Becoming the main production base for the hit HBO series Game of Thrones was a major win for Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom country is now packed with locations that fans of the series may well recognise from various episodes. The natural result of this is that Game of Thrones tours are now commonplace, and indeed there are many that head out on a daily basis from the capital, Belfast. See glimpses of Winterfell, as well as caves, wildernesses and other recognisable castles from across Westeros.
While Game of Thrones tours from Belfast are common, many of them also tend to squeeze in one of the bigger, more convention sights in Northern Ireland: Giant’s Causeway. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is often included due to its proximity to some of the filming locations from Game of Thrones, and is well worth the brief pause from the Westerosi frivolities. We have trawled the many tours out there to bring you a list of five of the best, taking into account the itineraries, cost and reviews from previous guests.
From £39/ per person
After Arya escaped from King’s Landing, she followed a road lined with eerie-looking trees, meeting Hot Pie and Gendry along the way. Filming took place at a site in Northern Ireland known as Dark Hedges. This, and many more filming locations from Game of Thrones are included in the itinerary of a ten-hour tour from Belfast. The Caves of Cushendun, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Carrickfergus Castle, and a stop off at the Giant’s Causeway, where you can learn about the ancient Irish folklore tale of Finn MacCool, are also included. Visitor centre admission fees are factored into the price, as is all transportation by coach.
From £50/ per person
While every one of the ten-plus filming locations from Game of Thrones included in this popular tour have their own names, you may know them as Riverrun, Winterfell and Robb’s military camp. This is the most immersive of all the Game of Thrones tours. Your guide will be somebody who appeared in the show, and there’s a chance to meet two of the dogs who played Direwolves, aptly named Thor and Odin. Head to Inch Abbey, the location used for the crowning of Robb Stark as ‘The King in the North’, as well as Tollymore forest park and the Castle Ward estate for more famed locales.
FROM £37/per person
For those who want a Game of Thrones tour that doesn’t involve as much time spent travelling in a coach, and a little less time overall, this nine-hour option still manages to cram an impressive nine stops into the itinerary. These include the beautiful Dark Hedges, used as the King’s Road, Ballintoy Harbour, which was used frequently to represent the Iron Islands, and the impressive Caves of Cushendun. Like these caves, there are plenty of sea-and-time-formed natural wonders along the coastline to the north of Belfast, including Giant’s Causeway, which is also included. You’ll also get the chance on this tour to dress up and play your own GoT characters for a while.
From £45/ per person
Perhaps a good reason for choosing them as filming sites in the first place is that many of the locations visited on this tour are stunning in their own right and merit attention. Add to that the fact that Game of Thrones was filmed at all of them (apart from Giant’s Causeway, where you’ll get a guided tour and learn all about the local folkloric tales that the UNESCO World Heritage Site has inspired), and this is a great tour for fans of the show and anybody curious to see the Northern Irish countryside. Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is included on the itinerary, as well as the Caves of Cushendun, where Melisandre of Asshai gave birth to her creepy ‘shadow assassin’.
From £430/ per group
It’s worth noting first-off that the price quoted here is the same for one person as it is if you wish to book for a group of up to four people. Naturally, the value for money is much greater with a group. But the personalised aspect of this full-day private tour means that you can take things at your own pace, request to visit specific sites that may not make it onto the commonly-treaded itineraries, and also get time and space with these remarkable locations to yourself, rather than jostling with other tour-goers for position when it comes to taking photos. Starting in Belfast, as with the other tours on this list, you can spend up to nine hours visiting sites like Larybae Quarry, Dunluce Castle and Ballintoy Harbour.