Finding Northern Ireland’s Game of Thrones Filming Locations

Series 8 of Game of Thrones is only a few weeks away and during our visit to Northern Ireland in February half term we visited many of the shows fantastic filming locations, many of which are dotted along the Northern Ireland Coastal Route.

Numerous key scenes have been filmed in the country and to help you locate them, Discover Northern Ireland have launched the Game of Thrones Filming Locations Northern Ireland app, available for Apple on AppStore and Android on GooglePlay.

Having the app allows you to visit and explore the locations at your own pace and it links to Google Maps, which gives you exact directions, whereas relying on postcodes can leave you a long way out of your chosen destination.

Some of the locations are located via a plaque from the show, with little to see or do, other than take pictures, however others are perfect for spending more time exploring.

Game of Thrones Filming Locations

Castle Ward – Winterfell

The first location on our list was Castle Ward and Audley’s Castle, both National Trust properties on the same site, whose historic farmyard is the location of Winterfell, the backdrop for the series pilot and much of season one.

Lord Stark and Dire Wolf

This is the one location we spend the most time in as there was so much for the kids to explore, as well as several filming locations dotted around the property including Winterfell Castle, the Baelor battle, where Brienne confronts the Stark men and Robb Stark and Talisa got secretly married.

Audley's Castle

Although the sets have now gone, there is a large photo book in the courtyard showing how they set up and filmed some of the scenes, plus a huge replica Winterfell Archery Range, where you can dress up and try your hand at the sport, just like Jon Snow, Robb and Bran Stark. Please note you need to book this in advance with gameofthrones-winterfelltours.com

Winterfell Archery

River Quoile

Just a short drive from Castle Ward is the River Quoile, which was used as the location for Hoster Tully’s funeral, attended by his daughter Catelyn and grandson Robb Stark, where is body was set ablaze by a flaming arrow, eventually, in season 3.

TOP TIP: The actual filming location is up a road marked as a dead end. Continue up this road to the second layby on the left hand-side to find it.

Inch Abbey

Home to Robb Stark’s Riverrun Camp, Inch Abbey is the stunning ruins of a 12th Century Cistercian Abbey set on the banks of the River Quoile.

As well as being the location where Robb Stark was proclaimed King of the North, in the distance you can see Downpatrick Cathedral, the burial place of St Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint.

Tollymore Forest

Located at the foot of the Mourne Mountains and a short drive from the popular coastal town of Newcastle, Tollymore Forest was used in season 1 as the location where Ned Stark and his sons found the Dire Wolf pups.

Cairncastle – The Neck and North of Winterfell

This one was the trickiest one to find, as it is set amongst farmland on single track country roads, but does offer some of the most spectacular inland scenery.

This wild landscape is where Ned Stark beheaded a Night’s Watch deserter in the very first season of Game of Thrones.

Carnlough Harbour: Braavos Canal

This picturesque harbour is situated in the pretty coastal town of Carnlough and is the location where Arya surfaced from the water after being attacked by the waif and crawled up the harbour steps.

After showing Isaac a picture of the scene that was filmed here, he could not wait to try and recreate it himself!!

Galboly: The Glens of Antrim – Runestone

Although we found the plaque by the side of the road, this was one where we could not find the exact filming location as it is all fenced off, however, the views over the bay were stunning.

This is the location where Sansa and Littlefinger watch Robin practice is swordsmanship in season 5 and where the latter agree to march to Sansa’s aid with the Knights of the Vale.

Cushenden Caves – Stormlands

Possibly the location we visited that the kids most enjoyed exploring.

Cushenden Beach

Hubby tried to dodge the waves to get to the cave and ended up getting soaked before we realised there was a path to access them above the beach.

These 400 million year old caves were used in season 2 when Melisandre gave birth to the shadow creature which goes on to kill Renly Baratheon.

Murlough Bay – Slavers Bay and Renly’s Camp

From Cushenden Caves we experienced one of the most beautiful, but hair-raising drives we have ever experienced, to find Murlough Bay.

We were rewarded with a stunning rainbow sat over Fair Head, which rises 600ft above sea level and doubles as Dragonstone Cliffs.

Several episodes of Game of Thrones have been filmed in this and the surrounding areas including where Tyrion and Jorah were captured by Slavers in season 5 and where Tyrion and Daenerys share a moment in episode 6.

Rainbow

Larrybane – The Stormlands and Nagga’s Hill, Old Wyk

We actually fell across this location by complete accident when visiting the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge on our first day in Northern Ireland.

This location was used in season 2 as Renly Baratheon’s camp and where Brienne was named to Renly’s Kingsguard. It was also used in season 5 as the setting for the Kingsmoot.

