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I hadn’t read up much about the Callendar House Outlander film location before my visit. But, I was seriously impressed with the number of things to do here and what’s more, it’s completely FREE to visit!
It’s no secret that the Outlander effect has increased interest and tourism in certain areas of Scotland and Callendar House is one of them.
The great thing is that Callendar House has fully embraced this interest in their Georgian Kitchens since the filming took place.
Ever since they have introduced lots of Outlander inspired activities for fans to get involved with so you can really experience what a Georgian Kitchen was like back then. You can even try 18th century inspired recipes!
Here’s a guide to the Calendar House Outlander kitchen and all the incredible things you can do there.
What is Callendar House in Scotland?
Callendar House is a French-chateau styled ancestral home that dates all the way back to the 14th Century!
Although the French style we see today was built in 1877, the tower house dates back to 1345.
Many famous figures have stayed here through the ages including Mary Queen of Scots, Oliver Cromwell and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
It’s placed in the historic Callendar Park which covers 170 acres and contains a part of the Antonine Wall World Heritage Site dating back to 142AD.
It’s home to multiple displays about the history of Callendar lands from the Roman era, to the Jacobite era and through to the present day. There is also a records library on site.
Callendar House History
In the 12th century, the land was home to the Thanes of Callendar but they were eventually forfeited. Then, in the 14th century, King David II granted Sir William Livingston the deed to the lands.
Andrew, the 5th Lord Livingstons, was Mary Queen of Scot’s guardian during her childhood and the contract between Mary and the French Dauphin were signed inside Callendar house. Even Livingston’s daughter was the maid of honour to Queen Mary.
Alexander Livingston, the 1st Earl of Linlithgow was entrusted by James I to educate his daughter Princess Elizabeth.
Callendar House Jacobite connection
Although the Livingston’s were nobles under the crown, when James II was forced to flee to France, the family sided with the Stuart cause.
Therefore, their lands were forfeited. They were sold to the Yorkshire Buildings Company and Lady Anne Livingston had them leased to her.
The Livingston’s were known Jacobites and were involved in both the Jacobite risings of “The 15” and “the 45”.
In 1746, Lady Anne Livingston hosted Bonnie Prince Charlie at her home before the Battle of Falkirk. But, after the Jacobite defeat at the Battle of Culloden, her husband the 4th Earl of Kilmarnock was beheaded for treason.
Their son, James Hay, then stayed on at the property until his death in 1778.
It was later bought out by William Forbes in 1783 and made into the chateau it is today. In 1963 the Falkirk Burgh Council purchased the house and now it is run by the Falkirk Community Trust who run it as a museum.
What was the Callendar House Outlander film location
In series 2 episode 11,’ Vengeance is mine’, Claire pretends that she is captured by Jamie and the MacKenzie clan so that the British troops would let them go.
The redcoats take her to be cared for by a nobleman in the area which we later find out is the Duke of Sandringham!
The kitchens inside the home are where Claire tries to escape and where Jamie and Murtagh come to save them.
Mary kills her attacker and It’s also where Murtagh lays Mary Hawkin’s vengeance at her feet (the head of the Duke of Sandringham)!
The Georgian Kitchens are open to the public inside the museum and you can see it for yourself on your visit.
Things to do in the Callendar House Georgian Kitchens for Outlander fans
1. Talk to the friendly staff dressed up in Georgian clothes
The great thing is that the kitchens are like a living museum, the staff are dressed up in Georgian clothes.
They are on hand to give you a tour of the kitchens, explain anything that you might want to know more about and how to use items in the kitchen too.
Things like an orange peeler, coffee grinder, salt boxes and a spit aren’t common things found anymore, so it’s great to have a go and test some out. It’s more of a hands-on experience than a museum.
2. Learn about Georgian kitchens and how they used to prepare meals
Dotted around the kitchen are cookbooks and recipes on how to make meals from the Georgian period.
Around that time there was a roaring sugar trade (unfortunately slavery too) and tastes were starting to get much sweeter.
The aristocracy would eat fruity dishes and sugary treats like gingerbread. Or, sip on spicy hot chocolate which was all the rage. Although many didn’t discover dentistry until much later either so they lost a lot of teeth haha!
Many of the estates, like Callendar, would have their own gardens and use the canal systems to import produce too.
3. Sample some 18th century recipes from the Outlander Kitchen cookbook
What I absolutely loved was the fact they had some 18th-century recipes to sample and even some from the Outlander Kitchen cookbook!
This is also on sale at their gift shop if you wanted to buy and try the recipes out for yourself.
The staff had kindly made Black Jack Randall’s lavender fudge and Indian gingerbread which was amazing and so tasty.
4. Watch the Georgian fires being made
Even though it was July, it was actually pretty chilly in this huge space with stone floors. So, it was nice to see the fires being lit.
These are made traditionally and it was no easy task to clear out and set up again. To think that the servants would have to do this almost daily was quite amazing, really.
Above the fires, they also had a spit and a pulley system to twist the meat rather than someone having to spin. Which was quite advanced for those times.
You can just imagine the Duke of Sandringham snacking by the flames!
5. Take a photo with a cut out of Jamie and Claire!
If you’re really eager, you can have some fun and take photos with the cutout masks of Jamie and Claire too.
Lot’s of Outlander fans visit here and the staff tell me that everyone has a lot of fun with them taking selfies. I left it but it’s a nice souvenir to take home from your visit.
