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7 iconic Scottish films and TV shows to inspire a staycation

With so many of us looking for a much needed staycation this summer, how about a cinematic tour of Scotland?

Being a land of spectacular, diverse landscapes and rich history, it’s little surprise that Scotland boasts a long list of prestigious filming locations in the worlds of both film and television. Take a look at these fascinating settings, and if you’re able to, why not use them as inspiration for a memorable family staycation?

Doune Castle

1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

“T’is but a scratch!” Much of this legendary comedy was filmed in Scotland, chiefly at Doune Castle in Stirlingshire, which was used to portray the many different castles visited by Graham Chapman’s Arthur during the film. This stunning building has become a pilgrimage destination for many a Python fan. You can admire the views from battlements over the River Teith, and if the castle is open, you can even be guided round by the voice of the much loved late Python himself Terry Jones.

A tree in Cumbernauld House Park

2. Gregory’s Girl (1980)

Directed by Bill Forsyth, Gregory’s Girl is set in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire, and the coming-of-age tale centres around Gregory, an awkward teenager. Gregory is infatuated with Dorothy, his classmate who has made it onto the school football team, and his attempts at wooing Dorothy win the hearts of the audience. Maybe, just maybe, Gregory will win the affection of the girl he fancies.

Loch Laggan

3. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011)

As the title may suggest, it is indeed set in Yemen. But this tale about building a salmon fishery in the heart of the desert begins its upstream journey in Scotland, with the need for a very Scottish product: salmon. In this tale, Sheikh, a wealthy businessman wants to take his favourite pastime, fishing, from Scotland to his homeland in Yemen.

He enlists the help of a fisheries expert Fred, who believes this plan is absurd, but Sheikh’s determination and belief in the project are endearing and Fred has to pursue the challenge. Ardverikie Estate features in this story, a lochside house located near the Cairngorms which will play on your heart strings and make you long for a Scottish adventure. This tale flows beautifully into a story of believing in the impossible, keeping the faith and staying true to yourself in times of impossibility and strife.

Ardverikie Estate

4. Monarch of the Glen (2000-2005)

This classic noughties BBC series follows the story of young restaurateur Archie MacDonald as he attempts to save Glenbogle, his childhood home in the Scottish Highlands. Starring Alastair Mackenzie and the late Richard Briers, the show takes advantage of some stunning natural scenery and historical architecture, not least Ardverikie House in Kinloch Laggan, which was used as the fictional Glenbogle Castle.

Filming locations include the Cairngorms, Badenoch and Strathspey, all of which boast gorgeous landscapes, the latter also being home to the famous Glenfiddich distillery, if you’re partial to a wee dram.

Calanais Standing Stones

5. Brave (2012)

There’s no way you could ignore this Disney Pixar gem. Merida is a princess who is determined to make her own path in life and is willing to defy tradition and honour to do so. This film is pure Pixar magic, and includes everything we love about Scotland: ginger hair, tales of magic, quirky clansmen, stunning scenery and a message about family and love.

The Calanais Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis were one of the inspirations for this mythical tale. It’s both magical and charming and will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.

Glencoe Valley

6. Skyfall (2012)

The eerie yet impossibly beautiful Scottish scenery is the perfect setting for the thrilling denouement of Skyfall. Put on the back foot by supervillain Silva’s destructive cyber terrorism, James Bond (Daniel Craig) and M (Dame Judi Dench), flee to his childhood home in Scotland in an attempt to lure his enemy, played with captivating menace by Javier Bardem, into an old school battle royale, with nary a computer in sight. What follows is one of the most gripping conclusions to any Bond film ever.

This section of the movie was filmed in Glencoe, an incredible glacial valley loved by walkers and photographers alike. It makes for a perfect remote summer destination for all lovers of the great outdoors, but failing that, you can certainly enjoy watching the scenery unfold before your eyes in Skyfall.

Linlithgow Palace

7. Outlander (2014-)

This historical drama based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon has gripped so many since it first hit our screens. It centres on Claire Randall, a married nurse from 1945 who somehow finds herself transported back in time to the Jacobite risings of 1743 in Scotland. Her encounters with Highland warrior Jamie Fraser have been keeping us glued to the telly ever since.

And there are so many gorgeous filming locations across Scotland to visit this summer, from Glencoe to Linlithgow Palace. VisitScotland’s website has lots of helpful information to help you plan your perfect Outlander-inspired trip, so let’s get going!