What do Dorne and Winterfell have in common? (You get no points for saying “they’re both places in Game of Thrones”). Answer: the southern dunes of Dorne and the Starks’ homeland were filmed in Northern Ireland. In fact, you can explore a huge chunk of Essos and Westeros in a single weekend...


1. Castle Ward

This 18th-century farmyard, overlooking Strangford Lough, was the Winterfell in season one of the show: it’s where the Starks greeted King Robert Baratheon and his royal party, and where Bran undergoes his (unsuccessful) archery lessons. 

Visitors can don Game of Thrones-esque costumes and learn archery skills directly from extras off the show – concentrate hard enough and you’ll be able to boast Ramsey Bolton-level feats with a bow (minus actually killing anyone).

Which episodes were filmed here?

If you see an exterior of Winterfell in season one, it’s Castle Ward (with a bit of CGI clamped on).

Where is it?

To the south of Belfast. From Downpatrick, take the A25 8 miles north, turn left onto Park Road at a brown signpost for Castle Ward National Trust Grounds. 

2. Audley’s Field & Castle

A five-minute bike ride away from Castle Ward (from where you can catch a cycle tour) is Audley’s Castle, a battlement named after the Norman family who arrived in Northern Ireland around 1210. And it’s by this battlement that Robb Stark stashed his army while they prepared to face the Lannisters.

Just beside the castle is Audley’s Field, where the aftermath of the battle of Oxcross was filmed (the one where Robb meets future wife Talisa – a meeting that ultimately leads to the infamous Red Wedding).

Which episodes were filmed here?

You can see Audley’s Castle and Field in Season 2, Episode 1: The North Remembers and Season 2, Episode 4: Garden of Bones.

Where is it?

It’s a 10-minute walk north of Castle Ward.

3. Cushendun

This small village in the country’s north might seem a cushy sea retreat by the mouth of the river Dun, but a short walk around the coast takes you to a place full of dark and terrors: the cave where Melisandre (aka the red woman played by Carice van Houten) gives birth to the shadow creature.

You can recreate the scene (providing you don’t mind getting your behind or imaginary shadow child too muddy) in this cave, or simply admire the sea view where cliff meets the ocean.

And if you need fortification after the evils of the caves, then recover at the nearby Mary McBrides Bar, a proper ye-olde pub where you’ll see scenes of Braavos, a free city of Essos, carved into one of the doors.

Which episode was filmed here?

You can see Melisandre’s extreme home birth in Season 2, Episode 4: Garden of Bones.

Where is it?

North of Belfast, just south-west of Bally Castle. It’s about an hour and a half’s drive from the capital.

4. Larrybane

This spot on the North Antrim coast was where the show first introduced behemoth Brienne through her fight with Loras Tyrell. Yes, the former chalk quarry is now an overflow car park Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, but it’s where the Thrones crew set up camp: Renly Baratheon‘s war camp in the Stormlands, to be precise.

And while the walls of the former quarry aren’t a feast for crows your eyes, turn around and you’ll be treated to the spectacular views of the Causeway Coast, Sheep Island and another filming location. The Kingsmoot scene – the one where Theon Greyjoy rallies the Iron Islanders to support his sister Yara’s claim to the Salt Throne – was filmed less than a minute’s walk away from the quarry. 

Which episodes were filmed here?

The quarry was used for Renly Baratheon’s camp in the Stormlands in Season 2, Episode 3: What is Dead May Never Die. Episode 5 in Season 6: The Door used Larrybane as the location of the Kingsmoot.

Where is it?

Larrybane is on the very northern tip of Northern Ireland, just under six miles from Ballycastle.

5. Carnlough

This picturesque harbour may be small, but it’s home to a critical Braavos-based scene from season six. The stony staircase leading down to the sea were the steps Ayra crawled up after being stabbed by the troublesome Waif. 

Which episode was filmed here?

The harbour steps were used in Season 6, Episode 7: The Broken Man.

Where is it?

Carnlough is on the northern coast, about half an hour’s drive north-east from Ballymena.

