The Outlander effect continues to boost tourist numbers

The “Outlander effect” continues , telling us what we already know , that Outlander has provided a major boost to the economy in Scotland . Visitor numbers to Scotland’s attractions increased for the fifth year in a row.

Outlander news from Private tours Edinburgh

The two top sites – the National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle – each attracted more than two million visits, only the second time any visitor attraction in Scotland has surpassed the two million milestone, according to the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA).

Analysis of statistics submitted by 232 of the organisation’s member sites for its annual Visitor Trends Report, confirms that 30.3 million visits were made to those sites in Scotland in 2018 – a rise of 0.1 per cent over 2017 figures. The increase comes on top of a 9.7 per cent jump in 2017, which itself followed a 6 per cent rise in 2016.

Overall, some 59 per cent of all visits were made to attractions that featured in the top 20 list, with ten of the top 20 attractions situated in Edinburgh. Dundee attractions including Discovery Point, which saw a 42 per cent uplift in visitor numbers, also fared well, boosted by interest surrounding the new V&A museum, which opened in September, the ASVA said. Another area of Scotland which fared well in 2018 was the Highlands. RZSS Highland Wildlife Park near Aviemore enjoyed a major uplift in visitor numbers of 68 per cent, driven in part by the birth of Hamish, the first polar bear cub to be born in the UK for 25 years.

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “Visitor attractions are a hugely popular and valuable part of Scotland’s world-famous tourism offering, allowing visitors to explore our rich history, vibrant culture, famous heritage and stunning natural environment in more detail. “A growth in visits of any size is a welcome achievement and something we hope will continue. The arrival of V&A Dundee, as well as the increasing interest in set-jetting, thanks to TV series like Outlander or films such as Outlaw King, have only strengthened Scotland’s appeal, and with the opening of Moat Brae in Dumfries and the redevelopment of Aberdeen Art Gallery taking place this year, there is plenty to look forward to in 2019.” The “Outlander effect” continued to benefit many sites featuring in the cult TV series, as well as others with Jacobite connections, with large increases in visitor numbers recorded at attractions including Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre, Glasgow Cathedral, Blackness Castle and Aberdour Castle.

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Outlander castles, whisky and lochs tours

Our Outlander castles, whisky and lochs tours feature a visit to two Outlander castles  – Midhope Castle ( Lallybroch ) and Doune Castle ( Castle Leoch ) – plus a tour of Deanston Distillery , producer of Highland malt whisky .

  • private tour
  • Midhope Castle ( Lallybroch )
  • Doune Castle ( Castle Leoch )
  • Deanston distillery
  • Loch Lubnaig
  • Loch Lubhair

Doune Castle

doune castle , outlander

Originally dating to the 13th Century, Doune Castle near Stirling plays Castle Leoch, home to Colum MacKenzie and his clan in Outlander TV series .

It also features in the 20th century episode when Claire and Frank Randall visit the castle on a day trip. Doune has appeared several times on screen and was widely used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It also represented the castle Winterfell in Game of Thrones.

Once a Royal residence, Doune Castle was rebuilt by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany in the late 14th Century.

doune castle, outlander tours

Visitors spend up to one hour at each location .

Deanston Distillery

In 1785 the Deanston Cotton Mill opened its doors. Designed by one of the fathers of the industrial revolution, Richard Arkwright, Deanston was at the forefront of new beginnings as Scotland moved from agriculture to industrialisation.

In 1949 Deanston’s historic and long running commitment to sustainable energy was secured with the installation of new electrical turbines which to this day provide all of its  electricity using water from the river and original lade.

In 1974 Deanston produced the very first bottle of Deanston Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

The standard tour at Deanston costs £9 per person ( not included on tour price )

Each tour warmly welcomes you into the heart of the distillery, where Deanston makes award-winning Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Here you will see a traditional open top mash tun, gleaming copper stills and a must-see vaulted maturation Warehouse 2B. Join the experienced tour guides on a journey through time, taking you back to the past as a cotton mill and through the evolution of Deanston. The Standard Tour finishes off with a tasting of Deanston 12 year old whisky .

