SCOTLAND is Sam Heughan’s “happy place” and he has a “great fondness” for returning to his country, the Outlander star has said.

The actor, who portrays Jamie Fraser in the hit TV show, told London lifestyle magazine about his early memories growing up in the grounds of a derelict castle in southern Scotland, and his experience as a teenager in Edinburgh, leading him to love his home country.

The Balmaclellan-born actor – who is a keen independence supporter, recently sporting a Yes badge on hit kilt at a charity event – now travels extensively for his screen work. Speaking to the magazine, explained why he loves coming home so much.

The National:

“With my job, I love working, I love travelling, but [my happy place] is probably coming back to Scotland,” he said.

“I have a great fondness for Scotland. It has so many good things.”

Heughan added that if he had to pick a specific happy place within Scotland it would be hiking somewhere and sharing a dram with loved ones.

The Red Notice actor opened up on his early years in Dumfries and Galloway, conjuring up images of Outlander-style scenery surrounding his upbringing.

“I was born in a cottage in the south of Scotland and we moved to the grounds of an old, derelict castle when I was about three years old,” he told the publication.

“I remember as a kid walking with my mum down to the castle. There’s a big line of trees that my brother used to climb. It was autumn, amazing leaves, amazing scenery and this derelict castle – which at a young age was kinda scary. But it was a great playground as a child.”

Moving to Edinburgh from that environment had a major influence on him, Heughan explained.

READ MORE: Outlander star Sam Heughan heads to Highlands for new book

“I was living in the countryside as a young child, there were four people in my class at school. And then I moved to Edinburgh, which to me felt like a metropolis. I started going to the theatre,” he recalled.

“Just being in the city was really inspiring. It opened up the world to me, as a teenager. There’s a whole world out there that I want to explore.”

The National:

The graduate of the Royal Conservatoire also revealed that he had been known as “Handsome Sam” by James McAvoy and Miranda actor Tom Ellis while they were studying acting together.

“Tom and James were in the same year, two years above me,” Heughan recalled. “When I first auditioned for drama school, it’s a whole day thing – you do different workshops and audition pieces. And at the end of the time, the third year actors take you around and talk to you a bit about it. And the person who did that for my group was Tom Ellis.

The National:

“Tom and I got chatting, became very friendly. He invited me for a beer. So we went for a beer together and hung out for a bit.

“There was a small period when they called me that. I’m not sure why. They just couldn’t think of anything better!”

The interview comes after a trailer was released for Channel 4 crime drama Suspect, which will feature Heughan in two of its eight episodes.

The show revolves around James Nesbitt’s character, a detective named Danny Frater, discovering that his daughter is dead and pursuing the truth about her alleged suicide.

The show is adapted from the Danish series FORHØRET, which premiered in 2019 and will conclude later this year.