Much of the successful Outlander TV series was filmed out and about around Stirling, so from here it’s easy to spend time walking in the footsteps of your favourite time-travelling heroes and villains. And you’ll soon see for yourself that among the series’ stellar performers is Scotland itself.
University of Stirling
Close to the town, University of Stirling was chosen for its stunning scenery and loch-side setting. Within the 330 acres of campus grounds you’ll find Airthrey Castle, which also featured in filming. There are lovely walks around the campus and into the nearby Ochil Hills and for after the fresh air, the University also has restaurants and coffee shops.
If you’re impressed by Outlander’s fictional ‘Castle Leoch’, then you’ll find the genuine Doune Castle irresistible. This resolute 14th-century stronghold was used as Leoch’s exterior. Only eight miles from Stirling, Doune Castle has also been cast in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, Game of Thrones and many more TV and movie productions.
Royal Burgh of Culross
The historic Royal Burgh of Culross, 19 miles from Stirling, is known to Outlander fans as Cranesmuir, home of Geillis Duncan and her husband Arthur. As an evocative backdrop of carefully preserved 17th and 18th century buildings and townhouses, Culross effortlessly carries you back centuries. Explore the cobbled streets where Claire has walked and do not miss Culross Palace herb garden, where she tends the grounds of imaginary Castle Leoch.
Boness & Kinneil Steam Railway
A touch closer to the present day, the Boness & Kinneil Steam Railway provided the platform where Claire and Frank say goodbye in wartime London. 21 miles out of Stirling, the Railway hosts steam train runs throughout the year, and there’s a museum and café. All aboard for the not-too-distant past!
Next stop on your Outlander tour might be enchanting Linlithgow Palace, only 21 miles from Stirling and about 500 years from the birth of Mary Queen of Scots, born here in 1542. We’re sure Mary would have approved of the romantic dramas of Outlander enacted here: this is the lochside setting for Episode 15’s prison entrance and passageways.
Just a few miles more – 27 from Stirling – takes you into Black Jack Randall territory, at Blackness Castle, on the Firth of Forth’s southern shore. This daunting fortress doubles as rascally Randall’s imaginary headquarters, and you can see why he’d like it – the views across the water to Fife, taking in the famous Forth Bridges, are to die for.
A readily drivable 32 miles out of Stirling can bring you to the doors of 12th century Aberdour Castle on the Fife coast. Appearing in Outlander as French monastery Sainte Anne de Beaupré, Jamie’s refuge in Episode 16, the castle boasts the Old Kitchen and Long Gallery which featured a lot in filming. While here, catch the walled gardens and views over the Forth.
If you’d like to follow Outlander’s time travelling adventurers on your own tour of our fascinating, engaging, hospitable part of the world, then any time is a good time. You’re always welcome.