Guided tour of the distillery Includes a tasting of Deanston 12 year old , £5 voucher towards the purchase of any bottle of Deanston 70cl single malt whisky in the distillery shop

Duration: 50 minutes

Every drop of Highland Single Malt is a marriage of the finest local ingredients and the skill of the craft to create the wonderful, fresh, honeyed sweetness that Deanston is known for. The Distillery has a  commitment to using a traditional, hand crafted approach to our whisky embodies the honesty of our community. Our adherence to traditional methods combined with the skills and experience of our distillery team makes Deanston the unique single malt it is today.

Deanston Distillery was used as Jared’s wine warehouse.

Midhope Castle

Lallybroch is the ancestral home of Jamie Fraser , filmed at Midhope Castle .

midhope castle, Outlander tours


Scenes were shot at Midhope Castle near the Hopetoun Estate near South Queensferry.
Midhope was built in the 15th Century and was built by John Martyne, laird of Medhope. It was rebuilt in the mid 1600s and remains much the same today.
Visitors are asked to admire Midhope from a distance as the interior remains largely derelict.

Midhope Castle is the external location for fictional Lallybroch, the family home of character Jamie Fraser , and it is located on the Hopetoun Estate .  Midhope Castle dates back to the 15th Century and although the exterior is relatively intact the castle is derelict inside. For Midhope Castle tours booking enquiries and availability check phone 07305-294773

Toll free number 1-866-233-2644

on  or online .

 

 

Exclusions

Lunch, snacks and entrance fees are not included in the price .

 Outlander castles, whisky and lochs tour – £250 ( private tour for up to 4 passengers )

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Eilean Donan Castle tours

Private tours of Eilean Donan Castle and the Highlands from Edinburgh including a visit to Glencoe and Buachaille Etive Mor . Your guide will take you to the best spots for taking pictures of the beautiful scenery of Glencoe and the Highlands .

This tour starts at 10 am and costs £295. Book your tour now on phone 07305-294773 or contact us online .

eilean donan castle tours
Eilean Donan Castle tours

This photo tour is ideal for beginners/ intermediate photographers . Your photo guide will offer assistance as required with taking pictures.

Our promise – your guide will always be friendly , helpful and informative .

Visit

  • Glencoe
  • Eilean Donan Castle
  • Buachaille Etive Mor
  • Private tour of the Highlands
  • Photography tour
  • Tour of the Highlands from Edinburgh

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle tours
Eilean Donan Castle , the Highlands , Scotland

Eilean Donan Castle is the stunning Highlands castle set on an island in the middle of three lochs. The castle is the most photographed castle in the UK and it featured in the films Highlander and James Bond . Your tour guide will take you to the three best locations for pictures of the castle .

Eilean Donan has made several appearances in films, beginning with Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1948 and The Master of Ballantrae in 1953.The castle was the setting for the 1980 short film Black Angel, filmed to accompany screenings of The Empire Strikes Back in cinemas. It featured prominently in Highlander (1986) as the home of Clan MacLeod, was backdrop to a dance scene in the Bollywood movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai in 1998, and served as the Scottish headquarters of MI6 in The World Is Not Enough in 1999. In Elizabeth: The Golden Age Eilean Donan stood in for Fotheringhay Castle in England. In the movie Made of Honor Eilean Donan can be seen as home of the groom’s family.

Eilean Donan means Island of Donan (a religious figure from the 12th century). Eilean Donan was Clan MacKenzie’s most important stronghold from the 13th Century until it was destroyed in 1719. Robert the Bruce was given refuge in Eilean Donan Castle by John MacKenzie, Second of Kintail when he was being hunted by the English at the beginning of the fourteenth century.

