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If you’re looking to find Bellhurst Manor, which is the Duke of Sandringham’s estate in Outlander, then look no further than Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries and Galloway.
There are many Drumlanrig Outlander filming locations inside and outside of the castle. So, it’s well worth a visit to explore the gardens and take a tour inside too!
I have to admit, this particular castle is out on a limb compared to other Outlander locations in Scotland, but if you are an eager fan then don’t miss out.
Here’s a complete guide on all the Outlander spots to look out for at Drumlanrig Castle!
What was the Drumlanrig Castle Outlander location?
In series 2, episode 11 of Outlander ‘Vengeance is Mine’, Claire pretends she has been taken by the MacKenzie party to save the clan and so the redcoats let them go.
After, the redcoats take her to safety in the home of a nobleman at Bellhurst Manor. That turns out to be the horrid Duke of Sandringham!
Whilst here the Duke of Sandringham claims to be a Jacobite and Claire sends a letter to Jamie thinking the Duke is on her side. This turns out to be a trick and he lays out a trap to capture Jamie.
Mary Hawkins, the Duke’s God Daughter, is also at the castle and tries to help Claire to escape. Eventually, Claire finds out that the Duke of Sandringham’s butler is the one who attacked her and Mary in Paris.
Mary finds out and kills her attacker and then Murtagh puts an end to the Duke of Sandringham, laying vengeance at Mary’s feet.
These scenes were mostly all filmed outside and inside Drumlanrig Castle with the kitchen being an exception.
This was actually filmed in Callendar House. You can read my complete Outlander guide for Callendar House here.
Drumlanrig Castle History
Drumlanrig Castle has a long and noble history spanning back 600 years and is the ancestral home of the Douglas Family.
The Pink Castle we see today is one of the finest examples of 17th-century architecture and finished construction in 1691. Before this, there was an earlier Medieval Castle on the lands.
There is so much to cover in the history of Drumlanrig, but I’ll go through a few highlights.
Braveheart – Robert the Bruce, as well as fighting the English out of Scotland, ran a crusade fighting for the Cross against Islam. After King Robert, died his loyal subject, Sir James Douglas, set off on the crusade to fulfill Robert’s wish. He took Robert’s heart with him in a silver case. He died in the Moors and apparently screamed ‘Forward, Brave Heart!’. His heroic death was an inspiration for the Dougall symbol of a crowned heart with wings.
Mary Queen of Scots – Lord James Douglas, in 1567, was also involved in trying to drive Mary out of the country. However, this didn’t affect the relationship with Douglas’ and the crown as her son James I visited the castle to strengthen their bond.
Bonnie Prince Charlie 1945 spent the night in Drumlanrig Castle on his way up to Culloden. This room now has the nickname the Bonnie Prince Charlie Suite and Neil Armstrong specifically requested to stay here on his tour after the Moon landings.
It’s now owned by the 10th Duke of Buccleuch & Queensberry. The gardens and the castle open to the public in the summer.
Drumlanrig Castle Tours – no photography allowed inside.
If you were eager to explore the inside of Drumlanrig Castle as well as the gardens, you must be on a guided tour. There is no option for self-guided tours inside the property.
Tours run during certain weeks of the year and summer until the end of August. During these months they take place every hour from 11 am – 4 pm. I didn’t know that the last tour was at 4 pm so I pretty much begged the staff to sell me a ticket and made a mad dash for the castle!
Always check their website for their opening dates throughout the season. Tours of the castle and gardens cost £12 per adult and £6 for children.
If you were visiting outside of Drumlanrig Castle opening times the grounds and gardens are still open to explore daily from April – September. Or, you can book private group tours at an extra cost.
7 Drumlanrig Castle Outlander locations to visit
Due to art robberies in the past, there is strictly no photography inside the castle at all! Which is fair enough.
So, I will do my best to explain the parts that were used in Outlander without the photos!
1. The Outside of Bellhurst Manor / Drumlanrig Castle
This part of the property you are allowed to take photos of. We first see Drumlanrig Castle in Outlander or Bellhurst Manor should I say, when Claire arrives on horseback with the redcoats.
In the series, there is an army camp set up on the grounds of the castle designed to protect the Duke of Sandringham.
2. Reception / The room where Claire is introduced
As soon as you step up the mirrored staircase into the property, you’ll recognise the reception room where Claire first realises that Bellhurst Manor is owned by the Duke.
Apparently, the carpet in here which has the crowned heart with wings was picked by the lady of the house. The Duke didn’t like the carpet and so he didn’t mind visitors treading on it!
Most big houses in Scotland have now put in place exact digital copies of the carpets. This is to protect them from the visitor footfall.
3. The Dining Room / Bellhurst Manor Dining Room
The dining room at Drumlanrig Castle is HUGE and has one of the finest examples of carving work I’ve seen. Look out for the interesting ram head snuff box that sits in the cabinet nearby.
