Outlander Season 3 Filming Locations
While we all patiently awaited the release of Season 3 of Outlander, I have to admit to being concerned upon hearing that Jamie and Claire would spend much of the Season in far more exotic places than moody Scotland. Coconuts, snakes and rum seem a far cry from rough drams necked back from the saddle, sideyways rain and over-zealous redcoats. But although South Africa was to deputise as a location for much of the Caribbean locations as the tumultuous couple braved the Colonies, I’m delighted to say that Scotland still got its fair share of the action. Here’s a look at my favourite Outlander Season 3 filming locations….
I love that the capital got some Outlander love in Season 3. The Old Town is among the most appealing of Europe’s city centres and, with its endless nooks and crannies calling out to the throngs of tourists that oscillate up and down the Royal Mile, there is a very obvious appeal. Jamie is of course dealing with the devastation of the aftermath of Culloden, the death of his friends and kinsmen and the loss of Claire who’s gone off back to her own time. As you do. But he has successfully been able to setup his print shop business under the pseudonym Alexander Malcolm while he attempts to live surreptitiously. In a brothel no less, but even Jamie isn’t perfect. The precise choice of location for the print shop is Bakehouse Close (doubling as Carfax Close in the show). A classically grim and haunting spot on a winter’s night in Edinburgh, it has all of the atmospherics that Diana Gabaldon would have hoped for.
It is just the exterior that is used in filming but it is here that Jamie and Claire have their emotional reunion and, overcome with emotion, Jamie memorably takes a dive. Later, the inferno that consumed the print shop necessitated the ever-dramatic couple to move together onto the next chapter of their adventures.
Often referred to as ‘Edinburgh’s Second Castle’, Craigmillar is an absolute beauty in its own right. On the outskirts of town (about 3 miles to the south east) and with views to Arthur’s Seat, there is all the authentic appeal of the Scottish castle but with the convenience of proximity to the heart of the action. Doubling as Ardsmuir Prison in the early episodes of Season 3, Jamie and the Jacobite stragglers find themselves here post-Culloden. Jamie being Jamie he soon starts to impress the brass within the prison and is nominated as the go-between for his captors and his fellow prisoners. The charge of the prison falls to Lord John Grey – as the start of his particularly unexpected friendship with Jamie gets underway.
Craigmillar’s wonderful interior is a bit of a labyrinth. Options abound with where to start your tour as the remarkably well-kept ruins allow your imagination to run crazy. A practical yet aesthetically pleasing place, its origins come from the 14th Century. The views from the battlements are fantastic and the aura is foreboding and enticing in equal measure. Naturally, Mary Queen of Scots was also a visitor here. She dropped by in 1566 while recovering from childbirth.
I’ve covered Dunure Castle in previous posts about Scotland’s most dramatic ruins and I was delighted to see it suddenly shoot to Outlander fame. Perched on a rocky mound overlooking the west coast, what’s left of the photogenic straggle doubled as Silkies’ Island. Not an island at all by the way, it is here that a wounded Jamie sent young Ian for an ill-fated swim to retrieve the treasure that the ruin held. An unfortunately-timed visit from pirates saw Ian, Jamie and Claire plunged into a new crisis that would take them far from Scottish shores. One of the undoubted highlights of oft-forgotten Ayrshire, the Castle is within easy reach of its much more illustrious neighbour at Culzean, a little further down the coast.
Neighbouring Dunure Harbour was also used briefly and was the embarkation point for the couple as they said their goodbyes to Jared and prepared for their long voyage to the Caribbean. There is very little to Dunure but the Harbour is fantastically set, reminding me of much of Fife’s coastline.
The West End of Glasgow
Shocking as it may seem, I’m jumping at the chance to talk about my home neighbourhood again. Glasgow, an architectural powerhouse, has often doubled on screen for cities in the US and it was a logical choice to match up with Boston in the early episodes of Season 3 as Claire and Frank settle into life across the pond. Their home is set amidst the sandstone jungle that is the West End – with its countless residential streets and rolling tenements. Dowanhill Street was the eventual choice for the upmarket domestic existence for their, ultimately doomed, relationship. Located within a couple of minutes’ stroll of Byers Road and the beating heart of commercial West End life, it still manages to maintain a serenity and class. In short, house prices are through the roof around here for a reason and it’s another inspired location pick. Quite how the Outlander team managed to convince the local residents to put up with the paraphernalia of filming outside their flats I’m not so sure about…..
Frank’s place of work at Harvard was only ever going to be Glasgow University. A Gothic masterpiece that dominates the Glasgow skyline, it is undoubtedly one of the best-looking buildings in the country. A previous inspiration for the Harry Potter franchise, it is one of my big regrets that I chose not to go here for my own University years. Bloody fool. Although only appearing briefly in filming, I think you’ll agree it had the desired impact.
The final stop for the West End comes with a stroll in Kelvingrove Park. Claire is taking my regular route through the park (whenever I need some space to think but can’t be bothered getting in the car) when she comes across a performing bagpiper. Triggering an instantaneous pang of longing and melancholy, we all feel for her as she struggles to accept her 20th Century Boston life. The exact spot used is over one of several bridges that cross the River Kelvin and this is an extremely popular spot for families, joggers and, lately, sledgers taking advantage of the Park’s many inclines.
With Jamie and Claire’s Outlander journey now continuously taking them far from Scotland, all in the tourism industry here were slightly concerned with the prospect of how to fill the void. Should we be saying our goodbyes to what has been a content goldmine? Nah, don’t be daft. Scotland and Outlander go hand-in-hand and I’m delighted to confirm that the cast and crew have been filming extensively in Scotland as I write. Locations old and new are sure to feature in Season 4 and I’m delighted that the Outlander team are keeping Scotland close. My only surprise is that I’ve yet to encounter any of the carnival on my own travels. If I do bump into Sam up a mountain or something though, you’ll be the first to know.
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