15 Game of Thrones filming locations in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland was once a no-go zone where no sane traveler would venture. The beauty of its countryside was overshadowed by stories of troubles, bombs and sectarianism. And although all wounds aren’t completely healed yet, this little odd piece of the UK is nowadays more and more on the tourist radar. Even Lonely Planet has chosen Belfast and the Causeway Coastal Route as one of the top areas to visit in 2018!
But above all, Northern Ireland has become a country of magic, history and fantasy thanks to one American television series that half the world seems to be watching: Game of Thrones!

I am lucky enough to live in Northern Ireland and have had numerous opportunities to explore all these wonderful locations! Hell, I’ve even seen Kit Harington riding his bike in the centre of Belfast!  So, join me and discover 15 of the most popular Game of Thrones filming locations in Northern Ireland!

Game of Thrones locations south of Belfast

1/ Castle Ward Estate – Winterfell

Welcome to Winterfell! Follow the signs to Clearsky Adventure and you’ll end up at the tower where Jamie Lannister pushed Bran into the deep end.

Inside the courtyard, you can dress up as a member of the Stark family (including swords), you can practise your archery skills on the very same spot where Jon Snow and Rob Stark instructed Bran in archery. And if that’s not enough, you can also hire a bicycle and cycle along beautiful Strangford Lough, where Brienne brought Jamie Lannister ashore and where Rob’s camp was filmed.

Game of Thrones locations in Northern Ireland

2/ Audley’s Field- Robb Stark’s Camp, Oxcross

A 20 minute walk from Winterfell, you will find the stone ruins of Audley’s Castle. The castle overlooks the waters of Strangford Lough and the fields around it is where Talissa tended to the wounded soldiers after the battle of Oxcross. Later on, Audley’s Field is where Alton Lannister is imprisoned with Jaime.

3/ Inch Abbey- Robb Stark’s Camp, Riverrun

The ruins of this 12th century abbey, situated on the banks of the River Quoile is the place where Catelyn Stark informs Rob about the execution of his father. It is also the location where the North swore loyalty to Rob Stark as “King of the North”.
Apart from the Game of Thrones connection, Inch Abbey is also a very peaceful and atmospheric spot where you can get a great idea of exactly how massive the structure was when it was built.

game of thrones in northern ireland

4/ Tollymore Forest Park- lands around Winterfell

This beautiful 630 hectares park, situated at the foothills of the Mourne Mountains, has been used several times in Game of Thrones. It all started with the three men of the Night’s Watch coming across dismembered bodies in the snow. Tollymore is also the place where the direwolf pups were found and where Bran eventually meets the three-eyed raven from his dreams.

game of thrones in northern ireland

Game of Thrones locations north of Belfast

1/ Cairncastle- North of Winterfell

The hills above the small village of Cairncastle provided the wild landscape where Ned Stark beheaded the deserter of the Night’s Watch in the series’ very first episode. It has also featured as the place where Catelyn Stark captures Tyrion Lannister. A nearby location shows you where Littlefinger told Sansa Stark they were returning to Winterfell, now occupied by Bolton. Even if you do not watch the series, it is worth driving up: the green fields of the Antrim plateau with the Irish sea below is a sight not to be missed!

Game of Thrones tour of Northern Ireland

2/ Carnlough Harbour – Canal steps of Braavos

After Arya Stark has been stabbed multiple times by Waif, she jumps off a bridge into a canal.  The filming location is the little harbour of Carnlough, where she crawls back out of the water via some stony steps.

The harbour is really picturesque and from the harbour walls you get a beautiful view of the surrounding coastline!

carnlough harbour

3/ Cushendun Caves – Stormlands

Used as a setting for the Stormlands, the place where Davos rows Melissandra ashore before she gives birth to the shadow creature.  The caves were formed over 400 million years ago!  Again, absolutely stunning scenery, even if you’re not a GoT-fan!

Game of Thrones tour of Northern Ireland

4/ Murlough Bay – Slavers Bay

This secluded section of the North Coast was the setting for the Iron Islands. It is here where Theon Greyjoy goes horse riding with his sister Yara and the place where Davos is shipwrecked after the battle of Blackwater Bay.
Later on in the series Tyrion and Jonah get captured here by the slavers.

