Doune Castle is one of the most prolific and popular filming locations in the history of Scottish cinema for both film productions and visitors. And that’s not a hyperbolic statement, that is accurate. For what reason? I have no idea. It’s a fairly nice 15th-century castle near Stirling, but Scotland has about 8,000 castles so it’s not special. Yet despite its unoriginality, the Doune Castle Outlander, Monty Python and Game of Thrones location notoriety bring hoards of tourists through its gate every year. It also briefly appeared in Outlaw King (2018).
Yes, Doune Castle appeared in almost half the episodes in Season One of the hit TV show Outlander. It also played more than one Monty Python castle in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975). And it briefly appeared in the first episode of Game of Thrones. So, if you are a filming locations fan, it should be on your bucket list!
And if you want to visit Doune Castle, this guide tells you everything you need to know about visiting the castle. It includes how to get there and the exact filming locations you need to look out for.
Doune Castle Outlander, Monty Python and Game of Thrones Locations
Outlander Doune Castle Locations
Doune Castle is an essential stop on any Scotland Outlander tour because it features in SO many Outlander scenes in Season One. These episodes are “Episode One – Sassenach”, “Episode Two – Castle Leoch”, “Episode Three – The Way Out”, “Episode Four – The Gathering”, “Episode Nine – The Reckoning” and “Episode 10 – By The Pricking Of My Thumbs.”
If you don’t know anything about Outlander, it’s one of the most popular Scottish TV shows (by overseas fans) of all time based on the hit fantasy novel series. It follows the lives of an English woman who accidentally time-travels from the 1940s to the 1740s via some standing stones and her hunky Highlander husband.
The Outlander location it plays is Leoch Castle (or Castle Leoch as most refer to it), the ancestral home of Clan MacKenzie. We’re not 100% sure where the exact Leoch Castle Scotland setting is except that it’s somewhere near Inverness.
But, where is Outlander filmed in Doune Castle? Actually, the production team only used Doune Castle’s exterior for the filming locations of Outlander. The lawn out front is where Dougal and the lads play the traditional Scottish game of shinty. And the courtyard is where Mrs Fitz hangs her washing and where all carriages pick up and drop off their passengers.
However, they did use some Doune castle interior settings for inspiration. They modelled the set for Castle Leoch’s kitchen on the one in Doune Castle including the huge hearth.
Monty Python Doune Castle Locations
Though I love the Castle Leoch scenes from Outlander at Doune Castle the most, there is no denying that most fans visit because of its involvement in Monty Python. The plot of the Holy Grail film loosely follows the Knights of the Round Table legend with a Pythonesque twist. The knights visit several different castles to find the Holy Grail and come up against obstacles that thwart their quest.
Due to Monty Python’s famously small budget (using coconut shells as horse gallops, etc.), Doune Castle stood in for most of the castles they visit including Camelot, Castle Anthrax, the Frenchmen’s castle and Swamp Castle. The only castle it does not appear to stand in as is Castle Aarrgh, the “real” home of the Holy Grail, which is Castle Stalker in Appin.
The Great Hall in Doune Castle stood in for Camelot’s main hall. The exterior of Doune Castle stood in for the castle where the Frenchman taunts the knights by shouting at them from the top of the courtyard walls. The (empty) Trojan Rabbit also rolls up the front path of Doune Castle and through the gate. Doune Castle’s kitchen stood in for Castle Anthrax where Michael Palin’s Sir Galahad and his pals get acquainted with the young ladies who live there.
And finally, Doune Castle’s courtyard stands in as Swamp Castle where John Cleese’s Sir Lancelot wrongly slaughters most of the attendees of a wedding. A very ingenious use of just one filming location!
Game of Thrones Doune Castle Locations
Every Game of Throne fan knows that the fantasy series filmed most on-location scenes in Croatia, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Morocco and Malta with only one or two exceptions. Doune Castle is an exception. It stood in as a filming location for Season One’s pilot episode “Winter is Coming” but after that, production found more permanent locations elsewhere.
As you may have guessed, Game of Thrones used Doune Castle for some of the scenes in the North. The Doune Castle Winterfell scenes were all shot in the Great Hall, which stood in as Winterfell’s great hall. Looking at the photograph below, I’m sure this surprises no one because the set they eventually used looks very similar to the real-life location at Doune Castle.
Doune Castle in Scotland: Planning Your Trip
How to Get There By Car (& Parking)
Exactly where is Doune Castle? It is in a small village called Doune just off the A84 between Stirling and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. It is a 15-minute drive from Stirling, a one-hour drive from Edinburgh and a 40-minute drive from Glasgow. To get there by car, follow the postcode FK16 6EA and there is free parking on-site for cars but not RVs and coaches. And it is limited, so try and get there early.
How to Get There By Public Transport
Personally, I visited Doune Castle on public transport from Edinburgh via Stirling. But if you were visiting Doune Castle from Glasgow or anywhere else, you would need to travel via Stirling too.
So, first things first, take the train to Stirling. Visit ScotRail’s website for more information on train timetables and ticket prices. Then, head to bus stop Stance D just opposite Stirling Train Station and hop on the First N.59 bus heading to Dunblane but you will alight at Bank Street, Doune. I believe a return ticket was £6 and I could use contactless payment onboard. The journey is around 25 minutes, then it’s just a short 10-minute walk to Doune Castle. Check First’s website for up-to-date information on bus timetables and ticket prices.
Opening Times, Ticket Prices & Audio Guide
From April to October, Doune Castle is usually open from 9:30 – 17:30 but in the winter it is open from 10:00 – 16:00. Tickets cost £9 for adults but there are plenty of concession prices and memberships available. Please double check with Historic Environment Scotland for the most up-to-date info. Doune Castle is regularly closed for long periods due to it being a fragile heritage site.
The audio guide is one of the best parts about visiting Doune Castle and it is included in your ticket price. Terry Gilliam of Monty Python voices the majority of the guide, while Sam Heughan from Outlander narrates small sections. Thanks to COVID-19, visitors can use the QR code on the signs (like the photo below) to listen to the audio guide from their phones. So, don’t get to bring your earphones!
Book Your Place on an Outlander Tour in Scotland
Why not book a place on one of the Outlander tours in Scotland as I did?! I went on the Haggis Adventures One Day Outlander Trail from Edinburgh and it was amazing. Less than £50 and we visited Linlithgow Palace, Doune Castle, Culross, Falkland and Midhope Castle. Our guide and driver was also fun, energetic and knowledgeable about Scotland we listened to some Scottish folk music on the ride, too.
Some other great Scotland Outlander tours I’ve heard of include Rabbie’s Outlander Adventure One Day Tours from Glasgow or Edinburgh. Plus, Rabbie’s do three-day tours if you want to visit Outlander locations from the books as well as filming locations for Outlander the TV show.
Check Out My Other Outlander Filming Location Guides
And that’s my complete guide to the Doune Castle Outlander, Monty Python and Game of Thrones filming locations. Have you watched any of those films/TV shows or visited Doune Castle? Let me know in the comments below!