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Outlander success makes film locations upgrade their facilities

The Outlander effect has been well documented in the last few years. The most popular film locations are now looking to upgrade their facilities to cope with the demand .

Outlander news from Private tours Edinburgh . Phone Edinburgh +44-131 549 9785 for information about Outlander tours and bookings .

Outlander could become “a victim of its own success” due to the huge numbers of fans flocking to historic sites linked to the show.

Research published in March revealed that attractions such as Lallybroch ( Midhope Castle ) and Doune Castle ( Castle Leoch ) in Outlander, which has turned lead actors Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe into huge stars, saw visitor numbers soar by an average of 67 per cent since it went into production in 2013.

Jamie Fraser Outlander tours

However VisitScotland said it was now trying to ensure that sites were not “over-promoted” and was encouraging Outlander’s fans to be “respecting” of the nation’s heritage and culture.

outlander tours
Outlander tours phone 07305-294773

The tourism agency said it was aware of fans having to be rescued from “dangerous” Outlander locations which had not appeared in official maps. It revealed it is also working with Transport Scotland and travel companies to try to ensure services are better linked up and reduce the risk of fans being left stranded.

Doune Castle, Linlithgow Palace, Blackness Castle and Craigmillar Castle are among the attractions Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has allowed Outlanderto use. The agency revealed the success of the show had inspired it to “pro-actively” seek new film and TV productions to work with. But it also admitted it was more difficult to close down Outlander locations for other productions because of the risk of having to turn away huge numbers disappointed fans. It has also reported growing problems at sites which have not been used as locations, but have close links to the show, including the Callanish Stones on the Isle of Lewis, the Ring of Brodgar in Orkney, and Clava Cairns near Inverness.

Speaking at XpoNorth, the annual creative industries conference in the Highlands, Audrey Jones, head of filming at HES, said: “We’re having issues with sites that are just so popular now. We’re looking at timed tickets, capacity management and investing in infrastructure to make it more pleasurable for people. If you had come to Doune Castle five years ago there would probably have been hardly anyone else there. You don’t want to be rammed in with a thousand other people. It’s not a nice experience.

“There are obviously people who have never heard of Outlander and don’t understand why this beautiful castle that they came to five years ago is suddenly mobbed. It’s about making sure that they also have a good experience.

“Conservation is our raison d’être. We’re trying to make sure that people don’t trample over sites like Clava Cairns, the Ring of Brodgar and the Callanish Stones.

“We now have rangers and conservation teams going around our sites checking on them and speaking to people, particularly at remote sites, which were always unmanned and where people could wander about at will. There’s now a degree of herding and trampling going on now. We’re having to police it a lot more.

Jones added: “We’ve now started to have drones everywhere. People flying them across properties where Outlander has been filmed to get aerial shots has become a major issue for us. We’ve had to increase our presence at previously unstaffed sites to cope with that and protect them.

“In some ways, Outlander has been a victim of its own success. It now costs us more to close a property down as we have more visitors. It’s a commercial challenge which we obviously try to overcome as we don’t want to be seen as the bad guys.

“It’s also become more and more challenging to afford privacy during filming. When Outlander began filming no-one had really heard about it or knew the actors. Now we have to close sites down because screaming fans are everywhere if they know filming is going on.”

VisitScotland film manager Jenni Steele said: “Moving people around sites and sustainable tourism is really important to us. We want to make sure we’re looking after our heritage and our tourism sites for the future. It’s about making sure everyone is respecting of our culture and heritage, and also making sure there’s a balance between promoting sites without over-promoting them.”

Outlander tours

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NEW for 2019 – the Kelpies and castles tour

Looking for things to do in Edinburgh ? How about taking a tour from Edinburgh of two ancient castles and the Kelpies  ?

Our  Kelpies and castles tour features a visit to the amazing Kelpies  in Falkirk and two ancient Scottish castles in Stirling and Doune .  

 The Kelpies and castles tours are available daily seven days a week   .The tour spends up to an hour at each location .

kelpies falkirk tours

Normal pickup point is Edinburgh city centre . Five hour private tour around Falkirk for up to four passengers. Tours start at 10 am weekdays . Explore the famous Kelpies  in Falkirk .

