With an overabundance of stunning landscapes and picturesque castles, it’s no wonder Scotland is a favourite calling card for film and television location scouts. Here are my top five Scottish locations featured on the silver screen:
Featured in the nail-biting finale to the third season of Downton Abbey, the stunning Inveraray Castle in Argyll has also been home to Clan Campbell since the 17th Century. In the episode the Grantham family and staff travel north to the home of their cousins, the Marquess and Marchioness of Flintshire in their mythical Scottish home, ‘Duneagle Castle’. The Inveraray Estate boasts 16 acres of highland charm including formal gardens and woodland walks that attract thousands of visitors each year. The castle has also seen its fair share of Downton-inspired storylines over the years – it was inhabited by the eccentric 10th Duke of Argyll in the 1920s, and was home to the rather promiscuous Margaret Campbell during the 1960s.
This wee gem of a castle located in Argyll is most well-known from the final scene of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Castle Stalker is known in the film as “The Castle of Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh”, where John Cleese taunts Arthur from its battlements before launching an attack. It also appeared briefly in the film Highlander: Endgame. Castle Stalker was built as a small fort by Clan MacDougall around 1320, with it’s present form dating from around 1440. Stalker is said to have been lost by the MacDougalls to Clan Campbell in a drunken bet in 1620, with the castle changing hands between the two clans until 1820 when Clan Campbell abandoned the castle for good when it lost its roof. You can view the Python scene in all its glory by clicking here.
Perhaps one of the most magical landscapes featured in the Harry Potter series, the Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct is passed over by Harry and his pals en route to Hogwarts at the beginning of each school year/film. The 21-arch single track viaduct was one of the largest concrete engineering feats undertaken when construction began in 1897. Today the route acts as a part of the West Highland tourist trail, with the steam engine operating along the line called ‘The Jacobite’. The engine had a starring role in the Harry Potter films, playing the role of the Hogwart’s Express, which you can view here.
Rosslyn Chapel was founded as a Catholic church by William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness of the Sinclair Family in the mid-15th Century. According to some accounts, the descendents of Jesus Christ and members of the Knights Templar existed within the Sinclair family. Dan Brown used this theory in his 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code, with the chapel being used as a location in the film version which was released three years later. Despite being dismissed by historians and the Catholic Church, the novel has sold over 80 million copies worldwide.
This hand-drawn animated French film is perhaps one of the most beautiful filmic depictions of Edinburgh, and one of the reasons I fell head over heels for this magnificent city. The film brings to life locations such as Arthur’s Seat, Princes Street, Jenners Department Store, The Cameo Theatre, Waverley Station and the glorious cobbled streets, presenting them as they were in the late 1950s. Jonathan Meville of The Scotsman wrote: “Edinburgh’s skyline has never looked so good, and if the city didn’t exist it would be hard to believe somewhere so beautiful was real: if locals aren’t inspired to take a walk up North Bridge or down Victoria Street after this, they never will be. You can view a clip featuring Edinburgh as depicted in the film here.
About the Author (Author Profile)Nadine has recently arrived in Scotland from New Zealand, and currently works at scotclans.com
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