As the race for the Iron Throne intensifies, and the white walkers approach, Game of Thrones® fans prepare for the climax of a TV phenomenon.
Episode one of the final season of Game of Thrones® has ratcheted up the intensity of HBO’s epic fantasy tale, leaving fans eager for more.
As the remaining episodes unfold, speculation about who will finally rule the Seven Kingdoms is rife, with bookmakers even creating odds on who will end up sitting on the Iron Throne by the season finale.
After a decade of getting to know the characters and kingdoms, enjoying the plot twists and marvelling at the dramatic scenery that formed the backdrop to the series, many Thrones devotees are wondering how they will fill the void once the series concludes.
The answer is to head to Northern Ireland, the physical and spiritual home of the series, where fans can immerse themselves in the world of Westeros and an abundance of ways to enjoy it.
For set jetters, an excellent destination is the spectacular Causeway Coast, north of Belfast, where the beautiful Downhill Beach stood in for Dragonstone, the brooding Dark Hedges became the Kingsroad and the mysterious Cushendun Caves turned into the location where the Red Priestess Melisandre gave birth to her shadow baby.
Numerous guided tours will take fans around these sites, as well as other key filming locations south of Belfast, which include Old Castle Ward in County Down. Doubling as the Stark home of Winterfell, this National Trust property has 19 Thrones’ shoot locations on site and is rich in experiences related to the show.
Many of the tours in the ‘Home of Thrones’ are led by locals who have worked as actors, extras and crew on the show and who can share great behind-the-scenes stories. But the Game of Thrones experiences extend far beyond set-jetting.
In Belfast, for example, you can challenge yourself to the Game of Thrones® themed escape room, grab a selfie at the giant stained-glass windows representing the Houses of the Seven Kingdoms and see a 70-metre-long Bayeux-style tapestry at the Ulster Museum depicting key scenes from each season.
In addition, until 1 September, GAME OF THRONESTM: The Touring Exhibition will be at the city’s Titanic Exhibition Centre close to the Titanic Studios, the show’s central production facility.
Featuring costumes, authentic props and majestic settings from all seven seasons screened to date, the must-see exhibition reveals the artistry and craftmanship behind the Emmy award-winning series and offers an interactive and immersive ‘Thrones’ experience like no other.
And beyond Series 8, fans can look forward to an exciting new Game of Thrones® experience opening in spring 2020. The Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, County Down will drop Thrones followers into the very heart of the Seven Kingdoms.
Featuring a compelling mix of behind-the-scenes insights, interactive elements, and expansive, fully dressed sets, the Game of Thrones® Studio Tour will keep the worlds of Westeros and Essos alive long after the TV sensation ends.