“I want ye so much I can scarcely breathe…”
Fancy a bit of tv escapism and would like to discover more about places featured in your favourite tv series?
It all started from lines like the one above which grabbed me and left me in a week-long television coma, resulting in a completion of Outlander series 1 in one fellow swoop. Admittedly, I was late to the Outlander party, (fashionably I’d like to think), but I’m so glad I got there. Sweeping landscapes, Scottish history, adventure, intrigue and romance have ensured that this television series has generated a broad international fan base and justifiably so, in my opinion. Of course, the added fact that Jamie Fraser, the handsome hero is easy on the eye is an added bonus! It has also led to huge increases in visitor numbers to Scottish locations featured in the series.
Are you a TV tourist? Would you love to step into the shoes of your favourite handsome hero? Then read on for 3 tv inspired touring treats…
Outlander-A Scottish saor-làithean
Visit Scotland has a plethora of ideas to help you plan your Outlander style pilgrimage. From a 12 day Outlander Tour to a one day guided tour, there are plenty of options to whet your appetite and provide inspiration on its website. The obvious choice to start would be the main places and key battles mentioned in Series 1 and 2. The Battle of Culloden, (Culloden Battlefield near Inverness), Broch Tuarach or “Lallybroch” , (Midhope Castle near Edinburgh), and Castle Leoch, (Doune Castle in Stirlingshire), are all great places to visit. Alternatively, Falkland village in Fife features in the first episode of series 1 and a great stop off. It is here that Claire and Frank are introduced to the history and mystery of Scottish culture during their second honeymoon in a post war world. Culross, not far from here is also an interesting option and a location used in the first two series as the village of Cranesmuir, where the witch scenes of Claire and Geillis are filmed. Culross Palace garden nearby, was also used as the herb garden of Castle Leoch.
Fort William, mentioned frequently in the Outlander story is a fantastic base for many outside adventures. Not only do you have the spectacular landscapes of Ben Nevis, and Glen Nevis, (featured in other famous movies such as Rob Roy, Harry Potter and Braveheart), on your doorstep, but you also have easy access to Glenfinnan, (where eight months before the Battle of Culloden, 1 200 Highlanders gathered to pledge their allegiance to Bonnie Prince Charlie). Although it is not actually featured in the tv series, it is an excellent place to learn about the Jacobite Rising of 1745 and features a visitor centre and monument dedicated to the “lone Highlander” set against the stunning and atmospheric backdrop of Loch Shiel. Within an hour’s drive further south, you have the dramatic slopes of Glencoe, famous for James Bond’s Skyfall, and some of the most memorable Outlander scenery in the opening credits of series 1.
This area between Oban at the south and Fort William to the north is still my favourite stretch of Scotland. You have all the drama of the scenery combined with the serene beauty of the Scottish lochs such as Loch Linnhe running alongside. From here you can take a trip to several islands, enjoy mountain biking, walking, kayaking and climbing in the limitless outdoor adventure centres and sites up and down the shores of Loch Linnhe. Back to Outlander, and you are an hour and forty minutes away from Glencoe to Castle Leoch or Doune Castle which you may want to visit on your way up or down, near the delightful town of Callander, a great place to pick up locally sourced ingredients and products to savour at home.
Something not to be missed as part of your Outlander tour of course, is a splash of Whisky. There are plenty of distilleries across Scotland. Have a look at Scotland’s Whisky Map to decide upon your whisky tour of choice. Of course, you can’t complete a good tour without a souvenir. Even better, try The Sassenach, a whisky created by Sam Heughan, the actor who plays Jamie Fraser. So many Outlander locations and so little time…..
Great glamping or camping opps for your tour:-
- Bunree Caravan and Motorhome Club Site near Onich.
- Blair Drummond Caravan Park and Shepherd Huts between Callander and Stirling.
Outlander series 1-5 on Amazon Prime
The Outlander Series of books by Diana Gabaldon
Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish
Culloden: Battle and Aftermath by Paul O’Keeffe
A pinch of Poldark
It would seem quite rude not to include Ross Poldark, the protagonist of a much-loved BBC drama, as our next tv tour option. According to studies, this BBC series led to a huge increase in visitor numbers in recent years. In 2016 alone, there was a 50% increase in visitors to the National Trust’s Levant Mine, the mine which Poldark owns in the series.
