Visiting Winterfell

NORTHERN IRELAND Are you a Game of Thrones fan? Longing for more info about your favorite TV series? Do a GOT tour and visit the castle where all the screen drama begun.  

Season five of Game of Thrones finished this week, shocking fans all over the world. The cliffhanger ending has had both GOT readers and viewers desperately wondering what will happen next.

We all probably have to wait a while to get the answers.

But for true GOT fans there are plenty of opportunities to soak down in the GOT material. Online the theories and speculations about the story are many, and you can read up on all different topics about the main characters. But also in real life there is plenty of opportunities to learn more about your favorite show.

The popular HBO series are shot in Croatia, Iceland, Malta, Spain and Morocco, so why not plan your holiday to one of these GOT sights. But if you want the full fan package, go to Northern Ireland where 80 percent of the filming of the series is done. I will come back with a post from the spectacular coastline in Northern Ireland, with the GOT locations, later on. But first I have to tell you about my trip to Winterfell.

Season five has made the Winterfell more central in the story than ever before. I was therefore oh so excited to visit the castle in real life.

Castle Ward, as the real castle is called, is located a 40 minute drive from Belfast. Visiting the fort from 1570 is a thrill for a GOT fan. You enter the gates where King Robert Baratheon ride in with his staff and the Lannisters in the very first episode of the show. You pass the brothel where Tyrion Lannister spent most of his stay at Winterfell. If you like, you can practice your archery skills at the same spot Bran is shooting arrows with Jon Snow in one of the scenes that kicked off the whole TV-series.

The actual castle is far from as spectacular as the TV-version of Winterfell. Due to digital animation Winterfell is totally transformed and made much grander. But it still feels special to stand on the grounds where so much of the show has been made.

The estate around Castle Ward is also well used in the HBO-show. Close by you find the tower which is model for Walder Frey’s twin towers. In the woods around the castle important scenes have captured on film. On a day visit you get to walk or ride a bike through it all, and to bring an iPad so that you can stand on the location and see the scenes from that actual place. A dream come true for a real nerd.

I was invited to Northern Ireland by Tourism Ireland.

Click on the photos to enter the gallery.