Itinerary

  • 5 hour private tour group day trip around Falkirk and Stirling
  • Explore the world famous Kelpies , a unique tribute to the Clydesdale horses that used to pull barges along the canals of Scotland
  • visit Doune Castle and find out about its five claims to movie fame
  • visit Stirling Castle , home of Mary Queen of Scots and the Stewart kings of Scotland
  • Take in unique views of the historic Stirling and Doune Castle
  • Small private group tour with a maximum of 4 people

 

The world famous Kelpies

The Kelpies tours , the Helix , Falkirk
The Kelpies sculptures are the largest works of art in Scotland, and the largest equine sculptures in the world, designed by Andy Scott. 

The Kelpies sculptures are the largest equine sculptures in the world and they have become Scotland’s best known cultural landmark with over one million visitors .

The Kelpies are 30 metre high sculptures of Clydesdale horses , a unique tribute to the work horses of Scottish industry and economy, pulling the freight barges and coalships along the canals of Scotland in the nineteenth century . Canals shaped the geographical layout of the Falkirk area. The Kelpies are the centrepiece of the Helix Park in Falkirk .

The Kelpies have become the most famous equine sculptures in the world . But now they have been given another name to make them more attractive to Chinese tourists.

VisitBritain, which markets the UK abroad, has dubbed them ‘Kai Po Ju Ma’ in promotional literature in China – which translates as “glorious armoured giant horses”.

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most impressive castles due to its imposing position and impressive architecture. The castle was the home of Mary, Queen of Scots and the Stewart kings of Scotland .

Stirling castle tours
Stirling castle tours

From Stirling Castle’s ramparts, visitors can take in views of the Forth Valley and Ben Lomond , as well as two of Scotland’s most important battle sites – Stirling Bridge (1297) and Bannockburn (1314). The castle is at the head of Stirling’s historic old town.Like Edinburgh Castle , Stirling sits on a volcanic rock dominating the city skyline .

Stirling Castle is not only one of Scotland’s grandest and most imposing castles, it was also a real favourite with Scotland’s kings and queens. And their investment in it demonstrated just how much they loved to use it, as well as their desire to ensure it both impressed all who visited it, and represented a statement of their power and wealth. James IV created the Great Hall, the largest medieval banqueting hall ever built in Scotland, and James V’s Royal Palace, with its lavishly decorated Renaissance façades, was a masterpiece of the period.

Major conservation work has been carried out at Stirling Castle over many years to preserve the attraction as a major national and international monument. The refurbishment of the Great Hall was completed ten years ago . A particular feature of the Great Hall is stained glass windows featuring clan crests . A number of banquets and concerts are held in the Hall throughout the year .

Phone 07305-294773 for availability and bookings or contact us  online .

Doune Castle – featured in Game of Thrones and Monty Python

Game of Thrones castle tours, outlander castle tour
Game of Thrones castle tours
  • Doune Castle is unique in that it actually has five claims to movie fame
  • Game of Thrones ( Winterfell )
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  •  Outlander ( Castle Leoch )
  • the Outlaw King
  • Mary Queen of Scots

Your guide will give details of the history of the castle , information about the Game of Thrones filming plus all the other films made at Doune Castle including Monty Python and the Holy Grail .

Behind the scenes access

Visitors to the castle can get details about Game of Thrones filming in the Great Hall and courtyard of the castle .

Insider access

Take the audio tour of Doune Castle , narrated by Monty Python’s Terry Jones and Outlander’s Jamie Fraser ( Sam Heughan ) .

Game of Thrones t-shirts

The castle was used as the set for Winterfell in the TV series Game of Thrones (2011–present), an adaptation of the A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels by George R. R. Martin. The castle was also used as  “Castle Leoch” in the TV adaption of the Outlander series of novels.

The Great Hall is 20 metres by 8 metres , and 12 metres high to its timber roof, again a 19th-century replacement.The hall has no fireplace, and was presumably heated by a central fire, and ventilated by means of a louvre like the one in the modern roof. No details of the original roof construction are known, however, and the restoration is conjectural.Large windows light the hall, and stairs lead down to the three cellars on ground level.

doune castle, outlander tours

The hall is accessed from the courtyard via a stair up to a triangular lobby, which in turn links the hall and kitchens by means of two large serving hatches with elliptical arches, unusual for this period.

