Explore the Fantasy World of Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland
June 28, 2016 Laura Caldwell 0 Comments
HBO’s Game of Thrones® is one of the most popular and successful fantasy TV series ever made and the principal filming location is wee Northern Ireland! The atmosphere captured on film is in no small way due to the stunning filming locations chosen by HBO to feature in the show. There are over 20 publicly accessible filming locations in NI and Tourism Northern Ireland is eager for people to get out and explore them.
Tourism NI’s Communication & Destination PR Officer, Rachel Quigg, said: “As season 6 of the series comes to an end we thought it would be a great time to look at all of the wonderful experiences people can now enjoy across Northern Ireland due to the success of Game of Thrones®. Part of the shows appeal and what has made it so popular with millions of fans are the mesmerising fantasy lands of Westeros which of course have been brought to life using Northern Ireland’s rugged coastlines, historic castles and breathtaking countryside and forests.
“Some of the dramatic scenery which forms the backdrop to much of the show’s action can be found in Northern Ireland in various locations including Causeway Coast and Glens, County Down and County Fermanagh. Fans can easily visit many of the locations where a favourite scene was filmed or walk in the footsteps of a much-loved character.
“The Northern Ireland tourism industry has really embraced the global interest in Game of Thrones® and developed a range of exciting visitor experiences– self guided, guided tours and immersive experiences such as replica costumes, themed menus and interactive adventures”.
FIND YOUR OWN WESTEROS
Causeway Coast and Glens Game of Thrones® Tour – choose between one day, two day and three day Game of Thrones® self-drive itineraries and discover some key filming locations of the show along the stunning Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland. Plotting a path through the scenic splendour of the Seven Kingdoms, it takes you to where so many of the pivotal scenes were filmed.
The Game of Thrones® itinerary not only brings to life the drama of the series, but also provides a front row seat at locations steeped in local myth and legend, where ancient warriors walked long before leading men. Download the Game of Thrones® Locations app to pave your own way and look out for the dedicated signage and panels which has been installed at key locations from the show.
There are a number of guided and private day bus tours visiting the Causeway Coast and Co. Down as well as key filming locations across Northern Ireland.
McComb’s Coach Travel, rated 5*, visits some of the main locations where filming took place like Cushendun Caves, The Dark Hedges, Ballintoy Harbour, Castle Ward and Tollymore Forest Park. You are driven by someone with first-hand experience and have a wealth of knowledge about where and when filming was done.
For a tour with a difference, why not get a unique ocean perspective of many of the stunning locations where this popular fantasy series was filmed on a sea safari. Key sites include Ballintoy Harbour and Murlough Bay. Operated by Aquaholics, you will tour on the very same boat that the film crew used during production of the series.
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN WINTERFELL
The series was actually filmed on location in the farmyard at Castle Ward in Co. Down, just 40 minutes from Belfast. Filming location hotspots include Winterfell Castle, Robb’s Camp, The Twins House of Frey, the Tree Branch where Brienne discovers three hanging bodies and many more.
The Winterfell Castle archery range filming set has been masterfully recreated in the Winterfell Castle. Dress up in replica character costumes from the show, stand exactly where ‘Jon Snow’, ‘Robb and Bran Stark’ stood and enjoy the thrill of firing live arrows!
There are also three self-guided cycle tour options: Robb’s Trail, Tywin’s Trail and Robb’s/Tywin’s Trail & Direwolf Pups Trail. Hop on a ‘Westeros Cruiser’ bicycle and recreate your own favourite scenes from Game of Thrones®– firstly you will meet Winterfell Castle’s Master-at-Arms in the ‘Armory & Forge’ who will issue you with a Game of Thrones® tour ‘Stark Sack’ to ensure you can defend yourself in the wilds of Westeros! A boat tour is a third option to enjoy stunning views from the water of the various ancient Westeros Castles and other shoreline locations used by HBO.
EAT LIKE A KING
The 4* Ballygally Castle Hotel in Co. Antrim offers a Game of Thrones® Afternoon Tea which will delight fans of the world renowned show as well as those who love the indulgence of a delicious afternoon tea. The tasty treats, inspired by the fantasy lands of Winterfell, Iron Islands, King’s Landing or Stormlands, includes Lannister egg rolls, Baratheon bread, Littlefinger Chicken Caesar wraps, Jon Snow cakes and Dothraki trifle with mini Dragons’ eggs!
The King’s Banquet at The Cuan in Strangford is another unique way to recreate scenes from the show. The Cuan boasts exceptionally strong connections to this world-renowned medieval drama having provided accommodation for many of the stars. Enter the creative Game of Thrones® inspired, award winning restaurant, enjoy the magnificent food of the banquet, partake in their customs and get some amazing photos for sharing with friends!
STAY & PLAY OPTIONS
Bed down for a night in a quirky glamping pod deep in the forest of ‘Winterfell’ at Castle Ward and explore the sprawling demesne and its many filming location hotspots and recreate your very own Game of Thrones® moments with a replica character costume and Stark family ‘LARP swords’. This experience includes one night’s glamping, with archery and cycling activities.
DOOR OF THRONES
Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland have been unveiling a series of ten intricately carved doors, depicting moments inspired by the current season in a campaign known as #DoorOfThrones. The doors have been carved from trees blown down in Storm Gertrude earlier in the year at the Dark Hedges in Co Antrim which serves as the backdrop for the Kingsroad, perhaps the most iconic Game of Thrones® location in Northern Ireland.
The impressive pieces of art are hanging in pubs and other venues in Northern Ireland near filming locations where iconic scenes took place, giving visitors a brand new Game of Thrones® Territory trail to follow. Check them out in places such as Blakes of the Hollow in Enniskillen (Co. Fermanagh), The Fullerton Arms Ballintoy (Co. Antrim) and The Cuan (Co. Down).