Magic, mystery and murder in medieval times; it’s no wonder that Game of Thrones® tours and filming locations have inspired a wave of fans to visit Northern Ireland, and with the final season set to start on April 15th at 2am in the UK, it’s the perfect time to explore the dramatic landscapes that create the fictional continent of Westeros.
One of the most iconic filming locations used in Game of Thrones® is Bregagh Road, which can be found close to the village of Armoy in County Antrim, also called the Dark Hedges and better known to fans of the show as the Kingsroad.
This shadowy, beech tree-lined road is used as the highway connecting King’s Landing to Castle Black in the first episode of the second series, and is one of the most photographed, and visually striking, natural phenomena in Northern Ireland. Due to its increased popularity since appearing the the show, the road has now been closed to cars, buses, and coaches to protect the trees, which were planted in the 18th century, and make it safer and less congested for tourists.
Equally as recognisable is Castle Ward in County Down, the location of Winterfell. The National Trust property was used to portray the house of the Starks in the 2009 pilot, and appeared plenty of times throughout the first season too. Here, you will enjoy seeing the historic farmyard, and the Whispering Wood, while remembering some of the scenes that were filmed here, including Robb Stark’s camp, and the Baelor Battle.
The gorgeous castle grounds include an 18th century Gothic mansion surrounded by lush woodlands, and you will have the opportunity to set off on Game of Thrones® tours, by foot or bike, and dress up in costumes to try your luck on the replica archery range that has been set up in the courtyard, just like in the show!
Game of Thrones® Tours
There are a number of different ways to seek out the Game of Thrones® filming locations from guided walks, coach tours, and boat tours. The Belfast: Game of Thrones Full–Day Shore Excursion is a 7 hour long tour which will take you to see the Dark Hedges, Cushendun Caves, and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, plus you will also be taken to the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you are sailing on our Liverpool to Dublin route, you might like to opt for a Game of Thrones and Giant’s Causeway Tour from Dublin which includes your transport around the different locations. You’ll see the Dark Hedges and Ballintoy Harbour, plus you’ll have 45 minutes free time to wander around Belfast too. Between 11th April and 1st September you will also visit Belfast’s Game of Thrones® exhibition during the tour, where you can see props, costumes, and many other items that you will recognise from the show.
Self-drive GOT® tour
Prefer exploring on your own? One of the best ways to truly experience Northern Ireland, and see all of the incredible filming locations, is to plan a self-drive GOT® tour. Spanning the Causeway Coast, there are a number of single to three day drives that allow you to enjoy the splendour and magic of this landscape at your own pace, while simultaneously stepping into the fantasy world of Author G.R.R Martin.
Travelling along one of the best coastal drives in the world, you’ll explore various filming locations including the Ballintoy Harbour, which was used to portray the Iron Islands, and Downhill Beach where Stannis Baratheon draws the flaming sword.
Explore the majesty of Westeros by getting a P&O Ferry from Cairnryan to Larne to see exactly why this ruggedly beautiful landscape was the perfect backdrop to the show, and enjoy one of these fantastic Game of Thrones® Tours. Just make sure to keep an eye out for Direwolves…