Winning audiences’ hearts with its Scottish narrative and all the critical elements of a dreamy, dramatic romance, Outlander arrived hot on television screens in 2014.
Based on the novel sequence by Diana Gabaldon, the author released the first book (of nine) in 1991.
Set between Scotland in the 17th century and England in the 20th, the multiple-award-winning adaption is unlike any story screened in the last decade.
Still ongoing, the television series has primarily been filmed around Scotland (with a few scenes and series shot in-studio and produced in South Africa), and plenty of scenes from Seasons 1 through 4 were filmed on location around Edinburgh.
The series has done really well for the country’s tourism, too, with fans traveling worldwide just to walk in the same footsteps as Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan).
Die-hard fans, here’s the great news. There are fantastic, goosebump-inducing Outlander tours from Edinburgh to join. Trace not only filming locations chosen by the production team but also visit places that feature in the novels.
Don’t feel like reading ahead? Book your Outlander tour:
What are the best Outlander tours from Edinburgh?
Whether you’ve booked a vacation to Scotland primarily for a complete Outlander-infused trip or are simply visiting the country on holiday and are keen on spending a couple of hours exploring the Outlander filming sites, there are Outlander tours from Edinburgh to suit all types of travelers’ needs, from day trips to more extensive adventures.
Outlander walking tours in Edinburgh
Without having to cross through any rocks or time to reach the filming locations, follow in the footsteps of the Frasers as you navigate the streets, particularly a chunk around Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s old town.
Led by a local Outlander guru, tick off all the major scene settings, hearing insider titbits and trivia along the way.
Favored for a lot of Season 3, recognize sites like Tweeddale Court (the marketplace where Claire and Fergus are united); Bakehouse Close, i.e., Carfax Close where Jamie goes incognito as Alexander Malcolm and opens his print shop; Summerhall (the lecture hall where Claire attends her first day of medical school in Boston); and the Signet Library (fooling audiences as the Governor’s Mansion in Jamaica).
There are more Outlander-centric things to do in Edinburgh, and for serious fanatics, visit other places around town that are mentioned in the novels, for example, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, The World’s End tavern, and Canongate Kirk.
Outlander day tours from Edinburgh
If you’re staying in Edinburgh or a town nearby, spend the day hunting down the filming destinations near the city, from antiquated villages to castles to the Highlands. Tours depart from your hotel in the early morning, returning with a drop-off later in the afternoon.
Day trips start at Culross, the setting for Cranesmuir village. Meander through Claire’s herb garden, see where the Geillis lived, and explore Culross Palace. (Certain excursions also visit Falkland.)
Transport yourselves to Jamie’s childhood abode in Lallybroch at Midhope Castle and pretend to be clan members at Doune Castle (or Castle Leoch as it’s known in the series).
See Blackness Castle used for the gruesome scenes at Fort William where Claire is imprisoned and Jamie tortured by Jonathan Randall in Season 1. Also included in the itinerary is Linlithgow Palace. Its dungeons held the space for Wentworth Prison, where that infamous scene between Jamie and Randall horrifies us all.
2-Day Outlander tours from Edinburgh
Retrace moments from Seasons 1 through 4 during two days of action-packed sightseeing excursions, kicking off in Edinburgh and returning to the capital.
Specific two-day excursions are more extensive than others, including a few more sites in a day to see.
Start with famous locations closest to Edinburgh, like Blackness Castle, Doune Castle, Midhope Castle, and Linlithgow Palace, veering further into the Highlands on day two. Sweep through Culross (Cranesmuir) and Falkland (Inverness) villages, and feel the magic in the air at one of the most treasured locales, Craig na Dun (real name Clava Cairns) where Claire travels back 4,000 years ago.
Walk the same grounds of the notorious Battle of Culloden, cruise around Loch Ness and other parts of the Highlands that feature in episodes. These include the Highland Folk Museum, Beauly Priory, Wardlaw Mausoleum, Urquhart Castle, and Glen Orchy.
4-Day Outlander tours from Edinburgh
Mega fans enjoy an in-depth Outlander adventure beginning in Edinburgh with a private pick-up (tours end back in Scotland’s capital). Scope out destinations featured in the TV series, the books, as well as landmarks that inspired the author.
