To avoid disappointing any Nicholas Cage fans, this blog post is about The Wicker Man locations in the 1973 version, not the abomination that is the 2006 remake. I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen it, but from what I hear I don’t think my unfounded opinion is an unfair one.
The British folk “horror” version stars Edward Woodward as a devoutly Christian police sergeant tasked with visiting a remote Scottish island in the Hebrides. He is there to investigate the disappearance of a young girl but is instead caught up in the Celtic, pagan rituals of the residents led by their charming leader, Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee).
The Wicker Man is one of those cult classics (like 1989’s Withnail & I) that have several die-hard fans who are itching to visit all the settings on a pilgrimage of sorts. Unfortunately, The Wicker Man filming locations are a bit more spread out around Scotland than you might expect. Summerisle is, of course, fictional so the Isle of Skye, Lochalsh, and many places in Dumfries and Galloway all make up this singular unsettling place. But it isn’t impossible to visit them all if you know where they are! This list and the Google map will help.
Where Was The Wicker Man Filmed?
The Wicker Man Filming Locations in Scotland
1. Greyfriars Scottish Episcopal Church, Kirkcudbright
The Wicker Man opens with Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward) attending mass so the audience understands that he is the God-fearing sort. He worships in Greyfriars Scottish Episcopal Church in Kirkcudbright. There’s a flashback to this scene about halfway through the movie, too.
2. Eilean Mòr
Then, he flies a seaplane over some remote-looking islands to this fictional Hebridean destination. There are quite a few of these islands, but one is Eilean Mòr which is actually in the middle of the next two locations on this list.
3. The Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye
Just before he flies into the town’s harbour, you can quite clearly see the jagged rock named The Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye in the background of a couple of seaplane shots.
The Isle of Skye is a rather photogenic place (I spent a month there in March 2020) and has appeared in countless films.
4. Plockton Harbour, Lochalsh
As Howie approaches the main village on Summerisle, we see birds-eye-view shots of little white houses dotted around the coastline. He lands in the harbour and walks up a narrow pier to the mainland. All of these shots are in a village called Plockton, not too far away from the Isle of Skye but definitely on the mainland.
I also visited Plockton before embarking on a trip around the North Coast 500 in July 2021. The Harbour Master’s house is the exact location I’ve “pinned” on the Google map at the top of this post. Howie returns to this location when he attempts to leave the island via his seaplane on May Day. Ah, best-laid schemes…
5. High Street Gallery, 84 High Street, Kirkcudbright
And those are the only two The Wicker Man film locations that are in the Highlands, though Plockton will appear again a couple of times later on. The rest are in the borders. Howie wanders into town to speak to May Morrison who runs the post office (and sells some pretty disturbing sweeties, too). This building used to be a police station, and it is located at 84 High Street in Kirkcudbright. It’s now an art gallery.
6. 9 Ann St, Gatehouse of Fleet, Castle Douglas
After his chat with May Morrison and her human daughter Myrtle, Howie heads to The Green Man Inn for a pint, a meal and a room. Now, why there is a need for an Inn on an island where they don’t like outside visitors is a bit confusing but let’s just go with it. The exterior of the inn is a house on Ann Street in a town called Gatehouse of Fleet. I’m not 100% sure it’s N.9, but you can easily see which house it is. It is a very long building opposite the Masonic Arms pub with two front doors next to each other. It used to be the Cally Estates Offices, but I don’t think it is anymore.
7. Ellangowan Hotel, St John St, Creetown, Newton Stewart
But the downstairs pub interior for The Green Man Inn is somewhere completely different in Dumfries and Galloway. It is the Ellangowan Hotel in Newton Stewart and I wouldn’t be surprised if the decor is the same as it was in the 1970s when it was a The Wicker Man location. Get ready for some pretty horrific Scottish accents in this scene, too. Woodward’s is questionable yet bearable but the actor who plays the landlord of the Inn’s attempt makes me want to clog my ears with super glue.
8. 59 George Street, Whithorn, Newton Stewart
Howie stays in one of the upstairs rooms at The Green Man Inn, which is actually just a bedroom in a residential house at 59 George Street in Whithorn.
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9. Anwoth Old Kirk, Castle Douglas
It’s the next day, and Police Sergeant Howie isn’t sure what to make of the locals and the fact that no one knows who young Rowan is let alone that she is missing. He heads off to visit the local school and witnesses the children dancing around a maypole and singing about the birds and the bees. They are standing just outside Anwoth Old Kirk in Castle Douglas and you can quite clearly see the old church behind them. This is where Rowan is supposedly buried (she isn’t) but it 100% is the location of her harvest photo.
The bungalow literally across the road (I cannot find an address, sorry!) is Summerisle’s Schoolhouse.
