As two new series of TV hit Outlander are commissioned, fans are still clamouring to follow in the footsteps of Claire and Jamie as Scotland’s historic castles provide the backdrop to global TV phenomenon – boosting tourism by up to 227%.
Visitors have been heading to Scotland to tour the historic landmarks associated with hit television series Outlander – and the screen phenomenon has been outshining the likes of Greyfriars Bobby, Braveheart, Rob Roy, Trainspotting and even Harry Potter.
Producers of the time-travel fantasy recently announced that some of Scotland’s most iconic castles and historic sites will once again feature as the backdrop to Outlander which, according to Edinburgh-based coach tour operator Timberbush Tours, has resulted in the “Outlander Effect”.
This has led Historic Environment Scotland (HES) to state there has been a 27% increase in tourists from the USA and Canada visiting Scotland’s castles.
Visitor numbers to Doune Castle, the location for the fictional Castle Leoch, are up by 227% since 2013, when Outlander was first screened. The 15th-century Blackness Castle in West Lothian, the setting for the Fort William headquarters of “Black Jack” Randall, has had 182% more visitors during the same period.
The medieval Glasgow Cathedral, the setting for L’Hôpital Des Anges in Paris where Claire (Balfe) volunteers to work in the second series, attracted 400,000 people in the last year, up 27% from 2016-17.
The Timberbush Tour’s Outlander experience departs from the Scottish capital Edinburgh and travels north-west, venturing to Midhope Castle, also known as Outlander's 'Lallybroch Castle'. The tour continues to Blackness Castle, the Headquarters of Black Jack Randall, on the shores of the Firth of Forth and journeys on to the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow, where there is an opportunity to visit Linlithgow Palace – Outlander's 'Wentworth Prison'.
The tour then travels on to the country home of Callendar House. Where the famous kitchen was the set of the Duke of Sandringham's kitchen in the TV blockbuster.
From there, Timberbush Tours will bus visitors to the Royal Burgh of Culross – a tiny village nestled on the coast of Fife and arguably the best example of a 17th Century village in Scotland. The gardens here feature in Claire's herb garden, and the Mercat Cross in Outlanders' Cranesmuir Village.
Finally, it’s on to the splendour of Hopetoun House. The grand stately home dates back to the 17th Century and is the magnificent home of Outlander's Duke of Sandringham,
Steve Spalding, Chief Executive Officer of Timberbush Tours comments, “As much as Outlander is a compelling story, many of Scotland’s Castle featured as the backdrop to the television series are steeped in real history and have links to some of the most beguiling tales that are woven into the tapestry of our country.
“Tourists coming to Scotland from the US and Canada will be amazed at just how much Outlander mirrors our glorious past.”
Timberbush can also offer visitors coach trips on its West Highland Lochs, Mountains and Castles tour which takes in Doune Castle – Outlander’s Castle Leoch or St Andrews and the Fishing Villages of Fife Tour which visits Falkland Village, cast as 1960s Inverness in Outlander.
The video of Hopetoun House, which also features in Outlander is highlighted in this "fly through’"drone footage from Timberbush Tours: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VVOSNLDjuA