From gritty urban realism to fantastic sagas of dungeons and dragons, Scotland’s spectacular landscapes, picturesque castles and quaint villages have inspired directors and producers the world over. Take a cinematic journey round Scotland to see iconic movie and television backdrops for yourself.

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t Harry Potter and the Hogwarts Express

The multi-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct railway bridge features in the eight Harry Potter movies, carrying the Hogwarts Express on its way to the now legendary school of witchcraft and wizardry. In summer, you can ride the Jacobite Express steam train, which doubled as the Hogwarts Express in the films, on its way across the viaduct from Fort William to Mallaig. Standard trains also cross it daily all year round.

Trainspotting (1996)

Edinburgh city council was so shocked by Irvine Welsh’s gritty, realistic and somewhat gruesome tragi-comedy of Edinburgh low-life that it refused permission to shoot the movie in Leith, where the original novel was set. It was filmed instead in the more film business-friendly (and less shockable) Glasgow.

James Bond’s Scottish Roots

It will come as no surprise to true 007 fans that Britain’s most suave secret agent has Scottish roots, with his native homeland featuring heavily in the Bond movie franchise. Drive through Glencoe’s stunning mountain pass to James Bond’s family home as depicted in Skyfall (2012), or visit Eilean Donan Castle, which starred as the Scottish headquarters of MI6 in The World is Not Enough (2012).

Outlander (2014)

The much-loved time-travel series Outlander was filmed against some of the most evocative historic buildings and landscapes in Scotland. Castle Leod, near Strathpeffer, serves as Castle Leoch, a key setting for the series. Other locations include Aberdour and Falkland in Fife (which doubled as 18th-century Inverness), Blackness Castle, Kinloch Rannoch, the Cairngorms and the Highland Folk Museum at Kingussie.

Braveheart (1995)

With an Australian-American starring as Scots hero William Wallace, Braveheart was shot almost entirely outside Scotland. This is because the scenes of Wallace’s great battles against the English are now engulfed in the urban sprawls of Stirling and Falkirk. However, a mock-medieval village was built in Glen Nevis for early scenes, some of which were shot against the spectacular backdrop of Glencoe, the Mamore hills and Loch Leven.

Doune Castle, Perthshire

The majestic Doune Castle, on the fringes of the Trossachs, is a particular favourite among location scouts and has starred in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Ivanhoe (1952) and The Bruce (1996), plus TV drama Outlander. The castle also posed as Winterfell in the pilot episode of Game of Thrones (2011–19), but was dropped in favour of cheaper locations.

DISCOVER Scotland Your Way


Scottish Movie Stars

Sean Connery

The original and best James Bond.

Ewan McGregor

McGregor was young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels.

Robbie Coltrane

Best known as Hagrid in the Harry Potter movies.

Kelly MacDonald

MacDonald played Renton’s girlfriend in Trainspotting.

James McAvoy

McAvoy starred in the X-Men chronicles.

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