Scotland is a country that has inspired “set jetting” for years. From movies like Braveheart to big time TV shows like Game of Thrones and even Downton Abbey, everyone is getting on the Scottish bandwagon. Outlander, based on the international bestselling books by acclaimed author Diana Gabaldon, is the latest TV series to feature the country, premieres on Saturday, and excitement over all things Scottish is at a fever pitch, as the 16-episode season features the Highland landscape prominently.
Whether you’re eagerly anticipating the Outlander premiere or just looking for luxury sites to visit on your next vacation, don’t miss these 10 must-visit spots inspired by moments in the series:
1) Inverness: Roam the streets of where Claire and Frank went for their second honeymoon and find your own cozy Mrs. Baird’s Bed and Breakfast to stay in.
2) Clava Cairns: Venture off beyond the city walls of Inverness in search of the mysterious Craigh na Dun in the Highlands, a split stone of the stone circle that sent Claire back to Jacobite times. Although fictional, this could have been inspired by the Clava Cairns, one of Scotland’s most evocative sites dating back to Bronze Age, with remnants of stone circles surrounding the sacred burial grounds.
3) Urquhart Castle & Loch Ness: Explore the magnificent ruins where the characters picnicked, cruise the calm waters of Loch Ness and see for yourself if you can spot the legendary Loch Ness Monster.
4) Culloden Battlefield: Where Claire and Jamie said their goodbyes before the disastrous Battle of Culloden. Visit the site and pay respect to those who lost their lives in the last battle ever fought on British soil.
5) Castle Leod: Don’t miss one of the most romantic and unspoiled castles in Scotland near the Victorian town of Strathpeffer. Lived in by the Mackenzie clan for well over 500 years, this castle could be the inspiration behind Castle Leoch, the seat of Colum and Dougal Mackenzie in the books.
6) Fort William: Where Jamie was held captive by Captain Randall, a Highlands’ town dramatically set on the shore of Loch Linnhe. As you travel through from the north, you will be met by the awe-inspiring vistas along the Great Glen and the Caledonian Canal.
7) Glen Affric: Uncover the magical mix of native Caledonian forest, glistening lochs and haunting moorland which served as a honeymoon destination for the newlywed Claire and Jamie.
8) Edinburgh’s Palace of Holyroodhouse: Where the characters stayed during Charles Stuart’s return to Edinburgh in the Fall of 1745, it’s Her Majesty The Queen’s official residence in Scotland.
9) Edinburgh’s Royal Mile: Look out for Canongate Kirk and The World’s End, the tavern that Claire and Jamie dashed out into the pouring rain to pick up Mr Willoughby.
10) Edinburgh Castle’ National War Museum: A great collection of artifacts of the Scottish forces.