TV & Film
The Heart of Scotland is a popular destination with film makers and has been for many years now. Here are a few of the television programmes and films that have a connection with the Heart 200 area
Diana Gabaldon’s hit TV series, Outlander, was filmed in various locations across Scotland, including several sites close to the Heart 200 route. Outlander fans can follow the Heart 200 to sample the many delights the Heart of Scotland has to offer including visits to these must-see locations.
The impressive Doune Castle starred in Outlander as the fictional Castle Leoch – home of Colum MacKenzie and his clan in the 18thcentury. It also features in the 20th century episode when Claire and Frank visit the castle in ruins on a day trip.
Set in a former cotton mill, Deanston Distillery provides the setting for Jamie’s cousin’s wine warehouse on the docks of Le Havre.
Drummond Castle Gardens
Standing in for the ornate park and orchard of the Palace of Versailles in France, the stunning Drummond Gardens near Crieff are one of Europe’s finest examples of a formal garden. Designed in the Italian parterre style, the gardens are approached by a mile-long driveway of beech trees that leads to the imposing walls of Drummond Castle. Note: the castle isn’t open to the public.
The pretty village of Falkland in Fife appears in Outlander as Inverness in the 1940s and 1960s. The Covenanter Hotel stands in for the cosy Mrs. Baird’s Guesthouse, the Bruce Fountain is where the ghost of Jamie looks up at Claire’s room, Fayre Earth Gift Shop doubles as Farrell’s Hardware and Furniture Store, and Campbell’s Coffee House and Eatery is Campbell’s Coffee Shop in the show.
The area around Kinloch Rannoch and Rannoch Moor is seen in the background as Claire and Frank enjoy their second honeymoon following the end of the war.
Set in a fascinating walled graveyard, this characterful rural church with medieval origins near Perth is known as Cranesmuir Church and hosts the scene of the infamous witch trial. Note: There is no parking available at the church, so please show consideration for other road users when parking nearby.
This beautiful loch in the area known as The Trossachs appeared in series 2 of Outlander.
HBO’s global phenomenon, an eight-season epic adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy novel cycle A Song of Ice and Firewhich ran between 2011 and 2019, the pilot episode of Game of Throneswas filmed at Doune Castle, which was used as the site of Castle Winterfell – the location of the family home of House Stark (later to become one of the pivotal places in the entire series).
ITV’s sumptuous historical drama, starring Jenna Coleman in the lead role of the eponymous monarch since its inception in 2016, has presented scenes filmed around Blair Atholl, including Blair Castle (specifically, in the 2017 episode “The King Over the Water”).
Graham Chapman’s King Arthur kicks off his search for the Holy Grail from Doune Castle in this 1975 British comedy classic, with other scenes filmed in nearby Killin and Loch Tay (including the Cave of Caerbannog and the sequence involving the legendary Holy Hand-Grenade of Antioch). Location filming also took place at Bracklinn Falls and Sherriff Muir, both near Stirling.
Starring Sandy Welch as Robert the Bruce and Brian Blessed as King Edward I, Bob Carruthers and David McWhinnie’s 1996 account of the Scottish King’s life involved location filming at Doune Castle and Crieff’s Drummond Castle, as well as nearby Dunfermline Abbey and Blackness Castle near Falkirk.
Michael Caton-Jones’s 1995 Academy Award-nominated retelling of the life of outlaw and folk hero Rob Roy MacGregor, featuring Liam Neeson in the title role, included location filming at Loch Earn near Stirling, Loch Leven, and Crieff’s Drummond Castle.
One of the most famous films ever to feature Scotland, Mel Gibson’s 1995 epic Braveheart– which won the Academy Award for Best Picture – stars Gibson as Sir William Wallace, and included location filming which took place around scenic Loch Leven.
This star-studded adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s perennially popular novel, directed by Delbert Mann and starring Michael Caine and Vivien Heilbron, appeared in cinemas in 1971 and featured extensive filming throughout Scotland, including scenes shot in Stirling (including Stirling Castle) and Killin.
John Henderson’s 2005 retelling of the Greyfriars Bobby story, which featured performances by Gina McKee, James Cosmo and Christopher Lee, included filming around Stirling’s old town, including the grounds of Stirling Castle. The Old Town Cemetery in Stirling stands in for Greyfriars Kirk Yard, and the famous Church of the Holy Rude can also be seen in some shots.
