Tourism chiefs say ‘come and see Falkirk area’s famous film sets’

Falkirk’s starring role in movie and TV film hits is at the centre of a new tourism campaign designed to drive visitor trade to the area.

By Roy Beers
Sunday, 9th February 2020, 4:53 pm
Updated Sunday, 9th February 2020, 5:21 pm

Run in tandem with West Lothian’s tourism body, Visit Falkirk plans to create a collection of digital itineraries, maps and videos highlighting the full range of film locations across the area.

The initiative comes in the wake of a major upturn in visitor numbers to locations including Blackness Castle, which played a prominent role in both Outlaw King - the biggest budget movie filmed in Scotland - and also appeared in Mary Queen of Scots.

For this site alone visitor figures are said to have soared two and a half times their former level, driven by the castle’s worldwide exposure in major historical film epics.

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Main tourism organisation VisitScotland is backing the scheme with a £15,000 Growth Fund award, and the campaign has received additional support from Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway, Falkirk Delivers, Linlithgow Town Centre BID, Vue Cinemas and Falkirk Community Trust.

Falkirk Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said: “The Falkirk area has seen a huge growth in tourism but we are keen to ensure we sustain this growth.

“By highlighting and promoting the wide range of film locations within our areas this helps us reach out to a different market and bring in more visitors to the area.

“We are delighted to have received support from the VisitScotland Growth Fund to allow us to pool resources with Visit West Lothian and a number of partners to provide us with a budget to promote this sector in a positive manner.”

Culture and tourism Minister Fiona Hyslop said: “We recognise that film and TV influenced tourism brings a significant boost to Scotland’s economy, creates jobs, and enhances our international reputation.

“The Scottish Government is committed to strengthening our screen sector and promoting Scotland as a top spot for producing great films and television series.”

As part of the campaign a Screen Tourism event will take place where local businesses and groups can learn how to promote their on-screen connections and how they can engage with production companies to improve their visibility as potential filming locations.

The launch of the scheme was performed at Midhope Castle (a ruin) on the Hopetoun Estate in West Lothian, which has become a surprise tourism attraction - causing initial difficulties because of the numbers wishing to see the place used as “Lallybroch”, home of hero Jamie Fraser in Outlander.

Outlander was also filmed at Falkirk locations including, besides Blackness Castle, Callendar House, Muiravonside Country Park, Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway and Gray Buchanan Park, Polmont.

Jenni Steel, Film and Creative Industries Manager at VisitScotland, said: “We are delighted to support this fantastic initiative, where Visit Falkirk and Visit West Lothian have recognised the benefit of working together to showcase the remarkable number of filming locations in the area to encourage more visitors to travel here, stay longer and spend more.”

In our picture, left to right, are Emma Chalmers and Tom Kerr from the Visit West Lothian board, David White from Falkirk Community Trust; tourism and culture Minister Fiona Hyslop; Tracey Martin and (brandishing a Lochaber Axe) council leader Cecil Meiklejohn from Falkirk Council; and (also armed with a double-handed axe) VisitScotland film and creative industries manager Jenni Steele.