The kitchen tower, virtually a tower house in its own right, is 17 metres (56 ft) by 8 metres (26 ft). The vaulted kitchen is on the hall level, above a cellar. One of the best-appointed castle kitchens in Scotland of its date, it has an oven and a 5.5-metre (18 ft) wide fireplace. A stair turret, added in 1581 and possibly replacing a timber stair, leads up from the lobby to two storeys of guest rooms. These include the “Royal Apartments”, a suite of two bedrooms plus an audience chamber, suitable for royal visitors.

The Kelpies and Castles tour costs £195 .

Check availability by phoning us now on 07305-294773 or contact us online Toll free number 1-866-233-2644

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Winter is coming . And season 8 Game of Thrones

 In the past couple days, HBO has releases promos featuring new footage from the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, as well as a stylistic teaser. Now, there are a bunch of new pics to sample. Game of Thrones news from Private tours Edinburgh

Game of Thrones t-shirts

The bulk of these photos — probably all of them, really — appear to be from the first episode, when Daenerys and her posse arrive in Winterfell. We’ve got Tyrion Lannister speaking in the Great Hall ( probably real life Doune Castle ) :

This looks like it’s taken from his scene at the top of the promo HBO released on Sunday:

We’ve also got Sansa greeting Dany in the Winterfell courtyard…

…and standing with her hands behind her back in…the Winterfell library? Business Sansa. I like the corset.

Also in the courtyard, Jorah and Davos regard the intermingling of characters:

Jorah shows up a bunch in these photos, usually beside his queen:

“It is so freaking cold here. We killed 30 sheep to make this coat and it still wasn’t enough.”

“You know Jon’s sister, the short one? I swear to god I saw a human face in her bag.”

“I need to make a good impression on Sansa. Do you know any knock knock jokes?”

‘You’re doing great, Daenerys. Just smile and don’t threaten to burn anyone and you’ll be fine.’

‘I hate this chair. I knew we should have brought the Dragonstone throne with us.’

And we have a couple of Daenerys with new squeeze Jon Snow, too:

This image reminds me of a shot from their infamous boat ride:

Below, I’m guessing the pair of them are either looking at the dragons or Jon is showing Dany Winterfell for the first time:

And of course, we can’t forget the man of the hour: Varys in a cart:

If you paid attention to the latest SPOILERS you might not be surprised to see this, just saying…

Finally, we have a couple shots of Cersei on the Iron Throne, costarring Qyburn:

Game of Thrones tours , Game of Thrones Doune Castle
Game of Thrones tours
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Game of Thrones bid to boost Hadrian’s Wall visits

Game of Thrones bid to boost Hadrian’s Wall visits

Walkers breach the wallImage copyright SKY/HBO
Image caption Game of Thrones is due to return for its eighth season in April

Heritage bosses hope the popularity of Game of Thrones will inspire more people to visit Hadrian’s Wall.

Game of Thrones tours from Private tours Edinburgh. Phone 07305-294773 for details.

They say since the popular TV show started in 2011 visitors have asked about similarities between its giant ice wall and the Roman Wall.

Author George RR Martin has said he came up with his creation while visiting Hadrian’s Wall.

Watchers on the Wall will be stationed along the wall to answer questions about it and Game of Thrones.

Watchers on the WallImage copyright ENGLISH HERITAGE
 The Watchers reference the Night’s Watch guardsmen from Game of Thrones

The watchers, who are all Game of Thrones fans and English Heritage staff, will wear black cloaks and carry shields, with the designs based on the four main houses in the TV show.

They are a reference to the Night’s Watch guardsmen – a military order which guards the wall, which stretches 100 leagues (300 miles) along the northern border of seven kingdoms and is made of solid ice.

English Heritage said other similarities were the oath taken by the Night’s Watch, forbidding them to marry or to father children, similar to what was originally expected of the Roman soldiers.

Game of Thrones is HBO’s most popular ever TV series.

It has won multiple Emmy awards and drawn tens of millions of viewers worldwide.

