- Outlander -Inside 'Outlander' Filming Locations Like Lallybroch, Wentworth Prison, & More
The Outlander books and TV series may have the ability to transport you to the rugged Highlands of Scotland, but there's nothing like experiencing the majesty of the Scottish countryside firsthand. While COVID-19 has limited international trips, you can still experience an Outlander-inspired mental getaway.
The Dipp spoke to the tour company Private Tours Edinburgh and guide David Rankin who runs an Outlander-themed tour, and trust me, this will make you feel like the laird or lady of Broch Tuarach.
Edinburgh is a far cry from the Highlands — the Scottish capital is more than 150 miles away from Inverness, a.k.a., the Capital of the Highlands. But the city is still close to some iconic locations featured in Starz's Outlander. While places like Lallybroch and Wentworth Prison are fictional creations courtesy of Gabaldon's mind, the production team brought these locations to life using existing structures that are easily accessible from Edinburgh.
As Rankin notes to The Dipp, interior scenes for the show are filmed at Wardpark Studios in Cumbernauld, which is near Glasgow. (Although, over the years, he has spotted them filming on-location, including a scene in a park only about a mile from his home.)
Even with the main action of Outlander moving to the American colonies in Season 4, the show still films there with Scotland's The Herald reporting a studio expansion in 2018. When the series is in production, Rankin says, "Sometimes the actors come outside the studio to film or talk to the fans."
But if you want to see real history unfold in front of you rather than TV magic in a studio, Rankin's tour is a great way to check out some of Outlander Season 1's major locations. So while you probably won't be spotting Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, and company at the below tour locations anymore, here are some Outlander spots to save to your travel to-do list.
Lallybroch (Midhope Castle)
"Fans are most eager to see Lallybroch (Midhope Castle), which is Jamie Fraser's ancestral home," Rankin tells The Dipp over email. Midhope Castle is part of the Hopetoun Estate and as the Hopetoun's page outlines, it was first built in the 1400s by the laird of "Medhope," John Martyne. Parts of the castle were rebuilt in 1587 and the Outlander tour's Visit Scotland information page states that it "remains much the same today."
Although the interior of this 600-year-old castle is inaccessible, you'll still be able to stand where Claire first met Jamie's sister Jenny (and got called a "trollop") back in the Season 1 episode "Lallybroch." There was no Lallybroch citing in Outlander Season 5 with Rankin noting, "Last September we were told that they were going to film at Lallybroch, but it turned out they had to cancel it." (Let the theories begin!)
But Midhope has popped up throughout Outlander, like when Laoghaire shot Jamie in Season 3's "First Wife" and when Brianna visited her father's home in Season 4's "Down the Rabbit Hole." (Let's just ignore anytime Captain Black Jack Randall was there.) And you can channel your best Laura Donnelly for some fun photo recreations.
A bonus? Besides seeing the "lazy tower" of Jamie's family, the Hopetoun Estate is also home to other Outlander shooting locations, like the Duke of Sandringham's home and even the streets of Paris.
"The big question [we get] when we approach Lallybroch is whether [Sam Heughan] will be there or if I know his phone number or address," Rankin remarks. "Sadly, I have to say no to both these questions." (Yes, let's give Heughan his privacy.)
Wentworth Prison (Linlithgow Palace)
Another stop on Rankin's tour is Linlithgow Palace, a.k.a., Wentworth Prison. This is a far less fun location — at least in Gabaldon's story, since this is where Black Jack Randall tortures and rapes Jamie in Season 1. Thankfully, Wentworth Prison isn't a real place, but Linlithgow Palace fills in for the prison corridors and entrance of it on Outlander.
This location offers plenty of fascinating real-life history as it was the birthplace of both James V and Mary Queen of Scots. And Rankin notes on his website that "the now-ruined palace is set among the spectacular surrounds of Linlithgow Loch and Peel," so breathtaking views mean it won't be a bleak visit.
Fort William (Blackness Castle)
Another Black Jack Season 1 torture site for both Jamie and Claire on Rankin's tour is Fort William. While there really was a Fort William in the Highlands built by the British to control the Highland Clans, the tour's Visit Scotland page states the original fort is no longer there.
Instead, Outlander used Blackness Castle near Edinburgh. Rankin writes on the tour page, "The 15th-century ex-artillery fortress overlooks the Firth of Forth and is known as 'the ship that never sailed' due to its unusual shape." (Along with Outlander, the movies Mary Queen of Scots and Outlaw King have filmed there.)
The website Outlander Locations reported that the castle was shut down for two months when Outlander Season 1 filmed there and they had to construct the pillory where Jamie is whipped by Black Jack. When you visit, your trip should hopefully be more like Brianna and Roger's in Season 2 and neither Jamie nor Claire's in Season 1.
You can find other Outlander locations to visit courtesy of the Visit Scotland website. And Rankin offers other Outlander-themed tours as well, like the Craigh na Dun tour, which features the location of Castle Leoch.
To keep up with the devoted fanbase, Rankin makes sure to watch the show. "I watched [Season 5] when it came out this year and a lot of other episodes on catchup," Rankin says. "It's fun watching the series and trying to spot exactly where they were filmed."
Images: Starz (5), Private Tours Edinburg, Visit Scotland (2)