Glencoe

Glencoe – see the stunning scenery of the paps of Glencoe , one of the most impressive peaks in Scotland. Glencoe is a beautiful rocky landscape featuring the Paps of Glencoe – giant mountains of solid rock. In the summer you might hear the piper in the car park playing a lament . When it goes quiet the silence is quite eery . Listen carefully and you might hear the wailing of ghosts from the Massacre of Glencoe. Your guide will take to the two best viewing points in Glencoe . One of the viewing points involves a short walk up the hillside facing the paps of Glencoe .

black mount tours of scotland

On the way to Glencoe we drive past Black Mount , a range of mountains stretching from Glen Orchy to Glen Coe, beside Rannoch Moor. The range features two Munros (Scottish mountains over 3000ft) and Lochan na h-Achlaise , a small loch in front of the mountains .

Buachaille Etive Mor

etive tours of Scotland

Buachaille Etive Mor is the iconic mountain in the heart of the Highlands. Your guide will take you to the best viewpoints for capturing great pictures of Etive Mor and the waterfall on the River Coupall in front of the mountain .

buachaille etive mor tours of scotland

Our photo tours of Scotland set off from Edinburgh and feature visits to the top scenic locations in the Highlands of Scotland.

Book your tour now on 07305-294773 or contact us online.

Buy your Eilean Donan Castle prints online.

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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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Whisky and castles day tour

Looking for things to do in Edinburgh ? How about taking a tour from Edinburgh of Scotland’s amazing castles and whisky distilleries ?

Two ancient Scottish castles and two distilleries feature in this tour –

  •  Stirling Castle
  • Doune Castle
  • Deanston Highland Malt Distillery
  • Glenturret Distillery

Doune Castle featured in Monty Python and the Holy Grail , Game of Thrones and the Outlander TV series.

Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most impressive castles due to its imposing position and amazing architecture.

Deanston Distillery makes award-winning Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. The Standard Tour finishes off with a tasting of Deanston 12 year old whisky .

Toll free number 1-866-233-2644

Phone 07305-294773 for bookings or contact us  online .

Our whisky tours from Edinburgh include a guided tour of the distillery and a tasting of Deanston 12 year old , £5 voucher towards the purchase of any bottle of Deanston 70cl single malt whisky in the distillery shop . Duration: 50 minutes

1

Doune Castle

doune castle , outlanderOriginally dating to the 13th Century, Doune Castle near Stirling plays Castle Leoch, home to Colum MacKenzie and his clan in Outlander TV series .

It also features in the 20th century episode when Claire and Frank Randall visit the castle on a day trip.

Once a Royal residence, Doune Castle was rebuilt by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany in the late 14th Century.

Doune has appeared several times on screen and was widely used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It also represented the castle Winterfell in Game of Thrones.

Phone 07305-294773 for bookings or contact us  online .

doune castle, outlander tours

 

2 Deanston Distillery

In 1974 Deanston produced the very first bottle of Deanston Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

The standard tour at Deanston costs £9 per person ( not included on tour price )

Each tour warmly welcomes you into the heart of the distillery, where Deanston makes award-winning Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Here you will see a traditional open top mash tun, gleaming copper stills and a must-see vaulted maturation Warehouse 2B. Join the experienced tour guides on a journey through time, taking you back to the past as a cotton mill and through the evolution of Deanston Distillery . The Standard Tour finishes off with a tasting of Deanston 12 year old whisky .

Guided tour of the distillery Includes a tasting of Deanston 12 year old , £5 voucher towards the purchase of any bottle of Deanston 70cl single malt whisky in the distillery shop Duration: 50 minutes

Every drop of Highland Single Malt is a marriage of the finest local ingredients and the skill of the craft to create the wonderful, fresh, honeyed sweetness that Deanston is known for. The Distillery has a commitment to using a traditional, hand crafted approach to our whisky embodies the honesty of our community. Our adherence to traditional methods combined with the skills and experience of our distillery team makes Deanston the unique single malt it is today.

