Stepping into the World of Outlander: How the TV Show Boosted Scottish Tourism

Updated On: September 05, 2023

How Outlander Boosted Scottish Tourism

Outlander has been enchanting audiences with its gripping tale set in 18th-century Scotland since its debut in 2014. Adapted from the best-selling books of Diana Gabaldon and brought to life by Ronald D. Moore, this epic love story follows a married World War II nurse who is sent back through time into romance and adventure!

With riveting storylines and stunning visuals, it’s no wonder that visitors are flocking to Scotland, thanks to the increased publicity generated by this captivating show. In this article, we’ll explore the boost in Scottish Tourism and where in particularly are fans travelling to see.

Representation of Scotland in The Outlander

Scotland is renowned for its majestic scenery, and Outlander captures this beauty with spellbinding locations. From towering castles to serene lochs, the show has highlighted some of Scotland’s iconic cultural heritage sites, such as Royal Burgh of Culross, Doune Castle, and Culloden Battlefield; all three have experienced a surge in visitors since their cameo on the series.

Traditional clothing

Furthermore, Outlander has transcended the realms of television, captivating viewers in such a way that inspired them to adopt traditional Scottish fashion. From kilts and tartan clothing, which have been iconised onscreen by beloved characters, there has been immense appreciation for authentic Scottish style, both among locals and tourists who travel from near and far just to get their hands on the traditional Scottish clothing.

Heritage and culture

In addition, Outlander has done much to promote Scotland’s culture and history far beyond its borders. Audiences have been treated to an immersive look at the country’s many charms, such as traditional music, whisky production techniques, Gaelic language proficiency, and even ancient healing customs. These revelations of Scottish beauty have resulted in increased international interest in this captivating land, transforming it into a must-visit tourist destination.

Overall, Outlander has become a phenomenon since its release, not only captivating audiences across the world but playing an integral role in Scotland’s tourism industry. In this article, we are going to uncover how it continues to enchant viewers and draw people from around the globe into beautiful Scotland.

The Outlander Tourism Boom (The Outlander Effect)

Scotland has seen a significant influx of tourists over the past eight years thanks to the impactful presence of Outlander. According to VisitScotland, visits have increased by 17% and generated an economic activity estimate of £12 billion in that time, with 8% having been motivated solely by this popular show’s depiction of Scotland. This is expected to continue as more people are drawn into its captivating beauty, making it one of the world’s most visited destinations for fans from all corners.

Scotland’s tourism industry has been thriving since the debut of Outlander, with seasonal premieres attracting hoards of enthusiastic visitors wanting to see for themselves what they’ve been shown on TV. This iconic show hasn’t just captivated its viewers; it has granted an invaluable boost to a key sector in Scotland.

Already a pop culture phenomenon, Outlander has had an outsized economic impact on Scotland. It is estimated that the series and its subsequent fandom have brought hundreds of millions to the country’s economy while creating thousands of jobs in the tourism sector, making it one of their most profitable industries. As fans look to travel and explore sites featured within this beloved show, there’s no doubt Scottish tourism will continue to benefit from its success for years to come.

Cultural Awareness Through the Outlander Lens

Outlander’s immense success is, in no small part, due to its unparalleled ability to capture the essence of Scotland, from its unworldly beauty and unique sounds to a deeper understanding of history and culture. The show has provided viewers with an authentic insight into the Scottish Highlands through stunning visuals combined with an accurate representation of traditional music; all of this is set against the backdrop of historical events that have shaped modern-day Scotland.

This blend creates an inviting atmosphere for fans around the world looking for meaningful travel experiences within their own home country or abroad, giving them more than just another destination but rather connecting them deeply with a land steeped in heritage and folklore.

This hit show has done more than just entertain us; it’s brought the awe-inspiring culture of Scotland to life. Whether you’re looking for historic castles or lush rolling hills, this series is sure to have has a lasting impact on promoting Scottish tourism. Explore what this beautiful country truly has in store and discover why millions around the world are captivated by its charm.

Top Filming Locations in The Outlander

Since Outlander has undoubtedly brought Scotland to the forefront of global tourism, let’s take a look at some of the majestic locations that have lured tourists seeking a glimpse into their favourite show.

