Transcend centuries and take yourself back in time to Scotland in the year 1743. The land is dewy and fresh, there are no street lamps lighting up cities in the distance, and the spoken sounds of Gaelic flow across the Highlands.
This historical period, once again brought to light by Outlander, is a unique period for Scottish identity and the Jacobite Risings. Take a fascinating walk through history while you explore Outlander and the 18 th -century Jacobite Risings.
Who were the Jacobites?
When Claire steps through time at the stones Craigh na Dun, she leaves the year 1945 behind her. She then quickly finds herself in 1743 in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Before Claire realises she’s even left her time, she is dangerously immersed in a duel between British soldiers and Highlanders. It’s not a Jacobite battle quite yet, but it is another wedge being driven through the English and the Scots.
Whispers about Jacobites won’t be heard in Outlander until several episodes later, but the stage has been set from the very beginning – a rebellion is coming.
Claire is sitting in a quaint pub, sipping ale from a horn-carved chalice as passionate Scotsmen bellow in Gaelic all around her. Catching words here and there, clever Claire realises Dougal MacKenzie is secretly raising funds for fellow Jacobites.
So, who were the Jacobites exactly?
The Stuarts had reigned in Scotland for centuries, and these proclaimed Jacobites craved the reinstatement of the Stuart line, ensuring freedom for Scotland. Jacobites in Outlander and beyond supported the cause for various reasons.
Some were committed to the Stuarts’ right to the throne of Britain. Others hoped that a Stuart king would result in a return to the Protestant form of church government. Some were moved by clans and family loyalties, and some simply got caught up in the adventure.
Without a doubt, though, many Scots became Jacobites because they resented the Union and believed a Stuart king would restore their parliament, freeing them from Britain’s chains.
Outlander does not pick up at the beginning of the Risings, however. Rebellions started long before in the late 1600s and endured their final fatal battle at Culloden in 1746.
Located just outside of Inverness, the battlefield museum is steeped in Jacobite history where visitors can learn who the Jacobites were fighting against, Jacobite clans, and even the British government along the way.
The pink flower that grows at Eriskay on the Outer Hebrides…
On the quaint island of Eriskay in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, there grows a petite pink flower. Unique to the island, the Convolvulus flower is linked to both the Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Rebellion.
Before arriving to raise the Jacobite standard at Glenfinnan in 1745, Prince Charles first docked his French Frigate La Doutelle on this charming little island. It was a typical windy and overcast day when the Prince stepped ashore at what we now called Coilleag d’Phrionnso’ or the Prince’s Strand.
The prince then reached his hand into his pocket, revealing a handful of flower seeds. As the wind blew, the Stuart Prince scattered the seeds along the shore.
In due time, the Prince’s seed grew alongside the beach and these rare pink flowers have come to be known as the prince’s flower for this very reason. They are still flourishing there today.
It’s almost like preluding a symbol of finding beauty in something devastating. Only months later the final Jacobite Rising would fail, and thousands would lose their lives fighting for the Bonnie Prince on the Culloden Battlefield.
The battle that ended it all…
This Outlander filming location is featured in both timelines of the series. First, Claire and Frank venture outside of Inverness to visit the Culloden Battlefield on a breezy afternoon. They were there to comb through more of Frank’s ancestry. Of course, this visit actually allowed Claire to gather some Jacobite insight without realising just how powerful that information would soon be for her.
Later, a pregnant Claire would return to this very battlefield alongside her beloved Jamie, in preparation for the battle to come. This battle was a turning point for Highland culture. It was also an end to the Jacobite Rebellion, sending Claire back through the stones.
On a chilly morning days later, Jamie, alongside Jacobite clans, some Englishmen, and thousands of eager soldiers fought for everything that believed in a bloody, doomed battle against Britain’s Hanoverian government.
Discover more about Outlander and the Jacobites.
Across the country, you’ll find Outlander filming locations, guided tours, and historical treasures seen in the series. Plus, the Scottish Highlands and particularly Inverness are laced in Jacobite history. Step foot on the lush green Scottish grass and begin your own journey through time. Who knows where it might take you?
Top 7 Outlander Filming Locations in Scotland
Edinburgh various locations within the city in season 1, 2, 3, 4
Craigmillar Castle as an Ardmuir Prison, The Signet Library (Governor’s Mansion in Jamaica), Royal Mile – Bakehouse Close (Jamie’s Print Shop) & Tweeddale Court (where Claire is reunited with Fergus). With the cobbled streets and Old and New Town as a World UNESCO Heritage, Edinburgh is a must-see destination.
What’s more, the mysteries and the murders, underground city and ghosts make my hometown so popular as a tourist destination. But Edinburgh is also known for its festivals, mainly International and Fringe (August) which bring soaring excitement to the city every year.
Doune Castle (Castle Leoch) Season 1
Doune Castle is showcased as a Castle Leoch home of Clan Mackenzie. But this splendour castle was filmed also for other productions like Monty Python or Game of Thrones.
The original Castle, the half of this we see today, was built to impress and show authority. It’s unclear however how big the castle was and if some part of the castle were lost or not completed.
Doune Castle officially became a royal castle in the 15th century.
Linlithgow Palace (Wentworth Prison) Season 1
The infamous scene of Jamie being raped and tortured was filmed in Linlithgow Palace. The Palace located in Linlithgow, a charming town near Edinburgh, represented the famous Wentworth Prison. The palace was one of the primary residences of the kings and queens of Scotland in the 15th and 16th centuries.