6. Check out the print shop upstairs that looks like A. Malcolm’s print shop
If you go upstairs in the Callendar House museum on the second floor, you can find Thomas Johnston’s printer shop.
Although not used in Outlander for the series, the print shop does look Alexander Malcolm’s print shop in Carfax Close. Here you can learn about printing techniques in the 18th century.
If you were eager to visit Alexander Malcolm’s print shop, you can read my Bakehouse Close guide that gives you all the details.
I also have a post on a Royal Mile walking tour that highlights all the Outlander locations!
Exploring the rest of Callendar House
The Georgian Kitchens used in Outlander open up later than the rest of the house at 11am. So, if you did turn up early as I did, there’s lot’s to explore in the museum while you wait.
While I was here, they had an exhibition about the Roman period at Callendar. This was a ticketed event but there are also lots of displays to look at too.
The displays give you an overview of Callendar House’s story, from the Roman era to present. Also, there’s a contemporary art exhibition and also cultural displays showcasing life in the Falkirk area.
If you did want to have a look in the Victorian Library, they have an archive to explore.
Callendar House Tea rooms
A popular stop for locals in Falkirk is the tea rooms at Callendar House.
When I was here, there was a Saturday running club happening in the park so afterwards everyone was getting a caffeine boost in the café
You can pop in for a cuppa and some a light bites, or why not treat yourself to afternoon tea. It’s only £11.95 per person and booking is highly recommended.
It looked so yummy and wish I had time to indulge in one, but I was on a tight schedule.
Callendar House gift shop
The gift shop at Callendar house was surprisingly big and had loads of souvenirs on offer.
As well as books about the history of the area, Outlander fans will be interested in the official merchandise that’s on offer.
They were selling Diana Gabaldon’s novels, MacKenzie and Fraser Tartan, Outlander inspired jewellery and much more.
Also, they were selling the award-winning Outlander Kitchen cookbook to try out some of the recipes too.
Callendar Park and the Antonine Wall
After you’ve had a look around Callendar house, the grounds of Callendar Park are well worth exploring.
Not only do you get some fantastic views of the Chateau whilst on your stroll you can visit part of the famous Antonine Wall built in the 2nd century.
The Antonine Wall was part of the Roman Empire which covered over 5,000 km across 3 continents. In Scotland, it snaked from Clyde to Forth.
Made out of 3 metres of turf and trenches 5 metres deep, It took a force of 7,000 men to build. Taking no prisoners, it cut through any tribal boundaries that were once in place on the land.
Over 7,000 soldiers were stationed on the Antonine Wall across the Empire, who patrolled and defended the enemy lines.
There’s no longer any sign of a wall but a ditch is located at Callendar and it’s a noted part of the trail. Learn more in the display in Callendar House and some artefacts recovered there.
Where was the rest of the Duke of Sandringham’s House filmed?
Unfortunately, the kitchens are the only thing that was filmed for Outlander inside Callendar House.
If you did want to see the exteriors of the estate, the bedrooms and the place where Claire escapes through the secret door in the painting on the wall, you can visit Drumlanrig Castle.
Drumlanrig Estate is the ancestral home of the Bruce family. They have a heart with wings as their sigil as they are related to Robert the Bruce who is famous for the heart of
It’s quite a fair way down the country, but it’s well worth a visit if you’re an Outlander fan. A full guide is coming soon!
How to reach Callendar House in Scotland
Callendar House can be found in Falkirk in Scotland. It’s quite close to the Falkirk Kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel in the area that are top attractions to visit.
The most convenient way to access the house is by car. It’s a 30-minute drive from Stirling, 40 minutes from Glasgow and 50 minutes from Edinburgh.
Parking is free at Callendar house but can get quite busy on weekends for the running club in the mornings.
The nearest train station is in Falkirk Grahamston and from here you can catch a bus or walk to the house. To plan your route take a look at Travel line Scotland that connects public travel.
Opening times and prices of Callendar House
Callendar House is FREE to visit which is amazing as it’s such a great museum with lots to do. So, it makes the perfect rainy day activity.
The opening times for Callendar House are 10am – 5pm daily, but be aware that the Georgian Kitchens are only open from Thursday – Monday and don’t open until 11am.
So, you’ll be hanging around quite a bit before you go in.
Outlander locations in and around Falkirk and things do in the area
Falkirk has lots to offer visitors in terms of attractions in Scotland and it’s well worth making some stops around the area.
You’ll probably have heard of the amazing Falkirk Kelpies that you can see from the Motorway on your way up to Stirling.
This incredible statue of two massive horse heads can be seen for miles and it’s incredible to get up close to them. Or, you can visit the Falkirk wheel nearby.
Dunmore Pineapple is a unique attraction and hotel in the area and you can even access the abandoned Dunmore House ruins which featured at the very beginning of Outlander series 1.
Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway is well worth a visit which is where Claire and Frank said their goodbyes in series 1. You can ride on a steam train or visit the Scottish railway museum.
Outlander locations near Edinburgh
A little further out of Falkirk is Blackness Castle that featured as Fort William in Outlander where Jamie was flayed. Or, visit Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots to see Wentworth Prison.
Click here for my ultimate list of filming locations in Edinburgh for Outlander
If you head over the water you can visit the previous royal Burgh of Culross that was Cranesmuir in series 1.
I visited almost every location and have informative guides on visiting them all. You can see my whole Outlander location archives here!