After our epic guide of Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta, it’s time for part 2. We’ve spend days to compile a complete overview of all Game of Thrones Shooting Locations in Northern Ireland.
Get ready for some serious #OMGB Moments, because with this guide you can not only walk in the footsteps of your favourite characters, but also journey on an incredible road-trip through the rugged nature of Northern Ireland. I have tried to order all locations in terms of appearance in the series as much as possible, but sometimes I’ve grouped the same locations together for a clearer overview.
Please note: Nothing in this article is sponsored, endorsed and/or affiliated with HBO or anyone else associated with Game of Thrones®.
What we'll cover in this article
GAME OF THRONES SHOOTING LOCATIONS
1. The Haunted Forest / The Riverlands
Let’s start this guide with the location of the first ever Game of Thrones episode, shot at Tollymore Forest Park in County Down. In Season 1, Episode 1 (S01E01), a party of three from the Night’s Watch first meet the White Walkers.
*The hole where they hung the wildling girl is still there!*
The park is also the epic location of the spot where the Starks discover the direwolves in S01E01. Ned Stark and the boys come across a stag that has been gored and soon they find a dead direwolf with several pups.
2. The Riverlands
On the Antrim plateau in country County Antrim, you’ll find Cairncastle. In S01E01, you can see the scene where Ned Stark took his long-sword Ice and struck off the head of a Night’s Watch deserter, as John, Bran, Rob and Theon looked on.
Please note: You cannot visit the castle itself, but you can definitely enjoy the views!
In Seasons 4 and 5, Cairncastle was used as a location for the exterior of Moat Cailin, the place where Littlefinger took Sansa and where she made ‘her’ decision to ally with the Boltons (S05E3).
3. Robb Stark’s Camp / The Twins
The large grassy plains and countryside on the grounds of Audleys Castle (‘Audley Field’) was the filming location of Robb Stark’s Camp, as well as the “generic army camp” filming locations for many scenes throughout the series, including both the Stark army camp and the Lannister army camp. It was featured in episodes such as:
S01E02 – Robert Baratheon receives a message about the marriage of Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen, on which Robert tells Ned Stark: “There is a war coming Ned”.
S01E08 – Tyrion and Bronn are making their way through the Vale towards Tywin Lannister’s camp and talk about the relationship between each other. Tyrion makes it clear that if Bronn decides to sell him out, he will make sure to double the price… because he loves living.
In S02E10, Brianne of Tarth guides the captured Jamie Lanister to Kingslanding, but meets (unfortunately for them) three Stark men on the way in a forest. This scene was filmed in the forest around Audley’s Field, on the shore of Strangford Lough and Quoile River in County Down, the same location where Robb Stark’s camp was filmed.
S01E08 – Catelyn and Ser Rodrik Cassel intercept Robb’s army in the Neck as it presses southwards.
S02E04 – Talisa approaching Robb Stark for more supplies to treat the wounded at the Battle of Oxcross.
S02E08 – Robb and Talisa falling in love and talking about Robb having to marry a Frey to gain permission for his army to cross the bridge at the Twins.
*find the missing object*
S02E06 – Catelyn’s stark warning her son Robb that there will be consequences for his love of Talisa when word reaches the Freys.
S02E07 – Overview over Robb’s Camp, after which we meet Ser Alton Lannister. He just returned to the Westerlands to inform Robb of Cersei’s response to his peace terms (she tore them in half)
S02E10 – The secret wedding of Robb and Talisa.
The Quoile River itself was used to depict the Riverlands area (home of the Tullys) and the Red Fork. At small jetty in the Quoile Pondage Nature Reserve, the S03E03 scene of Hoster Tully’s Funeral was filmed.
Quoile River is also the Old Valyria Canal in Essos, where Jorah and Tyrian set sail to Meereen, after Jorah steals a boat and takes Tyrion captive in S05E04.
Close to Audley’s Field, you can find the ruins of Inch Abbey. Here, Catelyn and Robb Stark first hear of Eddard’s death (S01E10).
Also at Inch Abbey, you can see the capture of Jaime Lannister and conversations between Jaime and Cateyln Stark in S01E10.
