We love a psychological reality show, and BBC’s ‘The Traitors’ is the game show that had the UK’s full attention at the end of 2022. Claudia Winkleman returned to the Scottish Highlands for another season on January 3, welcoming contestants for the ‘ultimate game of betrayal’. While ‘The Traitors’ Scottish castle is not open to visitors, the show resulted in growing numbers of visitors to Inverness by 25% since Season 2 came out, according to Trainline. The castle is also officially more popular than Balmoral or Edinburgh Castle!
‘The Traitors’ welcomes 22 strangers to a Scottish castle, full of banishment, “murder”, betrayal and drama. The contestants are fighting for a chance to win £120,000 by raising money with completed tasks. Some players are “traitors” being able to sneakily “murder” other contestants, while others are “faithfuls”. If there is a “traitor” remaining in the game at the end, they walk away with all the money for themselves.
Where is ‘The Traitors’ filmed?
The infamous castle that became the backdrop of the show is actually Ardross Castle, located North of Inverness. Speaking of the castle, Claudia said to House Beautiful: “I thought I’ve been to beautiful places. I have never been anywhere more beautiful than the Scottish highlands in my life. It felt sometimes like we were in a painting if that’s not too cheesy.”
What is the history behind Ardross Castle?
Having hosted many inhabitants and undergone multiple renovations, Ardross Castle boasts a colourful history. The castle’s first buyer was the Duke of Sutherland in the 1700s, and was later sold to Sir Alexander Matheson in 1845 for £90,000.
In 1898 the estate was sold to businessman, C. W. Dyson Perrins, whose family used Ardross several months a year for parties and enjoying nature, introducing electricity and expanding the land even further. They also added a new formal garden designed by Edward White.
1937 saw the breaking up of the estate and another sale, being sold to Mr & Mrs Austin Mardon who lived in the castle until 1983. The final sale went to the McTaggart family, who commenced more renovations and restorations to bring the building and its gardens back to its glory.
Can you visit Ardross Castle?
While Ardross Castle grounds is not open to the general public, it is available for weddings and as a filming location.
However, ‘The Traitors’ Castle is officially more popular than Balmoral or Edinburgh Castle since the new season aired. According to Places To Travel, searches for the Scottish castle soared by 4,500% compared to the average volume over the last five years.
A spokesperson from Places To Travel said: “Searches for flights to Scotland have risen to pre-pandemic levels, partly due to The Traitors inspiring viewers’ travel plans as the show returns to Ardross Castle in the Highlands.
TV tourism is becoming more common, with viewers wanting to visit the filming locations of their favourite shows. It’s effective because the locations are carefully selected for the show, but they aren’t being directly advertised, so users don’t feel like they are being sold to.”