Since the buildings and landmarks that line our streets haven’t really changed for hundreds of years, Edinburgh is just as beautiful today as it was centuries ago. It is why we are no strangers to seeing our beautiful landmarks and famous streets light up the big screen. The same cobbled streets pave the way. The same eerie closes invite us in to the wonderful world of Edinburgh long ago. In fact, a change of costume and cart-full of hay is enough to transport you from modern-day Edinburgh to the period pieces filmed on our streets. And with more and more mega blockbusters on the horizon, we are counting down our favourite films shot in Edinburgh.
Arguably the most famous films shot in Edinburgh would have to be Trainspotting and the much-anticipated sequel, Trainspotting 2. Widely recognised as the best British film of all time, Trainspotting’s opening scenes were filmed in the Scottish capital as Ewan McGregor makes a dash down Princes Street to Calton Road with the police in hot pursuit. And while you could argue that parts of the film were shot in other Scottish cities, this iconic moment in Edinburgh’s film history has secured our place on the silver screen.
Not so much a film as it is a gripping series, Outlander has put Scotland on the map like never before. Tours to Outlander filming locations are rising in popularity in the capital as the time-travelling love triangle between Claire Randall, Jamie Fraser and Jonathan Randall continues to unfold. And in and around Edinburgh you will find some of the key filming locations in the series. Preston Mill, in East Lothian, stands as the mill at Lallybroch, while Hopetoun House in South Queensferry is transformed into the home of the Duke of Sandringham. More recently, the streets and lanes of Edinburgh’s Old Town were closed off as cast and crew descended on the capital to start filming Season 3 of Outlander.
3. The Da Vinci Code
Murder, mystery, secret organisations and Tom Hanks all came together to tell the story of the highly anticipated religious thriller by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code. While much of the film is shot elsewhere, the penultimate moment in the story was filmed in Rosslyn Chapel, just south of the city. The ancient medieval chapel is still used today as a place of worship, and is available to visit throughout the year.
4. Avengers: Infinity War
In February this year, production on the biggest film to be shot in Edinburgh to date got underway. For six months, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Incredible Hulk could be found wondering the streets and closes of Edinburgh. The largest film to be shot in Scotland, Avengers: Infinity War is said to dwarf Brad Pitt’s World War Z, which was shot in Glasgow. As the battle for earth gets underway, Edinburgh will be treated to a star-studded cast including Samuel L Jackson, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson and Benedict Cumberbatch.
So there you have it. Our favourite films shot in Edinburgh. To find out more about Edinburgh’s filming history, recreate famous film scenes or to visit a few filming locations for yourself, make the most of a Sightseeing Tour with the Parliament House Hotel.