Northern Ireland's unspoilt landscape and dramatic coastline, together with 21st century technology, skills and infrastructure, has made it a hotspot for internationally renowned film and TV productions.
But no-one could have prepared our wee country for the mammoth global success that is HBO's Game of Thrones. This fantasy blockbuster has exceeded all expectations to become one of the world's most-watched fantasy dramas.
And right here in Northern Ireland, where the production is based and many scenes are shot, it has become something of a tourism magnet. Set Jetters can immerse themselves in key locations used to evoke this mythical world.
Take one of two full day Game of Thrones bus tours to explore all the main sites. Each tour uses a small coach with a max. capacity of 30 people. Which means you can reach all those off the beaten path locations in the company of fellow fans.
The Westeros tour heads north via the Giant's Causeway Coastal Route and takes in such sights as Ballycastle (home to the real Lady Catelyn Stark and Varys), Cushendun Caves (birthplace of the Shadow baby), Ballintoy aka Pyke Harbour, Dark Hedges aka The King's Road and the Giant's Causeway, and includes lunch. Tour runs Mon, Wed, Thu, Sat & Sun. £35pp.
The Winterfell tour heads south to Co. Down's Tollymore Forest Park (the Haunted Forest and site of the White Walker ambush), Newcastle (for lunch at the Percy French restaurant), Inch Abbey (where Lady Catelyn Stark learned of Ned’s death and Robb was made King of the North) and Audley's Castle & Castle Ward (site of King Robert Baratheon's arrival at Winterfell and home of the Stark family). Tour runs every Fri. £40pp. Lunch not included.
Both tours dept. 09:30 from Europa Hotel, Gt Victoria St and return approx 18:00. Private tours are also available. Booking in advance is advisable. To find out more about both tours and book online click hereor tel.(+44) (0)28 9032 1321.
GoT fans can also dress in period costume and shoot some arrows at the National Trust's Castle Ward's replica Winterfell Archery Range. The experience is run by ClearSky Adventure who also offer GoT-themed boat tours, self-guided cycle tours, banquets and overnight glamping pod packages. For more details and to book your desired activities click here.
All the above tours and experiences are not sponsored, endorsed or affiliated with HBO or anyone associated with Game of Thrones®. Though you will meet locals who worked on and are immersed in this epic production.
Back in Belfast, if you're visiting the Titanic Quarter look out for the Paint Hall Studios where interior scenes are shot. Its unmissable yellow and grey striped facade is the final link in your Northern Irish Game of Thrones immersion. And if you want to tour related sites independently, download Northern Ireland Screen's Game of Thrones App via this link.