With more time to spare, the excursion isn’t rushed, granting you extra minutes at each locale for extensive inquisitions and plenty of photo opportunities.
From Edinburgh, head to the filming locations around Inverness — your base for the first two nights. Day one of the tour encompasses stops at Culross Palace, Falkland, and the Highland Folk Museum.
On day two, venture to the actual Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns, and Castle Leod (the seat of the real Clan Mackenzie). From here, travel to the area surrounding Loch Ness, spending the night in Fort William. Day three involves investigating Glen Affric National Nature Reserve, Urquhart Castle, and Glenfinnan Monument.
Finally, before returning to Edinburgh, relive your favorite Season 1 moments at Doune Castle, then onto Blackness Castle, which acted as Fort William for Seasons 1 and 2.
Outlander private tours from Edinburgh
Limited to small groups for a more intimate experience, there are full-day and multiple-day private Outlander-themed journeys.
Leaving Edinburgh in a comfortable heated VIP vehicle, pick specific hotspots that you want to see from the award-winning drama — with a privatized excursion; you can determine your own itinerary.
Cruising across the Highlands, hear insightful commentary about the sites you stop at, learning behind-the-scenes secrets from your driver, who is just as much of an Outlander aficionado. Not only insider knowledge but also become clued up on local Scottish history, from the Jacobites to the different clans.
Returning to Edinburgh, upload all your top snaps of the day thanks to complimentary onboard wifi.
What are the most popular Outlander filming locations near Edinburgh?
Fun fact: There are dozens of spots around Scotland’s capital city that feature in the television series, either as their original landmark or converted and utilized for another scene along the way. Many are nearby Edinburgh, and sometimes, one location was revisited more than once.
Here are the top filming locations included in itineraries during Outlander tours from Edinburgh.
1 – Blackness Castle
If you had to keep your eyes closed for the squeamish scenes of Jamie’s flogging, ensure all eyes stay open while visiting the 15th-century medieval fortress, known as Blackness Castle.
From a bird’s eye view, the way its stone walls were constructed appeared like the bow of a ship, hence its nickname ‘the ship that never sailed.’
Handled as a royal castle, then later a state prison, and again a century or so later for prisoners of war; it’s fitting that the castle on the Firth of Forth was chosen as the Season 1 and 2 filming locale representing Fort William.
Arriving here, amble into the courtyard where the horrendous public flaying happened led by Black Jack Randall — he really makes it hard for us not to dislike him intensely!
In episode nine of Season 1, Claire and Jamie escape from Fort William, jumping from the castle into the “ocean.” Fast forward to Season 2 and Bree and Roger visit the exact place during a trip to Inverness centuries later. Spot the gate here that they walk through.
2 – Hopetoun House
From Afternoon Tea to tours of the painstakingly preserved 18th-century Georgian-style manor (now a living museum) to horse riding to trail walks through an age-old woodland … One could easily spend an entire day at Hopetoun House — and that’s not even touching the base of the Outlander-themed activities.
Walking around the 2,630-hectare Hopetoun Estate, if many parts seem familiar, is because the grounds were used for filming throughout seasons 1, 2, 3, and 4. The mansion played the backdrop during the first three and for various episodes and settings.
The Red Drawing Room inside Adam House (on the ground level of the Hopetoun mansion) lent itself as the Duke of Sandringham’s residence in Season 1. The Bruce House on the first floor of Hopetoun is where Mary Hawkins’ bedroom was set, as well as the room she is cared for after her attack, all kicking off in Season 2.
Much of the Parisian scenes from the same season were also filmed here, like when Claire wanders through the market (shot in the courtyard behind the Stables’ Tearoom) and the exterior building of Madame Elise’s brothel.
The West Lawn at the back of the house is where the duel between the MacDonalds and the Duke takes place, and and and …
Moving onto Season 4, within the Estate sits the antiquated Abercorn Church. The parish’s cemetery is where Frank is laid to rest in Boston in Episode 7; ‘Down the Rabbit Hole.’
3 – Midhope Castle
Welcoming the arrival of the newlyweds (although not so much from Jamie’s sister Jenny) in Season 1, making an appearance when Jamie and Claire return from France in Season 2, and again in Season 3 before the couple set off for the Americas; it would be a Jacobite crime not to visit the home of the Frasers during Outlander tours from Edinburgh.
