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Did you know there are a couple of Gosford House Outlander film locations that you can visit in East Lothian near Edinburgh? It’s one of the lesser known Outlander filming locations and you won’t find it on any Outlander tour either.
Gosford House appeared in two seasons of the Outlander TV series. It was first used for the royal stables of Versailles in season 2. In season 3, the house doubled up as the exterior of Helwater Estate and the interior of the Earl of Ellesmere’s home.
So, not only will you feel like you’ve been invited into King Louis’ court in 18th century Paris, you’ll be entering two homes of English aristocracy on your visit as well!
Here’s a complete guide of the Gosford House Outlander film locations that you can see here.
Gosford House is an historic home which is located in Longniddry, East Lothian. The drive over to this estate is a scenic one and provides some gorgeous coastal views along the A198 road as you’re approaching the Gosford grounds.
The drive from central Edinburgh is around 16 miles and will take around 30-45 minutes depending on your route and traffic. Edinburgh traffic is always touch and go, so leave lot’s of time before your visit to travel there.
Unlike a lot of properties in Edinburgh, Gosford House is completely closed off to the public. You must have an access code to enter the grounds and you will receive this if you have booked a tour. This doesn’t apply to open days which happen seasonally throughout the year.
How to reach Gosford House in Edinburgh
The easiest way to approach Gosford House is by car. You can take the coastal A198 road through Longniddry and you’ll see the entrance gate near Aberlady.
If you don’t drive it may be worth getting a taxi here for your appointment. You can try City Cabs which are quite popular. I would give them a call to let them know you’ll be travelling to East Lothian. Just make sure they’re also aware that they will need to drive through the estate to reach, unless you fancy walking!
Public Transport is possible but it will take over an hour to get here from central Edinburgh. You can catch a train to Longniddry station and then take the 124, 125, X5 or X24 bus service to Aberlady. From here, it will be a short walk. Make sure you let the staff on the grounds know you’re approaching in this way so they can expect you.
When is Gosford House open to the public?
Gosford House is not currently open to the public. But, they do hold certain open days where you can take a tour of Gosford house and explore grounds throughout the summer. These dates change annually, so make sure you check out the Gosford House website for more details.
If you would like to walk around the grounds of the estate, you can do so by purchasing a walking permit from the Gosford Bothy Farm Shop. Email [email protected] for more details.
Gosford House Outlander Tour
If you were looking to take an Gosford House Outlander Tour this is available by appointment in advance.
These tours will show you all the filming locations that were used, some behind the scenes rooms and allow for some Outlander Q&A about the production.
If you were interested, please email [email protected] for more details and prices. Note: a minimum cost of £225 is required for the tour to take place. Once the group consists of 15 people or more, the cost is £15 per head.
4 Gosford House Outlander Film Locations to look out for
Gosford House was used in two seasons of Outlander; first in season 2 and then season 3. The Outlander team love to double up film locations, so you’ll find four that were used in just this area!
Here’s a run down of each location and what they were used for in the series.
1. The Royal Stables of Versailles, Season 2
If you head around to the back of the house, you’ll find the Royal Stables of Versailles in series 2 of Outlander. If you remember in episode 5 ‘Untimely Resurrection’, Jamie attended the gardens with Claire and then checks over the horses for the Duke of Sandringham.
Gosford House was used as the backdrop of the royal stables and the gardens in front were filled with courtiers of Versailles.
You may have a hard time recognising the house if you watch a playback of the episode however. The Outlander team transformed the building to make it appear like it was 18th century Parisian architecture. It looks completely different!
The attention to detail by the Outlander team and making sure that the buildings used were true to the time period is what makes the series so successful. So, you really have to give a hats off to them.
Despite this, as soon as you walk into the gardens, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to King Louis’ court. I was also here on a sunny day, so it was perfect for a garden party. Shame it was only me there!
2. Gate to the gardens of Versailles, Season 2
Another recognisable Gosford House Outlander location is part of the gardens with a gate that was also used in episode 5 ‘Untimely Resurrection’. The majority of the garden scenes of Versailles in Outlander were shot in Drummond Castle Gardens. But, there is a scene where Annalise De Marillac asks Claire to take a stroll around the gardens and they both walk through this gate.
When I visited the gate was locked, but it is undoubtedly the gate that was used in series 2.
3. Helwater Estate, Season 3
Heading around to the front of the house, you’ll recognise it as Helwater Estate. This is the house that Jamie was stationed as a Groomsman to Dunsany family in Series 3.
It’s easy to recognise as there was little or no work made to the house for filming. But, I’ll pinpoint some areas that were used in notable scenes.
The Gravel Driveway & The Stairway
This is one of the first scenes we see of the Helwater Estate in episode 4 ‘Of Lost Things’. Jamie, the other Groomsman and staff await the arrival of the Dunsany family on their return from Italy.
The gravel driveway, fountain in front of the stairs and stairway are exactly the same. Apart from that there is a chain in place for health and safety!
You can explore the grounds around here and receive a picture perfect view of the house. I asked permission to walk up and down the stairs for these photos! It was really fun pretending to be part of the Dunsany family haha.
Where Jamie says goodbye to Willie
Another scene in the series that you will spot is the path where Jamie says goodbye to Willie in the episode ‘Of Lost Things’. Lady Isabelle and Lord John Grey hold onto Willie as Jamie rides his horse down the driveway.
