Famous Film Locations In Scotland | From Trainspotting To Harry Potter

Over the years, Scotland has played a significant role in the history of cinema

Famous Film Locations In Scotland

Scotland – many great things are made in this great old land. First up, as cliche as it to say it, there’s haggis. Then, of course, there’s one of Scotland’s biggest exports – scotch whisky. That last one is arguably the greatest of all things cooked up by the Scots, although the ghost of Alexander Graham Bell might have a few choice words to yell at you down the telephone about this.

It’s obviously not just food, drink, and telephones though that defines Scotland. Its incredible scenery has, over the years, made it a popular spot for filmmakers – with numerous artistic visionaries looking to paint their cinematic narratives onto the backdrop on offer north of the border.

“From spotting trains to spotting wizards on trains, Scotland has been the stage for countless monumental movies”

From spotting trains to spotting wizards on trains, Scotland has been the stage for countless monumental movies. Here’s some of the country’s best, and most iconic scenes.

Film: Trainspotting
Year of release: 1996
Location: Rannoch Moor

Renton, Spud, Sick Boy, and Tommy get ready to take on Rannoch Moor (Trainspotting, 1996)

Danny Boyle’s famous black comedy-drama about drug addicts was set in Edinburgh but was actually filmed in Glasgow (apart from the odd scene or two). One of those scenes occurs when the boys manage to get themselves down to Rannoch Moor, an area surrounded by boggy moorland with a vast stretch of lochans and rocky outcrops.

“Doesn’t it make you proud to be Scottish?”

This location provided an escape from the city for the characters as they made it to Corrour Station. This wild location serves up nothing but the most Scottish of views.

If you fancy paying a visit to this place, then you’re best off taking a trip on the famous West Highland Railway. On it, you’ll cover over 23 miles of epic moorland.

In the words of Trainspotting’s Tommy: “Doesn’t it make you proud to be Scottish?”

Rannoch Moor in Summer

Film: Braveheart
Year of release: 1995
Location: Glen Nevis

Glen Nevis in Scotland (Braveheart, 1995)

They may take our Scotland, but they’ll never take… our love for Scottish scenery. Yes, if Nicola Sturgeon does ultimately win independence for Scotland you can almost guarantee that the Braveheart memes will be out in full.

The country is home to some of the world’s most glorious mountain locations. One of these spots in Glen Nevis, the valley which lies at the foot of Ben Nevis – the highest mountain in the UK. This special place also happens to be where the majority of Mel Gibson’s tale of William Wallace was filmed.

“They may take our Scotland, but they’ll never take… our love for Scottish scenery”

When you reach the area, you can expect to see runs of stone cottages. You can also get stuck into the craggy foothills, and climb the location’s lofty mountain peaks. Enjoy it to your brave heart’s content.

Views from Glen Nevis


Film: The Wicker Man
Year of release: 1973
Location: Plockton

Sergeant Howie arrives on Plockton (The Wicker Man, 1973)

The Wicker Man may be a terrifying horror classic, but the locations used for it were as pretty as a picture. Amongst them are places like Gatehouse of Fleet and Kirkcudbright, and the extremely pleasant-looking Plockton.

This somnolent village on the Applecross Peninsula is one of the stand out shooting locations for the 1970s film, with its picturesque views that overlook Loch Carron. Due to Plockton’s surprisingly mild climate for a place so far north, certain types of palm tree have been able prosper here. The ones seen in The Wicker Man are real and can still be seen around the village today.

“The locals are a lot less sinister than they are in The Wicker Man”

The Scottish village has been coined the ‘Jewel of the Highlands’. It offers up pure bliss in the form of breathtaking scenery, secluded bays, coral beaches, islands, and an array of marine life. Oh, and don’t worry. The locals are a lot less sinister than they are in The Wicker Man.

Plockton in present day

Film: Prometheus
Year of release: 2012
Location: The Cuillin on Skye

The Isle of Skye (Prometheus, 2012)

The opening scenes in Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel Prometheus were always going to be make for an extravagant extraterrestrial viewing experience. The Cuillin on Skye provided the perfect backdrop for the film to make a very memorable entrance.

“It’s one of Scotland’s most intriguing, and otherworldly, landscapes”

The Old Man of Storr is a great pinnacle of rock that was created by a massive landslide many years ago. It’s one of Scotland’s most intriguing, and otherworldly, landscapes. It’s a real icon on the Isle of Skye and, thanks to Prometheus, now stands proudly in the history of cinema.

Old Man of Storr (Prometheus. 2012)

Film: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Year of release: 2002
Location: Glenfinnan viaduct

The Glenfinnan Viaduct (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 2002)

The train service gets a bad rep in the UK and, let’s face it, rightly so. I refuse, however, to say a bad word against the Glenfinnan Railway and the Glenfinnan Viaduct. It’s far and away one of Scotland’s most famous film locations, playing home to the Hogwarts Express – a train which carries the teenage wizards and witches to and from the school where they learn all about magic and… err… stuff.

“It’s far and away one of Scotland’s most famous film locations”

Fancy a ride? All you need to do is catch the Jacobite steam train that departs from Fort William every day. It has been described as one of the greatest railway journeys in the world, serving up 84 miles of beauty to gawk at. See Ben Nevis in all its mightiness, and finish up next to lovely Loch Nevis.

The Glenfinnan Viaduct Railway



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