The 15th-century Midhope Castle was converted into the beloved ‘Lallybroch’ where Jamie and Jenny Fraser grew up. Exploring the exterior and grounds is open to visitors, but the inside of the stronghold is closed off.
Walking up the pathway leading to the tower house will give you goosebumps and snap a pic of you sitting on the exact steps where Claire and Jenny sat deep in conversation after Claire returns 20 years later in Season 3.
For the third season’s finale, we see Lallybroch once more when Claire revisits the property — this time in the 1960s — and again in Season 4 when Bree lands up here too, meeting cousin Ian for the first time.
Not to confuse ye Outlander devotees, it’s helpful to know that other buildings within the Hopetoun Estate other than Hopetoun House were plied for numerous seasons, such as Midhope Castle.
4 – Linlithgow
As the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, Linlithgow isn’t just renowned for its palace, boat trips along the canals, or its ancient ruins. Nope, since the release and success of Outlander, it’s soared in popularity as fans from near and far arrive in the town for a taste of the series.
Constructed in 1424 under the rule of James I, all that’s left of the once-royal Linlithgow Palace are medieval ruins of stoned passageways and antiquated castle walls.
Fitting as a backdrop for the notorious Fort William from Season 1, this abandoned fortress was chosen for the prison where Jamie is held captive, and Black Jack Randall takes advantage of the Scotsman. As love prevails, Claire arrives at her soul mate’s rescue!
The ground floor of the palace is where most of the filming happened. Walk the same spiral staircase as Claire did as she searches for imprisoned Jamie, see the prison cells she stops by, and trek down the exact tunnel that Claire does in her attempt to find her husband.
Handy to know: Hopetoun House and Blackness Castle are just outside town.
5 – Culross
Staked in history from its earliest days in the 6th century, the picturesque town of Culross has witnessed witch trials, was once a major port city and royal burgh, and has had its streets converted a handful of times for movie sets like Captain America: The First Avenger, The Little Vampire and Kidnapped starring Michael Caine.
Remaining untouched by modern architecture, it’s no surprise it was chosen for the landscape of Cranesmuir village in Seasons 1 and 2 of Outlander, where Geillis Duncan lived. (Cranesmuir is closest to Castle Leoch — the seat of Clan MacKenzie.)
Scenes were shot throughout its cobbled alleys, but fascinatingly, many buildings were painted black for the series’ 18th-century narrative.
Entering the town, pass by Tanhouse Brae (the pathway en route to Geillis’ house), Mercat Cross (where the pillory and later the pyre are set up), and the Study Building — the exterior masked as the front of Geillis Duncan’s home … A so-called “witch” according to the townsfolk.
You’ll probably recognize Culrose Palace the most, doubling as backdrops throughout Seasons 1, 2, and 4. Its gardens served as Castle Leoch’s herb garden in the first, and the Withdrawing Room was Geillis’ parlor. The Jacobites convened in the Palace High Hall in Season 2 and we see the pantry as a jolly tavern.
Again the manor is revisited for Season 4, this time as the interiors of Laoghaire’s residence — the maiden besotted with James Fraser since she was a wee lassie. The streets around Wee Causeway feature in both the first and fourth seasons.
6 – Falkland
Parts of the television series are set in Inverness circa the 1940s, but Falkland Village was decided on as the setting for the Scottish city on the northeast coast. To create Outlander’s ‘Inverness, ’ the streets around this town were completely transformed.
Iconic, to say the least, in the very first episode of the show, audiences are introduced to Inverness when Claire and Frank reunite after WWII for a second honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands … which changes Mrs. Randall’s life forever.
You can even spend a night at Mrs. Baird’s B&B, i.e., the real Covenanter Hotel (where the honeymooners vacationed in Inverness), or take a tour to explore its interiors.
Famous spots relating to its 21st-century storyline include the Tyndall Bruce fountain (here, the ghost of Jamie peers at Claire in the pouring rain in Season 1); Farrell’s Hardware and Furniture Store (real name Fayre Earth); Campbell’s Coffee Shop (used as a grocery store in Season 1 and a tea shop in Season 2); and Falkland Village Old Town Hall which is the Inverness County Records Office in the 1960s.
