Northern Ireland: 8 Must-See Game of Thrones Locations
I am a huge Game of Thrones fan! At this point, who isn’t? A huge bulk of the show was actually filmed in various locations around Northern Ireland, which makes it a perfect place to visit as an avid watcher of the series. It was also filmed in other countries in Europe, including Croatia, where you can go on a Game of Thrones tour in Dubrovnik. I’ve put together this list of my most-recommended places to visit in Northern Ireland as a Game of Thrones fan, all of which are easily within reach by tour bus or car while using Belfast as a home base. It’s super easy to even reach all these places on a day trip while spending a weekend in Belfast. Of course, there are way more than just 8 locations to visit if you’re a diehard fan!
How to Get to Belfast
If you’re not in Ireland, the easiest way to get to Belfast is to fly directly into Belfast International Airport. Already being in Ireland gives you a few more options; then you have the option of flying, renting a car, taking a train, or taking a bus. When you do rent a car in Ireland, however, make sure you check with your rental service to see if you can bring your car into Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland Game of Thrones Tour Options
If you’re anything like me, then you might have to end up seeing all of these marvelous filming locations on a tour bus. However, it just makes it even more fun because you will be able to visit all these places with other avid fans! All of these have different filming location stops, but the one that I recommend most is the tour with Irish Tour Tickets. It only costs £39. This is the tour that I took that introduced me to some of these marvelous locations, like the Fullerton Arms Restaurant which any fan should definitely stop at! Here’s a list of some other great Game of Thrones tours from Belfast:
- Brit Movie Tours £45
- Belfast Winterfell Locations Trek £50
- Belfast Iron Islands, Giant’s Causeway & Rope Bridge Adventure £50
- Game of Thrones Filming Location Tour from Belfast (Wild Rover Tours) £39
- Giant’s Causeway and Game of Thrones Locations Tour from Belfast OR Dublin (Finn McCools Tours) £35
1. Carnlough Harbour
Carnlough Harbour was first featured in season six of Game of Thrones, a season which I hate to admit I haven’t even watched yet. I’ve only seen up through season three! However, that didn’t take away from the beauty of Carnlough Harbour. Supposedly it’s one of the prettiest ports along the Antrim coast!
One of the cool things about this place for GoT fans is that there’s actually even a sign showing what happened directly in the harbor from the show. I thought that was so awesome! For those of you who need a refresher, this spot was in season six. Arya Stark was crawling up the side of the harbor after being stabbed. Yes – this was spoiled for me on the tour, so I guess be careful about that! But, I mean, I still am not sure of all the context and everything, and it was still cool to stand in the same place as Arya Stark.
2. Cushendun Caves
I think we all know what happened here with Melisandre in season 2. If you’ve forgotten and need a refresher, it’s where she gave birth to Shadow. These caves are really something of a miracle, and they’re extremely beautiful to look at. You’ll definitely get sucked into the view by watching the water hit against the rocks! These caves were formed over 400 million years and they’re such a natural beauty. I still think about them!
3. Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge
Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge is actually one of the top sights in Northern Ireland! This rope bridge was put up almost 400 years ago by local fishermen to catch Atlantic salmon. Now you’re able to pay a small fee and cross the bridge yourself! I will say that it isn’t for those who hate heights! However, it is completely worth it because once you cross the bridge you are rewarded with some pretty amazing views.
If you’re wondering if it’s scary at all to cross the bridge, I would say that it isn’t. I didn’t even really feel the rope bridge moving at all until I was about in the middle of it. This location was used in season 6 during a duel with Balon Greyjoy and Euron.
4. Larrybane Limestone Quarry
This location was used for the camp of Renly Baratheon in The Stormlands. It was also used for many more scenes too! The one that I think it’s most known for is the scene in season 2 during the tournament where we are first introduced to Brienne of Tarth. This location is also within walking distance of the rope bridge, so you can cross off two things on this list with one stop!
5. Fullerton Arms Restaurant
If you’re traveling throughout Northern Ireland, you absolutely must stop at Fullerton Arms Restaurant. Every meal here is about £10 – £15. You are allowed to pay with card here. It is a Game of Thrones themed restaurant though, which is pretty awesome. There’s even a special room that you can go into with props and an Iron Throne, so you can take your own photo here! Check out some of the photos my friends and I took below. I tried so hard to make a serious badass face and seriously failed.
6. Giant’s Causeway
Giant’s Causeway is another top spot in Northern Ireland. The story behind the causeway is also pretty cool and interesting! The legend states that all the rocks left are actually there because a giant, Finn McCool, began bridging the gap to Scotland only to end up in a fight with him, leading a lot of the rocks to be thrown around. There are almost identical rock columns in Scotland! Some of the columns reach almost 40 feet high.
It’s even considered the eighth wonder of the world by many people. It was formed 60 million years ago and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Though Giant’s Causeway is not an actual filming location, you’re completely cheating yourself in this trip if you don’t at least stop by. It’s an amazing natural wonder that can not be missed. It’s made up of almost 50,000 rocks!
7. Dunluce Castle
Dunluce Castle is used as the location for Castle Greyjoy. It’s unbelievably beautiful in person, surrounded by cliffs and amazingly blue water. It’s definitely a photo stop at the least, but if you can also visit it and walk around if you visit between the hours of 10 AM – 5 PM, but you do have to buy tickets which cost £5.50.
This castle is really a sight to behold and was built in the very beginning of the 16th Century by the MacQuillan family. It has a long history of ownership, as it was seized by the MacDonnell clan and eventually got into the hands of the County Antrim earls.
8. Dark Hedges
The Dark Hedges is one of the most infamous filming locations, as it’s used as the King’s Road in the series. This site is completely free because it actually is just a road with a whole bunch of trees. Definitely be careful of when you go though – I’m sure if you go earlier in the day you can beat a lot of the tour groups and other tourists.
These trees were believed to have been planted by the Stuart family in the 18th Century, though in the past few years have succumbed to a lot of damage unfortunately. A lot of trees were actually knocked over during Storm Gertrude and were eventually made into a series of doors that you can now see throughout Northern Ireland. Each of these doors specifically represents an episode from season 6, and one of them is even at the Fullerton Arms Restaurant I recommended earlier in this post!