It initially set the palace as a rest stop for royals travelling between Edinburgh and Stirling Castle. Most often was associated with Mary, Queen of Scotland, before becoming Outlander famous. Today, only the ruins remain, but its beautiful location on the banks of Linlithgow Loch makes it a popular tourist and filming attraction.
Address: Linlithgow Palace, Kirkgate, Linlithgow, West Lothian, EH49 7AL
Opening: Open all year round (excluding 25 and 26 December, 1 and 2 January Closed Sunday and Monday during winter
Booking: Advance booking required
Information: Part of Historic Scotland
Accessibility: Accessibility check at Euan’s Guide
Culross (Cransemuir) Season 1, 2, 4
The Royal Burgh of Culross is owned by the National Trust of Scotland and has been used for several filming scenes in the Outlander movie. Culross played a base for the fictional Cransemuir in season 1 and suddenly became a popular tourist attraction.
The pretty cobbled streets, hilltop abbey and enchanting original homes, makes it such a lovely place that gives you the feeling of being transported back to the 16th century.
Often named as the most picturesque village in Scotland, it’s a beautifully restored 17th and 18th-century town example.
Free entrance with National Trust of Scotland Membership
Address: Culross, Fife, KY12 8JH(31 miles east of Glasgow and 22 miles northwest of Edinburgh.
Entrance: Free entrance
Guide: Self- guided trail
Accessibility: Culross Palace, Study and Town House are unsuitable for visitors with limited mobility due to uneven surfaces and spiral staircases, but the palace garden may be suitable, with difficulty, for wheelchairs.
Glencoe - opening credit of every Outlander episode
Glencoe- the unspoilt nature of the land attracted filmmakers from all around the world. Braveheart, Highlander, Skyfall, Rob Roy and Harry Potter. Not surprisingly, Outlander producers choose this location as their opening credit of every episode. The filming itself attracts visitors to the area but the dramatic settings of the deep valley shaped by glaciers and volcanoes are the real magnet.
The famous glen located between rugged mountains witnessed a massacre where 38 men, women and children of the MacDonald clan were murdered. The tragedy of the Glencoe Massacre shocked the country and became a powerful piece of anti-government propaganda for the Jacobites in Edinburgh.
This is a remote part of the Highlands and most of the visitors come by car as it gives the most flexibility to get around.
Glasgow various locations within the city in season 1, 2, 3, 4
Kelvingrove Park (as a Boston Park), the University of Glasgow (as a Harvard University), Pollock Park (surroundings for Castle Leoch; French countryside), George Square (Frank’s proposal to Claire) and Glasgow Cathedral (as L’Hopital Des Anges in Paris ) were used as filming locations for Outlander.
Glasgow is known for its vibrant, live -music scene and legendary architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The city is also well known as a foodie and shopping destination. But, for a truly Scottish experience, be sure to visit one of the city’s oldest bars and restaurants, (Sloans, Babbity Bowster) for the Friday night of traditional Scottish folk music.
Loch Katrine (The Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park) Season 2
(here Brianna and Roger spend some time together)
One of the best spots in Scotland, surrounded by National Park, Loch Katrin was the inspiration for the Sir Walter Scot poem ‘The lady of the lake’. Here, Rob Roy, the Scottish Robin Hood was born. The magnificent settings make this place quite unique.
Directions: Getting to Loch Katrine by car From the south/east – take the M74/M8 past Glasgow, then change to the M898 to the Erskine Bridge, then take the A82 into the National Park.
Walk, Bike or take the cruise on the historic steamship Sir Walter Scott and hear the stories about legendary characters.
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Click below to see available Outlander tours
Who were the Jacobites fighting against?
Jacobites and Charles Edward Stuart wanted to regain the British throne for his father, James Francis Edward Stuart. “The Stuarts had reigned in Scotland for centuries, and the Jacobites craved the reinstatement of the Stuart male line,” says Christopher Whatley, professor of Scottish history at the University of Dundee. “They championed the claim of the exiled James Francis Edward Stuart, son of the deposed James II and VII, the man after whom the movement was named [Jacobus being derived from the Latin form of James].
What nationality were the Jacobites?
Jacobite’s support was in the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland
What was Jacobite religion?
The ‘senior’ Stuart branch – the male heirs of James VII and II – were Roman Catholic, but many Jacobites were Protestant, Anglican, Episcopalian
Why do they call them Jacobites?
The term Jacobite comes from the Latin for James (i.e. James VII and II) ‘Jacobus’
Where is Outlander filmed in Scotland?
While most of the action in the book takes place in the Highlands, most of the locations for the show are in Central Scotland
How true is Outlander to Scottish history?
Outlander is a historical drama, based on the novel series Diana Gabaldon. It portrayed most of the history as true, but as in every history, the reality is always more complicated. For instance, the Jacobite wars were Scottish civil wars and wars between the Highlands and Lowlands. And also war between England versus Scotland is only part of the bigger issue.
Are Outlander books worth reading?
As a historical-time travel-romance-adventure, it has something for everyone. The book also describes amazing settings! Outlander is mostly known for its Scottish setting, but as the series progresses it takes readers on a journey from the wild Scottish Highlands to the decadent Paris, to the unknown wilderness of North America. Incredible historical details and careful research results in a book so historically accurate.