Outlander Inverness

While Inverness is a central location in the “Outlander” narrative, the actual filming locations for the series are diverse and spread out across Scotland. Check out the top film locations of the iconic show listed below.

1. Doune Castle 

Doune Castle, popularly known as Castle Leoch: the home of Clan Mackenzie in Outlander series fame, is an impressive 14th-century stronghold. Standing 100 feet high with a magnificent gatehouse and surrounded by tranquil lakes and hills, it’s one of Europe‘s most preserved medieval fortresses. Inside are fascinating features like great halls and spiral staircases connecting rooms across multiple levels, not to mention the outstanding views that are guaranteed to take your breath away.

Stepping into the World of Outlander: How the TV Show Boosted Scottish Tourism 13

This part of historic Scotland offers an exceptional experience, welcoming you with knowledgeable and friendly staff. Doune Castle is popular among visitors for a reason; it holds centuries of history, from the time of Regent Albany to modern-day sightseers enjoying panoramic views. With so much culture in one place, there’s no surprise this castle ranks as one of Scotland’s top tourist destinations.

2. Midhope Castle

Midhope Castle, a 16th-century tower house in Abercorn on the Hopetoun estate near Edinburgh, Scotland, is one of the most beloved Outlander filming locations. Its impressive five-storey structure and two-storey bartizans have earned it recognition as Lallybroch: Jamie Fraser’s family home seen throughout the show. A must-see attraction for any die-hard fans of this popular series.

Midhope Castle is nestled among gorgeous natural panoramas, making it the perfect destination for a sightseeing and photoshoot adventure. Visitors can experience riding through picturesque trails on horseback or bicycle at nearby Hopetoun Estate. Plus, don’t forget to make time for South Queensferry —just moments away from the castle— which has several unique attractions worth discovering.

For a unique experience exploring Scotland’s history and culture, Midhope Castle is an ideal tourist destination. Popularised by the hit TV show Outlander, it has allowed visitors to immerse themselves in its past like never before, making it one of Scotland’s premier attractions. Take a guided tour or wander leisurely around its grounds; no matter how you explore, this historic site will leave you with lasting memories.

3. Culross

Culross, a stunning Royal Burgh of Fife, Scotland, has become one of Outlander’s most popular filming locations. Situated on the banks of the picturesque Forth River and just 12 miles from the renowned Forth Rail Bridge, this small village lets you time travel to the 1700s with its well-preserved cobbled streets and historic buildings.

From Laoghaire’s Balriggan Cottage situated near Mercat Cross to interior shots filmed at nearby Culross Palace, there are plenty more sights like Cranesmuir, Black Kirk & herb gardens at Castle Leoch, which make it an ideal destination for avid Outlander fans.

 Culross Scottish tourism
Beautiful Seaside View in Culross – Scottish tourism

Outlander has spawned a modern-day pilgrimage to Culross, the Royal Burgh of Scotland. With its preserved 1100-year-old abbey ruins and merchant houses, it’s easy to step back in time and experience what life was like during medieval times. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are also plenty of options for fishing or exploring nature along its riverside trails, an ideal activity for those seeking adventure.

Scotland’s idyllic town of Culross is an oasis for history buffs and lovers alike. Marvel in the breathtaking scenery and discover exciting local legends- all made more enjoyable thanks to its recent inclusion on Outlander – making it climb the list as one of Scotland’s must-visit attractions. It’s ideal for a romantic getaway or cultural exploration – in a charming village steeped in centuries-old customs.

4. Falkland

Falkland, a charming village in Fife, Scotland, is one of the most popular filming locations for Outlander. Its picturesque landscapes and historic buildings provide an idyllic backdrop to scenes from 1940s Inverness and 1745 Inverness.

Highlights include visiting Falkland Palace, where the Stuarts welcomed members of their royal court centuries ago; or exploring Brunton Street, Sharp’s Close, and Rotten Row; which were all used as sets for Outlander episodes. Whether you’re a fan of the show or simply looking to immerse yourself in Scottish history, there are plenty of attractions that make this small town worth discovering.