The show is based on George RR Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice novels.

Visit Doune Castle for a Game of Thrones tour

Fans of his books been waiting for about eight years for The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in the epic series that began with A Game of Thrones in 1996.

A trailer for season eight was released in January, the first glimpse of new material since 2017.

Hadrian’s Wall was built to guard the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire and runs 73 miles (117km) between Wallsend in North Tyneside and Bowness on Solway in Cumbria.

The watchers will be able to answer questions about Hadrian’s Wall and also about Game of Thrones, particularly how the Roman Wall inspired Martin’s books.

An English Heritage spokeswoman said: “We would love it if the story and programme inspired more people to come and see the wall for themselves.”

The watchers will be at Birdoswald Roman Fort, in Cumbria, and Corbridge Roman Town, Housesteads Roman Fort and Chesters Roman Fort, all in Northumberland, from this week until the final series, which starts in April, and ends later this year.

Millions of fans are desperate to discover who will finally sit on the Iron Throne, and rule the fantasy land of Westeros.

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Outlander author Diana Gabaldon has received an award for boosting Scottish tourism

Outlander author Diana Gabaldon has received an award for boosting Scottish tourism through her fantasy saga.

Outlander news from Private tours Edinburgh .

The US writer, 67, received an International Contribution to Scottish Tourism award at the Scottish Thistle awards.

It comes as VisitScotland published a paper detailing how sites used in the TV adaptation have seen visitors soar.

The report says that set-jetting is a growing trend in Scotland, partly due to the “Outlander Effect”.

Ms Gabaldon has told in many interviews how she was inspired to write the Outlander series after watching an old episode of Doctor Who.

Her lead character Jamie Fraser is based on the kilted companion Jamie McCrimmon, played by Frazer Hines, who appeared during the Patrick Troughton doctor era.

Outlander follows a romance between Jamie, a Highland poacher and Claire Randall, a World War Two nurse who is catapulted through time to the Jacobite era.

OutlanderImage copyrightSTARZ/AMAZON PRIME
Image captionCaitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in Outlander

It was adapted for TV in 2014 for US network Starz, with Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe in the lead roles. Filming continues to be based in Scotland, with many Scottish locations doubling as France, the Caribbean and North America.

On receiving the award, Ms Gabaldon said: “It’s fabulous. I hear a great deal from fans of mine who have read the books and seen the TV show, who come to Scotland because they all write to tell me how wonderful it was and they send me souvenirs of their trips.

“I have a stack of postcards as well as a small number of Loch Ness monsters scattered around the house.”

‘Truly extraordinary’

The Outlander Effect and Tourism paper, published on Thursday, reports that attractions that appear in the Outlander TV series have seen visitor numbers soar by 67% since 2013, from 887,000 to 1.5million.

Doune Castle, near Dunblane, which doubles as the programme’s Castle Leoch, has seen the largest surge – 226.5% between 2013 and 2017.

Numbers at Blackness Castle, near Linlithgow, which features as Black Jack Randall’s headquarters, increased by 181.7%.

And Glasgow Cathedral’s visitors increased by 66.8% after it was screened as a French hospital.

Doune Castle, which featured in Outlander, welcomed 142,091 visitors last year

All Scottish visitor attractions were surveyed to discover how screen tourism and Outlander has impacted on their business.

Almost all respondents considered screen tourism as positive for the industry and a fifth of attractions located next to filming locations said they saw an increase in visitors.

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “The impact of Outlander on Scotland has been truly extraordinary.

“It has been amazing to see the global reaction to Diana Gabaldon’s stories of adventure, romance and Scottish history – and the subsequent television adaptation – and seeing it translate into visitor growth for Scotland.

“Screen tourism continues to be a growing trend, however it is Outlander which has been the story in recent times, inspiring millions of visitors, from the USA to Europe and even China, to embark on their own Scottish adventure.”

Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, added: “Scotland’s wonderful landscapes, rich history and culture continue to captivate visitors from home and abroad, making tourism one of our most important industries.”

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will there be an “Outlaw King” effect in Scotland ?

At Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Scotland’s tragic Mary, Queen of Scots, the volunteer guides and workers are preparing for a tourist surge.