Finally, Inch Abbey is also the place where the bannermen declared Robb Stark as the new King of the North in S01E10. Robb then takes his army to the edge of the Trident, sending his mother Catelyn to bargain with Water Frey in an attempt to cross at the Twins.
Technically, Audley’s Field is also the location of the Twins (seat of House Frey), although this didn’t have any exterior shots (the camera shows Robb Stark’s army in their generic camp, right outside the Twins, looking at the castle bridging the River in S01E09 – and the actual castle is just a digital creation inserted in post-production)
Here, the Stark family met their end at the Red Wedding after trying to strike a deal with the Frey family in order to be able to cross the Green Fork in S03E09.
Castle Ward in Country Down is probably the most impressive location along your route, as this is where Winterfell, the home base of House Stark was filmed in all seasons. There is a whole “Winterfell Experience” you can do here, including archery, a bike trail and even meeting the Direwolves! There will be an entire post about this, so stay tuned!
Here are some shots from the series, mixed in with shots from the actual place as you can visit it today:
S05E04 (Winterfell now in hands of the Boltons)
5. The Kingsroad
The Dark Hedges (an avenue of serpentine beech trees) near Armoy in County Antrim stood for the Kingsroad, where Arya travelled disguised as a boy as part of the group of Night’s Watch recruits that Yoren is leading north out of the city in S02E01.
When you visit, make sure to park at Grace Hill House. Not only to keep of the road, so anyone looking to take photos here has the best view, but also because the house is lovely to visit as well. Have a drink at the bar, or check out one of the secret Game of Thrones doors that you can find inside.
6. Pyke Harbour
Pyke Harbour, located in the Iron Island was filmed at Ballintoy Harbour in County Antrim. You’ll see this location featured in S02E02, when Theon Greyjoy comes back to Pyke for the first time and in S02E05, when Theon is looking for his crew (but isn’t very successful at first).
The same location was used for Theon’s baptising scene in S02E03.
The scene in S02E02 where Yara and Theon shared their (in)famous horse ride, was filmed 12 miles from Ballintoy at Murlough Bay.
Murlough Bay was also one of the Game of Thrones shooting locations in S02E10, where Ser Davos was rescued following the Battle of the Blackwater…
…and Tyrion and Jorah come ashore on Slavers’ Bay, only to be captured again by slavers in S05E06.
7. Renly Baratheon’s Camp
The cliffs of Carrick-a-Rede were used as location for the cliffs of The Stormlands near Storm’s End, where Renly Baratheon’s army camp is located in Season 2. The cliffs overlook Larrybane Bay and are located near Ballintoy Harbour. Next to this location, you can find the famous Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, which is great to also see from the Portaneevy Viewpoint close by.
In S02E03, you can see Renly and Margaery watch a fight between her brother Loras and what soon turned out to be Brienne of Tarth.
In S02E03 you can see the camp at the moment Cateyln Stark visits, just before Renly gets killed by the shadow creature:
And lastly, this location was featured in S02E04 when Littlefinger talks to Margaery…en Ser Davos is named commandor of the troops by Stannis Baratheon
…and S02E05 (when Ser Davos is named commandor of the troops by Stannis Baratheon)
8. Cushendun Caves
Cushendun Caves in County Antrim where the filming location for the Stormlands and the place where Davos Seaworth took Melisandre to give birth to the shadow creature in S02E04.
9. Arya’s Steps
In S06E07, we can see Arya falling into the water after being stabbed by The Waif, disguised as an old lady. When Arya surfaces, she drags herself onto some steps to get out of the water. While it’s hard to see from the road, this shot was filmed in the little harbour of Glenarm, County Antrim.
10. Other Locations (not visited)
During my 3 day visit to Northern Ireland, of course I didn’t have the chance to visit all filming locations, but here is a short overview of other places key scenes were filmed. Not all of them are accessible to the public.
Castle Black / Blackwater / Hardhome
The Magheramorne Quarry is the site where all the scenes for Castle Black were shot, as well as several city walls of King’s Landing that were used in the Battle of the Blackwater (S02E09). In Season 5, this location was used for the Hardhome sets.
