Northern Ireland: Game of ThronesGiant Tours Ireland
If you book with Giant Tours Ireland, you'll get a much more personal and less crowded GOT experience compared to some of the other tour operators. Company owner Flip Robinson is a superfan of the show and what's better, he also worked on GOT as a costume stand-in for Hodor and The Mountain.
The standard tour goes for the whole day, starting at 9:00 am until 6:00 pm in the evening. Customised, private tours are available upon request. On the tours, Flip provides a light snack in the morning, along with bottled water, tea and coffee.
Starting off at the picturesque seaside town of Ballygally in Country Antrim, you will head straight to the Stormlands and Cushendun Cave, where Melisandre gave birth to the shadow in Season 2, Episode 4: Garden of Bones.
After paying a short visit to Cushendun's local pub Mary McBride's that houses one of the Doors of Thrones, the tour continues on to Murlough Bay. This little cove stood in as Slaver's Bay on the continent of Essos where Jorah Mormont and Tyrion Lannister are taken prisoner by slavers in Season 5, Episode 6: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.
Next stop: Dragonstone. High above the ocean, the impressive cliffs of Fair Head saw a lot of action, in particular in Season 7, Episode 3: The Queen's Justice when John Snow negotiates with Tyrion Lannister over dragon glass. It also features in Season 7, Episode 5: Eastwatch when John meets Drogon and Daenerys reunites with Jorah Mormont.
Renly Baratheon's army camp in the Stormlands (Season 2, Episode 3: What is Dead May Never Die) was filmed at Larrybane, an abandoned quarry. The location is instantly recognisable. One of the central scenes is the sword fight between Brienne of Tarth and an unknown knight.
Accessible only by a small and windy road, Ballintoy Harbour has managed to preserve an authentic feel. In Game of Thrones, it's the setting of the harbour of Lordsport on Pyke. After years in captivity, Theon Greyjoy returns to his homeland and sails into Lordsport Harbour (Season 2, Episode 2: The Night Lands).
No trip along this stunning coastline would be complete without visiting the Giant's Causeway. Believed to be a mythical land bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland built by a giant, this place is so otherworldly that it is easy to imagine all kinds of fantastic creatures living amongst the balast columns (of which there are around 40,000).
It's about a 15-minute walk down to the Causeway from the carpark, so going back up is a bit of a drag but you can hop on a little train if it gets too much.
Last but certainly not least: The Dark Hedges
Though it only features for about five seconds in the show, the location of the Dark Hedges has become a pilgrimage site for fans around the world. In the very first episode of Season 2, Arya has to flee from King's Landing after the death of her father Ned. She is joined by her companions Yoren, Gendry and Hot Pie who are all on their way north (The North Remembers).
The tour departs from the marina car park in Ballycastle (off North Street), BT54 6BW, Northern Ireland.
What to bring:
- comfortable layered clothing
- hiking boots/strong shoes
- waterproof jacket & trousers
- sunscreen in the summer months