This 15th-century palace, a bulwark of the Stuart dynasty, is astonishingly well preserved and already draws visitors who walk among its stone halls and ramparts and admire its little loch.

Outlaw King tours from Private tours Edinburgh . Phone 07305-294773 for more details or contact us online.

But Frances Murray, tour guide and shop manager, knows there are more on the way. Why? Because last week Netflix launched Outlaw King, a production about the life of Robert the Bruce, filmed in part at Linlithgow. And, following the huge success of the Outlander TV drama series, filmed in several Scottish locations, the country knows a thing or two about the TV effect.

“The uplift places such as this get from television shows like Outlander is amazing, and we’re expecting the same from Outlaw King,” said Murray yesterday. “Sometimes, though, we get tourists from overseas who ask to see specific rooms where some of the scenes were shot, and we have to explain that they don’t actually exist. But this is such a beautiful and interesting building that they soon get wrapped up in it.”

The West Lothian palace was only one of several Scottish locations for the new film, which stars Chris Pine as the warrior overlord. The others read like the index of a tourist brochure: Borthwick Castle, Dunfermline Abbey, Glasgow Cathedral and Doune Castle near Stirling. And the beautiful landscapes of Skye are already upstaging the principal actors.

VisitScotland, the national tourist agency, has produced two glossy and substantial brochures that chronicle some recent world-class productions. On the cover of one of them a moody Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall stands beside his silver Aston Martin with the mists of Glen Coe gathering behind him. In 2015 an online poll conducted by USA Today voted Scotland the world’s best cinematic destination. The country’s filmic credits include well-known movies such as BraveheartThe Da Vinci CodeThe 39 Steps and Whisky Galore. But it also makes atmospheric cameo appearances in movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the ethereal beauty of Harris was deployed by Stanley Kubrick to realise his imagined Jupiter.

Next year another major historical drama built around this nation’s vivid and bloody history will be released in British cinemas. This time it will be Mary, Queen of Scots herself who will get the Hollywood treatment in a film starring Saoirse Ronan as Mary and David Tennant as John Knox .

Tourism, along with whisky and salmon, forms the cornerstone of the Scottish economy. In a recent interview Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “Tourism is integral to sustaining communities across Scotland by generating income, creating jobs and stimulating social change – and it generates around £11bn of economic activity.” He also reckoned that one new job is created in Scotland for every £60,000 spent by visitors.

VisitScotland has calculated that, taken together, the value of direct and indirect spending represents 4.5% of the Scottish economy, and that visitors’ spending accounts for almost £9bn per year. But recent analysis by the Scottish government suggests that a lot more growth can still be found from the tourism sector’s productivity, and that it was the lowest of six sectors targeted for growth in the national economic strategy. Film and television tourism will be vital components in achieving this growth.

Sam Heughan and some extras carrying swords
 Sam Heughan in Outlander. Photograph: Aimee Spinks/Starz/© 2017 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All Rights Reserved

Fiona Hyslop, culture and tourism minister in the Scottish government, yesterday spoke of her delight that the world’s top film and television producers are now making Scotland one of their first destinations. “Producers now know that when they choose Scotland, as well as magnificent scenery and locations they’re now getting highly-skilled and professional technical crews to go with them,” she said.

Crucially, too, the long wait for a world-class national film studio could soon be over. At last week’s Bafta Scotland awards first minister Nicola Sturgeon referred to the need for a national film studio, saying: “Watch this space.”

Yet some would say that with its remarkable scenery and stunning vistas, Scotland already possesses the best natural film studio in the world.

Outlaw King tours

Take a tour of The Outlaw King film locations in Scotland , featuring Blackness Castle and Linlithgow Palace . Phone 07305-294773 for more details. Starring Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce the lavish Netflix production was filmed at 45 different locations across Scotland .

    • Blackness Castle
    • Linlithgow Palace
    • Bannockburn
  • Doune Castle

Robert the Bruce was born on the 11th of July 1274 in Turnberry Castle and died in 1329 in Cardross. Bruce’s body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey and his heart is buried in the ruins of Melrose Abbey.

The Outlaw King Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scotland at Scone Palace on the Stone of Destiny.

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