An Outlander Fan’s Dream Trip-Everything You Need To Plan Yours

Outlander

When Claire Randall gently placed her hands on a large stone in Craigh na Dun, she traveled from 1945 to 1743, right into a skirmish between the Redcoats and the Scottish Highlanders, including handsome Highlander Jamie Fraser. Over six seasons of Outlander, the hit Starz show based on Diana Gabaldon's book series, we sat on the edge of our seats as Claire and Jamie endured everything from kidnapping, witch trials, and shipwrecks to Culloden, and torture at the hands of Captain Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall. Through it all, they shared passion, stubbornness, and love for each other and Scotland. 

You Probably Can't Go Through The Stones, but You Can Take This Outlander Fan's Dream Trip

West Highland Way, Scotland
Image Credit: lombiedezombie – CC BY 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Like Jamie and Claire, I also love Scotland. My Dad is from Port Glasgow, and while my favorite memories of visiting family are the Beano comic books, chocolate Mars Bars, and incomparable Irn Bru (a Scottish carbonated drink), a very close second is exploring the Scottish countryside. And after hiking the West Highland Way (a 96-mile trek through the Scottish Highlands), I feel like I've met a famous character from the infamous show. Because—let's face it. Scotland is as important a part of Outlander as Jamie and Claire themselves. Gorgeous, green, and most of the time–wet, it's easy to see how the dramatic Scottish landscape influenced the historical drama series. 

Scotland is a dream destination for any Outlander fan from the Scottish Highlands to the islands and capital city. Pack your bags, and don't forget the rain jacket—it's time for a trip to Scotland that's every bit as special as the adventures of Jamie and Claire. 

Craigh na Dun

Kinloch Rannoch, Scotland, Outlander, Craigh Na Dun
Image Credit: Jan Herold.

While the iconic stone circle in Inverness is fictional (the stones on TV are painted Styrofoam blocks), the filming location is real and worth visiting. Set on a hilltop in Kinloch Rannoch, a village in Perth and Kinross, Scotland, the magical place offers scenic countryside views. Atop the hill, your hair might even blow in the wind, just like Claire's did. However, it’s just as likely that you’ll experience snow, rain, beautiful sunny skies, or gale-force winds—possibly all in one day.  

Callanish Standing Stones

Callanish Standing Stones
Image Credit: A_Peach – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

For Outlander fans seeking a real ancient stone circle like the fictional Craigh na Dun, the next best thing is the Callanish Standing Stones (Calanais in Gaelic). Every bit as beautiful as Craigh na Dun, the Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides are said to be the inspiration for Craigh na Dun. Placed over 5,000 years ago on a hilltop overlooking Loch Roag, the magical stone circle in the windswept Scottish landscape has a real sense of mystery.  

The reason for setting the Callanish Standing Stones is unknown. Some believe lightning strikes inspired the pattern. Others are certain the site was an astronomical observatory. And many popular theories suggest the Callanish Standing Stones served as a place of ritual activity for 2,000 years. In the 17th century, the Isle of Lewis people called the stones ‘fir bhrèige' or ‘false men' and believed the objects were petrified giants. 

Bring a Gemstone and Try Your Luck

Loch Roag, Callanish Standing Stones, Scotland
Image Credit: Nessy-Pic – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

When visiting the Callanish Standing Stones, why not bring a gemstone and try your luck? You never know! But if time travel isn’t in the cards, treat yourself to the soup of the day (served with Bloomer Bread) at the on-site café. The views of Loch Roag and the Scottish landscape are stunning.  

While the Callanish Standing Stones are a unique attraction for any Outlander fan, don’t leave the Isle of Lewis without exploring the rest of the island. The Outer Hebrides are gorgeous and the perfect place for a Scottish adventure. The Isle of Lewis offers rocky outcrops along the Atlantic coastline, green hillsides, mountain ranges covered in pink and purple Heather, peat moorland, lakes, and beautiful beaches. 

One last tip—the Abhainn Dearg Distillery is a new distillery in an ancient landscape. Stop by and raise a glass to Jamie, Claire, and Bonnie Scotland.  

Clava Cairns

Clava Cairns Scotland
Image Credit: Daniel Kraft – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Located near Inverness, the Clava Cairns consists of three burial cairns surrounded by three large circular rock formations. The stones date back 4,000 years and look similar to those that transported Claire into 1743. 

