Our Favourite Scottish Filming Locations
It goes without saying that Scotland is a powerful camera magnet. With countless filming hotspots, this beautiful country is a movie director’s haven. This list will help you uncover the variation of fantastic filming sports popular amongst movie enthusiasts, which you can include in your itinerary for your next visit to Scotland.
Undoubtedly one of the most recognisable and iconic Scottish filming locations has to be the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Located on the West Highland Line in Inverness-shire, this remarkable structure is recognised as the bridge which carries the Hogwarts Express train to Hogwarts in the extremely popular Harry Potter Films. The viaduct itself carries the railway 100 foot above the ground and spans over 1000 feet long, offering magnificent views across Loch Shiel.
The Glenfinnan Railway attracts thousands of visitors every year, with a large portion of those being Harry Potter fans. Guests can experience breath-taking views of the glorious scenery, either from the Visitors Centre or by hiking up one of the many trails surrounding the bridge. The bridge can be spotted in the second and third Harry Potter movies, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban along with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The train used as the Hogwarts Express is actually in service today, named the Jacobite and day trips are available through various excursion providers. After boarding in Fort William and Mallaig, the Jacobite runs passed Loch Morar and Loch Nevis where passengers can absorb the natural beauty that the Scottish Highlands has to offer.
Laying at the base of the UK’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis, there is a valley called Glen Nevis. This valley is recognizable as being the backdrop for some of the biggest movies including Braveheart, Highlander, Rob Roy along with the first two Harry Potter movies. Popular amongst fans, this location offers an award-winning touring caravan and camping park, we are guests can stay and experience Ben Nevis along with the wonderful surrounding mountains. This stunning location has a fantastic range of hiking routes and trails for all levels of fitness and ability. Visitors can explore enchanting forests and serene rivers, whilst enjoying in one of the country’s most unbelievably peaceful areas.
You’ll find a vast range of outdoor activities at Glen Nevis, from cycling to skiing, along with fascinating historical sites and visitor attractions around Fort William and Glenn Nevis.
In the Scottish town of Stirlingshire, lays a short, yet quite steep Glen up to 70 feet deep that runs east of Finnich Bridge. Carved from the red sandstone, Finnich Glen features a steep staircase known as the Devil’s steps along with a circular rock known as the Devil’s pulpit. This location was used as a filming spot for the popular movie ‘The Eagle’. Just a 30-minute drive outside Glasgow, this surreal and mystical location is an absolute must for visitors looking to delve deeper into Scottish history and heritage. Starring Channing Tatum, the movie portrays Rosemary Sutcliff’s novel of the legendary Eagle of the ninth Legion that went missing without a trace in the Roman times. This secret, subterranean spot is a Hollywood producer’s dream, emphasizing a real feeling of mystery with its shadowy atmosphere.
Today explorers are welcome and encouraged to experience the natural beauty of this Scottish hidden gem, although venture with caution in mind as in bad weather conditions this Glen can become quite hazardous.
The Glen Coe Driving Route
Arguably one of the most beautiful roads in Scotland, and even perhaps in the world, is the Glen Etive drive. Also recognised as that insanely beautiful driving route from the James Bond movie, Skyfall, this picturesque road is the most famous in the country. Surrounded by mountains that stand tall like Giants, there are lots of impressive places to stop that will undoubtedly take your breath away. In the fourth film of the James Bond series we see Hollywood actor Daniel Craig returning to his Scottish home. The majority of the films action takes place at Bond’s family home located in the mesmerising town of Glen Coe.
Fans won’t want to miss a trip to this fantastic Skyfall location in Scotland. You can choose to hire a car and make your way along this magical road. Of course, always be sure to take care when driving as this rural location is often shrouded in blankets of mist, but don’t let that put you off, if anything the mist adds to the mysteriousness of this atmospheric place. Visitors advise the best way to follow in the footsteps of Bond is to come in from the east across Rannoch Moor. Although there is no debating whichever way you choose to start your journey you will witness sensational views from all around. Glencoe is featured in many of our tour packages including our luxury Scottish tour package.
Located in the Scottish village of Roslin, near Edinburgh, this 15th century chapel is famously recognised after appearing in the famous Tom Hanks movie ‘The da Vinci code’. Many of the movies main scenes were filmed inside Rosslyn Chapel, with celebrity Tom Hanks commenting about the locations incredible beauty living up to his expectations.
After the movie premiered, there was a significant impact on the number of tourists visiting Rosslyn Chapel every year. Steeped in history with over 150 exquisite carvings, guests can uncover the mysterious heritage and stories of Rosslyn Chapel’s past. Home to some of the world’s most ornate stonework and unusual symbolisms, this architectural masterpiece attracts artists and visitors since it was originally built.
