With filming wrapped and a new series ready to roll, the excitement over Game of Thrones is increasing as fans speculate on what will happen in Season 7. Game of Thrones will return to the screens in July, featuring The Seven Kingdoms. As ever, Northern Ireland was the epicentre for the making of Season 7, with Belfast again morphing into Hollywood as the show’s stars returned for filming. Most Game of Throne fans know that the show’s key sets, including the Iron Throne, are tucked away in the city’s Titanic Studios or housed at a separate studio outside the rustic town of Banbridge, a half-hour drive away. For exterior shooting, a range of Northern Ireland locations stand in for everything from Winterfell to The Wall in Game of Thrones.
A large slice of the ‘Home of Thrones’ can be explored in a single weekend. Guided coach and taxi tours can take you set jetting around the filming locations. Self-drive itineraries and cycle tours let you explore them at your own pace and medieval banquets can give a real taste of Westeros.
One can recreate scenes at leisure, admire the views and check out the 10 special ‘Doors of Thrones’ that hang in local pubs, restaurants and inns located near key filming sites. These intricately carved doors are made from 200-year-old beech trees from the much-photographed Dark Hedges in County Antrim, aka the Kingsroad from Season 2. Felled during Storm Gertrude, that battered Northern Ireland in January 2016, this piece of ‘Thrones’ history was saved for fans by fashioning them into doors with elaborate engravings depicting scenes from Season 6.
Visitors can create more Seven Kingdoms memories with a Winterfell tour at Castle Ward, a National Trust property just 30 miles from Belfast that doubled as the ancestral home of the Stark family in Season 1. Here one can meet the actual dogs that starred as direwolves in the show, don character costumes and enjoy archery at the exact spot where Jon Snow and Robb Stark taught young Bran the art of shooting an arrow.