From the standing stones of the Clava Cairns to the ruins of Urquhart Castle, Inverness and Loch Ness are an absolute delight for Outlander fans. It’s here where the adventures of Claire and Jamie begin. Where hearts are broken, tragedy is imminent and one of the greatest love stories unfolds. The ties between the Scottish Highlands and the Outlander series are endless. Which is why visiting the many Outlander sites in Scotland is on every fan’s bucket list.
This tour of Scotland’s Outlander locations starts and finished in Inverness. The route is approximately 82 miles long.
What is a time-travelling love story without a mysterious time portal? And it’s here that our Outlander tour from Inverness begins. Take the seven-mile drive east along Culloden Road to Clava Cairns. This ancient site is believed to be the inspiration for Craigh Na Dun. The standing stones that swept Claire back in time to 1743 war-torn Scotland. And in turn, into the arms of Jamie Fraser. Clava Cairns is a 4,000-year-old burial ground full of well-preserved passage graves, cairns and standing stones. But, Outlander fans beware. The Bronze Age burial complex contains a large ‘split stone’. So, if you’re passing through on Beltane and hear the stones begin to buzz, proceed with caution.
It’s just 1.5 miles to our next stop, Culloden Battlefield. And who can forget the moment Claire and Frank first visit here on their second honeymoon to Inverness? Or when Claire and Jamie say their tearful goodbyes on the eve of the battle? The events leading up to, during and after the Battle of Culloden is at the centre of both Scottish history and the Outlander series. And that’s why Culloden Battlefield and the award-winning visitor centre is one of the most popular Outlander sites in Scotland. Visit the site of the last pitch battle fought on British soil. Pause for a moment at the Fraser stone. And pay tribute to the fallen Jacobite soldiers who lost their lives fighting alongside Bonnie Prince Charlie on the 16th of April 1746. You can visit the battlefield all year round, but the visitor centre, restaurant and shop does close over winter.
From Culloden Battlefield, head north west along the A9 towards our next stop Castle Leod, around thirty miles away in Strathpeffer. As any avid Outlander fan will know, Castle Leod is believed to be the inspiration behind the fictional Castle Leoch. Home to the chief of the Mackenzie Clan in the Outlander series. And since Castle Leod is the official seat of Clan Mackenzie and their Chief, the Earl of Cromartie, is it any wonder? The castle is open to visitors. It’s a popular wedding venue and has some amazing stories for anyone interested in Highland history.
Take the A832 south to the village of Beauly, and the beautiful, tranquil ruins of Beauly Priory. Home to where the Lovat Frasers are buried in the Outlander books. This is a place of uncertainty and heartbreak in the series. It’s here, in the heart of Fraser country, that Claire meets the seer Maisri. Today the ruins are looked after by Historic Environment Scotland and are open to the public all year round. And since Beauly means ‘beautiful place’, the beautiful Priory is a wonderful place to visit for avid fans and new-to-the-series explorers alike.
If the Frasers of Lovat have always peaked your interest, you might want to take a short detour to visit Wardlaw Mausoleum in Kirkhill, near Beauly. Wardlaw Mausoleum is the final resting place of the real ‘Old Fox’ Lord Lovat of the Jacobite rebellion, and Jamie Fraser’s grandfather in the Outlander series. A historic gem just outside of Inverness, Wardlaw Mausoleum is fast becoming a favourite with fans. You can even visit a secret underground chamber that contains the eleventh Lord Lovat’s headless body, following his execution at the Tower of London!
Staying in Fraser Country, Beaufort Castle is the ancestral seat of the Frasers of Lovat. While it is one of the few Outlander sites near Inverness and Loch Ness that is not open to the public as the castle is in private hands, a walk along the River Beauly offers amazing views of this stunning and historic Castle.
Continue south along the A833 to Urquhart Castle, an ancient fortress ruin overlooking the famous Loch Ness. This may be one of the most iconic sites in all the Scottish Highlands. But for Outlander fans, it will forever be known as the place where Claire spots the ‘water horse’ in the series. One of Scotland’s largest castles, you can explore a thousand years’ of history from within the famous ruins. Climb the Grant Tower, peer inside the miserable prison cell and imagine the banquets and battles that raged inside its mighty walls. Open all year round, this is one Outlander location you don’t want to miss.
It is a thirty-minute drive back to Inverness, where your Outlander tour is complete.Outlander Sites Near Inverness
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