A Tour of the Isle of Skye's Epic Film Locations

Neist Point was used as a filming location in Lars von Trier's 'Breaking the Waves' (1996)
Neist Point was used as a filming location in Lars von Trier's 'Breaking the Waves' (1996) | © Andia / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Alexander Crow
2 September 2021

The Isle of Skye, off the west coast of Scotland, draws thousands of visitors each year with its history, its landscapes and its people. The island also lures movie producers and location scouts, with certain areas beloved by the cameras. It’s starred in many movies, from historical dramas through to science fiction and fantasy. Here we share a guide to some of these wonderful locations.

Looking for a real adventure? Join Culture Trip on a guided seven-day tour of the Hebridean isles of Skye, Lewis and Harris – with outdoor action aplenty.

Neist Point, Isle of Skye

Natural Feature
Map View
Footpath leading to Neist Point Lighthouse, Neist Point, Isle of Skye, Inner Hebrides, Scotland
© HelloWorld Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Home to one of the most famous (and photographed) lighthouses in Scotland, Neist (pronounced Neest) Point is as far west as you can go on Skye. There are stunning views across the stretch of water known as the Minch, to the islands that mark the western edge of Scotland, and sunsets here are incredible. Neist Point appears in Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves (1996) starring Emily Watson and Stellan Skarsgård, and also in the Keanu Reeves movie, 47 Ronin(2013).

The Fairy Glen, Portree

Natural Feature
Map View
Discover the enchanted geological landscape of Fairy Glen, Isle of Skye, which looks like it could be the home to magical faeries.
© Wendy Nordvik-Carr / Alamy Stock Photo
Hidden and a little bit magical, a walk in the hills near Uig leads to the strange landscape of the Fairy Glen. With curious landforms, cone-shaped hills, lochans (little lakes), and an odd, ethereal atmosphere, there’s no wonder this location was used in the movie Stardust(2007) based on the book by Neil Gaiman. Michelle Pfeiffer’s character, the witch Lamia, appears here in a chariot drawn by goats, the landscape adding to the strangeness of the scene.

Dunvegan Castle, Isle of Skye

Amusement Park, Historical Landmark
Map View
Dunvegan Castle, home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod on the Isle of Skye, Scottish Highlands, Scotland
© Arterra Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo
Appearing in the 2008 movie Made of Honour, the Dunvegan estate surrounds Dunvegan Castle, first built in the 13th century and inhabited by the same family ever since. This is the ancestral home of the MacLeod of MacLeod, the leader of the Clan MacLeod of Harris and Dunvegan. There is a resident seal colony on the shore near the castle, which also has wonderful gardens to explore.

The Cuillin, Isle of Skye

Natural Feature
Map View
Alltdearg House and the jagged peaks of the Black Cuillin mountains, Isle of Skye, Scotland
© Stewart Smith / Alamy Stock Photo
A series of atmospheric peaks and ridges, the mountains of the Cuillin are split into two distinct areas, the Black Cuillin and the Red Hills. Drawing mountaineers from across the UK and further afield, the ridges are often considered to be the finest mountaineering experience in the British Isles. There is little wonder these stunning heights were used in the movie Highlander(1986). They also appear in Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle (2007), which is a Gaelic language film whose title references Sgùrr Dearg, a peak in the Black Cuillin. The area was also a backdrop for some of Robert De Niro’s flying boat scenes in Stardust. As an added bonus, although technically not a movie, the trials cyclist Danny MacAskill, a local boy from Dunvegan, featured the area in his vertigo-inducing film, The Ridge.

The Old Man of Storr, Portree

Historical Landmark
Map View
Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye, Scotland
© Antje Schulte / Alamy Stock Photo
The northern peninsula of Skye, Trotternish, is home to some of the most famous of the Skye landscapes. The Trotternish landslip stretches more than 19mi (30km) and is 1mi (2km) wide. Storr, and the Old Man of Storr in particular, have appeared in several movies, including the beginning of The Wicker Man (1973) and the opening scenes of Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus(2012). Able to be seen from many miles around and incredibly atmospheric, it is not hard to see why it is a favourite place of many of the visitors to the island. The Old Man of Storr also appeared in the 1948 feature, Bonnie Prince Charlie, starring David Niven.

The Quiraing, Portree

Natural Feature
Map View
Long winding road at Quiraing on the Isle of Skye with a beautiful vibrant scottish sky.
© Johannes Erb / Alamy Stock Photo
At the northern end of the Trotternish Peninsula, the Quiraing is quite simply incredible. This is certainly a feeling that influences movie-makers, as it has featured in films as diverse as The BFG (2016), Macbeth (2015), Stardust, The Land That Time Forgot(1974), Snow White and the Huntsman(2012), 47 Ronin, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword(2017) and Transformers: The Last Knight (2017). The area features places including the famous rock pinnacle, The Needle, the hidden plateau of The Table, and The Prison, a natural rock formation that can look suspiciously like a castle from certain angles. Added to this is the (literally unsettling) fact the Quiraing portion of the Trotternish landslip is still moving today.

Bonus Locations

Portree, the largest town on Skye, also featured in Made of Honour, and is referenced in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) as the Quidditch team Pride of Portree are from here. Aishaig airstrip, near Broadford, has a brief appearance at the start of the 1980 cult classic Flash Gordon, and features a young Robbie Coltrane as a baggage handler.

These recommendations were updated on September 2, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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