Set to grace television screens across the world early next year, award-winning series Game of Thrones will return for its eighth and final season in April 2019. As we all eagerly await the show’s arrival, there’s one way that fans can beat their Game
of Thrones blues between now and then.
Northern Ireland beckons fair maidens and fine knights to take a trip down the Kingsroad, through the country that houses more of the Seven Kingdoms than any other location in the world. Fans can get a real, first-hand feel for the forests, cliffs, castles and bays around which their beloved characters have strode. The lush greens and azure waters of the landscape are sure to transport explorers to the fantasy drama’s mystical world of direwolves and dragons.
Ahlan! discovers some of the key landmarks that are must-see locations for all Game of Thrones enthusiasts.
The Haunted Forest at Tollymore Forest Park, Down
With winter finally upon the great kingdoms, bringing with it the dreaded arrival of the White Walkers, guests can be taken back to the first sighting of the terrifying creatures at Tollymore Forest Park in Down, commonly known as the Haunted Forest. Take a hike through the forest
park and enjoy a quick picnic amid the rich greenery. There’s also an option to try mountaineering and canoeing, courtesy of the Tollymore National Outdoor Centre.
Winterfell at Castle Ward, Down
The legendary home of the mighty Starks, in reality, Winterfell is located at Castle Ward in Down. The majestic location exudes the pride of the North, as much of the surrounding scenery is seen in a number of different episodes – including when Arya hones her archery skills and when Catelyn Stark oversees her family’s goings on. Visitors to Castle Ward can don authentic Westerosean apparel, tuck in to themed banquets and even meet two of the fearsome direwolves.
Stormlands, The Dark Hedges and the Iron Islands at Antrim
Those who want to fully experience the world of Westeros can settle themselves into the iconic Ballygally Castle in Antrim, which offers insightful trips to the Stormlands and the Iron Islands, located along the coast of Antrim. However, a highlight of the location would have to be the Dark Hedges, fringing the famous Kingsroad itself, which has been used for passage by many a Stark in the series. Prior to exploring, guests can indulge in a Games of Thrones-themed tea fit for Karl and Khaleesi. Or, after a thrilling day of sightseeing, come back to yet another themed banquet to feast upon.
Coast of Sunspear at Portstewart Strand, Londonderry
Aside from being one of the top destinations to visit in Northern Ireland, the pristine beach that is Portstewart Strand – stretching for two miles – happens to be the location where the Sandsnake sisters conspired against the Lannisters. The sandy shores, located in Londonderry, are kept in pristine condition, making for an ideal day out for families and couples that want to take to the water.
Dothraki Grasslands at Binevenagh, Londonderry
When taking on the scenic walks to the summit of Binevenagh in Londonderry, travellers should keep their eyes peeled for a glimpse of Daenerys Targareon’s majestic dragons. The mountain, formed more than 60 million years ago from molten lava, today offers picturesque views that stretch across expanses of plains, where the Mother of Dragons rode her ferocious beasts across the horizon.