This is Doune Castle which was built in the late 1300s by “Scotland’s uncrowned king”, the 1st Duke of Albany, and was once the home of the earls of Moray. It features a 100ft high gate house which includes a Lord’s Hall with musician’s gallery, double fireplace and carved oak screen as well as spiral stairways, dark cellars and a large open courtyard. It is only 5 miles from our home and has lovely grounds beside the river for a Sunday stroll.
You may have seen it before though as it is a popular filming location and has featured in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Game of Thrones and is Castle Leoch in Outlander. According to the Moffat Centre’s Visitor Attraction Monitor, between 2014, when Outlander first aired, and 2016, Doune Castle has had an unprecedented 91.8 per cent increase in visitors. It is still a bit off the main tourist track and is never too busy however they are having to increase the size of the car park and visitor centre to cope with demand. You can visit the castle and take a guided audio tour narrated by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame. Remember to check beforehand that it won’t be closed for filming though !
The castle has always been a draw for Monty python fans from around the world and still hosts an annual Monty Python Day in September, when fans bring coconut shells to mimic horses’ hooves, just as King Arthur and his faithful servant, Patsy did in the film’s opening scene. They still sell coconuts in the shop and that film came out in 1975.
The Outlaw King
The latest filming to take place has been the Outlaw King for Netflix based on the story of Robert the Bruce. It is a true David v Goliath story of how the great 14th Century Scottish ‘Outlaw King’ Robert The Bruce used cunning and bravery to defeat and repel the much larger and better equipped occupying English army. His decisive victory over Edward II’s army at Bannockburn in 1314 finally won the freedom he had struggled for. Bruce was King of Scotland from 1306 – 1329. You can still visit the battlefield at Bannockburn where there is a great interactive visitor centre where you can help to decide the outcome of the battle. The statue below is at the site of the battlefield.
I missed the film crews on location but here is a sneak preview from Instagram of the set being created earlier this year. There were lots of trailers and tents set up nearby to cater for the crew so it looks like it is going to be a big budget production. One of our neighbours was an extra as he had a suitably manly beard to pass as a 12th century soldier. Remember to look out for Doune castle if you are watching the film.
We would love to hear if you have any famous locations close to where you live, let me know in the comments below: #SeenOnTheScreen