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Game Of Thrones: The Best Filming Locations In Northern Ireland

Where to find the most beautiful scenary in northern ireland use for Game of Thrones!
Are you as obsessed with Game Of Thrones as we are?

Thankfully, Northern Ireland is Walhalla for nerds like us. The Northern Irish coastline is liberally sprinkled with many different Game Of Thrones filming locations, which can be discovered in just a few days.

When we were planning our Irish road trip, it quickly became clear to us we would be visiting some of those famous Game Of Thrones sets along the coastline of Northern Ireland. I mean it wasn’t even an option not to visit any of the sights. We got all giddy and excited knowing what amazing scenery would be lined up before us, this was going to be epic!


8 stunning Game Of Thrones filming locations you should visit



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Both Marlo and I are huge fans of the fantasy genre; you should know both the books and the series of George R. Martin’s masterpiece are amongst my all-time favourites. Northern Ireland is small, but jam-packed with lots of Game Of Thrones filming locations, all close to each other.

So pack your bags and get ready to visit our pick of the best Game Of Thrones filming locations in Northern Ireland!


Hey, visiting Ireland soon? We have loads more posts to help you plan your trip! Check these out:

Map Of Game Of Thrones Filming Locations

Here’s our Game Of Thrones Northern Ireland filming locations map, just for you! Download this map via Google Maps and keep it on your phone as inspiration while on the road. We have seen all the locations on the map, which are listed below, during our Game Of Thrones Northern Ireland road trip!


We had 3 days of our 7 day Ireland road trip to dedicate to these spectacular scenic spots.



1. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge & Larrybane Quarry (AKA: Renly Baratheon’s Camp)
The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a precarious piece of engineering used by salmon fishermen to check their nets. It is a 20 meter long rope bridge suspended 30 meters above the water and rocks below. Though the bridge itself isn’t used in the series, the nearby Ballintoy Harbour and Larrybane Quarry are famous filming locations.

The beautiful harbour area of Ballintoy village is now home to the capital of the Iron Islands, Pyke. The harbour itself does not have easy access; it is down a steep hill that twists. Larrybane Quarry is known as Renly Baratheon’s Camp in season 2 and where Brienne of Tarth fought (and beat) Loras Tyrell in front of King Renly.

 

This place is absolutely breathtaking! The water has a magnificent shade of blue and the surrounding cliffs are stunning. The bridge itself was less impressive. It attracts a lot of people and Carrick-a-Rede operates a timed ticketing system to limit visitor numbers. I’d advise you arriving here early in the day if you can. We didn’t let that spoil the fun though, not even when a seagull decided to poop (yes, I have been shat upon) on my trousers while stepping over the rope bridge, the excitement rush just kept on flowing through my vains.

– GOOD TO KNOW –
Where | 119a Whitepark Road, Ballintoy, County Antrim, BT54 6LS (GPS 55°14’12.7″N 6°20’00.2″W)
Opening times | 09:30 – 15:30
Cost | An entrance ticket costs £8.00 per person, parking is free
Larrybane Quarry | It is the overflow car park of Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Ballintoy Harbor | walk ½ mile to Ballintoy village



2. The Dark Hedges (AKA: The Kingsroad)
Okay, if you’re like us and basically dislike crowds, pick up your skirts and run! In all honesty you might want to take a chill pill for this one. This just may be the most popular Game of Thrones filming location in Northern Ireland. We tried to get there early but even at around 8:30 there were already +20 people flocking around (and we were there in off-season!).

The Dark Hedges is a short road lined with twisted, mature beech trees, giving it a gloomy feel. This is known as the Kingsroad in Game Of Thrones. Before Game Of Thrones filmed at the Dark Hedges, they were relatively unknown. Now they are packed with Game Of Thrones tours and visitors such as yourselves and are no longer a hidden gem.

If you like to experience sights in tranquility or want to photograph the trees, I suggest you get here bright and early at sunrise!

– GOOD TO KNOW –
Where | Bregagh Rd, Stranocum, Ballymoney BT53 8PX, UK
Parking | At the Hedges Hotel or 141 Ballinlea Road, Stranocum, Ballymoney BT53 8PX (GPS 55°08’17.9″N 6°23’01.4″W). You’re not allowed to park or drive through the Dark Hedges.
Cost | free
Photography | We prefered shooting from the north end, looking south
Facilities | No water, no toilets but 2 restaurants within a few minutes’ walk from the Dark Hedges



3. Dunluce Castle (AKA: Pyke, Iron Islands)
Dunluce Castle is one of our favourite castles in Ireland! It is wonderfully ruined and one of the lesser visited sights. Perched on the dramatic coastal cliffs of Northern Ireland, the castles dates back from the 16th century and witness a lot of tumultuous history. This made it the perfect Game Of Thrones filming location in Northern Ireland to use for the Iron Islands.

Dunluce Castle is definitely worth the visit, though there is a lot of CGI used in the show to transform Dunluce Castle into Pyke. It is such a great place to visit on the inside and outside. Oh, and walking around the grounds is free!

