Scotland is, unsurprisingly, a popular place to use as a filming location, and you’ll likely have seen it featured in some of your favourite films and tv series over the years. This is a pick of my favourites:
Outlander is the incredibly gripping story of Claire and Jamie Fraser, set in a Scotland that’s caught in the grip of Jacobite uprisings. Locations are found throughout Scotland, particularly around the Central Belt, where the fictional Lallybroch Castle, the Frasers’ ancestral home, is set at Midhope Castle on the Hopetoun Estate between South Queensferry and Linlithgow.
Locations around Scotland include lochs, glens and castles, including Glen Coe, Culross, Highland Folk Museum, Doune Castle (as Leoch Castle), Hopetoun House, Pollok Country Park, Stirling University, and many, many more.
For real die-hard fans, Outlander tours are available.
Shetland is a TV crime drama based on the gripping books by author Ann Cleeves. In the show, now in its seventh season, viewers follow Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez on a crime-solving journey as he tries to solve island murders. Much of the show is filmed in Shetland, and the filming locations are all over the island, including; Lerwick and the Lodberrie – home of Jimmy Perez; Hillswick and Eshaness, the beaches of the South Mainland and several buildings, including the Police Station, Ferry Terminal, Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, Shetland Catch factory, and many more.
You can follow in the footsteps of Jimmy Perez on these self-guided tours
The oldies are the best! Whisky Galore is a firm favourite, based on the sinking of the SS Politician on the Hebridean island of Eriskay in 1941. Following the loss of the ship, islanders managed to smuggle 50,000 cases of whisky ashore. The film, released in 1949, is a hilarious depiction of the islanders’ determination to get the whisky ashore!
Who hasn’t been swept away by the magic of the Harry Potter series and the films based on the books by award-winning author J K Rowling. Much of the filming was done in Scotland, and some of the most iconic locations include the Glenfinnan Viaduct near Fort William, where we see the train to Hogwarts and the picturesque Glencoe, which acts as the backdrop to where Hagrid’s Hut is set. Other showstopping locations include Loch Shiel, Rannoch Moor and Loch Etive and Glen.
For those who want to enjoy the Hogwarts steam train experience, the Jacobite Express runs tours over the viaduct throughout the summer months.
For Bond fans, Glencoe and the Lochaber area were used as the backdrop for Bond’s childhood home in the blockbuster film Skyfall. The house itself is in the iconic and much-photographed Glen Etive – one of Scotland’s most scenic roads, flanked by imposing mountains on each side of the impressive glen.
Perhaps not a blockbuster on the same scale as Bond, but this film is true Scottish grit, and for anyone who loves whisky and dry Scottish humour, this one’s for you. Set in Glasgow, the film tells the tale of a father, determined to turn over a new leaf after narrowly avoiding jail, and who sets out on an ambitious quest to secure some valuable whisky. With his newfound friends from the community payback scheme, we watch as this motley crew try to outsmart the whisky distillery. The film takes its name from the natural wastage of whisky that evaporates from the barrels – known as the ‘angel’s share’.
Photography by Simon Hird
No guide to Scots film would be complete without the iconic 1996 hit, Trainspotting. Based on the book by Irvine Welsh, this gritty tale of drugs and poverty was predominantly filmed in Glasgow, despite the book being based in Edinburgh. There are a few shots of Edinburgh in the film’s opening scenes, but after this, filming moves to Glasgow.
Rosslyn Chapel in Edinburgh was the setting for the Chapel in the 2006 hit film The Da Vinci Code.
Photography by Simon Hird
The impressive Callanish Standing Stones in Lewis have featured in Call the Midwife (Christmas Special 2019) and as inspiration for the standing stones in the hit children’s film Brave.