Game of Thrones Full-Day Tour with Giant’s Causeway
Traverse the Seven Kingdoms on the Game of Thrones Full-Day Tour with Giant’s Causeway. Get up-close and personal with the spectacular settings that have brought Westeros to life on-screen.
On this comprehensive full-day tour you will get the chance to visit some of the most iconic filming locations from the epic TV series. Explore the natural scenery and learn the local history and stories that make these areas so special.
Game of Thrones is a registered trademark of Home Box Office, Inc.
This tour is independently operated by Belfast Tours NI. It is not sponsored, endorsed, or affiliated with HBO or anyone associated with Game of Thrones.
Leaving Belfast in the morning, this tour s jam-packed with sites that any GOT fan is sure to recognise.
First on the list is a visit to the Dark Hedges. Beech trees, planted in the 1700s, line the sides of this road, creating a naturally occurring canopy above. The striking effect of this sight made this location the perfect place to represent Westeros’ King’s Road. It can be seen most prominently in Season 2, when Arya Stark escapes Kings Landing disguised as a boy.
Moving on from here you will get the opportunity to take some fun holiday snaps outside Dunluce Castle. This 13th-century ruin on a cliff’s edge was featured as House Greyjoy. Then it’s off to one of the most famous parts of Northern Ireland: Giant’s Causeway. This UNESCO World Heritage Site draws in thousands of visitors every year. While it doesn’t feature in GOT, its natural beauty really shouldn’t be missed.
With a quick stop for more photos outside of Dunseverick Castle, it’s then on to Ballintoy Harbour. This small fishing port helped to create Lordsport, part of Theon Greyjoy’s island home, Pyke. The rough landscape around the area made for the perfect scenery to represent the Iron Islands.
The next stop on the Game of Thrones Full-Day Tour with Giant’s Causeway is Larrybane.
This disused chalk quarry made the perfect location to hold Renly Baratheon’s tourney. Here is where we meet Brienne of Tarth for the first time, as she defeats Loras Tyrell. Larrybane is also the access point to the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Suspended over the roaring sea, crossing this bridge is not for the faint of heart. If you do make the journey, just try not to end up like Balon Greyjoy.
The final stop on this tour is the Cushendon Caves. These beautiful sea caves helped to create the ominous setting of one of the TV show’s most mystical and frightening scenes. Here, with Davos Seaworth watching in horror, Melisandre gives birth to the shadow baby that eventually kills Renly Baratheon.
Northern Ireland is peppered with now iconic sites from the GOT series. The Game of Thrones Full-Day Tour with Giant’s Causeway lets you experience them all by taking in their beauty and wonder in person.
We can stop for lunch (at your own expense) in a nice Irish pub to sample our good food and maybe a cheeky pint of Guinness. Or if you want to keep it simple, then a nice portion of fish and chips and not forgetting mushy peas, from one of the local chip shops.
The Dark Hedges looked like a place straight out of a fantasy novel long before it became the backdrop of The Kingsroad in Game of Thrones. The interlocking canopy of trees covering the road naturally creates a sense of magic and mystery.
James Stuart originally planted the beech trees lining this road in 1755. He wanted them to grow and line the entranceway to his home, Gracehill House.
According to local legend, a ghost named the Grey Lady haunts the Dark Hedges. Some say she is the spirit of James Stuart’s daughter, or possibly a housemaid who died mysteriously. Others speculate that the Grey Lady is a spirit from a nearby abandoned graveyard. People say that on Halloween night, her fellow graveyard residents join in on the haunting fun!
While James Stuart originally planted 150 trees, only around 90 are still standing. In 2016, Storm Gertrude fell two trees and damaged a third. The timber from these trees made 10 bespoke doors. Each one features a Game-of-Thrones-inspired design. You can find them throughout Northern Ireland.
Exterior shots of Dunluce Castle were used in Game of Thrones for Pyke Castle of House Greyjoy on Pyke Island. But that’s not the only exciting thing about this 16th-century structure. It has many other claims to fame and tales from within its walls.
Featuring on the HBO TV series wasn’t the first time that Dunluce Castle was shown to the world. In the early 70s, it also featured on the inner sleeve of the Led Zeppelin album Houses of the Holy. It was also the one-time home of the famous Scottish warrior chieftain Sorely Boy MacDonnell. It was during Sorely’s reign that the Girona, a vessel from the Spanish Armada, was caught in a storm and wrecked on nearby rocks. The canons were taken from the ship and installed as the castle’s security system.