– GOOD TO KNOW –
Where | 87 Dunluce Road, Bushmills, County Antrim, BT57 8UY
Opening times | 10.00 – 17.00 (last entry 16.30)
Cost | An entrance ticket costs £5.50 per person, parking is free
Facilities | Toilets and tea-room/café on site



4. Mussenden Temple & Downhill Strand (AKA: Where Melisandre burned the old gods on Dragonstone)

Not too far from Dunluce Castle is yet another stunning stop on your Game Of Thrones filming locations in Northern Ireland trip. Mussenden Temple is where Melisandre burned the old gods on Dragonstone. This is an ideal location to watch the sunset and have a walk on gorgeous seven-mile Downhill Strand. A cliff top walk with breathtaking views over Ireland’s north coast at Mussenden Temple is not to be missed!

From Mussenden Temple, you will also be able to see the Northern Ireland Game Of Thrones filming location called Binevenagh, our next stop on this trip.

– GOOD TO KNOW –
Where | Downhill Strand: GPS 55°10’03.4″N 6°49’19.2″W; Mussenden Temple: 107 Sea Coast Rd, Coleraine BT51 4RH, UK
Cost | Gift Aid Admission
Facilities | Toilets, pincic area and wheelchair access


5. Binevenagh Mountain (AKA: the Dothraki Sea)


The area around Binevenagh Mountain is a bit off-the-beaten-path and that’s one of the main reasons this was our favourite location! At first it looks like you’ll be driving to the middle of nowhere as the roads are small, narrow and not all asphalted. But the view is amazing! And if you’re feeling kinda lazy, this is the spot for you 😉 You can basically drive to the top and walk one minute on a dirt path to get this spectacular view (though they used a lot of CGI to create the Dothraki Plains).

– GOOD TO KNOW –
Where | GPS 55°12’13.25″N 6°92’05.34″W
Opening times | always
Cost | free
Facilities | no facilities on site


6. Portstewart Strand (AKA: shores of Dorne)

Downhill Strand is far from the only gorgeous beach to be used in Game of Thrones. Portsteward Strand is a golden beach and I would have loved to spend some time here in summer with warmer temperatures. It was especially nice to photograph during susnet as the reflecting setting sun in the water makes it a super romantic spot!

In Game of Thrones, this scenic spot is where Jaime and Bronn, disguised as Martell soldiers, approach the gates of the Water Gardens and where the two fight (and kill) some Dornish soldiers.

– GOOD TO KNOW –
Where | 118 Strand Road, Portstewart, County Londonderry, BT55 7PG
Parking | on the road parallel to the beach or on the beach
Facilities | toilet at the end of the road leading to the beach


7. Cushendun Caves (AKA: where Melisandre gave birth)
Cushendun Caves is one of the last stops we made on our trip to the most beautiful Game Of Thrones filming locations in Northern Ireland. Cushendun Caves is where Game Of Thrones filmed Millesandre giving birth to the shadow baby with Davos and eventually becomes King Renly’s undoing. Rumors have it is also used for filming in season 8!

While they looked pretty and there weren’t a lot of people around (we were basically alone for an entire 20min), it wasn’t our favourite spot. You also have to be lucky with the position of the sun and the tides if you’re looking to make beautiful photos.

You’ll have to park somewhere in Cusheden Village as the carpark closest to the caves is private and we could not park there. The walk to the caves is not far, just search for Cushendun Caves in Google Map or type in the coordinates below to guide you to the caves.

When hungry afterwards, have lunch at Mary McBride’s Bar, where one of the 8 Game of Thrones doors can be seen.

– GOOD TO KNOW –
Where | 5 The Bay Apartments, Cushendun, Ballymena BT44 0PE, UK (GPS: 55°07’27.4″N 6°02’15.8″W)
Parking | in Cushenden Village
Facilities | no facilities but you can eat and use the bathroom in Mare McBride’s Bar


8. Fairhead (AKA: Dragonstone Cliffs)
Fairhead is known as Northern Ireland’s tallest cliff face but in Game of Thrones it is known as the cliffs of Dragonstone. In season 7 Fairhead forms the backdrop of when Jon Snow finally meet Daenerys and her dragons at Dragonstone.

The impresive Fairhead rises 600 feet above sealevel and thus offers spectecular views over the Northern Irish coast. Though it is not the exact film location -which is not accessible by car and you need to tresspass on private property – the hike and views are stunning. There are several loops to choose from, so catering to every type of hiker. The trail is not difficult and is clearly marked though hiking shoes are recommended. We went in spring and the soil was very soggy due to rain. The high grass also can make your trousers wet, so come prepared.

