Flying from London to the Game of Thrones’ land can only cost you about £15 and about 1 hour and 30 minutes of travel to Belfast in Northern Ireland, the country where about 80% of the the series is filmed.
If you are looking for a short break from the city and you are a big Game of Thrones fan, visiting their filming locations across Northern Ireland can be an exciting experience. In approximately 10 hours, you can see the most important filming locations around, either by renting a car from £13 and plan your route or you can book a guided Game of Thrones Tour starting from £35 and go by bus to the locations. If you make an early start by car, there will be plenty to see and you will do it at your own pace, and spend as much time as you like in the filming locations.
A very nice touch you can find in the locations are information boards with pictures from the locations as seen in the series and a brief explanation of what was happening at that particular moment.
Either way, you will need to do a lot of walking, about 10km; the weather is cold and extremely windy, so make sure you are equipped with the right kind of gear. If you decide to make your own way to Westeros, here you can find some of the must see GOT locations. Warning! If you have not watched all episodes, there might be spoilers ahead.
The first stop after leaving Belfast is Carnlough Village, the town’s harbour was first featured in season six in the scene where Arya Stark was stabbed by an old lady, who takes off her mask to reveal she is the Waif, and Arya tries to escape by jumping to the river.
This little town was built on the 19th century during the famine years, and features an old world architecture, which perfectly fits the Game of Thrones world.
This area has been used in the show multiple times. Its coastal location and geological features make you feel that the fantasy world of Game of Thrones might actually be real. The red priestess Melisandre’s shadow/demon baby was born inside the Cushendun Caves.
The caves are easily accessible by foot, as they are right behind the village, and curiously, the one used for the shadow baby’s birth is the entrance of the local convent where nuns are currently living.
After leaving the caves, you can go further north to Larrybane, which was the site of Renly Baratheon’s camp, where Brienne of Tarth swore loyalty to the self-proclaimed king of the Seven Kingdoms.
Also on the other side of the bay is Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, which fishermen built over 350 years ago and is suspended 100ft above sea level. The actual bridge is not used on the series, but a replica was built to be featured as part of the Iron Islands. We warn you that you will do a lot of walking alongside this coast from one side to the other, as there are walking paths only.
The ruins of this medieval castle fits right into the Game of Thrones World. The castle was an inspiration for Harrenhal in the series, and its uncanny resemblance makes you remember the chilling and horrific scenes that happened inside the ruined castle. The photos you can take in Dunluce Castle are simply breathtaking as the castle is located near the shore.
The Dark Hedges
On your way back south to Belfast you can find The Dark Hedges, which is used as the King’s Road in Game of Thrones where in season 2 a young Arya traveled in the back of a cart with Gendry and Hot Pie to leave King’s Landing after her father Ned Stark was executed.
This gorgeous avenue of beech trees were planted by the Stuart family in the 18th century and currently it is one of the most photographed sites in Northern Ireland.
This particular route is a full circle, using Belfast as the departure point. As most of the series is filmed in Northern Ireland, there are of course other locations you can visit if you want to spend more than a day in the Game of Thrones World, then we’re back to the real world!
Words and pictures: Kate Reichardt | Subbing: Aylin Paula Karanis