We live in the tiny village where Outlander is filmed – star-struck women flock here and clog up our streets | The Sun

RESIDENTS of the tiny village where popular period drama Outlander is filmed say star-struck women "frothing" over Sam Heughan flock there in their thousands.

Culross, Fife, is one of several locations frequently used by the Starz creators of the Scottish series, which is set in the 18th century and based on novels by Diana Gabaldon.

The quaint, picturesque village is famed for its steep cobblestone streets and has a population of just 400 people – yet it is known by millions due to its appearance on the hit show.

But super-fans, or "Outlanders", know it better by its fictional TV name Cranesmuir.

Culross – or Cranesmuir – is now a major attraction, with real-life sights such as the Mercat Cross and Palace which appear on screen.

Resident and barista at local Bessie's Café Niall Campbell has noticed a significant shift in the area since filming began in 2013.


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The 44-year-old, who moved to Culross from Glasgow, said: "I’ve been here just over 10 years so was around when they first started filming and there’s been a massive difference in visitors and the village itself.

"It has gradually got more and more popular with at least one bus trip a day coming through on official organised tours.

"We get all kinds of visitors from far and wide, mostly Americans, Canadians, Australians and Germans and ladies of a certain age frothing over Jamie Fraser.

"We also see a lot of tour guides in their period kilts dragging along the ground which is entertaining.

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"I actually got to see ‘Jamie’, played by Scottish actor Sam Heughan, the first time but after that he was always hidden away from the public view because of the fans, especially when they get wind of the filming dates because the village can get packed with people trying to get a sneak peek."

Niall said the influx of tourists has been great for local businesses, including his own.

"More and more people are now leaning into the Outlander hype, such as the gallery down the road having merchandise," he added.

"But we continue the same business just with more customers that come here specifically because of the TV show."

While the impact has mostly been positive, Niall claims there have been a couple of drawbacks – mostly to do with the former royal burgh's roads becoming clogged.

He said: "There's a little bit of disruption to the locals.

"The first time they filmed it was kind of annoying because it was in the middle of the village and I was living at the top of the hill so had to walk through the film set to get to work.

"They had all these fake cobbles and horses and over 100 extras.

"The last time they filmed was October and they had scaffolding here in our café so we had to close, but we were compensated, as were other businesses locally.

"But obviously with the trade that you get from them filming here, it kind of comes back to you with the show being so popular."

It has gradually got more and more popular with at least one bus trip a day coming through on official organised tours.

He added: "There is some feeling that there is too much human traffic through here, especially for a quaint little village such as ours, but it’s good for business.

"Congestion and buses blocking the streets can also be an issue, and some locals aren't such big fans because of that.

"But to be honest, it's quite a slow-paced village and most of the residents that are directly impacted are given compensation.

"For example, residents that had filming outside their front doors got a few hundred pounds each, so the creators really look after us."

It has also been interesting to see how the village is transformed by the production crews to get an idea how it might have looked centuries ago, Niall said.

"I don't think anyone really knew what was going to happen when they first filmed so that was cute, and it's nice because the village is all historic when it's dressed up with those details," he added.

"In October, they used the upstairs room of the gallery and took out all of the furniture that belonged to us and replaced it with more authentic or period detailed things which is quite nice to see how they would image the village's buildings to look internally too in the period."


Culross has tried to use the popularity of the show to its advantage and embrace the Outlander theme as part of its identity.

This has meant an increase in the number of Airbnbs to encourage visitors to stay for longer than a day as well as a range of branded products.

At the heart of the village is the Culross Palace and Townhouse where holidaymakers can explore a museum dedicated to 17th century port life.

Cared for by the National Trust for Scotland, it has a gift shop flogging Outlander-themed items.

A group of tourists who travelled from Seville, Spain, to Culross said Outlander was a "huge reason" for visiting Scotland.

Data collected by the NTS supports residents' observations about a surge in visitors.

Trust properties that have featured in the programme have all seen the number of tourists increase.

Following its Outlander appearance, visitors to Culross Palace had shot up by 53 per cent, and for Preston Mill in East Lothian it was around 25 per cent in 2019.

A spokesperson said: "Outlander attracts some visitors to the village in the first place, but we have found that once they are here, they fall in love with the history of the place and find the uniqueness and welcoming atmosphere very special indeed.

"Many local businesses, and the local community, have benefited from that.

"We do our best to manage all filming projects as sensitively as possible, in terms of both the conservation needs of the location and being mindful of the communities where they are based.

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"We do meet and communicate regularly with Culross Community Council, including to discuss issues around filming, and will continue to pay attention to the community’s views and experiences on this."

Series seven of Outlander, which follows a World War Two nurse transported back in time and also stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire Fraser, is set to premiere this summer.

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