Now that Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series of books have been transferred to the small screen, you can see Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe as the principal characters of Jamie and Claire.
Likewise, now that the fictional places of Castle Leoch and Cranesmuir have been filmed at the real-life Doune Castle and the village of Culross in Fife, then of course there are places to visit to be part of the Outlander experience.
Visit Scotland has produced a guide to the film locations used for “Outlander” along with a very helpful downloadable map of the places in Scotland used and where they are located. The majority of the sites where filming took place are open to the public and are well known, but some are more difficult to find. If you are looking for Lallybroch House to follow in the footsteps of Jamie returning to his ancestral home, then that is more of a search as I discovered, though I had no horse or wife with me for the exact image!
Midhope Castle is the real castle that is portrayed as Lallybroch, and is not in Inverness-shire as detailed in the book, but actually located between South Queensferry and Linlithgow on the edges of the private Hopetoun Estate, which includes the well known Hopetoun House. As it happens Hopetoun House was used in “Outlander” as well, as the Duke of Sandringham’s residence, and the house and grounds are open to the public. All of this is less than 10 miles from Edinburgh making this a relatively easy place to visit if you are staying in Edinburgh, Fife or the Scottish Borders.
According to the “Outlander” books Lallybroch was built in 1702, 1716 or 1721, depending on which you book you read. Midhope Castle was built back in 1582, so it is actually a late 16th century tower house, with a later extension to the side in the 17th century, being a storey lower. In effect you are looking at one stand-alone tower with a house built on the side. On the Northern side of the courtyard is an elaborate gateway, which also belongs to the 17th century, and gives that distinctive view that is Lallybroch.
Suffice to say it is a typical 18th century Scottish tower house, which has seen better days when Claire arrives into this adventure from 1743 onwards. The memorable scenes here have the property as the backdrop, with the courtyard area and the entrances gates – which are all striking in real life, adding to the magic of being there. Having inspected literally 100’s of castles I can confirm that it has retained its authenticity and you genuinely do feel transferred back in time.
What is not so easy is the fact that it has not been set up for tourists and forms part of a private estate. You can still look at it from the outside – but when you get to the section marked private road, you are not allowed vehicular access and need to park your car here and walk the short distance up to the castle. No access is allowed inside the property as the building is unsafe, and bear in mind that it is close to a working farm and that people live in the nearby houses.
So if you are searching in Scotland, looking for Lallybroch, this is where it is and whilst you may not see Jamie and Claire on the day, no doubt they will be there in spirit to make your day an unforgettable experience. What if your future is the past? If you recognise that tagline from “Outlander”, you know you are a fan of the show. But if you really want the full experience of staying in a Scottish castle then go to the Scotts Castle Holidays website now and make that “Outlander” dream a reality. We look forward to welcoming you to Scotland.