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Scotland on film: Harry Potter, Trainspotting, The Wicker Man and more

Glenn finnan - Famous film locations
With awards season in full swing and spring on the way, it’s a great time to think about visiting some of Scotland’s most breathtaking and fascinating places – many of which have found their way into some very famous film scenes.

The camera loves Scotland; and it’s no wonder. From its historic cities to its stunning landscapes, there’s lots to enjoy looking at… so the chance to walk in the footsteps of movie stars is just a bonus.

So, where to go?

The Highlands

A movie buff’s dream, the Scottish Highlands are teeming with iconic screen memories. In the Harry Potter series, the Hogwarts Express train travels over Glenfinnan Viaduct, while the beautiful backdrops of nearby Loch Morar and Loch Eilt also feature. Meanwhile, Glen Coe is not only another Potter-verse staple, but also appears in Rob Roy, Skyfall (James Bond), Monty Python & The Holy Grail, Braveheart and Highlander. And other popular choices for directors include Rannoch Moor, Eilean Donan Castle and Glen Nevis. You won’t struggle to find a spot to pose for a noble, thoughtful selfie.



While much of Trainspotting was filmed in Glasgow, the story is mostly set in Edinburgh – and some of the film’s most well-known scenes were filmed here. Calton Road is where Renton (Ewan McGregor) is nearly run over by a car, while his flight from the police with Spud (Ewen Bremner) takes place on Princes Street. Naturally, we recommend that you refrain from recreating these scenes with careless road use or shoplifting, as that could rather spoil your visit. Other filming locations in Edinburgh include New Town (Shallow Grave), Arthur’s Seat (The Illusionist, Chariots of Fire), the Scott Monument (Cloud Atlas) and The Forth Rail Bridge (The 39 Steps). Plus, Rosslyn Chapel (The Da Vinci Code) isn’t far away.


The Wicker Man

Not a place, but a cult 1973 film – and it used so many different locations in Scotland that we simply had to give it its own tribute. Burrows Head in the Machars is where the sacrificial icon of the title was burned, while nearby St Ninian’s Cave provided the scene for a chase. Other backdrops included The Storr on the Isle of Skye (also featured in Prometheus), Plockton, Creetown, Anworth, Gatehouse of Fleet, Kirkcudbright, Port Logan, Castle Kennedy and Culzean Castle in Maybole, near Glasgow – which also makes a fascinating day out for other reasons.


If you haven’t got a Hollywood budget…

The MegabusGold sleeper service is ideal if you’re seeking a cost-effective way to explore the UK’s northernmost areas. It runs between London and Scotland and offers you an overnight journey, cosy bunks, free wi-fi and friendly staff.

Book your trip now >


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