4. Earl of Ellesmere’s home, Season 3
In series 3 of Outlander, the interiors of Gosford House were used as the Earl of Ellesmere’s home. Other rooms in Gosford house were used during filming as hair and makeup rooms and a green room for cast and crew.
A fact about Gosford House is that many of the rooms and windows were destroyed during World War II. So, a lot of the windows are actually coloured in and some of the rooms are currently being renovated back to their former glory.
Another thing to note is that some of the ornaments inside the house were replaced with different ones to suit the time period in Outlander. But, you will recognise certain portraits that feature in the series too.
Grand Marble Hall staircase
Of all the features in Gosford House, this is the one you will fall head over heels in love with! The Grand Marble Hall is made of the most stunning rose marble from head to toe.
This is the staircase where the family run up to firstly meet Lady Geneva after her complicated birth. Then we see it again when they run up the stairs to try and calm the Earl of Ellesmere who is holding a knife to Willie.
The Hallway where Jamie saves Willie’s life
To the left of the stairway is the hallway where the Earl of Ellesmere is holding Willie and arguing with Lord Dunsany. Suddenly, a gun is triggered and Jamie steps in for both men to drop their weapons!
Ultimately, the Earl of Ellesmere is shot dead, Willie is saved and safely back in the arms of the Dunsany family.
This walkway has changed very little to the episode with the same portraits hanging in the background.
Walkway where Lady Isabelle is crying
Head outside to the back of the house to where the Versaille stables were shot. You can make your way to the arches at the bottom of the house and underneath is a long corridor. This is the location where Lady Isabelle is crying over the death of her sister Lady Geneva and slaps Jamie.
You’ll recognise the glass windows and the neoclassic statues which are lined up.
Exterior of the Earl of Ellesmere’s Estate
If you are curious as to where the exterior of the Earl of Ellesmere’s Estate is shot, it’s in Hopetoun House near Edinburgh in South Queensferry. As soon as you drive into the Hopetoun Estate you will recognise the front of Hopetoun House as the Earl of Ellesmere’s. The scene is a small one but Jamie is seen riding on top of the carriage with the Dunsany family inside towards the house. There are then some more establishing shots of the front of the house for other scenes.
Did you know that there are actually 10 Outlander filming locations in Hopetoun House? These include the Duke of Sandringham’s House with the iconic ‘red room’, the Helwater stables, the entrance of Maison Elise in Paris and more.
I’m going to be writing a whole post on the Outlander locations at Hopetoun estate, so watch this space!
The History of Gosford House Edinburgh
Besides the Gosford House Outlander locations, the history of Gosford House is a fascinating one. The neoclassical home was originally constructed by the 7th Earl of Wemyss in 1790. It was made to plan by Robert Adams who was a famous architect in Scotland and responsible for many stately homes across the country.
If you’re not familiar with the architecture of Robert Adams, he loved symmetry! Even to the extent, that he would install fake doors so that the house would align. Having been too many of his creations now across Scotland, they are so satisfying to take in. It’s also really fun to ask the staff which of the doors aren’t real, or where the hidden passageways are inside!
In 1891 the 10th Earl of Wemyss reinstalled the wings that were destroyed by damp air due to the sea. These were reconstructed by William Young, including the gorgeous marble hall in the South Wing.
Another fact that I learned is that the back of the house today, actually used to be the front! Noble families would always build their houses to face royalty and, sure enough, you can see King Arthur’s Seat from the house. But, one of the Earl’s fell out with the crown and so decided to turn his back on the royal family by changing the front entrance of his house. Now, you can see Holyrood Palace but from the back windows.
In World War II the house was occupied by British soldiers and a wild party led to some of the rooms being destroyed by fire! The subsequent dry rot led to the roof having to be removed. Some of the state rooms have been renovated, but its an ongoing process that’s taking place even today.
Want to see more of Gosford House Outlander Locations? Watch my vlog!
Looking for more Outlander locations in Edinburgh?
Outlander locations in Edinburgh are endless, so if you’re on a pilgrimage you can plan to see many while you’re in the city.
On the Royal Mile you can have an afternoon tea at the Colonnades which also featured as the Governor’s Mansion in Jamaica. Relive the scene where Jamie and Claire reunite at the print shop on Bakehouse Close or close by is Tweeddale court where Claire and Fergus meet once more. Or follow their footsteps to The World’s End where they save Mr Willoughby.
Also in the city is Summerhall which featured as the lecture hall that Claire studies in Boston with Joe Abernathy. Or, visit Craigmillar Castle that doubled up as Ardsmuir Prison. Glencorse Old Kirk was the famous church where Jamie and Claire tied the knot!
You can visit Lallybroch, home of Laird Broch Tuarach, for yourself at Midhope Castle, Abercorn Church that featured in season 4 and Hopetoun Estate has over 17 Outlander locations onsite including the Duke of Sandringham’s home. Blackness Castle was where Jamie was flogged at Fort William and Wentworth Prison features scenes from Linlithgow Palace.
Visit Bo’ness Station to see where Claire and Frank said goodbye or take a Deanston Distillery tour to taste some fine whisky and visit Jared’s wine warehouse in La Havre. You can also visit Versailles at Drummond Castle Gardens too.
With thanks to Gosford House for sponsoring my visit and for allowing me to take photos inside. Although I was a guest all photos and opinions are my own.