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Scotland: Behind the Scenes | CIE Tours

Scotland: Behind the Scenes

CIE TOURS - August 10, 2018

Scotland: Behind the Scenes

Because of its long and storied history, picturesque scenery and abundance of castles, beautiful landscapes and welcoming people, Scotland is home to many popular TV shows and films. Read on to discover whether your favorite is made in Scotland!

Did you think vacation would allow you to escape from the world of TV screens? Well you thought wrong! Don’t worry, you won’t be glued to your TV screens all week, but on CIE Tours’ Scotland-based Clans and Castles tour, my group and I have gotten the “behind the scenes” scoop of popular television programs and movies. The list includes many popular favorites like “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, “Outlander”, “Game of Thrones”, and the “Harry Potter” films.

Doune Castle



Doune Castle, Scotland
Doune Castle, Scotland

The very first day of our trip, we visited Doune Castle near Stirling. Our tour guide had told us in advance that this had been used for some scenes in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Needless to say, I was very excited! Sure enough, as we pulled up to Doune, I could easily imagine the Frenchman standing above throwing insults upon the knights attempting to gain entrance to the castle. The infamous “elderberry” line is, in my opinion, one of the best in the film! The Great Hall of Doune is also where they shot the Camelot scene. They only had one day to shoot 40 sequences and perfect the “ham and jam and spam alot” song!

Outlander fans are also in luck with Doune because it serves as the fictional Castle Leoch of Colum MacKenzie and his clan. For those who have seen the Game of Thrones series (and even if you haven’t yet), check out the pilot episode and I think you’ll notice something familiar about the castle pictured above.

Stirling Castle & The Battle of Bannockburn


Statue of Robert the Bruce outside of Battle of Bannockburn visitor center. Stirling, Scotland.
Statue of Robert the Bruce outside of
Battle of Bannockburn visitor center. Stirling, Scotland.

Braveheart may be a great film, but, as usual, Hollywood didn’t quite get the facts straight. If you’ve seen this film, odds are you may be interested in hearing the real story. Find out what happened to William Wallace after his death. At Stirling Castle and the Battle of Bannockburn visitor center, you’ll hear all about the English vs Scottish battles and Robert the Bruce.

The Harry Potter Films


The Elephant House café. Edinburgh, Scotland.
The Elephant House café. Edinburgh, Scotland.

My siblings and I were raised on JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I’ve read each book and seen the movies more times than I can count. For anyone like me, Edinburgh is Harry Potter heaven! Close to the statue of Greyfriar’s Bobby is The Elephant House, where Rowling began the series that would transform her life and her career. Around the corner in Greyfriar’s cemetery are tombstones which gave her name inspiration (look for Tom Riddle and McGonagall). You can also walk along Victoria Street which Diagon Alley was based upon and take a look at Balmoral Hotel. This is where Rowling finished her famous series in one of the rooms (which now costs $300 to stay in!)

During the Clans and Castles tour we even got to see the woods where filming for Hagrid’s hut was done and the island where a major character is buried. (SPOILER ALERT! This is also where Voldemort steals the Elder wand at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1!) We also took a ride on the Jacobite Steam Train over the Glenfinnan Viaduct which was filmed for scenes showing the Hogwarts Express! I’m still waiting for my Hogwarts acceptance letter to come in the mail. However, this tour certainly made some of my childhood fantasies come true.



Trolley menu on the Jacobite Steam Train, Scotland.
Trolley menu on the Jacobite Steam Train, Scotland.


By Evelyn Adams

Evelyn was one of our 2018 Social Media Concierges.

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