Our tour of the Game of Thrones filming locations started at 9:30 when we were picked up from outside our hotel in the centre of Belfast. After swiftly boarding the coach we were off and introduced to our brilliant driver and guide, Derek. Derek spent most of the tour talking to us, he must have been exhausted by the end of it! As well as insider scoop about the filming of the show he also had lots of stories to tell about the history of Northern Ireland and its folklore. My favourite was the legend of Finn MacCool and the Giant’s Causeway.
The first stop on our tour was Cushendun Caves, where Melisandre gave birth to the shadow assassin. Derek showed us exactly where each shot took place and gave us a chance to look around and take some photos. He also pointed out that the cave acts as a drive to the house behind it, pretty cool.
After this we stopped at Ballintoy where we had a short walk down the hill to the harbour. This was perhaps my favourite stop on the tour. The harbour has featured in the series a few times, mainly as Pyke Harbour where Theon Greyjoy sets sail back to the Iron Islands. The harbour was beautiful and secluded and the crashing waves around it made it really spectacular. I could have spent longer there exploring more and walking along the beach.
After a hearty lunch at The Fullerton Arms we got back on the coach and headed for our next stop, Larrybane. This is where Renly Baratheon set up camp and the place where we are first introduced to Brienne of Tarth when she fights Ser Loras Tyrell. While we were here, Derek brought out robes, helmets, swords and cardboard cut outs of the main characters – perfect for some Game of Thrones themed photos!
Our next stop on the tour was the Giant’s Causeway. This was also spectacular, although it was pretty windy when we went so you had to be careful not to be blown over. There is the option to get a shuttle bus down to the Causeway (£1pp) or walk down (about 10 minutes). I would definitely recommend walking down as the scenery is beautiful and it’s great to see the causeway come into view. The steep walk back up was also a great way to burn off the big lunch! There is a hotel near the Causeway as well as a pub and a shop and if you want you can also have a look around the visitor centre.
The final stop on the tour was The Dark Hedges. This is only featured for a few seconds in Game of Thrones, where Arya escapes down The Kingsroad. It was another favourite of mine and in the right light has a really eerie feel to it. It was tricky to get photos though as cars kept stopping half way down the road!
After this it was time to head back to Belfast, only an hour’s drive away and we were back in our hotel by 6pm.
As an avid fan of Game of Thrones I really enjoyed the tour and it got me really excited about the start of season 6, but even if you are not a fan of the show, it’s a great way to enjoy the spectacular scenery of Northern Ireland. Our tour was operated my McCombs Coaches and I couldn’t recommend it enough, at £35 per person (not including lunch) it was a bargain and a great value day out.
As well as being the starting point for Game of Thrones tours, Belfast is a great city for a weekend break. There is loads of stuff to do including the Titanic Quarter and Crumlin Road Gaol and a host of independent restaurants and bars offering great local food and brilliant nightlife.
Fly from Southampton to Belfast daily with Flybe.
Game of Thrones tour operates on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursday, Saturdays and Sundays.