Phone 07305-294773 for bookings or contact us  online .

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most impressive castles due to its imposing position and impressive architecture.

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 tours

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 a couple of 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 bookings or contact us  online .

4 Glenturret Distillery, Crieff

The historic site of the Glenturret Distillery has been soaked in whisky since the early 17th century with early accounts of illicit stills and bothies since at least 1717. The one thing that those early bothies have in common with today’s distillery is that they all drew their waters from the cool, clear Turret Burn and used similar methods and equipment.

A taste of a Glenturret single malt should be as close to taking a step back in time as you could possibly get, and the only authentic traditional Scottish whisky experience.

At Glenturret Distillery, the whisky is still made By Hand and By Heart, an artisan process that evolved hundreds of years ago and is still used today in the production of The Glenturret single malt.

The award-winning Glenturret single malt is produced using traditional methods slowly, patiently and in small precious quantities. The Glenturret is renowned and celebrated for its quality, glorious bouquet and natural golden hue.

The tour takes about an hour and costs £10 per person .

Phone 07305-294773 for bookings or contact us online . This tour costs £200

Exclusions

entrance tickets

distillery tour tickets

  • whisky tours
  • castle tours
  • tours of Scotland
  • single malt whisky tasting

Private tours Edinburgh

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Blackness Castle stars in movie blockbuster The Outlaw King

Blackness Castle plays a grisly role in the 120 million dollar movie blockbuster The Outlaw King, soon to launch as opening movie of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Take a tour of Blackness Castle in our film locations tour . Phone 07305-294773 for more details or contact us online . Starring Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce the lavish Netflix production was filmed at locations across Scotland last year, also including Linlithgow Palace. Blackness Castle. But the Blackness scene won’t be forgotten in a hurry – it features an actress playing historical character Isabella MacDuff being suspended from the battlements in an iron cage.

blackness castle tours
Blackness Castle stars in movie blockbuster The Outlaw King

Filming for the epic took place over two weeks late last year, and (off camera), a mobile crane was used to support the notorious cage – where the actress reportedly endured several takes in freezing cold.

The movie is on general release from November 9, and its initial trailer clip, launched this week, registered 26 million views in the first 24 hours. It can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-G1BME8FKw Filmed entirely on location in Scotland, the movie was shot in key locations around the country, including Berwick.

blackness castle outlander
Blackness Castle stars in The Outlaw King

Many or most of the extras involved are Scottish – the production company was besieged by Scots aiming to play the part of foot soldiers in King Robert’s army when it advertised for extras last year. Iconic actor James Cosmo, (70), who appears in the film reportedly says it could be Scotland’s greatest ever movie, likely to replicate for key Scottish historic sites the phenomenal surge of visitors to Stirling in the wake of the 1995 release of Braveheart (in which he also starred). That will mean new droves of tourists heading for Blackness, already benefiting from its appearance in Outlander, and to many other locations across the central belt associated with the Scottish Wars of Independence.

The Outlaw King tells the story of how Robert the Bruce, who defied England’s King Edward I, became a hunted fugitive but turned the tables to inflict crushing defeat on the English army at Bannockburn and ultimately won Scottish independence. Rounding off a golden year for major Scottish-based history epics a new movie about Mary Queen of Scots also launches in November. Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Scotland has the talent and the opportunity to grow its TV sector and the job of Screen Scotland is to make sure we seize the moment.”

Jenni Steele, film and creative industries manager at national tourism agency VisitScotland, said: “Film tourism is booming in Scotland, with Outlaw King and Mary Queen of Scots some of the exciting new films set to feature the country on screen. “Film and TV productions not only showcase the unique mix of stunning landscapes, rich heritage and fascinating stories Scotland offers, but can inspire set-jetting fans to visit, with research showing that one in five visitors come here after seeing Scotland on the big and small screen.”

 

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