In our latest edition of our magazine, Premier Living, we took a look at some of the iconic movies and tv shows that have been filmed in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders. 

With beautiful Georgian and Victorian buildings, medieval castles, beautiful beaches and rugged landscapes, it’s no wonder Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders have caught the eye of film makers around the world.

Here are some of the locations that have provided the setting for various productions over the years – the perfect inspiration for day trips for film and TV buffs.

Edinburgh in the movies

Our capital has been the filming location of choice for many big movies in recent years. One of the most famous in recent years was Avengers: Infinity War, the opening scenes of which saw Scarlet Witch and Vision enjoying a cosy trip in the Scottish city, with scenes shot in the Old Town and Waverley Station.

While Avengers: Infinity War might be one of the biggest films to be set in Edinburgh, the Trainspotting movies are perhaps the most iconic. Across both of Danny Boyle’s films based on the Irvine Welsh novel, many locations in Edinburgh were featured, including Calton Road, Arthur’s Seat and even The Cavendish nightclub, often known as Cav for short (the nightclub is now called Atik).

Sunshine on Leith will always be close to the hearts of many Edinburgh locals. The musical, set to the songs of The Proclaimers, featured scenes shot in many Edinburgh locations including Leith (of course!), Grassmarket, Calton Hill and the Royal Mile.

More recently, the West End was used in place of 19th century London for upcoming ITV show Belgravia. This period drama was adapted for the screen by Julian Fellowes (who wrote the book of the same name), the writer behind the hugely popular Downton Abbey television show. The series stars Philip Glenister and Tamsin Greig and is due for release in early spring.

The sights of Edinburgh have also been featured in countless other tv shows and films, including One Day, Rebus, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Angel’s Share and Shallow Grave.

Fife on the big screen

One particular TV show has made much use of the iconic sights in the historic Kingdom of Fife. Outlander, a love story largely set in mid-18th century Scotland features Culross, Falkland Balgonie Castle near Glenrothes, Aberdour Castle and the harbour at Dysart across its many seasons.

The picturesque village of Culross also appeared in the deleted scenes of Captain America: The First Avenger, standing in for a Norwegian town.

The beautiful West Sands beach in St Andrews appeared on our screens in the iconic opening sequence of historical drama Chariots of Fire.

The nearby towns of Pittenweem and Elie were also the setting for the late Alan Rickman’s directorial debut The Winter Guest, starring Emma Thomson and Phyllida Law.

East Lothian on TV

East Lothian has been the film location of choice for many well-known films and TV shows. Recent highlights included Netflix’s Outlaw King, a biopic about Robert the Bruce.

Seacliff Beach, perched under the ruins of Tantallon Castle in North Berwick, was used for the Kildrummy Castle scenes.

This beach also featured in the recent Mary Queen of Scots film, starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie as the two warring queens of Scotland and England. And the picturesque location was used in critically acclaimed film Under the Skin, starring Scarlett Johansson.

Gosford House near Longniddry has also been used in numerous productions, including family-friendly flick The Little Vampire, horror movie The Awakening, Case Histories: Series Two and many others.

Various other East Lothian sights have been featured on screen in the likes of The Railway Man, Rebus, Outlander, Balamory and Summer Solstice.

West Lothian in the movies

West Lothian is home to many historic building and landmarks, including Linlithgow Palace, one of the principal residences of the monarch of Scotland in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Palace featured in recent productions Outlaw King and Outlander.

Outlander has also shot scenes at Midhope Castle at Hopetoun House, Beecraigs Country Park, Muiravonside Country Park and Blackness Castle. Blackness, a 15th Century Castle perched on the banks of the Firth of Forth, also featured in Outlaw King and Mary Queen of Scots. Hopetoun House is also said to appear in scenes in upcoming period drama Belgravia.

Midlothian on film

Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian appeared on our screens in 2006 blockbuster The Davinci Code starring Tom Hanks, which was based on the hugely popular Dan Brown book. Famous Midlothian sites have also been featured in the Outlander series, including Arniston House and Glencorse Old Kirk.

The Borders on the big screen

Those Marvel superheroes certainly love Scottish landscapes. The box office smash Avengers: Endgame used St Abbs in the Borders as New Asguard, where Thor resides.

With its picturesque homes and rugged cliffs, the seaside village made the perfect setting, and the local council even created signs proclaiming St Abbs to be twinned with New Asgard.

Belgravia, the period drama recently shot in West End, made use of a stately home in the Borders. Manderston House, home of The Rt, Hon. The 4th Baron Palmer, is located near Duns in Berwickshire and boasts stunning interiors with a silver-plated staircase.

The peaceful villages, incredible landscape and historic attractions of the Borders have also been featured in Driving Lessons, Taggart, The Escape Artist and many more.

How to get your house on film

Ever thought your home would look great on camera? Well, productions are often after the right property to feature in films, tv shows and adverts. But how do you get your house on film? Rosie Ellison, Head of Film Edinburgh, offers her top three tips:

  1. Register with Film Edinburgh. As the film office for the city region, we are the primary source of information and ideas for filmmakers looking for locations for their next production.
  2. Get good and realistic photos of the property, both interior and exterior. We’re looking for unaltered photos that show the whole room rather than a feature of it. Film Edinburgh will come and take photos but any that owners can provide are very much welcomed.
  3. Opt for well-defined style. Filmmakers may be looking for contemporary properties but equally important are homes with a period look to them. You may want to rip out your 1960s kitchen but there is a good chance that it will be highly desirable as a filming location.

Premier Living

This article was featured in the latest issue of Premier Living, ESPC’s bi-annual magazine which is packed full of interior inspiration, luxury properties and lifestyle tips. Read the full Autumn/Winter edition here, or pick up a copy from our Property Information Centre.