See all stories

Famous film & TV locations

Glenfinnan Viaduct with the steam train going across
Glenfinnan Viaduct
Our places have welcomed many productions over the years, including international drama TV series and Hollywood feature films. Get out there and visit these famous film sets for yourself!

1. Glencoe

A view looking down the glen of Glencoe on a sunny day, with the steep mountains on either side casting shadows on the opposite side.

It’s clear to see why J K Rowling selected Scotland as the home of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series – the wild, mysterious, mountainous terrain makes it the perfect setting for a school dedicated to witchcraft and wizardry.

Fans will recognise Glencoe from several films in the series, most notably as the location of Hagrid’s hut and the Hogwarts covered bridge in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). The area was also used in subsequent films, including The Goblet of Fire (2005), The Order of the Phoenix (2007), The Half-Blood Prince (2009) and The Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011).

James Bond also has strong ties with Scotland, so it was no surprise that the dramatic landscape of Glencoe should make an appearance in the blockbuster franchise’s 23rd instalment, Skyfall (2012). The pivotal scene sees 007 and M escape up the A82 to his ancestral home in the Highlands. Here, the iconic shot of Bond looking across the Glencoe valley next to his classic Aston Martin DB5 was created.

Shortly after Braveheart had the world interested in Scottish history, the story of another folk hero was brought to the screen – Rob Roy (1995). Liam Neeson starred as the title character in a critically acclaimed film that was shot entirely on location in Scotland, predominantly Glencoe.

Hollywood A-lister Chris Pine was in action at Glencoe recently for the filming of Outlaw King (2018) – a new historical action drama film about Robert the Bruce.

Glencoe was also the backdrop for scenes in Mary Queen of Scots (2018), starring Saoirse Ronan as Mary. Some pivotal scenes were filmed at General Wade Road and the Three Sisters.

80s movie buffs will also recognise Buachaille Etive Beag in the glen, close to where the battle scene at the start of Highlander (1986) was filmed.

Explore Glencoe

2. Glenfinnan

The Glenfinnan landscape, including Glenfinnan Monument, Viaduct and Loch Shiel

An hour along the road from Glencoe, visitors to Glenfinnan will instantly identify two more iconic locations from the Harry Potter films. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Harry and Ron were caught flying a Ford Anglia onto the tracks of the Glenfinnan Viaduct – a landmark that features in no fewer than three of the films.

A stone’s throw from here, the Glenfinnan Monument can be found on the banks of the mesmerising Loch Shiel. Standing atop the monument gives you breathtaking views across the loch and mountains that were used numerous times throughout the series as the backdrop for Hogwarts. This area features as the location of the Black Lake in The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), The Goblet of Fire (2005) and The Half-Blood Prince (2009). Harry and Hermione are also seen looking out over the loch from the Astronomy Tower at the end of the latter.

Explore Glenfinnan

3. Royal Burgh of Culross

A view of the garden at Culross Palace from the high terrace, looking down across the tops of the shrubs and rooftops in the village. A tall doocot stands at the left of the image.

Fife has more than its fair share of picturesque villages, but Culross is perhaps its most stunning. One of the best preserved examples of a 16th-century town in Scotland, it’s been loved by film crews looking for an authentic backdrop for decades.

In 2013, filming began for the hit TV series Outlander (2014–present), in which Culross has played a major role ever since. Fans of the show will instantly recognise the burgh, which poses as the fictional village of Cranesmuir. The garden of Culross Palace also features in the show as the herb garden of Castle Leoch, where Claire collects medicinal plants. In another scene filmed in the village, Claire and Jamie help to free a young boy who has his ear nailed to a post for stealing.

Captain America is one of the key characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but did you know that Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) also filmed some scenes in Culross? The movie’s deleted-scenes reel show that Culross was used as the backdrop for a Norwegian town in which a battle takes place during World War II, and features the village’s famous Mercat Cross.

This location also turns up in the film adaptation of Kidnapped (1971), featuring Michael Caine, in which Culross plays the role of Edinburgh.

Other films to use Culross as a location include The Little Vampire (2000) starring Richard E Grant, Bollywood film Kyun! Ho Gaya Na (2004) and The 39 Steps (2008).