6. The Dark Hedges

These photogenic hedgerows – planted by the Stuart family in the 18th century to impress visitors as they approached the entrance to their Gracehill House – were transformed into the Kingsroad for Thrones’ second season. This was the path where Ayra, Gendry and Hot Pie started their journey north on the back of a cart (spoilers: it doesn’t end well for them. At all.)

So, why are they called the Dark Hedges? The treelines are supposedly haunted: The Grey Lady (a lost spirit from a long abandoned graveyard) is said to appear at dusk amongst the trees.

Which episode was filmed here?

The Dark Hedges were used for Season 2, Episode 1: The North Remembers.

Where is it?

North of Belfast, you can get to the hedges by following the A44 past Lissanoure Castle. 

7. Ballintoy beach

Ballintoy – from the Irish "Baile an Tuaigh", meaning "the northern townland" – is a tiny fishing village that doubles as many of the Iron Island’s landmarks.

Ballintoy bay is Lordsport Harbour in season two of the show (the one where a disappointed Theon Greyjoy arrives to a lukewarm reception) and its nearby beach is the one Theon was baptised into the religion of the Drowned God.

Parts of this beach were also used for the scene in series six where a priest and Balon's brother, Aeron Greyjoy, remind Yara that the new ruler of the Ironborn will be decided at a Kingsmoot. 

Which episodes were filmed here?

In the episode Season 2, Episode 2: The Night Lands, Ballintoy beach is the one where Theon Greyjoy moors.

Theon’s baptism in Ballintoy can be seen in Season 2, Episode 3: What is Dead May Never Die.

Yara can be seen talking to the priests of The Iron Islands in Season 6, Episode 2: Home.

Where is it?

You can find Ballintoy on the B15 coast road, 17 miles north-east of Coleraine, and six miles west of Ballycastle.

8. Portstewart Strand

By the mouth of River Bann lies the golden beaches and domineering dunes of Portstewart Strand, the filming location for the sweeping sands of Dorne.

Yes, the scenes in season five where Jaime Lannister and Bronn storm the scorching south of Westeros weren’t filmed in Spain or Croatia, but on this this National Trust beach on the Northern Irish coast.

Which episode was filmed here?

You can see Jaime and Bronn on Portstewart Strand beach Season 5, Episode 4: Sons of the Harpy.

Where is it?

At the northern tip of the country, 7 miles north-west from Coleraine.

9. Inch Abbey 

Cast your eyes over the remains of a Cistercian abbey on the north bank of the River Quoile and one phrase will come to mind: “THE KING OF THE NORTH!” Why? This 12th century building was where Robb Stark’s bannermen rallied to their leader after taking victory (and Jaime Lannister prisoner) at the Battle of the Whispering Wood.

As well as being the camp of The Houses of the North and the Riverlands in Game of Thrones, Inch Abbey is home to a breathtaking view of the River Quoile – in the distance you can see Downpatrick Cathedral, burial place of St Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint.

Which episode was filmed here?

Season 1, Episode 10: Fire and Blood used Inch Abbey as a filming location.

Where is it?

South of Belfast, and 2 miles north of Downpatrick.

10. Tollymore Forest

It all started here: the opening of Game of Thrones season one, episode one – the scene where a Night’s Watch deserter rides into a circle of dismembered Wildling bodies – was filmed deep within Tollymore in the Mournes.

Although the fake snow and protective mesh has been removed from the forest floor, you can still see the clearing that played canvas to the White Walkers' corpse decor.

As well as hosting the opening to the show, Parnell Bridge in the Forest was the filming location for the first scene that George RR Martin ever imagined in his Song of Ice and Fire series: the finding of the dead direwolf and six live pups. 

Which episode was filmed here?

You see the debut scenes of the direwolves and White Walkers in Season 1, Episode 1: Winter is Coming. 

Where is it?

In the south-west of Northern Ireland, just below Newcastle. Once in the park, follow the signs to Parnell Bridge to get to the Game of Thrones locations.