Please note: This location is not open to the public
Battle of the Blackwater
Brotherhood Without Banners’ Hideout
When Arya first got captured after fleeing Kings Landing, she was taken to the Brotherhood without Banners’ hideout in S03E02, which was shot at Pollnagollum Cave in County Fermanagh. This cave is part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, an extensive maze of underground passages.
Downhill Strand in County Derry-Londonderry was used as the location for Dragonstone. On the top of the hills, you can see Mussenden Temple. In S02E03, Melissandre burned the seven old gods of Westeros in sacrifice to R’hllor on this spot.
You can also see this beach in S02E02, as Ser Davos talks with Salladhor Saan.
And again in S03E10, where Davos sends Gendry away on a rowboat to escape Dragonstone.
Portstewart Strand in County Derry-Londonderry is another beach used in the series. Here, Jaime and Bronn, disguised as Martell soldiers, approach the gates of the Water Gardens in S05E06…
…and where they fight (and kill) some Dornish together in S05E04.
Robb Stark’s Camp
The Saintfield Estates in County Down was also used for some shots of Robb Stark’s army camp in Season 1. The Rowallane Gardens were also the location of Winterfell’s sacred Godswood.
The Binevenagh Mountain in County Londonderry/Antrim were used to film the Dothraki Sea far above the city of Meereen. This is where Daenerys finds a wounded Drogon in his lair and is surrounded by Dothraki bloodriders in S05E10.
The Shillanavogy Valley, beneath Slemish Mountain in County Antrim, was the filming location where the Dothraki hoard set up camp in S06E01.
The entrance to Vaes Dothrak in S06E03 was filmed at the Mourne Mountains in County Down. The Mother of Mountains visible in the background of the city is actually one of the local real-life Mourne Mountains.
Leitrim Lodge at the foothills of the Mourne Mountains became the lands North of Winterfell where Bran first meets Jojen and Meera in the woods in S03E02.
Myra Castle in Strangford was used as the location of the Dreadfort’s exteriors, the seat of House Bolton which first appeared on-screen in S04E02.
Corbet in Banbridge was introduced in S06E07 as a fully realized riverside exterior set for Riverrun castle (which was mostly limited to interior scenes when it previously appeared in Season 3).
Glenariff in County Antrim served as the practice ground at Runestone in the Vale of Arryn, where Littlefinger and Sansa Stark watched Robin Arryn’s attempt at duelling in S05E01.
Shane’s Castle in County Antrim, on the banks of Lough Neagh, was used in a couple of fighting scenes throughout the show. After the pilot episode, subsequent scenes in Winterfell’s crypts were filmed in the cellars of the castle.
The first fight is Gregor Clegane (The Mountain) against Ser Hugh of the Vale (S01E04), then you’ll see Gregor Clegane against Ser Loras (S01E05).
S03E02 – The fight between Jaime and Brienne on the bridge (same one you see in the above picture).
Quintin Bay in Portaferry, County Down is the spot near Castle Stokeworth in the Crownlands where Jaime Lannister goes to find Bronn and persuade him to accompany him to Dorne in S05E02.
Gosford Castle near the border with County Down was used for the exteriors scenes at Riverrun, for example when Robb Stark executes Rickard Karstark in S03E05.
At the Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, the Harrenhal exterior sets were constructed and filmed. This studio also contains the green screen studio that contains the one fully realized ship set that the TV series uses. You’ll see many different ships in the show, but to save costs, they just build one and change the look of it for each ship they need.
Not everything that you see in the series could be shot on location, so the Titanic Studio’s in Belfast were used for them. Here you’ll find interiors such as the Throne Room in King’s Landing, the Sept of Baelor here and the interiors of Riverrun and The Twins.
Please note: This location is not open to the public
Here is a map with all the locations listed, so you can make your own road trip!
Disclaimer: I visited Northern Ireland and all Game of Thrones shooting locations on invitation of Visit Britain and Tourism Northern Ireland as part of the #OMGB campaign. All opinions and love of Game of Thrones in this article is 100% my own! Again, nothing in this article is sponsored, endorsed and/or affiliated with HBO or anyone else associated with Game of Thrones®.