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The Battle of Culloden is one of the major plot points throughout the first three seasons of Outlander. So, when I visited Inverness at the end of my road trip around the North Coast 500, I had to pay a visit. Of course, the production team shot the Outlander Culloden scenes of the battle on fields elsewhere in Scotland. But the Culloden Outlander scenes in the 1940s and 1960s are of Culloden Moor as the memorial site it is today.
The Battle of Culloden took place in 1746 between the Jacobites led by Bonnie Prince Charlie and the British army led by the Duke of Cumberland. The Jacobites didn’t stand a chance. The battle lasted only an hour and while 2,000 Jacobites lost their lives compares with Britain’s 300 dead. The battle marked the end of Highland culture as it was; the British outlawed tartan and Gaelic following the battle.
So, while the Culloden Battle scenes from Outlander did not take place here (for obvious reasons), Culloden Battlefield still appeared in one or two fleeting “present-day” scenes. And Outlander is a surprisingly faithful reimagining of the real-life event. So, where is Outlander filmed in Culloden Moor and which episodes did it appear in? Let’s find out! This guide covers everything that Outlander fans need to know when visiting Culloden.
Where Was Outlander Filmed at Culloden Battlefield?
Outlander Culloden Battlefield Scenes at Culloden Moor
- “Rent” – Episode Five, Season One
- “Dragonfly in Amber” – Episode 13, Season Two
In the Season One episode “Rent”, there is a flashback of Claire and Frank visiting the site of Culloden in the 1940s. I’m not sure if the real Culloden Battlefield site stood in as the Outlander location, but at least they were visiting the location as a memorial site in this scene.
But in the Season Two finale “Dragonfly in Amber”, Claire visits the memorial and specifically visits the headstone marked “Clan Fraser”. This is definitely an authentic Culloden Battlefield Outlander location because that headstone does exist. In fact, Outlander fans lay flowers at this headstone in honour of Jamie Fraser. It’s a bit weird because Jamie is a fictional character and that headstone is for real members of Clan Fraser who died fighting in the battle. But at least it’s a nice thing to do, you know?
These are the only scenes featuring this Outlander filming location, but that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the more popular filming locations of Outlander that fans like to visit. In fact, this scene from Outlander made such an impression that the people at Culloden Battlefield are currently building a path to the Clan Fraser marker because visitors are wearing the ground away.
Other Outlander Culloden Battlefield Locations
- “The Hail Mary” – Episode 12, Season Two
- “Dragonfly in Amber” – Episode 13, Season Two
- “The Battle Joined” – Episode One, Season Three
If you are more interested in the Battle of Culloden Outlander filming locations, then you’re in luck! In the final two episodes of Season Two, we witness many encounters at Culloden House. Outlander shot these scenes at Touch House in Stirling. And in Season Three, Torbrex Farms in Airdrie stood in for Culloden Moor for the scenes showing the aftermath of the battle.
Standing Stones at Clava Cairns
Clava Cairns are not an Outlander filming location. But, they have such a huge resemblance to one of Outlander‘s most popular set pieces and are so close to Culloden Battlefield that I would be remiss if I didn’t mention them.
Clava Cairns are a group of three stone circles dating back to the Bronze Age. They are around 4,000 years old and people built them to house the dead. So, what have they got to do with locations for Outlander if they didn’t appear in the TV show? Well, the standing stones at Craigh na Dun are just set pieces on top of a mound in a farm near Pitlochry. But there is one tall, rectangular standing stone at Clava Cairns that looks a heck of a lot like the one that transports Claire back in time 200 years when she touches it.
I may or may not have posed with this standing stone when I visited Clava Cairns…
Culloden Battlefield and Clava Cairns in Scotland: Planning Your Trip
How to Get There By Car (& Parking)
Culloden Battlefield is just a 15-minute drive east of Inverness and you can follow the postcode IV2 5EU to get there. It’s pretty straightforward to find. The first car park you arrive at is a free, small, overspill car park. You can definitely park here, it will just be a 5-minute walk to the site. But if you want to park closer to the visitor’s centre, you can. It’s just £2 for all-day parking.
Parking at Clava Cairns is limited but free, and there are far fewer cars there than at Culloden Battlefield. For some stupid reason, the postcode for Clava Cairns is the same as it is for Culloden Battlefield. So, I suggest following road signs to Clava Cairns and if you have a passenger/navigator, they can direct you to the exact location using Google maps. This is what we did and it worked perfectly.
How to Get There By Public Transport
There is a direct bus service from Inverness to Culloden Battlefield. Head to the Marks & Spencers shop on Academy Street where there is a bus stop directly outside and hop on the N.2 bus service to Tornagrain. It is a 30-minute journey and you will get off at the Culloden Battlefield stop. Easy breezy beautiful! The stop is literally a one-minute walk to the Battlefield. Check Stagecoach North Scotland’s website for up-to-date information on ticket prices and bus timetables.
Unfortunately, there is no public transport option to Clava Cairns. However, they are a 30-minute walk from Culloden Battlefield which might be doable for some.
Opening Times & Ticket Prices
This is something they don’t make very clear on the website: Culloden Battlefield, the memorial site, is 100% free to enter and open 24/7. It is literally a fully-open gate you can see easily from the car park.
The Culloden Battlefield and Visitor’s Centre is open from 10:00 – 16:00 for most of the year. However, it is completely closed from January to April and there are certain times of the year where it is not open every day. So, it’s super important you check the National Trust for Scotland’s website for the most up-to-date info before you visit.
Full price, adult tickets for the visitor’s centre are £11. I do think this is a little steep. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit and learned heaps about the Battle of Culloden. Plus, the site is having a tough time with developers wanting to build on the memorial site so they need every help they can get to keep it protected.
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 visiting the Outlander Culloden Battlefield locations! Do you watch Outlander and are you planning a trip to this location? Let me know in the comments below!