Hugh Hudson’s multiple Academy Award-winning 1981 biopic featured a recreation of the Highland Games which was filmed in the Sma’ Glen between Crieff and Aberfeldy, where Ian Charleson (in the role of Olympic Gold medallist Eric Liddell) can be seen awarding prizes to participants.
The exteriors and title sequence of this famous BBC series, originally broadcast between 1972 and 1974, were filmed at Stirling Castle, which doubled for the infamous Schloss ColditzWorld War II prisoner of war camp.
The BBC’s lavish, internationally co-produced mini-series adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s famous historical novel, starring Steven Waddington and Victoria Smurfit, was first broadcast in 1997 and featured scenes filmed around Doune Castle.
The legendary Sir Alec Guinness was rarely on better form than when playing Major Jock Sinclair in Ronald Neame’s 1960 post-war drama. This Oscar-nominated film showcased the historic exterior of Stirling Castle.
Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas starred in this tongue-in-cheek 1971 espionage drama, directed by Dick Clement, involved a Cold War-era smuggler of microfilm involved in a plot to traffic Russian secrets back to the West. It featured location filming on the beautiful shores of Loch Leven.
A post-apocalyptic drama directed by Neil Marshall which concerns the effects of a global pandemic on Scotland, this nerve-wracking science fiction film featured location filming at Loch Katrine and Doune, as well as nearby Blackness Castle.
Jeremy Brock’s Oscar-nominated historical drama from 1997, starring Judi Dench as Queen Victoria and Sir Billy Connolly as her ghillie John Brown, included scenes filmed at Taymouth Castle in Perth and Kinross, which doubled for Balmoral Castle.
This darkly comic historical tale, directed by John Landis and released in 2010, featured Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis as the eponymous body-snatchers. Various scenes for the film were shot at Stirling Castle.
One of the most controversial TV thrillers of the 1980s, Edge of Darkness was broadcast by the BBC in 1985. This multiple BAFTA-winning mini-series, directed by Martin Campbell, starred Bob Peck and Joe Don Baker. Filming took place at Gleneagles, including in the grounds of Gleneagles Hotel.
Robbie Moffat’s tense Scottish-set thriller, starring Ilaria D’Elia, Victoria Pritchard and Jason Harvey, first screened in 2003 and features filming in locations around Stirlingshire and Perthshire including scenes in Stirling, Pitlochry, Killin, Loch Tay and Kinloch Rannoch.
This influential horror movie, directed by Neil Marshall and released in 2005, centred on a group of friends (including stars Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid) whose caving expedition is unexpectedly interrupted by the arrival of outlandish subterranean predators. The film included scenes shot around Perth and Kinross, and its 2009 sequel – The Descent: Part 2– continued the story, with further location filming in and around the same area.
Starring Bill Simpson as the titular Dr Finlay, this long-running BBC medical drama was based on A.J. Cronin’s novella Country Doctorand was broadcast between 1962 and 1971. Filming took place at Callander, near Stirling, which portrayed the fictional 1920s town of Tannochbrae. The exterior of Dr Finlay’s residence was filmed at Arden House (previously Auchengower House) which is located in Callander’s Bracklinn Road.
Ralph Thomas’s 1959 adaptation of John Buchan’s novel starred Kenneth More as diplomat Richard Hannay, and featured location filming at Brig o’ Turk, Dunblane, Loch Lubnaig, Balquidder, and the Falls of Dochart at Killin. Several years later, the book was adapted for BBC TV by James Hawes, this time with Rupert Penry-Jones in the lead role. This 2008 version of the tale also involved filming in Scottish locations, including Argyll’s Lodging in Stirling, Stirling Castle, and the steamship SS Sir Walter Scottat Loch Katrine.
Having starred in the Outlander series and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Doune Castle makes yet another screen appearance in Outlaw King, this time as Douglas Castle. The sequence showing the castle on fire used special effects and Doune Castle wasn’t harmed in the making of this film
Mary, Queen of Scots was held prisoner at Loch Leven Castle for almost a year between June 1567 and May 1568. A major film starring Saoirse Ronan as Mary, Queen of Scots and Margot Robbie as her cousin Queen Elizabeth 1 was released in 2018. This has renewed interest in the history of Loch Leven Castle and the island it sits on.