The iconic castles from Outlander

Some of Scotland’s most iconic castles have become global stars thanks to one of the world’s biggest TV shows, Outlander.
Doune Castle - PerthshireDoune Castle - Perthshire
Doune Castle - Perthshire

The popular series is based on the international bestselling novel series by Diana Gabaldon, spanning romance, science fiction, history and adventure.

Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened.

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When she is forced to marry Jamie, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Doune CastleDoune Castle
Doune Castle

Historic Scotland owns some of the famous destinations used in the television series.

The biggest ‘star’ is the 14th century Doune Castle, built for the Regent Albany, which is the stand-in for the fictional Castle Leoch.

Its most striking feature is the 100ft high gatehouse which includes the splendid Duke’s Hall with its musicians’ gallery, double fireplace and carved oak screen.

The views include looking down on the fast-flowing River Teith and out towards the Menteith Hills and Ben Lomond.

Blackness Castle near Queensferry West LothianBlackness Castle near Queensferry West Lothian
Blackness Castle near Queensferry West Lothian

It is not the first time Doune Castle has been featured on screen, and also in words.

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It has appeared in several literary works, including the 17th-century ballad The Bonny Earl of Murray, which relates the murder of James Stewart, the second Earl of Moray, by the Earl of Huntly, in 1592.

In Sir Walter Scott’s first novel, Waverley (1814), the protagonist Edward Waverley is brought to Doune Castle by the Jacobites.

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Scott’s romantic novel describes the “gloomy yet picturesque structure”, with its “half-ruined turrets”.

The castle was used as a location in the 1952 historical film Ivanhoe which featured Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor.

The BBC adaptation of Ivanhoe in 1996 also featured Doune as a location.

The castle was used as the set for Winterfell in the TV series Game of Thrones (2011–present), an adaptation of the a Song of Ice and Fire series of novels by George RR Martin.

Scenes in Monty Python and the Holy Grail also feature Doune.

Meanwhile, ship-shaped Blackness Castle, which stood in for Fort William in series one, was built in the 15th century by one of Scotland’s most powerful families, the Crichtons.

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It was never destined to be a peaceful lordly residence, but played a trole as garrison fortress and state prison. The castle stands looking out over the Firth of Forth.

Linlithgow Palace was used as the prison corridors and entrances in episode 15 of Outlander.

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Located just 20 miles from Edinburgh, it was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots and was a welcome stopping place for the royal family when travelling between Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle.

It is set beside the spectacular surroundings of Linlithgow Loch and Peel and boasts an elaborate fountain.

Aberdeour Castle on the Fife coast was once the luxurious Renaissance home and gardens of Regent Morton, at the time Scotland’s most powerful man.

Aberdour was originally built as a fortified residence in the 1100s, making it one of the oldest stone castles in Scotland.