Ballintoy – Lordsport and Pyke

If you didn’t know that Ballintoy Harbour was there, you would drive past oblivious to its beauty and it is obvious as to why it was chosen as a location for the Iron Islands when you first set eyes on it.

Theon returns here and is baptised in season 2 and in season 6, it is where Euron’s drowning and rebirth is held.

The Dark Hedges

Possibly the most iconic of the Game of Thrones locations, the Dark Hedges feature as the Kings Road, as Arya escapes Kings Landing in season 2.

Being iconic does have its downside, as it was also the busiest Game of Thrones location that we found.

TOP TIP: Park at the Hedges Hotel and walk through the fairy garden to find the Dark Hedges road. When you return, head into Gracehill House to find one of the Doors of Thrones and enjoy a warming cup of coffee.

Portstewart Strand – Coast of Dorne

Portstewart Strand is a stunning beach which features golden sand dunes and stunning sea views.

Portstewart Strand

It is here that Jaime and Bronn come ashore to rescue Myrcella, only to be discovered by Dornish soldiers.

It is also where Ellaria and the Sand Snakes vow vengeance against the Lannisters in season 5.

Downhill Beach – Dragonstone

This stunning beach is home to Mussenden, a tiny temple perched on top of a 120ft cliff and is where Melisandre burnt the effigies of the seven gods of Westeros in season 2.

We managed to find 23 of the 26 listed locations on the app, missing Lough Neagh – the Summer Sea, Toome Canal – Old Valyrian Canal and Pollnagollum Cave – Hollow Hill, but have vowed to return soon to explore more of Northern Ireland and the Game of Thrones Studio Tour when it opens sometime this year.

Are you a Game of Thrones fan – do you recognise any of the locations?

44 thoughts on “Finding Northern Ireland’s Game of Thrones Filming Locations

  1. That is so amazing! I am a HUGE Game of Thrones fan. I want to put together a vacation where we just go around visiting all the filming locations.

  2. Wow this is so cool!! What an awesome vacation and how exciting your family found 23 of the 26 places listed on the app.Your photos are gorgeous. So I have to admit I have never seen the Game of Thrones but, I have Ireland on my bucket list for places to visit.

  3. We have a few movie locations near where we live; it’s always so fun to see them in person after seeing them on the big screen. I didn’t realize just how many scenes were filmed in Ireland; that’s so cool!

  4. Eight seasons and I have never seen a single episode. I was in Northern Ireland in 2012, and I remember Game of Thrones tours were all the rage back then too. I really forgot, but scenery they use is so magnificent, perhaps it’s time for me to watch

  5. I’ve never actually watched GOT but me and my fiancé have talked about it! Maybe we should try it, but this location is absolutely stunning! What an amazing place, I’d love to take my kids there and go on an adventure! X

  6. Inch Abbey looks stunning and I been to a similar place called Jedburgh Abbey in Scotland 2 years ago. Love such historical site as we don’t get to see such ruins in Asia.

  7. What an amazing experience! This would be the perfect itinerary for Game of Thrones fans visiting Ireland.

  8. What a fun post! I have to be honest I have never watched Game of Thrones but I would love to visit all these locations just because they are so pretty! Next time I’m in Ireland I will be doing this!

  9. I am a huge fan of Game of Thrones and always wondered if they had to travel all over the world to film since the scenes can vary greatly! I never knew so many were in Ireland; I’d love to see these locations!

  10. So awesome! I’ve seen a few videos of YouTube of Game of Thrones filming location tours. I’m heading to Iceland in May and plan to visit a few, but the ones in Northern Ireland look incredible too!

  11. what a nice place to come and visit this will surely be added on our bucket list, thankyou for sharing this.

  12. that’s awesome! I wish I could see that with my kids! looks so beautiful there and I can’t wait for the next Game of Thrones season to start ; )

  13. Ok I have to admit I don’t watch Game of Thrones so I was lost in the post. I’ve heard all the rave about it but never sat and watched. I must say the shooting locations are so epic. The views are just amazing, Ireland is a place to visit even if you’re not familiar with the show.

  14. Oh my gosh it looks so beautiful! The weather didn’t look bad for Feb half term either! I cannot wait for the final series, but just so sad it’s the last one! I wasn’t ever planning on watching it, but got sucked in! 😀

  15. Oh wow what beautiful locations! I have to admit I have never seen the Game of Thrones myself but these locations are all stunning and beautiful places to visit whether you are a GoT fan or not! x

  16. I can’t believe there’s an app! That is so amazing. I would love to do a trip like this. I’m still hoping I can go to Ireland this year, it’s my dream! Saving this post as a reference!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.