Returning to the 18th century, Falkland Palace is the Inverness Apothecary from Season 2 that Claire frequents.
Not only appearing in Seasons 1 and 2 but Falkland was also revisited for filming during Season 4 Episode 8 as in-love Robert searches for Brianna.
7 – Doune Castle
From Game of Thrones’ Winterfell to Monty Python and the Holy Grail and now Outlander too, if the historically renowned Doune Castle seems familiar, it’s because filming of many Season 1 scenes took place here, representing the story’s Castle Leoch.
Admired for its lavish interiors, towers, galleries, and its mesmerizing 30-meter-tall keep-gatehouse, this royal medieval fort, timestamped to the 14th century, belonged to the Duke of Albany,
Viewers first catch a glimpse of the seat of clan MacKenzie when Claire and 1940s husband Frank explore what stands of the hold in the 20th century. However, it isn’t until the second episode of Season 1 that we truly appreciate all its glory.
Reenvision the scenes where the time traveler meets beloved characters for the first time, like Mrs. Fitz, Murtagh, and the clan Laird, Colum, and his family.
Much of the original castle was occupied for the Outlander Season 1 set, from the kitchen to the courtyard, the outside entrance, the stairs, and even the walls! As you wander through, Jamie Fraser himself (well, the audio version of him anyway) leads the way, sassenach.
Around the corner (a five-minute drive) is Deanston Distillery. Not just offering whisky tours and tastings; it’s another Outlander site, employing this destillhouse’s cellars as a Le Havre warehouse for Episode 1 of Season 2.
8 – Culloden Battlefield
It’s impossible to visit Culloden Battlefield and not feel the shivers down your spine — it is, after all, one of the few locations where the actual event happened, securing the site for film production.
Citing the exact moment in history in Gabaldon’s novels as the genuine Battle of Culloden, this was the last battle between the Jacobites and the Red Coats, ending the Jacobite Rising.
The harrowing day took place on 16 April 1746 — Claire even forewarns Jamie about it, but they fail to alter history — and you can gain an in-depth understanding of the last pitched battle fought on British soil at the Visitor’s Center next to the field.
Also known as Culloden Moor, although Claire swears never to revisit the place after returning through the rocks, she stops before the Clan Fraser gravestone to talk to Jamie in the premiering episode of Season 3.
Culloden Battlefield features in the last episode of Season 2 as the bloody Battle of Culloden fires off, as well as briefly in the show’s first season.
9 – Crieff
Whiskey connoisseurs and those with a love for countryside living; Crieff is a quaint market town at the foothills of the Highlands steeped in traditions. Fun fact: Strathearn Tartan originates from the area, first worn by the Strathearn clan.
It’s also home to two prominent Outlander locations; Abercairny Estates and Drummond Castle Gardens, both just outside the town center.
The stunning 17th-century Drummond Castle Gardens were the first to star in the series, taking over as the backdrop for Paris’ Palace of Versailles’ lavish gardens (Season 2, Episode 2). Outlander fundis will instantly recognize it from the scenes where Jamie and Claire bump into Captain Randall.
Fast forward to Season 4, and with the help of technology (employing blue screens and CGI), the Outlander team rented part of the estate grounds, reconstructing an entire set for the American-part setting of the series. It turns out to be none other than River Run — Aunt Jocasta’s plantation house in North Carolina.
Filming convened here again for Season 5’s ‘Better to Marry than Burn’ episode when Claire and Jamie arrive to celebrate their aunt’s marriage to Duncan Innes. Spoiler alert — thankfully, that doesn’t last very long!
10 – Glencoe
A drive through dramatic Glencoe is breathtaking, appearing other-worldly too, with its grassy Highland hillsides, waterfalls, low-hanging clouds, and a super Celtic atmosphere.
This valley forms part of the Coe River flowing out in Loch Leven, and outdoor enthusiasts find their hearts racing at the natural beauty surrounding this part of Scotland. Glencoe Village is a lovely base for exploring the Highlands and attempting the multiple walking or hiking trails in the area.
Boasting such beauty, Glencoe Valley and her mountains, lochs (lakes), and gushing streams was a no-brainer for the opening credits as the theme song ‘The Skye Boat Song’ plays.
