They’ll also share some fun facts and insider stories from behind the scenes of Outlander.
Next on the Outlander Private Minibus Tour from Edinburgh is Hopetoun House. This is another filming location that has featured as a setting outside of Scotland. The exterior of the house will be familiar as the residence of the Duke of Sandringham. But, some of the interior was also used to shoot scenes set in Paris.
The final stop on this tour is the coastal town of Culross. For the TV show, the area was transformed into Cranesmuir, and features in a number of Outlander scenes. Journeying through the town you will definitely spot some familiar buildings and backdrops. You’ll also see the herb garden where Claire worked.
Then it’s back to Edinburgh, finishing off a jam-packed, insightful, and entertaining day!
Buying a Historic Scotland Explorer Pass (adult: £35 – £45) gives you free admission to over 70 properties in Scotland, including Blackness Castle and Doune Castle.
Doune Castle was built in the 14th century to seat Scotland’s uncrowned King Regent Albany, and the medieval courtyards of the castle showcase the regent’s rich tastes. The castle has one of Scotland’s best-preserved great halls and a stunning 100ft (30m) gatehouse.
Doune Castle served as the setting for Outlander’s Castle Leoch and is highlighted in several key scenes across the first season of the show. In the 18th century episodes, Castle Leoch is the home of Colum Mackenzie and his clan. At the beginning of the series, Claire and Frank pay a visit to Castle Leoch on a day trip, only to discover the castle is in ruins. Doune Castle also hosted the scene where Claire, Jamie and Dougal’s party approach the castle courtyard.
Doune Castle is more than just the home of Castle Leoch, as it was also the backdrop of Winterfell in the GOT TV series and was also seen in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Blackness Castle is a 15th century-old fortress built by the Crichton family. It has been used as a royal residence, a prison and a weapons store. Due to its unusual shape, it is often referred to as ‘the ship that never sailed’.
When selecting a filming location for Outlander’s Fort William, Blackness Castle is the setting for Black Jack Randall’s stronghold. This is the scene where Jamie was whipped and tortured during his incarceration was filmed here, filling fans with genuine compassion for Jamie.
This is also where Jamie’s father passed away after watching his son facing punishment. During the mid-season finale of series one, Blackness Castle was used when Claire was held captive by Black Jack before Jamie breaks into Fort William to rescue her.
Not only did Blackness Castle showcase the backdrop of Fort William, but also captured scenes from 1990’s Hamlet and 2019’s Mary Queen of Scots.
Hopetoun House is a country home in Scotland built in the 16th century for the Hope family, located on the Hopetoun estate which covers an area of 6.500 acres. Outlander followers will recognise the country home as the Duke of Sandringham’s residence.
Hopetoun House was used to shoot the red drawing-room scene in episode 10 of season 1 when Claire blackmails the Duke of Sandringham to ensure Jamie is pardoned. During season 2, we were taken from Scotland to a Paris setting, although none of the footage was ever captured in France! The alleyway behind Hopetoun House was in fact featured as Paris backstreets. Finally, in episode 4 of season 3 Jamie and the Dunsany family arrive by carriage to visit Lady Geneva at the home of the Earl of Ellesmere. The exterior of the Earl’s home was one of many other filming locations at Hopetoun House.
The picturesque village of Culross has been around since the 17th century, featuring a mustard yellow palace, rustic village homes and is lined with idyllic cobbled streets. Culross is the setting for Cranesmuir used in many scenes of the Outlander series.
Culross first appeared in season 1, painted as a dull and grey looking town during filming. After shooting the Outlander scenes, the village was painted back to its original white colour. In the centre of Culross we find the town square with the Mercat Cross and the home of Geillis Duncan in Cranesmuir. This is where Geillis was sentenced to burn as a witch and where Jamie and Claire rescued the young thief when his ear was pinned to a post.