You would be forgiven for thinking the seven feuding kingdoms of Game of Thrones (based on George R.R. Martin’s famous novels) are fictional. But what if I said you can visit them any time you like?
Take a trip to Northern Ireland and follow in the steps of Game of Thrones Supervising Location manager Robbie Boake. Robbie started scouting for the mega TV series eight years ago and was quickly drawn to the unspoilt beaches, wild sand dunes and fabulous scenery of Northern Ireland’s countryside. The area’s topography so suited the places described in Martin’s fiction that Sky Atlantic decided to collaborate with the UK’s National Trust and film the series across a number of the Trust’s amazing locations.
Since then, visitor numbers have shot through the roof. In series I, a Georgian farmyard at Castle Ward, County Down was transformed into the courtyard at Winterfell, home to the Starks. In the fictional Thrones world the castle was burnt to the ground in the following series, yet visitor numbers at the actual location peak at around 2,500 a month. Castle Ward offers several Game of Thrones experiences such as archery at ‘Winterfell’ and a ten-location cycle tour of other places on the estate which found their way into Thrones world.
Likewise the protected dunes of Portstewart Strand, Co. Londonderry, appear throughout series 5; these 30 metre high sand dunes feature as Jaime Lannister and Bronn make their way to the Dorne. Larrybane Quarry, Co. Antrim, is Renly Baratheon’s camp in series 2. Murlough Bay, also Co. Antrim, is the setting for the Iron Islands, series 3, and where Davos ended up after the Battle of Blackwater. And Dragonstone, series 2, is in reality Downhill Demesne and Beach, Co. Londonderry.
Fans of Game of Thrones can download maps showing all the locations used in the show. See http://discovernorthenireland.com/gameofthrones And for further information go to http://nationaltrust.org.uk/mag/moviemap
Book your trip now just ahead of season six, and get in on the action.