Explore Culross

4. Falkland Palace

Culross isn’t the only National Trust for Scotland location to feature in Outlander. The village of Falkland poses as Inverness in 1946, where the story opens. Here you’ll see the Bruce Fountain, where Jamie’s ghost looks up at Claire, and the Covenanter Hotel, which is Mrs Baird’s guest house.

Long-running BBC drama Silent Witness (1996–present) also filmed at Falkland Palace for the episode ‘In a Lonely Place’, broadcast in January 2014.

Explore Falkland Palace

5. Preston Mill

Preston Mill is surrounded by grass meadows. It has orange stone walls with a conical roof, that leans slightly to the side.

Filming for Outlander didn’t stop at Culross and Falkland. Across the Forth in East Linton is the picturesque Preston Mill, which stands on the banks of the River Tyne. This unique architectural oddity, with its curious Dutch-style conical roof, posed as the mill on Jamie’s family estate of Lallybroch.

The most memorable scene shot here is when Jamie is mending the mill wheel and the Redcoats suddenly arrive – he is forced to hide under the water until the soldiers move on. Another scene featured the mill’s exhibition room as a court ante-room, where Claire and Geillis attend a preliminary hearing after being accused of witchcraft.

Explore Preston Mill

6. Culloden

A large round stone cairn stands in the middle of a battlefield. Mountains and forests can be seen in the distance.

With Outlander being set at the time of the Jacobite risings, it only makes sense that the final battle of the campaign was key to the story, both in the book and TV series. Claire visits Culloden in 1946, and again in 1746 ahead of the infamous battle.

The richly researched, stimulating and sensitive Culloden Visitor Centre, which stands beside the battlefield, features artefacts from both sides of the battle and interactive displays that reveal the background to the conflict. It is both a monument and a guide to a pivotal day in history.

Explore Culloden

7. Culzean Castle

A close-up of Culzean Castle seen from the lawn in front.

Turrets, battlements and lapping waves: the Robert Adam-designed Culzean Castle offers the perfect setting for adventure, romance and intrigue. It’s no wonder that it’s inspired film crews for decades.

Fans of cult classic The Wicker Man (1973) in particular will recognise Culzean as the home of Lord Summerisle, played memorably by Christopher Lee. Exterior shots of the castle were used in the film.

More recently, several BBC filming crews have visited Culzean. In October 2014, Antiques Road Trip (2010–present) made a stop at the castle, and the award-winning BBC4 documentary Written by Mrs Bach (2014), in which Martin Jarvis investigated whether J S Bach’s Cello Suites were in fact written by his wife, also featured Culzean.

Explore Culzean Castle

8. Mar Lodge Estate

A view of a wide mountain plateau, with tall mountains in the background, on a bright sunny day. Faint wispy clouds hover above the mountain tops. A large round boulder stands in the foreground, before a river runs through the moorland.

Mar Lodge Estate’s dramatic landscape has attracted several film and TV crews over the years. Perhaps the most high-profile of these was The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Those who have seen the final instalment of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy will recognise the Cairngorms in one of its most famous action sequences. The opening scene – in which villain Bane (played by Tom Hardy) hijacks a plane – was filmed over the Mar Lodge Estate.

Explore Mar Lodge Estate

9. St Abb’s Head NNR

A group of people stand and sit on a cliff top. In the background are dramatic cliffs and a blue sea, with white waves crashing against the rocks.

The breathtaking coastal headland with dramatic cliffs, famed for its seabird colonies, has been the backdrop for many shoots over the years. Scottish film director Gillies MacKinnon took full advantage of its majestic coastal scenery when he filmed the remake of Whisky Galore! (2016) here, starring Gregor Fisher and Eddie Izzard.

St Abb’s Head appears in the superhero film based Avengers: Endgame (2019) as part of New Asgard, a seaside town Thor has retired to.

Explore St Abb’s Head

10. Castle Fraser

View of Castle Fraser’s main entrance in autumn

Helen Mirren won an Oscar for her portrayal of Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006). Although it’s not a current royal castle, the dramatic and beautiful structure of Castle Fraser was used as a backdrop for scenes in the film.

Explore Castle Fraser


Have a great day out in friendly and inspiring places

Find a place
St Abb's Head >