It is not an easy place to get to, but following the narrow road all the way down is absolutely worth it for the stunning views over the Atlantic!

game of thrones in northern ireland

5/ Fair Head – Dragonstone Cliffs

Murlough Bay looks out over Fair Head, a spectacular promontory rising at 600ft above sea level.  Varys confronts Melissandra here about her avoidance of Jon Snow and advises her to leave Westeros.
Fair Head is also the place where Jon Snow meets Daenerys and the dragons at Dragonstone.

Fair Head

6/ Larrybane – Stormlands

Right next to the Carrick-a-Rede Ropebridge, one of Northern Ireland’s most famous visitor attractions. This is the place where Renly Baratheon’s camp was set up. It’s also the place where we first meet Brienne and where Catelyn Stark agrees on a treaty with Renly in favour of her son Rob.

Game of Thrones tour of Northern Ireland

7/ Ballintoy Harbour – Pyke & The Iron Islands

One of my favourite places in Northern Ireland! The little café provides a perfect backdrop to the small fishing harbour and the (often) wild sea! It is the place where Theon Greyjoy arrives back on the Iron Islands and where he first meets his sister Yara. The nearby beach was used to film Melissandra’s burning of Stannis Baratheon’s bannermen.

game of thrones in northern ireland

8/ Portstewart Strand – Coast of Dorne

Jaime and Bronn come ashore here to rescue Myrcella, but are soon discovered by the Dorne soldiers.
The beach is two miles long and very popular amongst surfers.

portstewart strand

9/ Downhill beach- Dragonstone

A 10km stretch of sand and a tiny temple perched on a cliff top beside it, no wonder Downhill beach is one of Northern Ireland’s favourite beach locations. It was used as the spot where Melissandra and Stannis burned the old gods and where Melissandra chants: “For the night is dark and full of terrors!”

Game of Thrones tour of Northern Ireland

10/ Binevenagh Cliffs – Dothraki grasslands

Dramatic cliffs offer stunning views over Donegal and Lough Foyle.
When Daenerys escaped the Slaver City of Meereen on the back of Drogon, she gets surrounded by the Dothraki horde here. It is also in these stunning surroundings that Jorah and Daario found Daenerys’ ring.

Binevenagh cliffs

11/ The Dark Hedges- The Kingsroad

Before Game of Thrones, very few people went to visit this beautiful avenue of beech trees. To me however, it has always had a very magical atmosphere! It is on this lane that Arya Stark makes her escape from King’s Landing, dressed as a boy.
The site has become so popular that coaches can no longer drive up! Unfortunately it has been severely damaged over the last few years due some severe storms.


Game of Thrones tour of Northern Ireland

Have you visited some of the Game of Thrones filming locations in Northern Ireland? Or have you been to other places just to see where you favourite series was filmed?

10 Replies to “15 Game of Thrones filming locations in Northern Ireland”

  1. Enola of Game of Hodor

    I admit that I am no a GOT fan as well but when I saw your post I would be a fool to not appreciate the sheer beauty of the place. It is indeed a place worthy to be in one’s bucket list especially mine, I for one would love to see the dark hedges in person. It just strikes me as really interesting, majestic and magical. I plan to visit as soon as I can.

    Reply
  2. Heather Cole

    Still need to see Game of Thrones (one day!) but I love visiting places made famous by films! We went to Alnwick Castle last month just to see some of the Harry Potter places (oops, now admitting to being a HP fan!). Would love to see the beech hedges!

    Reply
  3. Jennifer F

    I have never seen the Game of Thrones but I’ve heard a lot about it and now with all of your photos – my curiosity is peaked. Beautiful photos and lovely post. Thanks for sharing – a place to add to my bucket list.

    Reply
  4. Jameela Deen

    I have never seen the game of throne thing but the settings looks fantastic enough. I did check out a few Harry Potter sets when in London though and it is quite fun to “go behind the scene”.

    Reply
  5. Claudia

    I think I am the only one on earth who never saw Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars and all of the kind… But I still enjoyed your post 🙂

    Reply
  6. Neno

    Great post I love Winterfell!

    You are right N. Ireland is rarely very high on travel lists.

    Maybe the show will change it, it is doing wonders for Dubrovnik.

    Neno

    Reply
    • Els Post author

      It has changed a lot already! At the tourist office (where I work) we get more and more enquiries about GoT tours!

      Reply

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