Scotland’s dramatic scenery and stunning architecture have long played the starring role in many famous movies and TV productions. If you feel like experiencing some of these unique locations for yourself, then here are a few suggestions to get you started. We recommend adding a few of these into your motorhome holiday itinerary!
Eilean Donan Castle, Highlands
Eilean Donan Castle is one of Scotland’s most iconic castles and is recognised around the world. Appearing on everything from biscuit tins to blockbuster movies, the castle is a popular attraction and one of the most visited in the Highlands. It was showcased in the 2008 romantic comedy Made of Honor with Hollywood heartthrob Patrick Dempsey; made an impression in the ‘80s sci-fi classic Highlander starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery, as well as providing a backdrop for James Bond in The World is Not Enough. It’s definitely one to add to your itinerary if you’re planning an NC500 trip, or a visit to the islands.
The Glenfinnan Viaduct, one of the world’s most famous pieces of railway infrastructure, attracts thousands of visitors every summer eager to catch a glimpse of the Jacobite Steam Train, which runs from Fort William to Mallaig on the West Highland Line – one of the most scenic railway journeys in Britain. Of course, the Jacobite Steam Train was famously featured in the Harry Potter series of films, doubling as Hogwarts Express which might explain some of the sheer the number of visitors every year!
Lying at the foot of Ben Nevis, Glen Nevis is the valley where much of Braveheart was filmed, Mel Gibson’s famous biopic of Sir William Wallace. A notable landmark is the old Cameron graveyard in the glen where the funeral scenes were filmed, and the film opens with horsemen riding through the area of The Soldiers’ Pool. Many scenes were filmed along the River Nevis including the barn where the nobles were slain.
There’s a rocky path to follow to reach the glen which is hidden from sight by the craggy foothills. Ruins of stone cottages await so you can explore the natural hillside and village, brave zip wire river crossings, or climb up to lofty mountain peaks if you're up for a challenge.
Glen Nevis scenery was also used as backdrops for the Quiddich matches in the Harry Potter films The Philosopher’s Stone, The Chamber of Secrets and The Goblet of Fire.
Glen Etive, Glencoe
For almost 70 years Glencoe has attracted filmmakers keen to incorporate the grandeur of the scenery into their film making endeavours. It’s not just the unspoilt nature of the land they are after, but the wonderful light - especially in the early morning or late evening - is an added incentive. Hollywood blockbusters that have used this jaw-droppingly beautiful filming location over the years include Skyfall, Highlander, Rob Roy and Braveheart. And it’s not just films! Countless documentaries and adverts have been shot here, including high profile ads for Peugeot.
Glencoe is a stunning place to visit anytime of the year - a bit of rain and mist just adds even more wow-factor to the dramatic mountain wilderness! The driving route through Glencoe is arguably the most famous in the country. The mountains surrounding both glens will take your breath away and there are lots of impressive places to stop for a photo.
15th century Rosslyn Chapel came to worldwide prominence through The Da Vinci Code, a novel written by Dan Brown, which was published in 2003. Subsequently in 2006, a film was made based on the book, starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou.
The aerial view of the Chapel in the film was based on a one-sixth scale model, specially created, because the Chapel itself was under scaffolding at the time. Most of the interior scenes of the Chapel were filmed here. In the film, the characters enter the Chapel by the west door and replica walls were created and temporarily put in place to keep the scaffolding out of view.
With more than 100 carvings and scenes depicted in stone, the exquisite masonry of Rosslyn Chapel has to be seen to be believed.
The Quiraing, Isle of Skye
The Quiraing on the Isle of Skye was used as the backdrop for many scenes in the most recent big-screen adaptation of the play Macbeth. Directed by Justin Kurzel and starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, the dramatic landscapes of Skye were perfect for the bleakest of William Shakespeare’s plays. The stark beauty here will take your breath away and it’s easy to see why the filmmakers picked The Quiraing for this latest and maybe truest adaptation of Macbeth.
The sleepy former fishing village of Plockton on the Applecross Peninsula is one of several locations across the Scottish Highlands used in the 1960s horror classic The Wicker Man, starring Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward. Other locations include Gatehouse of Fleet, Newton Stewart, Kirkcudbright and a few scenes in the village of Creetown in Dumfries and Galloway. The climax was shot at a caravan park in Burrow Head. Don’t worry, the locals are friendly!
The remote Highlands village of Pennan was the setting for the classic Scottish comedy Local Hero, starring Peter Riegert and Burt Lancaster. The iconic red public phone box that featured strongly in many scenes is still in situ close to the seashore. A firm TV favourite from the 1980s, it really put Pennan and the north-eastern Highlands coast on Scotland's movie map.
The movie was filmed on a few different locations in Scotland. The beach and sunset scenes were all filmed close to Morar on Camusdarach Beach. If you want to access the beach you can do so from a parking space near the Silver Sands, south of Morar, on the old coast road to Arisaig. While walking south from River Morar you see a beautiful cottage on the north bank, this cottage was disguised as church in the movie.