Scotland on Screen

31st July 2023

Scotland is a land of captivating landscapes, rich history, and enchanting charm, making it a favourite destination for filmmakers from around the world. Its rugged mountains, picturesque castles, and breathtaking lochs have provided the backdrop for numerous iconic movies and TV features. Let us take you on a virtual tour of some of Scotland’s most famous film locations, where movie magic meets the country’s natural beauty.

Local Hero

Local Hero is a film that is close to our hearts here at Away from the Ordinary. It is a well-observed film that is loved by Scots and international audiences alike. It is humorous and witty, yet truthful in its depiction of us West Highlanders and our communities. The main character, Mac, falls in love with the beauty of the place after seeing the Northern Lights over the untouched beaches and making connections with the locals. 

The beach scenes were filmed nearby our founder, Aeneas’ childhood home, at Camusdarach. The water here is so clear and the sand so white that the sea looks turquoise. It is a safe beach for swimming on a hot summer’s day. If a dip in the Atlantic is a bit chilly for you, the beach is also the perfect place for a stroll along the sand and around the headland. 

Nearby Camusdarach, in the village of Arisaig, there are a variety of boat trips which depart from the marina. Arisaig is ideally situated for trips to the islands. The Small Isles are a group of islands comprised of Eigg, Muck, Rum, and Canna in the inner seas of the Hebrides. These islands feature unrivalled raw natural beauty and close-knit communities, and the waters that surround them are home to dolphins, whales, seals and more. Away from the Ordinary can organise a private charter from Arisaig to take you wherever your heart desires on the west coast of Scotland.

Harry Potter

Scotland is no stranger to mythical tales of witches and wizards, so it is no surprise that it is such a fitting backdrop for the magical escapades of Harry Potter. The Harry Potter movie franchise has been filmed in a wide variety of locations all across Scotland, but perhaps the most iconic is the Glenfinnan Viaduct. This is the beautiful bridge where Harry and Ron get up to mischief in their flying car on the way to Hogwarts as the rest of the pupils take the train.

The Glenfinnan Viaduct, which gained international fame as the route for the Hogwarts Express, is a remarkable railway bridge that stretches across a deep glen, offering breathtaking views over Loch Shiel. Constructed in the late 19th century, the viaduct has 21 arches that span over 1,000 feet making it an impressive feat of engineering set against a rugged highland landscape.

You can take this rail journey for yourself aboard the Jacobite Express. The steam engine train winds its way through the picturesque landscape between Fort William and Mallaig and has been named one of the UK’s most scenic railway journeys. With refreshments served on board, it is a lovely and unique way to relax while enjoying the majestic Scottish countryside. 


Fans of the hit TV series “Outlander” will recognise Doune Castle as the fictional Castle Leoch; the ancestral home of Clan MacKenzie. Situated near the city of Stirling, a wander through the castle’s halls will transport you to the 18th century to relive the adventures of Claire and Jamie Fraser’s time-travelling romance.

Visiting Doune Castle is an immersive experience. You can explore the castle’s rooms, walk through the atmospheric courtyards, and learn about its intriguing history through informative displays. Private guided tours provide deeper insights into the castle’s past and its connection to the world of Outlander.

It’s not just Outlander though, this medieval castle has captured the minds of many a filmmaker. You may also recognise it as the backdrop for “Monty Python and The Holy Grail”, “The Outlaw King”, and “Game of Thrones”.

Nearby, The Dundonald is a lovely and secluded place to stay. Nestled in the historic village of Culross, another location used in the filming of Outlander, this charming cottage is calm and rejuvenating. Each room is styled beautifully and guests can enjoy a smorgasbord of local produce for breakfast, including smoked meat and fish, cheese and bread.

For dinner, there is nowhere finer in Scotland than Restaurant Andrew Fairlie. Located in Gleneagles, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie is the only restaurant in Scotland with two Michelin Stars. Expect beautifully designed plates crafted with ingredients grown in the walled garden, to be enjoyed in an opulent-yet-relaxed setting. 

James Bond

James Bond has many connections with Scotland. Not only was the first James Bond portrayed by Scottish actor, Sean Connery, but the character is written to have Scottish lineage. In the movie “Skyfall” Bond returns to his childhood home in Glen Etive in his iconic Aston Martin after a drive over Rannoch Moor. 

The shot of him admiring the view has become a classic that people enjoy recreating on their own visits to Glen Etive. The area around this film location has some of the most incredible scenery in Scotland. Glen Coe and Glen Etive are absolutely breathtaking, with mysterious mountains that hold onto wisps of cloud and tower over the glen below. 

A trip to Glencoe is made even more special with a stay at the nearby Glencoe House. This beautiful hotel enjoys views over Loch Leven and the surrounding mountains. It is the perfect place to relax in comfort after a day of exploring the local area. Each suite is uniquely fitted with features, including everything from bathtubs with mountain views to private dining rooms and lounge areas. The area surrounding the hotel invites you outside; whether it is for a short stroll, a fishing trip or adventure sports.

Parks and Recreation

In the American sitcom ‘Parks and Recreation’, the cynical Ron Swanson who thinks Europe is a ‘godforsaken continent’ is given a thoughtful, surprise itinerary by his close friend Leslie. It leads him on a clue-finding mission to discover that there is one place in Europe that Ron thinks is worth visiting – Islay. As a drinker of Lagavulin, he is delighted to see that his friend knows him so well to send him to the distillery where it is made. He is moved to tears reading a poem by Robert Burns atop a cliff looking out to sea.

You can experience for yourself the wonder of whisky and the Western Isles. For many of our whisky-loving clients, Islay is a highlight. Away from the Ordinary can even book you an exclusive boat trip around the island, stopping in for a private tasting at your favourite distillery.

The Machrie is a beautiful hotel and golf links on the isle of Islay. It is refreshingly modern with its contemporary design and is only a stone’s throw from the pristine white sand beaches that Islay is famous for. The land between the hotel and the sea is a genuine links golf course, dating back as far as 1891. It was originally designed by Willie Campbell and beautifully redesigned in 2018 by DJ Russell. It is an iconic Scottish golf course and a joy to play, with views out to the Atlantic, and the Paps of Jura.

As wonderful as it is to see Scotland on screen, it is no substitute for a real visit. Come and see for yourself what all the fuss is about and create your own story in Scotland. Get in touch with us today to start planning your escape to Scotland.

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