Movie Tours in Edinburgh

See Edinburgh in a whole new light. The city has appeared on the silver screen more than once, as we discover

With its historic good looks, Edinburgh is a ready-made film set, so it’s no surprise that blockbuster films like Avengers: Infinity War and T2: Trainspotting have used Scotland’s capital city as a location.

A result of this is the rise of the aptly named ‘set jetting’ (choosing to visit a destination after seeing it on television or film), in the capital, with the city seeing more and more visitors taking the chance to explore a living, breathing film set during their trips to Edinburgh.

It’s not just Edinburgh that is benefitting. Seventy eight per cent of UK visitors now choose to travel to locations they’ve seen on screen, and 90 per cent of respondents to a survey in China, South Korea and India indicated that film or TV locations influenced their holiday destination choice. Set jetting is now very much a global phenomenon.

Rosie Ellison, Head of Film Edinburgh (the film board for the city), said: “The figures speak for themselves: people want to visit locations they see on screen. Edinburgh has long been a film-friendly destination, but our work to attract and support the production of global franchises, such as Avengers: Infinity War in 2017 means the Capital has more exposure amongst travellers than ever.

“The rise in demand means the opportunities for set jetters are plentiful in Edinburgh – with a growing range of film-themed attractions on offer, each one more unique than the last.”

Here’s Film Edinburgh’s guide to the best set jetting tours around the city:

Get the inside scoop on Outlander

To see set jetting in action, you only need to look to the so-called ‘Outlander Effect’. The historical fiction series has been named one of the biggest contributors to the Scottish tourism industry in recent years. Many of the castles used in the popular TV series are near to the capital, including Jamie’s ancestral home, Lallybroch (pictured), which is actually Midhope Castle, part of the Hopetoun Estate. A number of other locations can be found in the old town of Edinburgh. Mercat Tours’ Edinburgh Outlander Experience is a chance to explore the city of the Outlander novels and learn how Claire and Jamie’s story relates to the real history of the Scottish Capital.

It doesn’t stop there. The impact of Outlander means a wide range of themed tours have popped up around the city. Check out operators like Haggis Adventures, Mary’s Meanders, Mini Kilt, Rabbie’s and Timberbush Tours, to name a few. mercattours.com

Whizz around the Potter trail

Clued up Harry Potter fans will know that the novels were written in Edinburgh, hometown of author JK Rowling who first imagined the lovable wizard while working in a café in the city, taking inspiration from its historic landscape while she did so. The novels were adapted for the big screen, with many scenes shot in Scotland. This spellbinding tour visits the café where the magic began, passes sites said to inspire Diagon Alley and Hogwarts – and even takes a spooky trip to Voldemort’s grave. On special dates the tour is even guided by a real-life magician, so it’s ideal for families. The best part? This tour is absolutely free! (although donations are welcome). pottertrail.com

Tour like royalty

Hot on the heels of the latest Netflix sensation, follow the path of Scotland’s Outlaw King – the story of Robert the Bruce. The movie was filmed in historic locations allOutlaw King over Scotland, many of which can be found in the Edinburgh city region including Linlithgow Palace, Borthwick Castle, Blackness Castle and Seacliff Beach. A highlight? Craigmillar Castle, only three miles from Edinburgh city centre. One of the best-preserved medieval castles in Scotland, it features as Robert the Bruce’s castle in the film. For information on tours see visitscotland.com

T2 Trainspotting

The sequel to Trainspotting returns to Edinburgh with the same cast 20 years on, and showcases many areas seen in the original film. Although gritty and urban, some of the action takes place on Arthur’s Seat, the volcanic hill to the east of the city. There’s a tour that takes you to many of the locations used, including the site of Leith train station (the inspiration for the title), and of course no Trainspotting tour would be complete without a visit to a pub. britmovietours.com

For more information please visit edinburgh.org/edinburgh-on-film

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