Game of Thrones filming locations

Helen Beer, Assistant Editor, National Trust Magazine Helen Beer Assistant Editor, National Trust Magazine
An image from a scene from Game of Thrones which was filmed at Castle Ward

Ever wondered where Game of Thrones® was filmed? Based on the best-selling novels by George R.R. Martin, HBO's adaptation charts the brutal power struggle between seven fictional kingdoms. In reality much of the action took place in Northern Ireland, where our places provided the perfect backdrop to the drama.

Supervising Location Manager Robbie Boake first started scouting in Northern Ireland in 2008, and soon discovered the draw of these special places: ‘As I was exploring the countryside, it soon became apparent that some of the most beautiful areas here are owned by the National Trust’ he said.

With everything from historic buildings to rugged coastline and wild countryside, there was no shortage of places that could pass as parts of Westeros. Eagle-eyed viewers will be able to spot them scattered throughout the series, serving as everything from battlegrounds to family strongholds. Why not see how many of them you can recognise in the show, or plan a trip to Northern Ireland to explore the filming locations in real life?

As well as showing off beautiful locations, the filming also had a tangible benefit on the places that are featured in the show. The income from location fees went straight back into caring for these landscapes, enabling our ranger teams to carry out vital conservation work so that generations of Game of Thrones fans can experience the magic for themselves.

Game of Thrones filming locations
Game of Thrones Filming

Castle Ward, County Down

Lying on the shores of Strangford Lough in County Down, the Castle Ward Estate provided some of season one’s most recognisable locations. The historic farmyard stood in for parts of Winterfell, including the archery range where the Stark children practiced their skills. Take a wander round the wider estate and you might also recognise other sites such as Robb Stark’s army camp, and the setting for The Twins – home of the treacherous Lord Frey.

" Creating Winterfell Castle in the old farmyard at Castle Ward will always be my one of fondest Game of Thrones memories. It was right at the start of filming and nobody had any idea the series would become so popular."
- Robbie Boake
Make a stay of it
Exterior of The Potter's Cottage in Downpatrick

Holiday to a film location 

Do you fancy taking a trip to Westeros, or holidaying at Hogwarts? We have over 400 holiday cottages across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, many of which offer the perfect base to explore the film and TV locations in our care. Which film set will you explore next?

This article was adapted from a feature in the National Trust Magazine Spring 2016 issue.