A local legend also claims that at one time, due to cliff beneath the castle eroding, the castle’s kitchen suddenly plummeted into the sea. The only member of staff left alive was the kitchen boy. He was sitting on a stool in the inside corner of the room when it fell.
The Giant’s Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of Northern Ireland’s most popular historical landmarks. It draws in hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
Situated on the County Antrim coast, Giant’s Causeway is the product of two natural forces coming together. It formed when molten lava cooled down as it met with the cold sea water, around 50 to 60 million years ago. The result was a sprawling bed of around 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, that covers just under 5km of coastline.
Some legends also talk about how Giant’s Causeway came to be. The most popular features the Irish mythical character Fionn mac Cumhaill, who was feuding with a Scottish giant, Benandonner. Fionn built the causeway between the two islands so that they could fight it out.
However, when he saw how big Benandoner really was, he retreated back to his wife for help. She quickly wrapped Fionn in a blanket and laid him across her lap. When the Scottish giant arrived she told him that this was, in fact, the infant son of Fion mac Cumhaill. Seeing how big the toddler was, Benandonner figured that the father must be enormous. So, he ran away, destroying the causeway as he went.
Ballintoy Harbour, on Ireland’s north coast, is the Game of Thrones filming location for Lordsport, the main port of Pyke. One of the Iron Islands, Pyke is the home of Theon and Yara Greyjoy.
In A Song of Ice and Fire, Pyke is described as an island rich with mines containing iron, lead and tin. Due to its rocky landscape, Ballintoy Harbour was considered to be the perfect location to recreate the island.
We see this location for the first time in Season 2 of GOT. It is to here that Theon returns home after his time as a ward in Winterfell. It is here that we are first introduced to Yara, who Theon does not recognise and mistakes for a commoner, who he then attempts to seduce.
Aside from playing an important part in the world of the Seven Kingdoms, Ballintoy Harbour boasts an inherent attractiveness. Its panoramic coastal views, bustling wildlife, and quaint atmosphere make it a wonderful place for a relaxing visit.
History also abounds in this area. Centuries’ old structures, such as Ballintoy Church and Dunseverick Castle, are just waiting to be explored. Ballintoy’s maritime culture and heritage also runs deep, and is still very much alive and celebrated among the locals.
Larrybane Quarry served as the setting for an important Game of Thrones scene when it was used as Renly Baratheon’s Camp in the TV series.
The old chalk quarry was transformed into a tourney site for an episode in Season 2. It’s rocky landscape and coastal features made it a great location to recreate part of The Stormlands, where Renly set up his camp.
Here, Renly and his new queen, Margaery Tyrell, watch from the sidelines as Loras Tyrell battles an unknown opponent. After defeating Loras, the challenger lifts off their helmet, introducing us to Brienne of Tarth for the first time. As a reward for winning, Brienne asks to join Renly’s Kingsguard. It is also here that Renly meets with Catelyn Stark, who warns him to take the upcoming war more seriously.
Without the sets and props from the show, Larrybane Quarry holds little resemblance to Renly Baratheon’s Camp. But it’s towering rock faces and sea views still make it a site worth visiting.
Close by is the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, another popular tourist destination in the area.
The Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge is a unique feature along the Northern Irish coast. With the original bridge dating back over 350 years, it is a proud piece of local history.
Coming to a length of 20m, and hanging 30m above sea level, it connects the mainland with Carrickarede island. The name of this island roughly translates as “The Rock of the Casting”, as it was a casting-off point for salmon fishermen. Now it is one of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing in hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
Walking along the bridge, you are treated to breathtaking views of the Northern Irish coastline. You will also be able to spot the nearby Sheep Island and the inhabited Rathlin Island. On a clear day, you might even be able to make out the outline of Scotland, on the other side of the Irish Sea. That is, of course, if you have the guts to make the crossing.
The Cushendun Caves helped to create some of the eerie settings near Storm’s End. These 400-million-year-old caves provided the perfect rocky, coastal landscape to represent the Baratheon homeland.
In the GOT TV series, the Cushendun Caves feature in one of the show’s most famous and mystical scenes. Here, Melisandre gives birth to the Shadow Assassin, much to the amazement of Davos Seaworth. This smokey spectre travels through the air to find Renly Baratheon, killing him in his tent. For viewers, this was the first time they saw how powerful Melisandre could really be. It also showed how far Stannis Baratheon would truly go to sit on the Iron Throne.
But the Cushendun Caves are more than just the backdrop for Storm’s End. They are a thing of natural beauty and undeniable proof of the picturesque qualities of the Northern Irish coastline. When visiting the cave featured in the show, make sure to take the time to soak up the verdant green landscape, and breath in some fresh Irish Sea air.