Pop into the Glencoe Visitor Centre’s gift shop and stock up on all sorts of braw Outlander souvenirs! Then, “Sing me a song of a lass that is gone …”
11 – Preston Mill
Mega fans, test yourselves to see how quickly you can recognize Preston Mill, featuring precisely the same as it is now as in the first season of Outlander, except under a different premise, of course!
If you guessed it to be the Waterwheel at Lallybroch, you’d be correct (in Episode 12, Jamie starts work on the family home’s broken mill next to the wheel).
Preserved like a still-life in time, the 17th-century mill manufactured oats, and an exhibition room at the mill reveals the history of the grounds. The television crew transformed this room into the anteroom from Episode 11, where Claire and Geillis are held on trial for witchcraft.
Running alongside the Dutch Canonical-style mill is the River Tyne. In the same Episode 12, ‘Lallybroch,’ Jamie emerges from the river butt-naked, for swooning fans of this redheaded heartbreaker, after hiding underwater from the Redcoats.
A field in front of the mill is where sister Jenny and Claire first encounter the British soldiers approaching their manor.
12 – Kinloch Rannoch
With its origins stretching further than 1,500 years, it seems only fitting that Kinlock Rannoch be chosen for one of the most famous scenes in Outlander history … Claire stepping through the rocks at the stone circle in Craigh na Dun, changing her life forever.
Proceeding the Jacobite Rising of 1745, a settlement sprang up at Loch Rannoch, emerging from it, Kinloch Rannoch village.
For filming, the team chose the area at the head of the loch for the famous Craigh na Dun scene.
The production crew for the television series recreated the rock setting you see on screens in Seasons 1, 2, and 4, but the landscapes enshrouding you are the same; you will feel the magic in the air!
That’s because there aren’t any real stone circles here to transport you back in time — in case you were wondering — but who’s to say they don’t exist?
We are introduced to Craigh na Dun in the television series’ debuting pilot and revisit the sacred place again at the end of Season 2. Then again in Season 4’s ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ when Briana herself time travels.
13 – Dysart Harbour
Once a booming port town from the 14th to 17th centuries, Dysart (straddling the coastline between Fife’s Kirkcaldy and West Wemyss) endured a decline in its prominent trade of coal and salt.
As trade with the Dutch and Belgians ceased, the bustling harbor suffered. Today, the small port is still operational but only at a localized level, and its picturesque coastal Scottish setting wins over hearts.
The former royal burgh has also gained popularity since the release of Outlander because Dysart Harbor features as the French harbor that Jamie, Murtagh, and Claire set sail into as they arrive in Le Havre in Season 2’s first episode, ‘Through a Glass, Darkly.’
Different sections around the port were used for filming, like the 18th-century stone Harbourmaster’s House (the La Havre guesthouse where the trio stays) and the area toward the harbor’s west side.
The very same boat (known as the Cristabel) that the three travel the Seven Seas on from England to France is an actual vessel. You can catch sight of The Reaper (its proper name) at the Scottish Fisheries Museum — a 45-minute drive from Dysart.
14 – Newhailes House
Entering the scene during the fourth season, Newhailes House’s wildflower meadows and gorgeous abode preserved in time was a natural choice to act as Governor Tryon’s house in the season’s first installment.
As audiences travel from Scotland to the Americas, the estate debuts in the fourth season’s premiere episode as the couple arrives for dinner at the governor’s North Carolina residence and again when Jamie and Governor Tryon talk land grants in Episode 4.
The estate dates to the 17th century, and visitors can tour inside its Palladian-style mansion. Gag over Italian marble fireplaces, the fine art collection, Rococo-inspired interiors, and grand spaces like the Chinese Sitting Room and 1750s Library Wing.
Pull up a chair at the Stables Café for a light bite to eat afterward, and Newhailes often hosts community events like its monthly Farmers’ Market and car shows.
15 – Aberdour Castle
A historical castle for a history-induced series; one of Scotland’s oldest standing castles plays the backdrop as the monastery Claire brings Jamie to after rescuing the leading man from the warps of Black Jack Randall.
Physically and mentally injured, Claire dotingly cares for her lover, attending to his wounds at the abbey.
