Movie map shows famous Edinburgh film locations

Edinburgh Film Map from Visit Scotland
Edinburgh Film Map from Visit Scotland
Have your say

The shot of Ewan McGregor’s Renton and Euan Bremner’s Spud being chased by shop security guards on Princes Street in cult 1990s film Trainspotting gave audiences around the world an idea of the cinematic potential of the Capital – and has since been recreated by tourists and fans alike.

But while that, and the famous scenes at the end of the Tom Hanks blockbuster the Da Vinci Code, filmed at Midlothian’s Rosslyn Chapel, are familiar to film fans, there are plenty of smaller parts of the Capital that have made an impact on the big screen.

{{|• Click here for full size map|Click here}

Its varied architecture and geography has made it a go-to set for film-makers for decades.

And to help mark Edinburgh’s long links with the silver screen, a new map has been launched to celebrate the locations where key scenes were filmed.

It is hoped that the connections to famous movies will help encourage tourists and film-lovers to visit Edinburgh.

The map – a joint collaboration between VisitScotland and Film Edinburgh – features 32 locations around the city, which were used in 21 cinema releases. It coincides with This Is Edinburgh’s Film in the City campaign, which will feature film events in Edinburgh throughout June, and the upcoming Edinburgh International Film Festival, when many film lovers and members of the industry will be in town.

Available in print and online, the map has been designed to appeal to movie fans and those interested in finding out more behind the scenes of their favourite films. It also includes a film events diary, detailing the many festivals, workshops and events taking place in the city during the year.

The locations have been used in movies which were shot over the past 80 years – with a full range of cinematic genres, from romantic comedies to darker dramas.

Manuela Calchini, regional director at VisitScotland, said: “It’s always exciting to actually visit a place you’ve only ever seen in a film. This map will make it easy for visitors to follow in the footsteps of the stars, take in the sights and learn more about Edinburgh’s rich cinematic history. From the iconic cobbled streets in One Day to the epic grandeur of the Forth Bridge in The 39 Steps – two of my favourites – Edinburgh really is a movie set like no other.”

The dramatic backdrop of Calton Hill is among the key sites on the map, having featured in Death Defying Acts – the 2007 film depicting a psychic trying to con Harry Houdini – as well as last year’s hit musical Sunshine on Leith. It also appears in the opening scenes of the classic 1961 Disney film Greyfriars Bobby.

Other popular filming spots include the Scott Monument and Caledonian Hotel on Princes Street – which feature in Cloud Atlas, Hallam Foe and The Angels’ Share – and the Mound, where the characters in cult 1980s film Restless Natives are chased down the hill on their motorbike.

But there are some more unlikely film locations off the beaten track – for example the Central Bar on Leith Walk, which features in Jude, the 1996 period drama based on Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure. Several of New Town’s iconic streets are also highlighted on the map. Scotland Street featured in Danny Boyle’s dark directorial debut Shallow Grave, set in Edinburgh and starring Ewan McGregor and Christopher Ecclestone.

And Moray Place is the setting for the family home of Dex, one of the main characters in rom-com One Day.

Lovers of cinematic classics would be hard-pressed to forget the image of the Forth Rail Bridge in both the 1935 and 1959 versions of The 39 Steps.

And Henderson Row features heavily in the 1969 movie The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie starring Maggie Smith, as the Edinburgh Academy is the Marcia Blaine School for Girls.

Trainspotting will of course be forever associated with Edinburgh, but the same could arguably be said for The Da Vinci Code and Rosslyn Chapel. The finale of the 2006 film – based on Dan Brown’s bestseller – was filmed at the iconic location. The plot suggests that the 15th-century chapel was built to house the secret of the Holy Grail – and tourists have been flocking to the building ever since.

Ian Gardner, director of Rosslyn Chapel Trust, said: “We still clearly see the impact of Rosslyn Chapel being included in The Da Vinci Code, even though the film was first released in 2006. The film had a huge effect on our visitor numbers and, as the Chapel Trust is a charity, all the income from our visitors helps the Chapel’s long-term conservation, ensuring that future generations will also be able to enjoy it.”

Tourism chiefs and film experts have hailed the venture as a key way of linking up famous movies with areas in the city. Rosie Ellison of Film Edinburgh said: “Film Edinburgh works with film-makers to attract and facilitate film production in the Edinburgh city region. A film-friendly city is central to this task, and a city that recognises its film history is a more film-friendly place. This map is a celebration of Edinburgh on the screen. It gives people the chance to find out where films they know about have been shot, and also flags up a few films they may not have been aware of.”

The map also includes details on how to get around using public transport and is supported by Transport for Edinburgh – making it easy for film fans to take a bus, tram or bus tour to explore the city and their favourite movie moments.

Ian Craig, chief executive at Transport for Edinburgh, said: “This has been a great project for us to be involved in as so many of Edinburgh’s film locations are easily accessible using our transport routes. We hope our contribution helps residents and visitors get the most out of the new map, whether they buy a day ticket or download our free app.”

Speaking on behalf of the city centre campaign This Is Edinburgh, John Donnelly, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh, said: “The magic of standing in a street immortalised on film is sure to appeal to residents and visitors alike. Edinburgh has always been a beautiful city to see on foot and the release of this map will give people yet another reason to wander around and explore, attracting people to places they might not have found or providing a fresh perspective on much-loved locations.”

The map is now available to download from and and in print format from Edinburgh cinemas from Friday, the VisitScotland Information Centre on Princes Street and various local attractions, restaurants and cafes.

Hosting a galaxy of stars

HOLLYWOOD glamour, blockbuster premieres and emerging talent have all been revealed as part of the programme for the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Running from June 18 to 29, the 68th EIFF will showcase 156 features from 47 countries, including 11 world premieres and a range of special screenings and events.

A Most Wanted Man, one of the last films featuring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, will be screened, alongside the latest movies by James Franco, Elijah Wood. And the long-awaited blockbuster comic book adaptation Snowpiercer, starring Tilda Swinton and Jamie Bell amongst others, will get its UK Premiere. Other big names starring in the event are Nicolas Cage, Eddie Izzard, Kristen Wiig and Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul.

The festival’s long tradition of exposing new and exciting films from around the world will continue with the director’s showcase, which features a variety of films from amateur directors.

The world premiere of Hyena, starring Peter Ferdinando and Stephen Graham, will open the festival, while the closing gala will feature We’ll Never Have Paris, a film co-directed by Simon Helberg – one of the stars of hit TV series The Big Bang Theory.

In the American Dreams section, cutting-edge new works from American independent cinema will include A Night in Old Mexico with Robert Duvall as a Texas rancher, and X/Y, a film starring Ugly Betty star America Ferrera.

The world premiere of Castles in the Sky, the story of the Scottish developer of radar devices Robert Watson-Watt, will star Izzard.

A series of “Hero Hangouts” will see stars interviewed on stage, including Lord of the Rings star Wood and Helberg, who plays Howard Wolowitz in The Big Bang Theory.

Tickets will be on general release from 10am on Monday.