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Game of Thrones inspired breaks

July 8, 2016

Game of Thrones has taken the world by storm, with the latest season averaging over 23million viewers per episode, so it’s no wonder that its effect has taken over all aspects of life including the travel and tourism sector! In Northern Ireland, almost all fans have already completed a road trip to see the sights including the Kingsroad, Winterfell and Lordsport Harbour. However, similarly some are using it as a great reason to head to Dubrovnik on their next activity break! So where can you see some of the filming locations?

Co. Down, Northern Ireland

Rolling back to season one, Co. Down played a huge part in the filming of the early seasons with the locations of Winterfell and its surrounding areas. Tollymore Forest, just outside Newcastle, provides the setting for scenes as early as the debut episode when the Starks came across their direwolves. Tollymore is a great place to visit with plenty of walking trails and stone bridges which are fun for all the family!

Winterfell’s exterior itself can be seen at Castle Ward near Downpatrick. A National Trust property, they’ve really capitalised on the show and made it a great spot for any activity break, with the opportunity to see one of the direwolves from the show, get a Game of Thrones tour, or even learn archery in the same courtyard that Bran Stark did while in authentic costume! You can also check out a map on the website that will tell you the locations used for a number of scenes in the area.

Just a short distance away from Castle Ward is the Quoile River, where the Tullys’ homeland of Riverrun was filmed. As expected of anywhere the Tullys would make their home, there are some great river and woodland walks. On the other side of Strangford Lough, you can find Quintin Bay where the scenes at Stokeworth were filmed. This is where Jaime Lannister goes to find Bronn in season 5.

Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

The Kingsroad is filmed at the iconic Dark Hedges in Stranocum. While cars have to park at some point on the road, it doesn’t make it any less Instagram-worthy when you get a picture there! This is where Arya travels to escape King’s Landing in season 2 with the help of Gendry, Yoren and Hot Pie. Cushendun Caves on the coast is the filming location of something a bit darker – where Melisandre gives birth to the shadow which leads to Renly’s unexpected demise. Heading further north, you will find the scene of Theon’s landing into Lordsport Harbour. Ballintoy Harbour is a busy tourist site on a nice day (rare in Northern Ireland, we know!) with a little café and even a plaque so you can picture exactly which scene was shot here!

Dubrovnik, Croatia

While we have a Game of Thrones-themed activity break especially for those who hope to travel to Dubrovnik to see the sights, you can also take them in during a city break here at your own leisure.

When you first step foot outside in the inner city, you’ll have flashbacks to plenty of scenes in King’s Landing, and beyond Westeros from the show. From Cersei’s walk of shame, to the battle of Blackwater Bay – it’s all been filmed here (with the help of some CGI adding to the Red Keep!). The highest point in Dubrovnik, Mineeta Tower has been used when Daenerys is trying to get into the House of the Undying in season 2. Blackwater Bay and the Red Keep are found at Pile and Lovrijenac Fort.

A short 20minute journey from Dubrovnik can also take you to Trsteno Arboretum which offers spectacular views over the Adriatic Sea. Scenes to remember here are any that took place in the gardens of King’s Landing – often involving the Tyrells as they schemed against the Lannisters and sought to protect Sansa Stark.

Lokrum Island, Croatia

Outside of the city of Dubrovnik itself, take time during your short break to explore Lokrum Island. A beautiful location for visiting anyway, it is also the location of Qarth where Daenerys had her dealings with the Spice King! Its beautiful gardens offer a bit more greenery than the previous sights in Dubrovnik so it’s well worth the 10-minute boat trip from the city.

Which locations from Game of Thrones do you think would give you a reason to travel to a new city? Our activity breaks team are based in Co. Down, so we’re all currently making our way through the local spots around the country!

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