– GOOD TO KNOW –
Where | Fair Head car park, Fairhead Rd, Ballycastle BT54 6RD, UK. The sign for Fairhead Car Park is clearly signed along this road on the left directing you to the access road to the farm where the car park is situated.
Cost| Parking is £2 – honesty box
Trails|5 different trails, check maps here.
Facilities | no facilities but you’re only 5 miles from Ballycastle


9. Bonus: Giant’s Causeway

Now the Giant’s Cause isn’t really a Game of Thrones filming location but when in Northern Ireland, it should not be missed. This piece of Norther Ireland’s coastline is spectacular in its uniqueness. The basalt rockformations create a unique landscape and is at its most beautiful during sunset.
We stayed at the Causeway Hotel in Bushmills, located just next to the Giant’s Causeway. After opening hours of the visitor’s center (which you have free access to when staying at the Causeway Hotel) you can still access the Giant’s causeway and this even for free. Staying at the hotel was also a breather from a logistical point of view. It was our launching point to visit all Game of Thrones filming locations in Northern Ireland and could use the parking of the hotel.

– GOOD TO KNOW –
Where| 44 Causeway Rd, Bushmills BT57 8SU, UK
Cost| £11.50 to visit the Visitor’s Centre (£10 online). When you use the parking you need to pay the entry ticket. When not using the parking and wanting to viti the Visitor’s Centre, you can access the Giant’s Causeway for free by going through the arch at the parking.
Opening times| Low Season: 9:00am – 5:00pm; High Season: 9:00am – 7:00pm
Facilities | toilets and coffee shop


Join a tour to visit the Game of Thrones filming locations in Northern Ireland



Of course there are more Game of Thrones filming locations in Northern Ireland than mentioned in this post. Thesse are just the locations we had time for during our 7 day Ireland road trip. There are numerous other locations that can either be visited independently or by joining a tour.

When you’re on a self drive and want to visit the locations independently we highly recommend using our Game of Thrones filming locations map with the above mentioned locations or downloading the “Game Of Thrones Filming Locations Northern Ireland App.” The app is completely FREE and has even more filming locations in store for you.

Do you dream of running around in Game of Thrones attire, clashing swords and shooting with bow and arrow? Why not join one these Game of Thrones tours that offer just that!



Where to stay in Northern Ireland



There are a lot of options for places to stay in Northern Ireland! When exploring the above Game of Thrones filming locations you’ll probably be staying in some of the following locations:

Belfast
  • Malmaison Belfast | This boutique hotel is trendy and located close to Belfast’s main attractions. The hotel is actually a renovated old seed factory which attributes to the funky vibe.
  • The Culloden Estate and Spa | The Culloden Estate is set in a grand 19th-century mansion on 12 acres of private grounds, giving you the option of being very close to all the vibrant activities Belfast has to offer, whilst you can enjoy the peace and quiet of private grounds as well as their top notch spa.

Londonderry
  • Bishop’s Gate Hotel | The Bishop’s Gate Hotel must be the city’s most tasteful and elegant hotel. Once a gentlemen’s club that used to host Winston Churchill is now a superbly located boutique hotel.
  • Beech Hill Hotel | Aw man, this is such a gorgeous characterful period home! It feels sublimely private on their a 32 acre estate. The comfortable bedroom are romantically luxurious and make for a perfect romantic retreat.

Bushmills
  • Causeway Hotel | Located just next to the Giant’s Causeway, this is the top selling point of the hotel. You can easily access the Giant’s Causeway on foot from the hotel so you can enjoy it at it’s finest hour: sunset. Entry to the Giant’s Causeway visitor’s Centre is included when staying at the Causeway Hotel.
  • Bushmills Inn | While this Inn is slightly bigger than the name implies, it truly is that comfortable coccon you would expect from such an establishment. Located in the centre of Bushmills it is located near to restaurants and shops and not too far on foot from the Giant Causeway.



Hey, visiting Ireland soon? We have loads more posts to help you plan your trip! Check these out:



Do you have plans to visit the Game of Throne sites in Northern Ireland?
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Planning a road trip in Northern Ireland? Here's an extraordinary 3 day Northern Ireland itinerary that includes the best Game of Thrones filming locations too! this Northern Ireland Travel Guide includes top places to visit like Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, the Dark Hedges, Dunluce Castle, Mussenden Temple and the Giant's Causeway amongst others.  #travel #northernireland
Planning a road trip in Northern Ireland? Here's an extraordinary 3 day Northern Ireland itinerary that includes the best Game of Thrones filming locations too! this Northern Ireland Travel Guide includes top places to visit like Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, the Dark Hedges, Dunluce Castle, Mussenden Temple and the Giant's Causeway amongst others. #travel #northernireland
Comments

I’m going to Northern Ireland for the first time in January. I’m super stoked to geek out over GoT there. But won’t have a car 😑

Along Came An Elephant

Can’t believe we missed your comment!
You’ll love the Game of Thrones locantions though so you’ll have a blast in January 😉
Don’t worry, you can still visit the locations by joining a tour! Below in the post we linked to the best GoT locations tours from Belfast and from Dublin.

Cheers,
Marlo & Kristof

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