Game of Thrones® may have made its epic exit from our TV screens, but there’s no need for fans to bid farewell to the show just yet. Northern Ireland is home to 26 filming locations from the fantasy epic, with tours, exhibits and themed adventures to keep you enthralled through this summer and beyond. Whether you’re a fully-fledged ‘Thronie’, or don’t know your Daenerys from your Dothraki, there’s a Game of Thrones® experience for you.
A Game of Thrones® tour is a great way to acquaint yourself with the show’s filming locations and revisit some of its best-loved scenes.
Cushendun Caves, Cushendun, County Antrim
There are a wide variety of tours to choose from, including McComb’s Game of Thrones® tour, which is run by the company who transported the cast and crew to and from filming. Travelling on the same coaches used by the stars, you’ll visit some of the main shoot locations, including Cushendun (to see the cave where Melisandre gave birth to a shadow creature), Ballintoy Harbour (aka Pyke Harbour), and the much-photographed Dark Hedges (the Kingsroad). Travelling along the Causeway Coastal Route, there are also stops at the famous Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
Alternatively, you might enjoy the freedom of a self-drive tour. Nutt Travel offers a four-day tour including three nights’ accommodation, starting off in Belfast and taking in Winterfell Castle and Demesne at Castle Ward, County Down, the Antrim Plateau, where Ned Stark beheaded the Night’s Watch deserter, and the stunning Downhill Strand, which doubled as Dragonstone. At Downhill, it’s also well worth visiting the Mussenden Temple, perched above the beach with arresting clifftop views.
An adventure of your own
If you’re feeling particularly intrepid, you might like to take a more active Game of Thrones® tour. Options range from bikes and boats, to horses and helicopters.
Castle Ward, County Down
The Castle Ward estate, just 40 minutes from Belfast, wasn’t just home to Winterfell. Around 20 other key scenes were filmed in the castle and demesne, and you can revisit the sites on a very special cycling tour. Participants are given a Stark Sack containing a medieval cloak costume, sword and memento scroll map before cycling through the wilds of Westeros. If cycling’s not your thing, there are lots of other Game of Thrones®-themed activities at the attraction, including archery, axe-throwing, meeting the White Walkers (if you dare) and even a photo opportunity with the direwolves who starred in the show.
Alternatively, you can enjoy a scenic Game of Thrones® horse-riding experience with Crindle Stables just outside Limavady in County Londonderry to relive the scene where Melisandre set fire to the effigies of the Seven Gods of Westeros; or take a sea safari of coastal filming locations. The sea safaris are run by Aquaholics in Portstewart, the same firm used by the Game of Thrones® film crew. After your boat trip, you might like to stop for some fish and chips at the renowned Harry’s Shack on the beach at Portstewart.
Got a good head for heights? Cutting Edge Helicopters in Derry~Londonderry run a Game of Thrones® Iron Island adventure tour, which provides aerial views of filming locations. While up in the sky, you’ll also enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Dunluce Castle.
Across Northern Ireland, there are a number of great exhibitions celebrating the show and its gripping storylines.
GAME OF THRONES™: The Touring Exhibition, TEC, until 1 September
The Game of Thrones® exhibition, at the TEC in Belfast this summer, showcases costumes, props, weapons and armour from the show as well as immersive environments and interactive exhibits. Visitors can delve into the wintry North, the tree-lined Kingsroad, the Iron Throne Room, and even venture Beyond The Wall.
From the TEC, you’re just a five-minute walk from Titanic Belfast, the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience.
The Iron Throne stained glass window, Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast
Meanwhile, 10 doors - carved from Dark Hedges trees which fell in a storm - hang in a range of destinations across the province, each telling the story of a series six episode. Find out more here.
Feed your imagination
The doors also form the basis of a food-themed excursion, run by Glenara Elite Travel. Participants can enjoy tasty cuisine at four door locations, including starters at Owen’s Bar in Limavady, and a final course of cheese and chutney at Mary McBride’s in Cushendun.
For sweet-toothed fans, Ballygally Castle on the Causeway Coast plays host to a special Game of Thrones® themed afternoon tea with delights including Jon Snow cakes, Baratheon bread and Dothraki trifle with a mini dragon’s egg. Enough to feed a Lannister Army.
You can find more Game of Thrones® inspiration here.
Tell us how you get on at #GoTterritory #DiscoverNI.