During Outlander, Claire eats with the Duke of Sandringham at this table and they discuss how he is a Jacobite.
During the war, Drumlanrig Castle was a school for girls. The dining room was used for netball games and, apparently, the ball knocked some of the carving work off!
Some 40 years later, the girls were invited back to Drumlanrig for a luncheon and they finally admitted the mistake haha.
4. The Salon / Desk where Claire write the Gaelic Note
In one of the salons at Drumlanrig Castle (sorry, the name escapes me), there is a writing desk that Claire uses. She sits at the desk writing a, terribly written, Gaelic note for Jamie and Murtagh.
She tells the Duke to deliver it to Munroe but then learns that he has set a trap to capture Jamie!
We then see this room again when Claire finds out that the Duke of Sandringham’s butler, was the attacker in Paris. She recognises the birthmark on his hand.
5. Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Room / Claire’s bedroom
When the Duke sets a trap for Jamie, he locks her into a bedroom at Bellhurst Manor. That room is the Bonnie Prince Charlie room. You’ll instantly recognise it from the amazing tapestries that hang in there!
This is the room where Mary asks Claire if she can escape with her and they sneak away out of the secret passage behind the painting.
The name of this room comes from the fact that Bonnie Prince Charlie slept her on his way to Culloden. A chest was left at the property by him but it was empty.
6. The painting Claire sneaks through
As they were currently renovating a room to hang a Rembrandt, the usual route for the tour around the castle was shut off. So, the only way we could get through to the next room was through the secret door behind the painting.
This door was THE door that Claire walks through to escape the Duke of Sandringham.
They don’t normally allow members of the public to go through this door but as I told them I was a fan of Outlander, they made a special exception!
Obviously, no photos to prove it, but I did it all the same haha.
7. Drumlanrig Castle Gardens
We see some of the outside of Bellhurst Manor from the Drumlanrig Castle Gardens. Firstly, when Hugh Munro approaches the castle and when we see Redcoats on Patrol.
Many of these locations can be found in the walled garden area out the back of the castle. If you these gardens in spring or summer they look incredible!
As I got the last tour, I had to (once again) beg the staff to let me see them haha! So, I had a sweeping visit. But, next time, I will leave more time.
Where was the kitchen at Bellhurst Manor filmed?
The Kitchen of Bellhurst Manor is actually filmed in an entirely different location further up the country in Falkirk.
Callendar House is a French Chateau home that was built by William Forbes. Previously, the lands were owned by the Livingston family, which were known as Jacobites!
It’s now a FREE museum and has an authentic Georgian Kitchen where you can explore all things, Outlander.
The staff dress in Georgian clothes, light the huge fire like in the series, and even have traditional 18th-century recipes!
How to get to Drumlanrig Castle in Scotland
Drumlanrig Castle is located in Dumfries and Galloway, where Sam Heughan is from in Outlander.
It’s a huge estate tucked away in the Dumfriesshire countryside, so the best way is to drive. Use this postcode DG3 4AQ to locate the correct entrance.
Alternatively, there are a few bus services that stop nearby Drumlanrig Castle which are the 246 Dumfries-Ayr, X74, and 101 bus services. I always use Travel Line Scotland to plan a journey by public transport.
Outlander locations to visit near Drumlanrig Castle
If you’re looking for a few places to visit after your Drumlanrig Castle Outlander adventure, there are quite a few in the Ayrshire region;
You can read my ULTIMATE list of Outlander locations in Scotland here, or read my Outlander in Edinburgh & Outlander in Glasgow guides
Dunure is a small fishing village on the South West coast of Ayrshire.
Here you can visit the ruin of Dunure Castle that was the ruins on the Silkies Island where Jamie finds the MacKenzie Treasure.
Also, you can visit the beach where Jamie and Claire see Young Ian being kidnapped and the harbour where they board The Artemis to Jamaica.
Dean Castle Country Park
Dean Castle was used as the Old Fox’s Lair, or Beaufort Castle the home of Jamie’s Grandfather Lord Lovat.
Unfortunately, they have closed the castle for renovations until 2021. But, there are some private had hat tours you can take for FREE in the meantime.
The park outside of Dean Castle is also well worth a visit if you find yourself in the area. Click here to find out more in my Dean Castle Outlander guide!
Troon is a popular holiday location for Scots and is known for its marina, pristine coastline, and Royal golf courses.
Here you can stand on the same beach that Claire, Jamie, and Murtagh stood on to board the Christabel to Paris!
Hunterston House is a privately owned property, but you can book tours if arranged in advance. The house, which is owned by Clan Hunter, was used in all 4 series of Outlander.
It featured as Mrs Baird’s B&B where Claire and Frank stay the night and it also featured as the Reverend Wakefields Home. As a massive fan, this tour was well worth a visit!