The Outlander Effect
Conserving the locations that inspired the Outlander novels and were used in the filming of this historical romance.
Bestselling American author Diana Gabaldon has brought the romance and drama of Scottish history to life for more than 50 million readers worldwide with her popular Outlander novels and its Starz television adaptation. In recognition of her extraordinary contributions to Scotland and America’s shared heritage, The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA will present her with the 2022 Great Scot Award at its A Celebration of Scotland’s Treasures fundraising gala on April 14, 2022.
NTSUSA has seen firsthand how Americans have embraced Scottish heritage through their love of Outlander. Pre-pandemic, the “Outlander Effect” inspired an increase in tourism to Scotland, with fans of the story traveling to visit the real-life historic sites and landscapes that feature prominently in Gabaldon’s story.
The National Trust for Scotland cares for several of these properties – ones associated with historic events recounted in the saga, as well as others that serve filming locations for the television series. Over the past decade, many Outlander fans have contributed generously to helping the National Trust for Scotland preserve these sites
Join us as we walk in the time-traveling footsteps of Outlander’s Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser by visiting a few of these sites and learning how the properties have benefited from American fan support.
The first series of Outlander follows the Jacobite Rising of 1745 (often known as the ’45), which culminated in the historic Battle of Culloden. Culloden features in both timelines of the story: first in 1946 when Claire and her husband Frank visit the battlefield to research Frank’s family history, and second in 1746 when a pregnant Claire revisits the field with Jamie ahead of the battle and her knowledge of the impending massacre forces them to part.
Even before the popularity of Outlander, Culloden was a must-see destination for visitors to Scotland from the United States and beyond. April 2021 marked the 275th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden. To commemorate the anniversary, NTSUSA launched a public appeal to protect the battlefield’s historic landscape from the threat of encroaching development. We were overwhelmed by the community’s generous support, who came together and raised $50,000 to preserve Culloden’s remarkable sense of place for future generations.
The most famous Scottish glen, with its dramatic mountains and sparkling lochs, features in the opening credits of Outlander Season 1.
In November 2019, the Foundation launched an appeal asking for Americans’ support to bring Glencoe’s stories to life, revealing the links between Scotland’s people, history, and landscape. Thanks to over 200 donations and the generosity of our friends at Scottish Heritage USA, NTSUSA met its goal to contribute $100,000 to the Trust’s interpretive and archaeological work at Glencoe.
The Trust’s Preston Mill stands in for the mill on the Fraser estate (Lallybroch) that Jamie repairs while visiting his family home. In addition, the mill’s exhibition room was transformed into the anteroom of a court used for the preliminary hearing of Claire and Geillis when they are accused of witchcraft.
The 18th-century mill needed urgent help to repair its water wheel after the mechanism that allowed it to turn broke over the winter months, causing it to jam in a fixed position. American Outlander fans responded enthusiastically to our public appeal to help fund the restoration work. Within two weeks, the fundraising goal was met – enabling work to be carried out to restore the wheel to its former glory. Actor Sam Heughan even offered his thanks!
Filming took place in Falkland village in October 2013 for Season 1, and in January 2016 for Season 2.
In Season 1, the village – home to Falkland Palace – is re-cast as 1946 Inverness, where Claire and Frank stay on their second honeymoon. While researching Frank’s ancestral history, Claire and Frank secretly watch a pagan ceremony at standing stones on a nearby hill. Claire is fascinated by this ritual. She returns alone to the stones and falls through time to 1743. The village appears as Inverness in both the 18th and 20th centuries, and one of the palace cellars is used as an apothecary’s room.
Once a favored place of retreat and leisure for the Kings and Queens of Scotland, particularly the royal Stewarts and Mary, Queen of Scots (Mary Stewart), Falkland Palace is a formidable part of Scottish history. In 2016, Americans helped support the restoration of the historic Percy Cane Garden at Falkland Palace as part of a dedicated annual appeal that raised $50,000.
Additional NTS Properties used in filming the Sony / Starz series
Culross Palace, Garden and Royal Burgh feature in several scenes in Season 1 and 2, filmed between late 2013 and winter 2015.
The Royal Burgh acts as the fictional village of Cranesmuir, where Geillis Duncan lives with her husband, the procurator fiscal. In Season 1, the Mercat Cross underwent a temporary color change from white for filming to match the surrounding buildings that were painted grey and brown. It features in the dramatic scene where a small boy has his ear pinned to the post, having been caught stealing.
Culross Palace’s Withdrawing Room doubles as Geillis Duncan’s parlor, where Jamie comes to meet Claire after her visit to Geillis. The palace garden features as the herb garden of Castle Leoch, where Claire collects plants for medicinal use.
In Season 2, both the exterior and interior of Culross Palace feature as a tavern on the road to battle. Filming also took place at Culross in Season 4, when it was the location of Balriggan Cottage, where Laoghaire and her daughter Joan lived.
Filming took place at Newhailes in Season 4. Newhailes House served as Governor Tyron’s home in North Carolina where Jamie discussed the offer of a land grant in exchange for service to the English Crown, and where Jamie and Claire were introduced into Wilmington society.
Pollok Country Park doubles as the grounds surrounding the fictional Castle Leoch in Season 1.
Several scenes in Season 2 were filmed at Pollok Country Park, including a scene with Jamie and Claire in the grounds of Pollok House. The park also stands in for the French countryside that the characters travel through between Le Havre and Paris in Season 2.