One perk for history buffs visiting Clava Cairns is that the Culloden battlefield is only a 30-minute walk away. Outlander fans will appreciate seeing the historic Scottish site where the 1745 Jacobite rising ended and where Claire first believed Jamie had died. 

Learn The History Behind The Jacobite Rising

Culloden Visitor Center, Scotland
Image Credit: Ralph Appelbaum Associates.

The Culloden Visitor Center has a 360-degree immersion theater that puts you right in the middle of battle. It offers an opportunity to learn the truth behind the 1745 uprising, and the panoramic views from the rooftop leave visitors with an overwhelming feeling as they watch Highland cows grazing on the eerie battlefield.  

The Ring of Brodgar

The Ring of Brodgar, Scotland
Image Credit: Stevekeiretsu – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Off the southern tip of Scotland in the Orkney Islands, the famous Ring of Brodgar originally consisted of 60 stones but now only has 36. The standing stones date back to between 2,000 BC and 2,500 BC. While some believe it may have been a site of sacrifice in the Druid religion, others think it's another astronomical observatory. Nevertheless, the stones beg to be touched.  

Glencoe

Glencoe, Scotland
Image Credit: Gil Cavalcanti – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

“Sing me a song of a lass that is gone, oh could that lass be I?” Outlander’s opening credits tug at the heartstrings as the TV showcases Glencoe, the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Easily accessible from Inverness, the rugged Scottish beauty is an ideal destination for adventure, offering many dirt trails, colorful wildflowers, lakes, creeks, and waterfalls.  

Relax and soak in the stunning Scottish scenery, or challenge yourself by climbing a Munro, the Scottish term for a mountain over 3,000 feet tall. Rumor has it Sam Heughan (who plays Jamie Fraser) is an avid hillwalker with big aspirations to reach the summit of all 282 Munros in Scotland.

The Glencoe Visitors Center has a 3D map of the valley. It's a great place to plan the perfect hike and learn more about the area's history, weather, and wildlife. 

Doune Castle (Castle Leoch)

Doune Castle, Scotland
Image Credit: Andrew Shiva / Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Doune Castle, or Castle Leoch to Outlander fans, is the home of Clan Mackenzie and where Claire is brought after passing through the stones of Craigh na Dun. The castle dates back to the 1300s and is located in Doune in Perthshire. Outlander fans can visit the famous historical spot most of the year.  

Falkland

Falkland in Fife, Scotland
Image Credit: Kim Traynor – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

The village center of Falkland in Fife played the part of Inverness, best known as the location where Claire and Frank honeymoon in 1945 before she travels back in time. Nestled below the Lomond Hills, Falkland is home to a 16th-century royal residence, the Falkland Palace. It's also lovely to walk around, pop into a local pub for a pint, and enjoy a plate of fish and chips.  

Edinburgh's Royal Mile

The Royal Mile, Edinburgh
Image Credit: Herbert Frank from Wien (Vienna), AT – Edinburgh, Royal Mile, CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

The Royal Mile connects Holyrood House and Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh's Old Town. It's jam-packed with shops, restaurants, pubs, cafes, and popular tourist attractions. It's also home to historical sites like St. Giles Cathedral, Gladstone's Land, the Tron Kirk, and most importantly for Outlander fans, Jamie Fraser's print shop in Season 3. The exterior of the print shop is in Bakehouse Close, right off the Royal Mile, and is an excellent spot to get a real feel for what life was like in Edinburgh in the 1700s.

While exploring the Royal Mile, try The World's End—the pub’s been around since the 16th century. Another great alternative is Ensign Ewart. The cute pub has a prime location close to Edinburgh Castle and has been around since 1680.

Get Ready for More Outlander

Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam and Graham
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Television.

Outlander Season Seven will premiere on Starz on June 16, 2023. While you’re waiting, check out Men in Kilts (also on Starz), starring Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish. The two Outlander pals tour Scotland exploring food, drinks, sports, dance, witchcraft, traditions, and more. You'll laugh, learn, and love!

Author: Nicole Findlay

Bio:

Nicole is a freelance writer based in San Francisco. As a former professional athlete, she gravitates toward active vacations, but also loves a great luxury hotel (The Palace Hotel in San Francisco is her favorite). In addition to travel writing, Nicole has published pieces about sports, parenting, entertainment, art, technology, and law. When she's not writing, she can be found reading a good book, hiking around the Bay Area with her son, trying to train their 70 lb. puppy, or watching reruns of I Love Lucy.