Falkland - Scotland
Falkland – Scotland

Falkland is filled with Outlander charm and natural beauty. Its rolling hills, lush green fields, and spectacular vistas of the nearby countryside make it an ideal destination for tourists seeking adventure or relaxation alike. You can also enjoy walking trails that meander through forests full of flora and fauna, or hop on two wheels to explore winding cycling routes; it’s the perfect place for some fun and exploration.

Looking for an immersive Outlander experience? Then look no further; travel to Falkland for a time-travel journey into Scotland’s beautiful past. This charming location has welcomed visitors from all corners of the globe, who are eager to explore its iconic filming spots and get lost in its magical scenery. Experience history like you never have before; come see why Falkland is among everyone’s favourite Scottish destinations.

5. Dysart Harbour

Step back in time and observe the history of one of Scotland’s most iconic Outlander filming locations, Dysart Harbour. Located on the coast in Kirkcaldy, this picturesque harbour dates all the way back to medieval times.

During season 2, it was transformed into a bustling French port for Claire, Jamie, and Murtagh’s arrival to Le Havre, made authentic with old merchant shops having been added around its perimeter. Now visitors can explore this enchanting spot steeped in culture, and who knows what secrets they might uncover?

Dysart Harbour is fast becoming a destination hotspot in Scotland, recently experiencing an influx of visitors after being featured as a filming location for Outlander. Its picturesque views and traditional harbour activities are luring tourists from far and wide to discover its rich history.

Spend your day soaking up breathtaking coastal scenery while fishing or kayaking at this paradise setting before exploring walking trails with friends; whatever you choose, it’s guaranteed that no visit here would be complete without taking some time out to appreciate all this unique corner of Scotland has to offer.

6. Glencoe

Set amidst stunning scenery and enriched with a vivid history, Glencoe is one of Scotland’s top landmarks. Located in the western Highlands of Scotland. This designated National Scenic Area has served as a backdrop for numerous film productions over time, most notably Outlander, which increased its surge in popularity.

Not only can visitors enjoy breathtaking landscapes and wildlife watching opportunities here but also gain insight into some dark moments from centuries gone by like ‘The Massacre at Glencoe‘ that took place in 1692, an event full of tragedy yet leaving behind a powerful legacy to explore today.

How Outlander boosted Scottish tourism
Stepping into the World of Outlander: How the TV Show Boosted Scottish Tourism 14

The village itself is amazingly situated between the Loch Leven banks and the mouth of the famous Glen, making it an ideal base for exploring the area. Visitors can enjoy activities, such as golfing at Glencoe Golf Club, swimming at Glencoe Beach, or exploring nature trails like Green Bay Trail.

There is also an abundance of cultural attractions like Writers Theatre, Chicago Botanic Garden, and Glencoe Public Library for those who prefer a more relaxed experience. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s something for everyone in Glencoe.

7. Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow Palace is an iconic attraction for Outlander fans and a must-see destination in Scotland. This historic ruin dates back to the 12th Century, when it began as a small settlement by the banks of tranquil Linlithgow Loch, 15 miles (24 km) west of Edinburgh.

By 1400, this was transformed into a majestic royal residence that welcomed three future monarchs: James V (1512), Mary Queen Of Scots (1542) & Charles I (1600). Taking one of its guided tours provides tourists with an enriching insight into more than 600 years worth of Scottish regal history.

Linlithgow Palace min Outlander has been enchanting audiences with its gripping tale set in 18th-century Scotland since its debut in 2014. Adapted from the best-selling books of Diana Gabaldon and brought to life by Ronald D. Moore, this epic love story follows a married World War II nurse who is sent back through time into romance and adventure!
Stepping into the World of Outlander: How the TV Show Boosted Scottish Tourism 15

Linlithgow Palace and Peel have been made more popular by the hit series Outlander. Its picturesque scenery has attracted many tourists who wish to explore this historic place firsthand. You can choose to do a variety of activities, including guided tours or audio tours, to learn about its past and the former home of Mary Queen of Scots’.

