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If you are a fan of Scotland, of course you are only too happy to watch movies and series shot in Scotland. But which ones exactly are they? In this article an overview of the most famous Scottish films and series.
Scottish movies: which movies were shot in Scotland?
Not all of the films and series in this list were completely shot in Scotland. Some are, but for many films and series, scenes are filmed in different countries. Thus a combination of Scotland, England and/or Ireland is often made. Films and series that are not completely shot in Scotland, but do contain some impressive Scotland scenes, have therefore been included in the list. These are often precisely the images that make people even more curious about Scotland. We start with the Scottish films:
The Scottish film Outlaw King was released in 2018. The story revolves around Robert the Bruce, who was crowned King of Scotland in the 14th century. In the film, you see how he tries to regain control of his country after a surprise attack by the English.
Places in Scotland where filming was done for Outlaw King include Isle of Skye, Blackness Castle, Linlithgow Palace, Doune Castle, Craigmillar Castle, Dunfermline Abbey, Glasgow Cathedral, Loch Lomond and Glen Coe. Scenes of Outlaw King were not only shot in Scotland, Northumberland in England was also used as a filming location.
In 1995, the movie Braveheart hit the big screen. Mel Gibson took the role of William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish hero who united Scottish clans to better resist the English. Opinions differ as to whether the story is completely true. What is certain is that it is a spectacular film with beautiful images from the Scottish Highlands.
The “rural” scenes for Braveheart were shot primarily in Glen Nevis, at the foot of Ben Nevis. Trim Castle in Ireland served as the English York. Most of the battles were also shot in Ireland. For many people, this is the first film they think of when Scottish films are mentioned.
In Calibre, two good friends go hunting for a weekend in the Scottish Highlands. During the hunt things go tremendously wrong when something other than the deer one of the friends had in their sights is hit. The friends try to cover up the mishap which gets them into serious trouble. Filming for Calibre included West Lothian and Edinburgh.
Scottish cattle farmer Robert Roy is robbed in the film Rob Roy after borrowing a considerable sum of money from Montrose. Unable to meet his payment obligations, Robert finds himself in trouble and unpleasant events ensue.
Drummond Castle serves as the Montrose estate in the film. There are beautiful shots of the area around Kinlochleven and Caig Falls in the film. The home of Rob Roy and his wife was built for the filming along the banks of Loch Morar.
Macbeth is a film adaptation of the play of the same name, Macbeth. In the 11th century, the Scottish Lord Macbeth, under pressure from his wife Lady Macbeth, kills King Duncan and ascends the throne himself. He is overcome with guilt and fear. To avoid losing face, he kills more people, making him a tyrannical ruler.
Almost all of the filming for Macbeth took place in England. On the Scottish Isle of Skye (The Quiraing), a number of shots were made that impressed many people.
The story of 47 Ronin is set in Japan, but footage for the film was also shot in Scotland. A group of Samurai take revenge for being exiled after their master is killed. One of the members of the group falls in love with the daughter of the deceased master, which makes him look suspicious in the eyes of the other members. Many of the scenes where you see riders on horseback were shot on Isle of Skye.
Trainspotting was released in 1996. In the film, Ewan McGregor plays the unemployed Mark, who lives in Edinburgh. His life consists mainly of playing soccer, drugs, alcohol and going out. Mark wants to leave this life behind and decides to leave for London. However, he cannot seem to break away from his Scottish club of friends, who come after him.
Although Mark lives in Edinburgh, the film was mainly shot in the city of Glasgow. Some scenes in did take place in Edinburgh, near Princess Street.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
One of the most famous Scottish films comes from 1975 and is best known for the skits: Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In the story, King Arthur travels through England. During his journey, he tries to gather knights to ride with him to Camelot Castle. He gets a group together but after arriving at the castle it seems better for each to go his own way again. He then receives word from God that they must go in search of the Holy Grail. On the quest, of course, everything goes wrong and the question is whether they will really find the Holy Grail.
The film was shot almost entirely in Scotland. Castle scenes were shot at Stalker Castle and at Doune Castle (also a famous film location in Outlander). The scenes in landscapes you see were mostly shot in Glen Coe and surrounding valleys.
Skyfall (James Bond)
A small role for Scotland in the James Bond film Skyfall, but an impressive one. Glen Coe and Glen Etive are beautiful to see every time, including in this movie. From your seat you have a nice view of Buachaille Etive Mor and Buachaille Etive Beag. James Bond takes M to the place where he grew up in the highlands, Skyfall Lodge. James Bond also visits the grave of his parents. The headstone is virtually the same as the tombstone of James Bond on Kalsoy, one of the Faroe Islands. The headstone was placed after 007 died in No Time To Die. Filming was done in the Faroe Islands after which, as a memento, a memorial stone was placed exactly where James Bond died. Incidentally, another gem in the Scottish Highlands, Eilean Donan Castle, featured in the Bond film The World Is Not Enough.
For Harry Potter, many scenes were shot in Scotland. The most famous is undoubtedly the scene where Ron and Harry fly over the Glenfinnan viaduct and only just manage to avoid the Hogwarts Express. Filming also took place in various locations in Edinburgh and at a number of beautiful lakes. Read in the article Harry Potter filming locations in Scotland all about the places where filming took place.
Scotland is not only popular as a shooting location for films, but also regularly hosts (parts of) series. Below are some series for which a (large) part was recorded in Scotland.
Outlander is undoubtedly the most well-known Scottish series of the moment. And probably also the only series that is also shot entirely in Scotland, even when the story is set in America in later seasons. Outlander movie locations are too many to list in this article, here we have written a separate article about them: Outlander filming locations. Visiting Scotland but want to stay near Edinburgh? Then there are also plenty of Outlander locations in the Edinburgh area to be found.
A series that was not shot in Scotland but does deal with Scottish history is Reign. The young Scottish queen Mary Stuart (Mary, Queen of Scots) has been betrothed to Francis II of France (Francis) since the age of six. She returns to the French court after living with the nuns for years and no longer being safe there. How much common ground the story actually has with historical reality, there is much to argue about. That it is an entertaining series is obvious. Especially if you like costumes, drama and a bit of fantasy.
Should you visit Scotland after seeing the series, Linlithgow Palace and Stirling Castle are well worth a visit. Linlithgow is where Mary Stuart was born. After seven months she was taken by her mother to Stirling Castle. After spending time in France, she returned to Linlithgow after 20 years.
Of course, we all know Sean Connery, who made a name for himself as James Bond. Other well-known Scottish actors include Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting), Sam Heughan (Outlander), David Tennant (Broadchurch), James McAvoy and Robert Carlyle, among others.
Rent a car and visit filming locations in Scotland
Scotland lends itself extremely well to a road trip. For example, you can very well use a rental car to drive past various locations where filming once took place. I prefer to rent from Sunny Cars a car. They have an all-in formula, which means you are insured for everything. Even your deductible is refunded in the event of a claim!