6 Exciting Filming Locations from the Iconic Game of Thrones Series
With the recent launch of season 8 of the iconic Game of Thrones series, it seems it is all anyone can talk about these days. But don’t worry, you won’t find any finale spoilers here!
It is well known, and a source of great pride for our small island, that much of the series has been filmed on our very own Irish shores. This has created waves of inbound tourism from fans of the show looking to visit famous scenes and gaze upon the dramatic landscapes that make up much of the land of Westeros.
For those looking to make their own self-guided tour of the famous filming sights, we’ve put together of must-see spots.
- Tollymore Forest – Co. Down
Tollymore forest was used for the chilling opening scenes of the pilot episode, whereby rangers of the Night’s Watch come across the White Walkers for the first time. It is also used as the location where the Starks come across the Direwolf pups, and also the terrifying scenes in which Ramsay pursues Theon after his desperate escape attempt.
Not nearly as frightening by day, Tollymore forest park is a beautiful place to talk a walk. The Shimna River flows through the forest, marked by various bridges, grottos and caves. For tree-enthusiasts, there are also a great number of rare trees and experimental forest plots.
- Castle Ward Estate – Co. Down
Castle Ward Estate is the location of 9 different scenes from Game of Thrones, the most important of which is the city of Winterfell, which was filmed at an old 16th-century castle and stable yard on the estate, both of which are featured prominently throughout season 1.
A 15th-century tower house on the estate also served as the home of Walder Frey and as the location of Robb Stark’s battle camp at Riverrun.
The estate itself is part of the National Trust and visitors can also take time to visit the vast 18th-century mansion, which, while not featured in the series, is still definitely worth a visit.
- Cushendun Caves, Co. Antrim
No one could forget the creepy scenes from season 2 in which Lady Milasandre gives birth to the shadow baby that goes on to kill Renly Baratheon. Well, these scenes were in fact filmed on our very own shores, in the 400 million-year-old Cushendun Caves in County Antrim
The caves are easily accessible from the pretty coastal village of Cushendun and are just a short walk down the rocky seashore from the village.
- The Dark Hedges – Co. Antrim
Now one of the most photographed spots in Northern Ireland. The Dark Hedges is the location for the Kings Road from Season 2 when Arya Stark flees the city of King’s Landing after the death of her father Eddard Stark and begins the long journey towards the Wall.
A unique and enchanting location, the Dark Hedges are in fact, made up of rows of tall and twisted beech trees which line an unpaved pathway leading to an 18th-century Georgian mansion, Gracehill House. The road has been voted one of the most beautiful streets in the world.
- Ballintoy Harbour – Co. Antrim
The location where Theon lands at Pyke on the Iron Islands. It is also used as the site where Gendry escapes in a rowing boat, not to be seen again for three seasons!
Ballintoy Harbour is a small working fishing harbour in the picturesque village of Ballintoy. Nearby, visitors will also find the famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, a hair-raising, and gently swaying rope bridge that connects the mainland to Carrick-a-Rede Island. The bridge is suspended 100 feet above the Atlantic ocean and while safe for tourists, is not for the faint-hearted!
- Downhill Beach - Co. Derry/Londonderry
Downhill Beach is a beautiful 11km stretch of beach on the Northern coast Of Derry/Londonderry. It is used s the location of Dragonstone, where the Red Woman – Lady Milisandre sacrificed the Seven Idols of Westeros.
Downhill Beach is also the perfect place for a coastal walk, and visitors can enjoy the surrounding views of counties Donegal and Antrim. Further along the coast is the famous UNESCO heritage site of the Giant’s Causeway – a must-visit for anyone exploring the Northern coast.
Where to Stay when Exploring Game of Thrones Sites
Newforge House – Co. Armagh
Newforge House is a beautiful 18th-century country house in County Armagh. Less than an hour from Castle Ward ad the Tollymore forest it is the perfect base to begin your exploration of the Game of Thrones filming sites.
With only six bedrooms Newforge offers an intimate home from home experience with glowing fires to put your feet up next to at the end of a long days exploration. A warm welcome, elegant rooms, with both family antiques and modern luxuries await you.
Bushmills Inn – Co. Antrim
Set against the backdrop of the Causeway Coast, Bushmills Inn is a boutique hotel on the Northern Coast of Co. Antrim and the ideal place to base yourself for exploring Game of Thrones sites and the Giant’s Causeway.
Bushmills Inn is located just 15 minutes from Ballintoy Harbour and half an hour from the Cushendun Caves and is ideal for visiting either.
Ardtara Country House, Co. Derry/Londonderry
Ardtara Country House is an elegant 19th-century mansion set amidst 10 secluded acres of woodland. The award-winning restaurant serves exquisite food with an emphasis on seasonal local produce.
Close to both the Dark Hedges and Downhill Beach, it is the perfect base to cross these iconic locations off your bucket list.
Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Co. Derry/Londonderry
If you were looking to do an organised Game of Thrones tour, Bishop’s Gate Hotel are offering a weekend stay with two night’s accommodation and a full day Game of Thrones location tour.
Bishop’s Gate Hotel is located in the heart of the walled city of Derry/Londonderry – a wonderful city to explore once you have had your fill of Game of Thrones