Step back in time as you explore Scotland’s historic Linlithgow Palace, one of the country’s most beloved attractions. From its regal chambers to its iconic grandeur, this destination is ideal for history fanatics and Outlander devotees alike.

8. Hopetoun House

Set against the backdrop of Scotland’s picturesque Firth of Forth, Hopetoun House has provided a captivating setting for Outlander while also offering visitors to South Queensferry —just outside Edinburgh— a unique glimpse into centuries of history.

Built in 1699 by Sir William Bruce and still held by the Hope Earls since its completion over 300 years ago, it is an exceptional example of European architectural heritage that was recognised as a Category A listed building in 1970 and praised within The Inventory Of Gardens And Designed Landscapes In Scotland two decades later.

Featured in Outlander as the Duke of Sandringham’s residence, this historic site is open to visitors from April to September each year. Stroll through its beautiful gardens or take part in special activities like weddings or private functions; whatever you do, be sure not to miss out on an opportunity to explore one of Scotland’s most captivating attractions.

There are lots more Scottish attractions that were featured in the hit period drama, Outlander, enough to fill a whole guidebook, not just an article. However, for now, we’ll settle for the equally mesmerising aforementioned eight. 

The TV show Outlander has significantly impacted Scottish tourism, with many of the show’s locations seeing quite a surge in visitors since the show’s premiere in 2014. From the picturesque Doune Castle to the stunning Highland landscapes, Outlander has inspired people from all over the world to visit Scotland and explore its beauty.

With season seven of Outlander just starting to air, it’s likely that Scotland will experience another surge in tourism as more people are inspired to visit and explore its breathtaking scenery.

What is the plot of The Outlander?

The “Outlander” series, created by Diana Gabaldon, is a genre-bending mix of historical fiction, romance, fantasy, and adventure. The story primarily follows Claire Randall, a married former nurse who is mysteriously transported back in time from 1946 to 1743 Scotland. There, she meets a dashing Highland warrior named Jamie Fraser. The series explores their relationship as well as the historical and political events of the time, including the Jacobite risings.

In the first book, Claire is on a second honeymoon with her husband, Frank, in Inverness, Scotland, when she is inexplicably transported back in time through a set of ancient standing stones. She finds herself in a world torn by war and raiding border clans. Confused and disoriented, she is soon discovered by Jamie Fraser and his clan. As she tries to navigate this dangerous and unfamiliar world, she finds herself torn between her loyalty to Frank, who she knows is trying to find her in his own timeline, and her growing affection for Jamie.

As the series progresses, Claire and Jamie’s lives become more entangled with the historical events of the 18th century, including the doomed Jacobite rebellion against English rule. They also encounter various challenges, both personal and external, including political intrigue, war, and moral dilemmas. The series also introduces other point-of-view characters and travels to different time periods and locations, including America and the Caribbean.

The “Outlander” series is known for its meticulous historical research, complex characters, and intricate plotting. It has been adapted into a successful television series, which has brought the story to an even broader audience. It’s an epic tale of a strange love triangle amidst the Scottish highlands and unrest of the 18th century.

Outlander Cast

Here are some of the main cast members in the Outlander TV series:

Caitriona Balfe

Caitriona Balfe has become a fan favorite and critical darling for her portrayal of the complex lead character Claire Randall/Fraser on Outlander. As a central figure in the time travel romance saga, Balfe brings heart, intelligence, resilience, warmth, and gravitas to the role. She captures Claire’s resourcefulness as a World War II nurse who gets transported back to 1743 Scotland, where she must navigate a dangerous new world and find herself torn between two husbands separated by centuries.

Caitriona Balfe
Caitriona Balfe

Sam Heughan

As the dashing Highlander Jamie Fraser on Outlander, Sam Heughan has become a magnetic leading man who brings heart, heroism, and smoldering romantic chemistry to the role. As an 18th century Scottish warrior who falls for the time-traveling Claire, Heughan captures both Jamie’s strength and sensitivity as he protects those he loves amidst violence and unrest in Scottish clans.

Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser
Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser (Photo by Jerod Harris/FilmMagic)

Tobias Menzies

Tobias Menzies delivers a remarkable dual role as Frank Randall and Black Jack Randall in Outlander, showcasing his talents as a character actor. As Frank, Claire’s reserved but passionate husband in 1945, Menzies captures his intelligence, restrained emotional struggles, and repressed desires. Meanwhile, as the villainous Black Jack in 1743, Menzies chillingly inhabits the British army captain’s cruel, manipulative, and deviant personality.

Tobias Menzies as Frank Randall/Black Jack Randall
Tobias Menzies as Frank Randall/Black Jack Randall (Photo by Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Graham McTavish

As the cunning and uncompromising Dougal MacKenzie on Outlander, Graham McTavish provides a commanding presence alongside insightful shades of depth. As war chief of the MacKenzie clan and uncle to protagonist Jamie Fraser, McTavish depicts Dougal as a pragmatic and often ruthless Scottish patriot, fighting fiercely for the Stuart cause against the British. Yet McTavish also reveals Dougal’s hidden layers, from his unrequited affection for Claire to his mentorship of Jamie, conveying the character’s stark gravitas and gruff integrity.

Graham McTavish as Dougal MacKenzie
Graham McTavish as Dougal MacKenzie

Gary Lewis

As Colum MacKenzie, laird of the MacKenzie clan, Gary Lewis delivers a complex and gravitas-filled performance. Despite being hampered by a degenerative disease, Lewis depicts Colum as a dynamic and cunning leader who wields control over his lands and family, hiding his weaknesses behind a mask of strength. Lewis captures Colum’s strategic intellect, commanding presence, and pragmatism as he navigates Scottish political intrigues and family tensions. Yet he also reveals vulnerabilities – Colum’s pain and fears over his failing body and legacy.

Gary Lewis
Gary Lewis at the RingCon 2015 at Maritat Hotel. Bonn

Duncan Lacroix

As Murtagh Fraser in Outlander, Duncan Lacroix captures the spirit of the devoted, taciturn Scottish clansman. As Jamie Fraser’s godfather and right-hand man, Lacroix depicts Murtagh as a tough, resourceful survivor, providing quiet strength and wisdom even in the most dangerous situations. Though a man of few words, Lacroix’s innate gravitas and rapport with co-star Sam Heughan convey Murtagh’s deep loyalty and care for Jamie beneath his gruff exterior.

Lotte Verbeek

As the mysterious Geillis Duncan in Outlander, Lotte Verbeek is haunting and captivating in equal measure. She first appears as Claire’s intelligent, vivacious friend and fellow healer in 18th century Scotland, with Verbeek lending Geillis an almost otherworldly quality. Yet behind her charming exterior, Verbeek slowly reveals Geillis’ cunning ambitions and obsession with the mystical, conveying an unsettling darkness and fixation on the future. Verbeek’s chemistry with Caitriona Balfe keeps their complex friendship riveting.

Richard Rankin as Roger Wakefield

As Roger Wakefield in Outlander, Richard Rankin brings a down-to-earth charm and intelligence to the role of the Oxford historian who becomes a romantic interest for Claire and Jamie’s daughter, Brianna. Rankin depicts Roger as an amiable, helpful researcher who aids Claire in her investigation into the past, establishing an easy rapport that anchors the two different timelines.

Yet Rankin also captures Roger’s strength and determination once he follows Brianna through the stones to colonial America, protecting those he cares for despite the dangers. While engaging in witty banter, Rankin layers in Roger’s introspective qualities and deep feelings for Brianna.

His emotional authenticity grounds their romance amidst the genre escapades. Rankin also harbors his own captivating chemistry with co-stars Sophie Skelton as Brianna and Sam Heughan as Jamie, effortlessly fitting into the Fraser clan dynamic. With finesse and intelligence, Rankin brings heart to the intersecting family saga.

Richard Rankin as Roger Wakefield
Richard Rankin as Roger Wakefield Image by © James Higgins/Splash News/Corbis

Sophie Skelton

As Brianna Randall on Outlander, Sophie Skelton compellingly portrays the daughter of Claire and Jamie Fraser. Skelton depicts Bree as a smart, headstrong MIT student who travels back in time to colonial America seeking her parents. While embracing Bree’s modern, feminist qualities, Skelton also captures her deep longing for family and romantic love. Her torturous decision between the future she knows and the past with her biological father becomes an emotional anchor.