True Outlander geeks will know that according to the novels, in this case, Dragonfly in Amber (the second book of the series), after leaving Wentworth Prison, the pair travel to Abbey Ste. Anne de Beaupré in France. Yet the abbey is still in Scotland, not France, for the television adaptation.
Not only that but was also shot here is one of the most iconic, hair-raising moments: Claire sharing her secret with Jamie about being a time traveler from the future, born in 1918 England (Season 1, Episode 11 titled ‘The Devil’s Mark’). This was filmed in the 12th-century castle’s Upstairs Gallery.
Wandering around the property, visit the stables (also from Episode 16, Claire faints inside after Murtagh hints at ending Jamie’s pain if that’s what his godson wishes).
Transforming its Old Kitchens, here Jamie recovers at the monastery, and parts of the castle’s exteriors feature in the same episode.
How long does an Outlander tour last?
The real question is how much time you have to spare, and depending on the tour you choose, Outlander adventures go on from 1.5-hour to 4-day tours around the Highlands.
Shorter ventures center in Edinburgh town and full-day expeditions travel around the region, roughly spanning nine to 10 hours.
Multiple-day tours, for example, two or four-day ones, journey further out toward Inverness, and each day is jam-packed with Outlander sightseeing opportunities.
What is included in an Outlander tour from Edinburgh?
Localized Edinburgh tours within the city’s perimeters guarantee a professional guide — who also happens to be a major Outlander buff — and a fully organized film-set trail.
More extensive day tours around Edinburgh take care of transport, and some already have admission tickets to the filming locales included in the price.
Longer experiences, such as two and four-day exploits, include accommodation costs (and breakfast at your stays), comfortable transportation with a private driver, and an Outlander mega nerd, i.e., your tour guide.
Specific multiple-day excursions add entrance fees to the various sites into the overall tour cost, plus all of your meals.
How much does an Outlander tour from Edinburgh cost? How to book a tour?
Ranging from under £60 to £1,000, it all depends on the type of tour you book, the duration of your journey, and a few extra factors.
Full-day trips start from £58 for the basics (pick up and transport) and fluctuate to £100. The pricier versions include admissions into the castles, landmarks, and other Outlander sites.
Private small-group excursions are a bit higher in price because they are super personalized but include all the bells and whistles. Ranging from £292 to £400 to £853; more expensive versions include transport, admissions, and meals throughout the day.
Multi-day tours start from £285 (excluding entrance to the sites and food costs) to about £1,401, spanning two days.
Four-day Outlander adventures are a super way to save for all die-hard fans. Inclusive of all the essentials, tours are priced from £743 with transport and travel, accommodation with breakfast, and a pickup and drop off in Edinburgh. Spend a little extra, roughly £50, and opt for one that includes admissions.
How to book one of these epic Outlander tours? TourScanner provides a platform to conveniently compare the many tours available, using the tours search engine to easily and securely book your very-Scottish outing.
When is the best time for an Outlander tour from Edinburgh?
Outlander tours take place throughout the year, but anyone who has ever traveled to Scotland before will know … it gets bitterly cold in winter!
The summer months are well-favored because of the pleasant climate, and certain landmarks and points of interest only open up between April and October.
For example, Lallybroch, or Midhope Castle, only opens from April to September.
If you are touring through Edinburgh yourselves and not following a tour group’s timings, the best time to visit some of the most famous sites, like Blackness Castle, is in the early morning to avoid any oblivious photo bombers.
Are there any Outlander tours departing from other cities in Scotland?
Glasgow is roughly one hour from Edinburgh, but many Outlander filming locations are closer to the Edinburgh side.
If your holiday base is in Glasgow, do not fear, you can book full-day or multiple-day Outlander tours from Glasgow that cover the same sites as tours from Edinburgh, so you’re not missing out on anything!
- Even if you are here in spring or autumn, we advise you to dress warmly or bring an extra jacket. The average temperature in Scotland is around zero degrees in winter, and in summer, it peaks at about 17 degrees Celsius.
- Bring extra spending money for tours that don’t include admissions or food and drinks, or if you want to purchase any souvenirs along the way.
- Ensure you have a fully charged phone, camera, or Polaroid cam with you — you’ll be snapping plenty of pictures along the way.
- Particular overnight tours have a travel luggage size limit, so if you’re not a light packer, check with your tour operator before departing.