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Scotland's Top Film and TV Locations

Barra view from Heaval

Scotland is no stranger to starring on the big (or small) screen. With a rich history of film and TV on our doorstep, the country has always shone as a location for local tales but did you know that Scotland is also the backdrop for some famous Hollywood blockbusters? From Harry Potter to Marvel superheroes, marauding zombies to Indiana Jones - we've become a home away from home for big budget productions. Here are just some of the films and shows that feature Scotland.


Harry Potter

jacobite steam train at Glenfinnan viaduct

The film series about the boy wizard features quite a few classic West Highland beauty spots. If you've driven north west to the coast via central Scotland, you will have passed through Glencoe - one of the most famous glens in the country. The sweeping hillside views were used in the Prisoner of Azkaban and The Half Blood Prince. The latter also features Hagrid's Hut tucked away in the Glencoe hills. Further along the road, on the 'Road to the Isles' to be precise, you'll find Loch Shiel and the Glenfinnan viaduct - they regularly star in the series when the Hogwarts Express makes its way north from Platform 9 ¾ annually on 1st September - perhaps most notably in the Chamber of Secrets where Harry and Ron travel by flying car. 

2001: A Space Odyssey

Luskentyre beach Isle of Harris

Harris inspires many thoughts of beauty and awe but do you ever look at the verdant landscape and think - Jupiter? Well that's exactly what iconic filmmaker Stanley Kubrick did when searching for a location to stand in for the desolate planet. The otherworldly rock formations around Loch Airigh provided the perfect backdrop for an interdimensional journey after a bit of Hollywood trickery. The location was shot from low flying planes and filtered with psychedelic colours to create an truly unique moment in cinema history.

Local Hero

surfer in Arisaig

This Bafta winning Bill Forsyth classic turns 40 this year! The story follows an oil executive named Mac, played by Peter Riegert, who is tasked with purchasing the fictional Scottish town of Ferness by his oil company boss, played by Burt Lancaster. West coast gems including Arisaig, the sands at Camusdarach, Morar by Mallaig, the Ben Nevis Distillery, Loch Eil and Lochailort all feature alongside the East Coast town of Pennan. Why not check out some locations before departing to the Hebrides from Mallaig with CalMac?



Eilean Donan Castle

The tale of time spanning immortal Connor MacLeod (who just happens to be a 16th Century Highland Warrior now living as an antique salesman in 1980s New York) is full of Scottish mythology. It includes starring roles for the stunning Trotternish Ridge, the Old Man of Storr on Skye, Glencoe, Loch Shiel and the 13th Century Eilean Donan Castle near Kyle of Lochalsh - a film regular.  

Monty Python and the Holy Grail  

Castle Stalker, Oban

If you're on the train from Glasgow to Oban to link with one of CalMac's many ferries from the port then you may want to keep an eye out on your journey (specifically to the left-hand side in your direction of travel). Amongst the amazing landscapes you'll find a location from classic comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which Scotland featured heavily. The famous 'Castle Arghhhhh' is actually Castle Stalker - which sits on an island in Loch Linnhe - a picturesque marker on your journey north.



old man of storr

With its rugged terrain and unmistakeable natural beauty, the Isle of Skye is understandably a film regular too. Ridley Scott's Prometheus from 2012 features one of the island's most recognisable spots - the iconic Old Man of Storr. Snow White and the Huntsman from the same year also filmed scenes on the island and if you've watched the seminal 1996 film Breaking the Waves by Danish director Lars von Trier, you may have spotted the island in the graveyard scenes, as well as shots of Morar, Mallaig and Lochailort.  


Family walking round the Callanish Standing Stones

The ever-popular time traveling tale will have inspired many journeys around Scotland. Now in its seventh series, the production used the world famous Calanais Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis as the inspiration for the opening scenes where Claire is whisked back in time from 1946 to 1743 (these were also the inspiration for similar stones in Disney's animated adventure Brave). The 19th Century Ayrshire coastal fishing village of Dunure on the edge of the Firth of Clyde has also featured in several episodes. Fans may recognise it as the spot where Jamie and Claire embark on their journey to Jamaica.  

The Outlaw King

Kings Caves, Isle of Arran

The 2018 Netflix historical drama Outlaw King follows a short period of King Robert the Bruce's story from 1304 until the Battle of Loudoun Hill, showcasing numerous Scottish landmarks as the story unfolds. West Coast fans will no doubt recognise Skye's Talisker Bay, Coral Beaches and Loch Dunvegan as well as that other film favourite, Glencoe. When exploring the magical Isle of Arran don't miss the King's Caves - although they don't feature in the film, they do have a Bruce connection. After defeat, Bruce escaped capture and is said to have hid in a cave for three months, contemplating the end of his cause and leaving the country for good. Inside the cave he watched a spider weave a web. The spider fell down numerous times but returned time after time to complete the web - inspiring Bruce to rise once more.  

Whisky Galore

AM Politician - Eriskay

Finally, a true Scottish legend. Whisky Galore is a film classic from the heady days of the Studio era. Made by the world-famous Ealing Studios, it tells the audacious tale of a small Scottish island who are inundated with bottles of whisky after a shipwreck, and their attempts to hide them from the authorities. Filming primarily took place on the beautiful Isle of Barra and its main settlement of Castlebay - a destination served by CalMac from our port in Oban. However, the film is based on the true tale of the S.S Politician which ran aground off the coast of another island in the CalMac network, Eriskay, in 1941. You can see one of the original whisky bottles in the island's Politician Bar, named after the famous vessel that started the whole story.

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