With her spirited presence, palpable chemistry with Rankin as her time-displaced love Roger, and moving mother-daughter moments with Balfe, Skelton brings a contemporary luminosity to the saga. Her Bree is a heroine truly inheriting the best attributes of both her unconventional parents.

Sophie Skelton as Brianna Randall -Photo by Starz!/Kobal/Shutterstock
Photo by Starz!/Kobal/Shutterstock

John Bell

As Young Ian Fraser Murray in Outlander, John Bell breaks out as a charismatic young presence. Bell depicts the teenage nephew of protagonist Jamie Fraser as an eager, adventurous youth who longs to prove his worth and bravery to his clan. Yet Bell also captures Ian’s naivete and impulsiveness as he makes rash choices, conveying a rich inner life behind his youthful exuberance.

As Young Ian grows over time, Bell matures into showing tortured depths and anguish when Ian is enslaved by pirates. Despite his trauma, Bell reveals Ian’s resilience and loyalty. With his energetic spirit, emotional authenticity, and strong chemistry with the ensemble cast, John Bell brings a fresh face to the Outlander fold.

Outlander Season 6 recap

Here’s a quick recap of the major events in Outlander Season 6, preparing you for the much anticipated season 7 that will be hitting our screens soon.

  • Claire, Jamie, Young Ian, and the rest of the Fraser clan arrive in the colony of North Carolina in the early days of the American Revolution.
  • They must navigate the complex politics of the time, with loyalties divided between the English, Rebels, and local Native tribes.
  • Claire and Jamie build their new home, Fraser’s Ridge, while Young Ian falls in love with a Mohawk woman.
  • Fergus and Marsali suffer tragedy when their baby daughter dies from a congenital disorder that Claire can’t cure.
  • Roger experiences life-threatening trials and violence when he joins Jamie on a dangerous hunt for Murtagh.
  • Brianna suffers sexual assault from the villain Stephen Bonnet but kills him later in revenge.
  • Governor Tryon puts pressure on Jamie to hunt down Murtagh, who is part of the Regulators rebellion.
  • Jamie must lead the militia against the Regulators, pitting him against his old friend Murtagh. When Murtagh is killed, Jamie is devastated.
  • Jamie and Claire are grief-stricken when they receive news that their beloved nephew Young Ian has died.

So overall, Season 6 featured dramatic storylines exploring the Fraser’s survival in the New World, while being torn between loyalty, family, and political unrest.

Outlander Season 7 recap

Here’s a quick recap of Outlander Season 7 so far:

  • It’s 1779 and the Revolutionary War is in full swing. Jamie, Claire and the Fraser family arrive in Wilmington, North Carolina and find themselves having to declare loyalty amidst the turmoil.
  • Jamie becomes embroiled in the Regulators movement against corrupt government officials, putting him at odds with the redcoats and his godfather Murtagh.
  • Claire uses her medical skills to help on both sides of the war, causing suspicion and putting her at risk of being accused of witchcraft again.
  • Roger and Brianna settle into life in the 18th century and deal with new challenges in their marriage. Brianna struggles with guilt after killing Stephen Bonnet.
  • The ghost of Jamie’s son William appears, making Jamie confront unresolved feelings about the child he had to give up. Claire miscarries another baby.
  • Lord John Grey returns and confesses his unwavering love for Jamie, testing Jamie and Claire’s marriage. But they recommit to each other.
  • Young Ian returns after his months with the Mohawk tribe, but must recover from trauma.
  • Jamie continues to walk a dangerous line, secretly aiding the rebel cause while pretending to be a British loyalist.

With political unrest, family struggles, and emotional tests, the Fraser clan faces new obstacles in Season 7 as the Revolutionary War shapes their lives and futures.

The Outlander continues to draw us in with its thrilling storylines and impressive scenery. It has certainly boosted Scottish tourism and as long as it continues to run on our screens, it will continue to do so.

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