Still not visited Cornwall? Then try some of these tv treats….
A short journey from St Austell brings you to the Grade II Listed Charlestown Harbour, an unspoilt harbour and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was used in the series to represent Truro Harbour in the C18th with its elegant tall ships resident even today. Find out more at the Shipwreck Treasure Museum.
The wild beauty of Bodmin Moor featured many times in Poldark too. The scenes surrounding “Nampara” cottage were filmed here, as were many of the clips involving journeys by horse and carriage. It is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a wonderful place to get away from the crowds who flock to Cornwall during the summer months. Whether you are a walker, nature lover or lover of history and literature, you’ll find that this location is not just a great place for Poldark fans. “Jamaica Inn” famous for the Daphne du Maurier novel of the same name is situated here, as are several ancient monuments and sixteen prehistoric stone circles such as The Hurlers. Other famous horse riding scenes took places along the clifftops near Chapel Porth at St Agnes. Famous in the past as a tin and copper mining area, this area is also rich in wildlife and dramatic coastal views and great for an inspiring walk in the footsteps of the past.
Of course, Cornwall is also a great place to visit for other TV series and films such as Doc Martin, where you can visit the quaint cove of Port Isaac on the north coast as well as the Eden Project along the south coast, a location for one of the action scenes in James Bond’s “Die Another Day.”
Great glamping or camping opps for your tour:-
- Trevornick Holiday Park near Holywell Bay.
- Trethem Mill Touring Park near St. Mawes.
Poldark series 1-5 on Netflix
Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
Poldark’s Cornwall: the history behind the history series by Hannah Greig
A Blinder of a break
Less swashbuckling and more antihero, Tommie Shelby played by Cillian Murphy, has built up quite a fan base. The flat capped Brummie street gang-based series has also won mass acclaim from tv critics and bagged several television awards including a few BAFTAS. But where do you go if you’d like to tour some of the places featured in this TV series? Despite being set in Birmingham, many of the locations for filming the series were actually produced in the North West of England.
Starting with a visit to the Black Country Living Museum , a 26 acre open air extravaganza of a site, you can find the setting for Charlie Strong’s Yard, as well as several locations of murders, arguments and secret meetings. Immerse yourself in the stories of the legendary gang and underworld of the 1920’s as you learn about the history of this period on a visit.
A few hours further north and you can visit several other filming locations from the series. Arley Hall and Gardens in Cheshire is a great stop off where the filming of Tommy Shelby’s manor house took place. A great pet friendly attraction, you can explore the hall and stunning gardens which have stayed in the same family since the C15th.
Sutton Coldfield in the series is actually Port Sunlight, a model village in the Wirral, Merseyside. It was originally built for workers at the Lever Brothers Factory, and is now a tourist attraction, famous for Aunt Polly’s house. Not far away, Formby Beach looked after by the National Trust and home to a red squirrel population, is a great day out for nature lovers and for beach enthusiasts. It was also the location for an epic scene during series 4 where Alfie Solomons forced Tommy Shelby to shoot him. Away from this gruesome plotline, you can enjoy a much more serene day out and take part in a red squirrel walk in the beautiful woodlands nearby.
If you’re still wanting more Peaky Blinder themed touring inspiration, try a half day tour around the Liverpool locations where many other scenes from the Peaky Blinders took place and revel in the beautiful Victorian architecture found in and around the city.
Great glamping or camping opps for your tour:-
- Southport Caravan and Motorhome Club Site in Southport, Merseyside.
- Lamb Cottage Caravan Park near Northwich, Cheshire.
Peaky Blinders series 1-5 on Netflix
Peaky Blinders – The Real Story by Carl Chinn
By Order of the Peaky Blinders by Matt Allen
I hope you’ve been inspired by these TV tours. For more information on each of the places mentioned, don’t forget to click the links to find out more! Please see the latest UK’s COVID-19 regulations in each country in the RESOURCES section for up-to-date advice on travelling.
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