Countless stories of myths and legends connect with the chapel, knowledgeable tour guides are on hand to tell you all about them. Today, a brand-new state-of-the-art visiting centre tells the story of the chapels construction right through to the da Vinci code appearances. Not a lot of people are away that Rosslyn Chapel is still a work in church, therefore is likely to be closed on certain occasions for exclusive events such as weddings, christenings and funerals. Rosslyn Chapel is a favourite venue of many of our clients which have embarked on historical tours of the lowlands.
Famous for its appearance in the notorious Monty Python and the Holy Grail scene, Doune Castle is a mediaeval structure that resides in the District of Stirling of central Scotland. A king Arthur parody by the Monty Python team gained permission from the National Trust for Scotland to film several scenes at Doune Castle. The castle has also been used as a set for other famous TV shows such as Game of Thrones and Outlander.
Doune Castle poses as the fictional castle Leoch in the TV series outlander, as well as transforming into the famous Stark-Family home, known as Winterfell in the opening pilot of the award-winning series Game of Thrones. It was originally built for Robert Stewart, son of King Robert II, who became physically disabled after being kicked by a horse. After Robert died the castle was passed down to his son that’s becoming a royal possession. Doune Castle save it for centuries as a royal retreat and hunting Lodge for many of Scotland’s aristocrats.
Today the castle offers highly rated tours with options such as audio narration from Monty Python‘s very own Terry Jones. Since becoming one of Scotland’s most popular filming locations, visitors arrive in the thousands each year, so be sure to book in advance. The tours will fill you with excitement about the castles extensive history and alleged stories.
New Slains Castle and Cruden Bay
In the hit Netflix series, ‘The Crown’, fans may recognise exterior shots of New Slains Castle and surrounding beaches which were used as a stand in for the Castle of Mey, the Queen Mother’s Scottish home located in Caithness. You will find this 16th century ruined tower house nestled in an Aberdeenshire clifftop, which overlooks the fierce North Sea approximately one kilometre from Cruden Bay. New Slains Castle was also the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s story of Dracula after staying at the location.
As the name suggests, this is the newest of two Slains Castles on this stretch of coast. The original castle lies a mile north east of Collieston, about six miles from its replacement. Unfortunately, due to high living costs the new owners allowed to castle to decay, and today stands the skeleton of what was once a grand fortress.
The Storr and Quaring
The Isle of Skye is situated off the west coast of Scotland is home to some of the most remarkable, well known filming hotspots in the world. The Storr is a rocky hill on the Trotternish peninsula, containing a series of rock pinnacles. The largest rock has been named by locals as ‘The Old Man of Storr’ and reaches heights of around 50 meters tall.
In 2016 Roald Dahl’s classic tale the BFG was reimagined on the big screen, with Quairing and Storr providing the back drop to the fictional ‘Giants Land’. Many other Hollywood movies have been filmed at both impressive locations, such as King Arthur, Stardust, Transformers, Snow White and the Huntsman and Macbeth.
There’s no better way to experience the wonder of The Storr and Quairing in person, then hiking around it. You can take the opportunity to walk up and down the Storr via a 3.8 kilometre route. This hike usually takes visitors one hour and 15 minutes to complete. The Quairing route is a little longer, covering a distance of 6.8 kilometres. It is estimated that this walk will take on average up to 2 hours, with no stopping. The special locations are photographers dream passing through some of the most spectacular landscapes and breathtaking vistas Scotland has to offer.
There are a variety of assisted walks and guided tours over The Storr and Quairing, which teaches visitors of the geological facts around the striking landscape and impressive rock formations. Depending on which you choose, the tours will also point out movie filming hotspots that you may recognize
It’s not hard to see why The Storr and Quairing attracts thousands of visitors every year, with its incredible atmosphere and magnificent scenery enjoyed from miles around.
Calanais Standing Stones
Located in the west coast of Lewis you will find the Calanais Standing Stones. This extraordinary formation of stones is believed to have been erected 5000 years ago. Positioned in a circular alignment, these impressive stones had a big impact for the inspiration behind Disney’s ‘Brave’. In this fictional movie based in mediaeval Scotland, we witness the story of a Scottish King’s courageous, young daughter who chooses to carve out her own path of life.
Historians, still to this day do not know for certain why these enormous standing stones were erected. Experts believe the reason behind the placement had something to do with astronomical observation and a place for ritual activity. Today visitors can experience an interactive story of the stones exhibition, uncovering theories of what these monuments may have meant to the people who created them. The exhibition consists of an engaging walk-through including interactive graphic panels, an audio-visual display and a sitting area.
This excellent attraction allows ease of access for disabled guests and consists of a visitor’s center, a shop and a café. Entry to the site is free along with free parking, making this a truly affordable day to be enjoyed by the whole family.
There is an abundance of photogenic and awe-inspiring filming locations in Scotland. It is no surprise that many creative minds are inspired and influenced to use the natural scenery as backdrops for their movies. Scotland has attracted some of the world’s leading creators and directors earning itself the title of one of the best film locations in the world.
At Private Driver Scotland we specialise in a wide range of tours including castle tours, golf tours and luxury tours.