All Of The Rebus Filming Locations To Know

By Olivia Emily

4 days ago

All of the filming locations for the BBC’s brand new crime series

Ian Rankin takes on the role of Sir Ian Rankin’s tartan noir Inspector Rebus, a character at the centre of a whopping 24 novels (25 by October 2024) which have achieved global fame. But the BBC’s take on Rebus is like nothing we’ve seen before: drawing on Rankin’s texts, Rebus is a prequel to the character we know, exploring the detective at age 40. Naturally, the series is set in Edinburgh, like most of Rankin’s novels – but where was Rebus filmed? Here are all of the details, courtesy of Visit Scotland.

Where Was Rebus Filmed?

Rebus was filmed in Edinburgh in April 2023, staying true to Ian Rankin’s novels, which are set in the Scottish capital, too. Flashing back to a younger Rebus than we are used to reading about, the series portrays John Rebus as a 40-year-old Detective Sergeant who finds himself entangled in a brutal criminal feud that becomes deeply personal, all set against the dramatic backdrop of Edinburgh.

‘Rebus feels real to people partly because he inhabits what is more or less a real city,’ says Ian Rankin, creator of the character and executive producer of the series. ‘He drinks in real bars, he worked in a real police station, he lives on a real street. You can actually trace his peregrinations around the city. Fans do come to the city looking for Rebus’s Edinburgh, and it’s there waiting for them.’

Rebus Filming Locations

Grassmarket & Victoria Street

With its atmospheric cobbles, twisting streets and hidden closes, it’s no wonder Rebus was filmed in the historic Grassmarket area of Edinburgh: it’s the perfect backdrop for the gritty mysteries unravelled by Detective Rebus. Once a site of public executions and open-air marketplaces, today the Grassmarket is a vibrant hub brimming with independent shops, charming cafes and centuries-old pubs, with the added bonus of great views of Edinburgh Castle. Nearby, Victoria Street is also home to plenty of bars and restaurants, as well as some independently owned shops including John Kay’s Book Shop (perfect for stocking up on some Ian Rankin classics).


John Rebus (RICHARD RANKIN). © Eleventh Hour Films/Mark Mainz

The Mound

This steep hill connects Edinburgh’s old and new towns, offering stunning views of the cityscape, Edinburgh Castle, and Princes Street Gardens. Filming for Rebus also took place here, where visitors often enjoy strolling along and soaking up the city’s rich history, admiring its elegant architecture, and appreciating the picturesque surroundings.

National Library of Scotland

Book lovers shouldn’t miss this Rebus filming location: the National Library of Scotland (George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EW) is brimming with atmospheric intrigue and history. With its rich architectural heritage and vast collection of literary works, the library authentically reflects the essence of Rankin’s novels. Plus, the labyrinthine corridors and shadowy corners are perfect reflections of the mysteries, suspense and complexities of Rebus and his cases.

The research archive at the National Library of Scotland stretches as far back as the 17th century, showcasing an impressive array of treasures for visitors to delve into, such as maps, manuscripts, and rare historical documents. Bonus fact: Ian Rankin donated his entire archive to the library – so it’s a must-visit for fans.

(L-R) Lockie Moncrieffe (NICK RHYS), Sammy Rebus (MIA MACKENZIE), John Rebus (RICHARD RANKIN), Rhona Moncrieffe (AMY MANSON).

(L-R) Lockie Moncrieffe (NICK RHYS), Sammy Rebus (MIA MACKENZIE), John Rebus (RICHARD RANKIN), Rhona Moncrieffe (AMY MANSON). © Viaplay/Eleventh Hour/Alan Peebles

George Heriot’s School

Another notable filming location is the spectacular George Heriot’s School (Lauriston Pl, Edinburgh EH3 9EQ), which dates back to 1621 and stands out thanks to its remarkable Renaissance architecture featuring intricate turrets and sandstone frontage. This is where Rebus’ daughter Sammy goes to school in Rebus but, because it is a real, active school, visitors aren’t allowed to go inside. Views of the exterior are pretty breathtaking, though, and can be best enjoyed from Greyfriars Kirkyard.

The Oxford Bar

Also known as the ‘Ox’, The Oxford Bar (8 Young St, Edinburgh EH2 4JB) is one of the most iconic Rebus-related locations in Edinburgh – so we’re very pleased it makes an appearance in the BBC series, too. During his postgraduate years, Rankin shared a flat with a student who worked part-time at the Ox, and the author was inspired by the pub’s small and secluded nature.


John Rebus (RICHARD RANKIN). © Viaplay/ Eleventh Hour/Graeme Hunter

Who Stars In Rebus?

Outlander star Richard Rankin leads the series as John Rebus. The full cast is as follows:

  • Richard Rankin as DS John Rebus
  • Lucie Shorthouse as DC Siobhan Clarke, Rebus’s partner
  • Thoren Ferguson as DI Malcolm Fox
  • Caroline Lee-Johnson as DI Gill Templar
  • Sean Buchanan as George Blantyre, Rebus’s mentor
  • Michelle Duncan as Maggie, George’s wife
  • Stuart Bowman as Ger Cafferty, a mobster
  • Noof Ousellam as Darryl Christie, a powerful businessman
  • Brian Ferguson as Michael Rebus, John’s brother
  • Neshla Caplan as Chrissie, Michael’s wife
  • Amy Manson as Rhona, John’s ex-wife and Sammy’s mother
  • Mia McKenzie as Sammy, John and Rhona’s daughter


Rebus kicks off on BBC Scotland at 10pm on 17 May 2024, and on BBC One on Saturday 18 May at 9.25pm. All episodes are available to stream on BBC iPlayer from 6am 17 May 2024.

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