Last summer, I visited Edinburgh for the world famous Fringe Festival and I also took the time to go exploring when I wasn’t watching theatre and comedians. For those of you who have visited, you will know that Edinburgh city centre is made up of Old Town and New Town, which gives for a very versatile backdrop. It has essentially appeared as a character in it’s own right in Scottish and Hollywood films. Here’s a list of my favourite Edinburgh Film Locations!
Edinburgh Film Locations
Sunshine on Leith (2013)
You’ll have to excuse the bad picture due to Fringe festivities, but this is Princes Street Gardens where the final scene in Sunshine On Leith takes place. Basically, every person in Edinburgh dances and sings in unison to that famous song by Scottish band The Proclaimers.
You’d never believe me until you see it yourself, but right in the centre of Edinburgh there’s an easy hill you can walk up which overlooks the whole of Edinburgh. Yvonne and Davy head up to Calton Hill on the night they first meet and share a tender moment.
The Railway Man (2013) and One Day also features scenes on Calton Hill.
The same night Davy and Yvonne walk up Calton Hill is the same night all the youngsters have a good laugh in a local Edinburgh Pub. The pub is actually on popular Edinburgh street Grassmarket.
You can find more Sunshine on Leith locations by reading this handy pdf guide.
Scottish writer Irvine Welsh’s Filth adaptation also featured on Grassmarket. Which is really the ideal filming location for its many pubs and wide pedestrianised area.
When I first saw Filth on screen, I gave a little chuckle to myself because it featured The Christmas Shop in the picture above. I knew exactly where it was – on the corner of Victoria Street and Grassmarket. The above shop is Christmas themed all year around. So with Filth being set in winter it made total sense, but could have legitimately been filmed at any time of year.
Cloud Atlas (2012)
You’ll have to forgive me because I’ve not actually seen Cloud Atlas. So this and the next picture are merely from research. Scot Monument apparently features in the film and it’s very hard to miss. It sits in the park right next to the main shopping area of Princes Street.
I may not have seen the film, but I do know this next location very well. I worked for C venues at the Fringe Festival in 2013 and I sat at a desk in this very building for a month. It’s basically abandoned for the rest of the year, but it’s a really old building with some beautiful mosaic floors and original features. You can check it out if you’re ever in Edinburgh during August.
One Day (2010)
This picture is actually taken on the way up Arthur’s Seat and not actually of it. This is kind of a ‘Calton Hill Mark 2’ as it’s a teeny bit out of Edinburgh City Centre, but is a bit higher and offers views of Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside. I have actually seen One Day but don’t even remember them going up Arthur’s Seat. So that’s how much of an effect the film had on me.
The Adventures of Greyfriar’s Bobby (2005) also filmed on Arthur’s Seat.
This street has been mentioned several times already in one form or another, as Grassmarket lies at the bottom along with The Christmas Shop and India Buildings is right at the top. The street also features in One Day, making it not only one of the prettiest streets in Edinburgh (when it’s not heaving with cars) but one of the top Edinburgh film locations.
Princes Street must have been such a hard location to film in because it’s one of the busiest streets in Edinburgh. But with a film as synonymous with Scotland like Trainspotting, you need get the shots you want.
The Adventures of Greyfriar’s Bobby (2005)
The Adventures of Greyfriar’s Bobby isn’t a well known film by any means, but if you want a film with lots of Edinburgh locations, this film is second only to Sunshine on Leith. Bobby is a sweet little Westie dog that waited by his Master’s grave when he died, right up until the dog died. His grave takes centre stage in Greyfriar’s Kirkyard just off George IV Bridge and Candlemaker Row.
And finally, no trip around Edinburgh is every complete without Edinburgh Castle. I have to end my list of Edinburgh Film Locations on a low note by letting you know that the scenes at Edinburgh Castle were actually shot at nearby Stirling Castle. However, I couldn’t help but include it anyway.
Are there any film locations around Edinburgh that I’ve missed?