Travel Tips from Judith Webb

Northern Ireland: Game of Thrones

Judith Webb is one of the driving forces turning Northern Ireland into Westeros.

Travel Tips from Judith Webb

By Denise Henry & Stefan Roesch

As the head of Screen Tourism at Tourism Northern Ireland Judith Webb has been involved with major campaigns around Game of Thrones.

These include the Doors of Thrones, the GOT Tapestry and the more recent unveiling of the Glass of Thrones. FilmQuest met Judith in Belfast to talk about the phenomenon that is Game of Thrones tourism.

Judith Webb, centre, presents the newest GOT tourist trail: Glass of Thrones.

Judith Webb, centre, presents the newest GOT tourist trail: Glass of Thrones.

First of, can you tell us more about the upcoming studio tour?

"Over the years we have built a strong relationship with HBO and after a decade of filming in Northern Ireland, HBO wanted to celebrate Northern Ireland’s pivotal role in the show by converting several filming locations into tourist attractions. HBO has been exploring a number of legacy attractions and the first to open will be the Game of Thrones Studio Tour in the town of Banbridge (a 30 minute drive from Belfast) - the original filming location used for many iconic scenes throughout the run of the series. Although, a date hasn’t been confirmed, the studio doors will open in 2020."

What is your favourite GOT film location in Northern Ireland? 

"All of the filming locations are stunning with some great hidden gems like Quoile River in County Down. And it’s always great to go to Fair Head in the north coast - it’s off the beaten track with wonderful views of our dramatic coastline and Rathlin Island."

Quoile River: Where Hoster Tully gets his fiery funeral in Season 3, Episode 3: Walk of Punishment.

Quoile River: Where Hoster Tully gets his fiery funeral in Season 3, Episode 3: Walk of Punishment.

Hoster Tulley's body ready to be launched into the world beyond.

Hoster Tulley's body ready to be launched into the world beyond.

Fair Head - the cliffs above Dragonstone.

Fair Head - the cliffs above Dragonstone.

Varys and Melisandre, overlooking the Irish Sea at Fair Head (Season 7 Episode 3: The Queen's Justice.).

Varys and Melisandre, overlooking the Irish Sea at Fair Head (Season 7 Episode 3: The Queen's Justice.).

You were involved in the Doors of Thrones campaign. Do you have a favourite?

"If I really had to choose one I would say Door No. 10, which is located in the Dark Horse in Cathedral Quarter, Belfast. The door is stunning and represents the key events taking place in King’s Landing as Season 6 draws to a close. Each door is a work of art and has been intricately carved with iconic symbols and key scenes from the show. The doors are located in character pubs close to many of the GOT filming locations and together the 10 doors tell the story of Season 6. I would recommend anyone to follow the Doors of Thrones trail – not only will they get to see the amazing Doors, but also enjoy a bit of our pub culture and ‘craic’!"

The Dark Horse is an institution in Belfast's night life.

The Dark Horse is an institution in Belfast's night life.

On the Doors of Thrones trail: Door No. 10 at the Dark Horse. 

On the Doors of Thrones trail: Door No. 10 at the Dark Horse. 

At the end of Season 6, the Lannisters have regained power over King's Landing and the Sept of Baelor.  

At the end of Season 6, the Lannisters have regained power over King's Landing and the Sept of Baelor.  

Does Northern Ireland have any food or drink specialities every visitor should try?

"Northern Ireland has had a real culinary renaissance in recent years – chefs and food producers have led a foodie revolution very much showcasing and sourcing local food. We are well known for our bread heritage with simple but delicious recipes including soda and potato bread - best enjoyed warm off the griddle with lashings of local butter, or as an accompaniment to the famous Ulster Fry!"

The famed Ulster Fry: soda bread, eggs, grilled tomatoes and bacon. If you're lucky it might also come with a serving of black pudding. Tuck in!

The famed Ulster Fry: soda bread, eggs, grilled tomatoes and bacon. If you're lucky it might also come with a serving of black pudding. Tuck in!

"No visit is complete without a visit to the Bushmills Distillery, or one of the many independently owned craft distilleries. For gin lovers, I would recommend Jawbox Gin, an award winning premium spirit produced at Echlinville Distillery. Jawbox is named after the iconic Belfast sink and is perfectly paired with ginger ale, also invented in Belfast!"

Bushmills is the world's oldest Whiskey distillery, operating since 1608. Tours and tastings are available throughout the year.  

Bushmills is the world's oldest Whiskey distillery, operating since 1608. Tours and tastings are available throughout the year.  

In your opinion, what attractions should not be missed?

"Titanic Belfast is a must. The attraction is stunning. It’s located at the head of the slipway where Titanic was built over a 100 years ago."

Titanic Belfast opened in 2012. It is a testament to Belfast's maritime history and showcases the legend of the Titanic over nine interactive galleries of combined special effects, dark rides and full-scale reconstructions.   

Titanic Belfast opened in 2012. It is a testament to Belfast's maritime history and showcases the legend of the Titanic over nine interactive galleries of combined special effects, dark rides and full-scale reconstructions.   

"Of course, many of our international visitors love to visit the Giant’s Causeway and experience the exhilarating Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge. The most scenic way to get to these attractions is to follow the dramatic Causeway Coastal Route which hugs the rugged and spectacular coastline. Breath taking!"

Giant's Causeway is the only World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. It's famous for its 40,000 polygonal columns of layered basalt.

Giant's Causeway is the only World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. It's famous for its 40,000 polygonal columns of layered basalt.

 

It'll certainly give you a fair idea of how Balon Greyjoy's visitors must have felt when approaching the three rickety bridges leading to the Sea Tower of Pyke Castle

It'll certainly give you a fair idea of how Balon Greyjoy's visitors must have felt when approaching the three rickety bridges leading to the Sea Tower of Pyke Castle

"And finally, for the more adventurous a hike up the Mourne Mountains in County Down is a must!"

Even when winter is coming, the Mourne Mountains are beckoning for a hike. Just make sure you watch our for any White Walkers.

Even when winter is coming, the Mourne Mountains are beckoning for a hike. Just make sure you watch our for any White Walkers.

Thank you so much Judith!

For more information:

Visit the website of Tourism Northern Ireland which has loads more of travel inspiration.

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