10. Old Public Library, 60 St John Street, Whithorn, Newton Stewart
After learning more about Rowan, Howie visits the registrar’s office to see if there are any records on Rowan Morrison. The former public library at 60 St John Street in Whithorn stands in for this The Wicker Man filming location. It also stands in as Summerisle’s library too, later in the film on May Day when the policeman wants to research the festival.
11. 20 High Street, Gatehouse of Fleet, Castle Douglas
Howie’s next port of call is Summerisle’s Chemist where the proprietor sells essential medical treatments like pickled foreskins and snake oil embrocation. We don’t see the exterior, but the interior is 20 High Street in Gatehouse of Fleet. Today, it is a Boots store so it was probably a chemist back in the 1970s, too.
Howie sneaks back into the chemist to find Rowan’s harvest photo later in the film.
12. Castle Kennedy, Stranraer
There are two different The Wicker Man Scotland locations that stand in as Lord Summerisle’s estate gardens. The first is the gardens at Castle Kennedy in Stranraer. It’s a huge, 75-acre estate. The naked ladies dancing around the stone circle takes place here and also the May Day procession where Christopher Lee looks like a Morticia Addams reject, later in the film, is here too.
13. Culzean Castle, Maybole, South Ayrshire
Lord Summerisle’s mansion is a huge estate and far grander than any house we’ve seen in The Wicker Man up until now. The exterior that Howie sees from his carriage ride is Culzean Castle in Maybole.
14. Lochinch Castle, Stranraer
The interior of Lord Summerisle’s mansion is Lochinch Castle in Stranraer. It’s not far from Castle Kennedy but, unfortunately, it is a private residence so you won’t be able to visit. Lord Summerisle’s drawing-room is in this castle with its rather eclectic decor.
This The Wicker Man film location also acts as the courtyard that appears later in the film when the residents are preparing for the festival. Lord Summerisle gives a rousing speech about sacrifices and why they are necessary.
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15. Logan Botanic Garden, Port Logan
Lord Summerisle takes Sergeant Howie on a tour of his beautiful gardens. And though Castle Kennedy Gardens are pretty and expansive, they are not as exotic as the gardens required for this scene. So, Logan Botanic Garden in Port Logan stood in for this particular plot on Lord Summerisle’s estate.
16. Kirkcudbright Tolbooth, High Street, Kirkcudbright
It’s May Day and for some strange reason, Sergeant Howie’s seaplane won’t run. So, he heads back onto the island. And I can’t believe I’m saying this but he then chases down a man wearing a huge pantomime dress with a dragon’s head into a courtyard where locals are preparing for the festival. The entrance to this courtyard is Kirkcudbright Tolbooth which is now an art gallery.
17. 38 Harbour Street, Plockton, Lochalsh
Howie’s had enough. Where the eff is the body of Rowan Morrison?! Or, if she’s not dead, where is she? He decides to conduct searches for the child and starts with a house named “Sannachan” which is at 38 Harbour Street in Plockton.
18. Isle of Whithorn Castle, Newton Stewart
The next place he searches is a random dilapidated mansion in the film. But in real life, it’s a random dilapidated castle called the Isle of Whithorn Castle in Newton Stewart.
19. Cooper Street, Plockton
Howie searches another house where one of the children plays a trick on him by falling out of a wardrobe and pretending to be dead. From a window in this house, he spots a boat sailing into the harbour. This house is on Cooper Street and the cottage may be called “Tullochard” but I cannot confirm this.
20. Harbour Cottage Gallery, Kirkcudbright
After snooping around on the boat, Howie visits a building called Harbour Cottage which turns out to be the local bakery. The exterior is in Kirkcudbright, where in real life this building is called Harbour Cottage Gallery. How are there so many galleries in Kirkcudbright?!
21. The Old Bakery, 21 St John Street, Creetown, Newton Stewart
The interior for Summerisle’s bakery is an actual former bakery and it’s at 21 St John Street in Creetown, Newton Stewart.
22. St Ninian’s Cave, Whithorn, Newton Stewart
Lord Summerisle leads the May Day procession onto the beach where they sacrifice a cask of ale (a great tragedy, in my personal opinion) to the gods of the sea. This location is just outside St Ninian’s Cave in Whithorn. It is also where they are holding Rowan hostage as a sacrifice to the gods of the earth.
23. Burrow Head, Whithorn, Newton Stewart
The most iconic The Wicker Man location is, of course, the set-piece in which gave the film its name. The production team built the majestic burning man just down the coast from St Ninian’s Cave at Burrow Head in Whithorn. The closest actual address to this location is the Burrowhead Holiday Village, but it really isn’t too far away.
Apparently, you can still see the two bases on the ground where they built the towering structure almost 50 years ago.
And those are all The Wicker Man locations in Scotland! Have you visited any of the filming locations or watched the film? Let me know in the comments below!