Over the past couple of years some of Scotland's cities, streets and glens have been transformed beyond recognistion into Hollywood film sets.
With such an incredible variety of architecture and landscapes it's no wonder that film makers are coming to Scotland to shoot Hollywood blockbusters. In the past couple of years we've seen Glasgow receive a full-blown Americana makeover for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, and Loch Awe given an otherworldly transformation for Disney+'s Star Wars series, Andor. When huge blockbusters like these come to Scotland it's always so exciting to see places you know and love transformed into somewhere else. And a lot of these sets are easily reached by train if you fancy walking in the footsteps of some famous actors.
Here are a few films where the magic happened in a place you may be familiar with …
Loch Awe - Andor, Disney’s new Star Wars series
Back in the summer of 2021 some rather strange, space-like, structures started appearing throughout the valley at Loch Awe near Oban … Fast forward to September 2022 and all became clear as Disney's new Star Wars series, Andor started on Disney+. Alongside the stunning local landscapes, the Ben Cruachan Dam and Power Station feature heavily in the series.
You can visit this area for yourself really easily by train. Loch Awe train station is on the scenic West Highland Line and is a beautiful place to visit. If you're visiting between March and October, Falls of Cruachan train station is just 200m from the entrance to Ben Cruachan and the Cruachan Visitor Centre. Falls of Cruachan station is only open between March and October and is a request stop which means you need to let the conductor know you’d like to get off there, and then flag the train down safely on your return. Cruachan Visitor Centre is open all year round and you can get a discount on your tour when you arrive by public transport. Take a look at their website now to plan your own trip to a galaxy far, far away.
Glasgow city centre - Indiana Jones and Dial of Destiny (set for release 30 June 2023)
In July 2021, blockbuster Hollywood descended on Glasgow city centre for the filming of Indiana Jones. St Vincent Street had a full on Americana transformation to become 1960s New York as the stars and stripe flew high and a huge red, white and blue parade took place. Lots of fans were able to catch a glimpse of the movie magic, with the filming locations being close to both Queen Street and Central stations … although we’re sure you won’t spot these in the final cut.
Glenfinnan - Harry Potter
Our favourite boy wizard brings us to one of the most visited places in Scotland because of a film franchise. Of course, it’s the Glenfinnan Viaduct. A stunning structure in its own right, the Harry Potter films put it on many people’s ‘must visit’ list due to its stunning location. As the Hogwarts Express puffed its way over the landmark, there wasn’t many a cinema goer that didn’t wish that magnificent journey was their route to school. Since the launch of the films, the Glenfinnan Viaduct now welcomes more than 350,000 people a year - more than ten times the number that would have visited more than ten years ago.
If you fancy experiencing the gorgeous views from the viaduct for yourself, there are three ScotRail services a day from Glasgow Queen Street to Mallaig, following the world-famous West Highland Line. En route you’ll also pass along the banks of Loch Eil, which also featured in the films. The Jacobite Steam Train runs during the summer months if you fancy donning your robes and fully immersing yourself in Harry’s world.
Glenfinnan Viaduct image credit - VisitScotland / Airborne Lens
Perth Station - The Railway Man
Way back in 2012, Perth station welcomed everyone’s favourite, Colin Firth, as filming for The Railway Man took place. This powerful drama saw Perth station featuring as first, Crewe station, and later on as Edinburgh Waverley. If you want to take a walk in Colin Firth’s shoes, take the stairs leading from Platform 3. He can be seen running down these as he rushes on to the train, and as the train pulls away, it’s the backdrop of Platform Four you can see out of the window. Later in the film, it’s Platform 5 that gets its starring role as it stands in for Edinburgh Waverley. The beautiful architecture of Perth station is definitely a worthy backdrop for any feature film!
Corrour Station - Trainspotting
Going back even further to 1996, to perhaps one of the most iconic Scottish film scenes of all time takes us to Corrour Station where the film Trainspotting put this tiny station firmly on the map. Corrour already had a claim to fame with it being the UK’s highest mainline railway station, sitting at 408 metres above sea level, but Trainspotting brought fans from all over the world to experience the sheer beauty of Rannoch Moor which surrounds the station. The station was used again in T2 Trainspotting in 2017.
Another less known fact about the station, is that the route south from Corrour towards Rannoch station was used in Harry Potter as the backdrop while a Death Eater stopped the Hogwarts Express for an inspection.
Edinburgh Waverley Station - Avengers: Infinity War
Over in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh Waverley Station was used for the filming of a superhero fight scene in Avengers: Infinity War. An area close to Platform 2 was transformed into a filming area and special sets were built. This meant that trains had to be rerouted through the station because it was still open while filming took place. Even though the station was transformed for several weeks, the final battle sequence featuring the Scarlet Witch, Vision, Black Widow, Captain America and Falcon only takes up ten minutes of the film.