Explore Game of Thrones tours and rural retreats in Belfast, Ireland
Should you visit Northern Ireland's Game of Thrones filming locations? Short answer: yes!
Although Belfast is known for many wonderful things, it has recently become a hot spot for Game of Thrones fans who travel to visit some of the many locations from the popular fantasy series that are filmed in Northern Island. Such is the popularity from dedicated fans that Super Break have put together a package which includes a hotel stay with a Game of Thrones tour to see the beautiful highlights of the area. Targaryen T-shirt to hand, I took my first ever trip to Northern Ireland to try out the experience for myself…
Upon arriving at the stunning hotel, Culloden Estate and Spa, it was almost as if I had stepped into the world of Game of Thrones already (without any of the violence, of course). The hotel itself looked like a castle, and had stunning ocean views along with grand, ornate furnishings and roaring log fires at every turn. And although every part of me wanted to curl up on one of the comfy chairs in front of the fire with a book, we had some exploring to do! After visiting our beautiful, two-story suite for the weekend we decided to take the afternoon to visit the Titanic Exhibit, a huge tourist spot for visitors of the city, then had an early night before heading out on the Game of Thrones tour the next day.
A short taxi ride took us to the rendezvous point on Saturday morning, and at 9 a.m. sharp we were on our way to explore the Game of Thrones sights with our knowledgeable (and generally brilliant) tour guide, Derek with McComb's Coach Travel. Refusing to let us get bored for even one minute, Derek was a fountain of knowledge of the land, filming spots and knew a vast many dad jokes (ranging from great to terrible). He also had some pretty strong opinions about the characters (don't, for example, say you're a fan of Catelyn Stark at any time), making it a lot of fun for the busload of Game of Thrones fans to get chatting to one another.
That being said, the tour would also be enjoyable for anyone who hasn't seen the show, since it truly is an excellent way to see the Irish countryside. As well as the beautiful filming spots, which include Ballintoy Harbour as Pyke, Larrybane Quarry as Renly's camp and the Dark Hedges as the Kings Road, the tour also includes a visit to the Giant's Causeway, a National Trust must-visit, and a trip to Carrick-a-Rede, a stunning site where people can walk over the, frankly terrifying, rope bridge that connects one island to another. Simply put, the tour isn't just for people who know the name of each Stark family member, but for anyone who wants to see the wonders that Northern Ireland has to offer.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
During our visit, we enjoyed happy hour at Bootleggers, a lively bar and restaurant with live music, and tucked into some classic fish and chips at Fish City. For a treat, we also visited Stix and Stones, which serves local steak on hot stones and was delicious. To enjoy an evening on the town, the Dirty Onion, Thirsty Goat and the Duke of York are must-visits. We particularly enjoyed the Thirsty Goat thanks to the Cool Hand String Band, who played lively, acoustic tunes.
Super Break offers package deals from £220.00 per person based on two nights’ accommodation at the Culloden Estate and Spa Hotel, including breakfast and Games of Thrones entry tickets. Valid for arrival on 22nd January 2018.
HOW TO TRAVEL
Super Break does offer to include flights in certain packages, but if you are opting for just the hotel and tour, Easyjet is the way to go. Flying to Belfast from a number of airports, we were able to grab last-minute flights at reasonable prices.