HBO Announces Game of Thrones Filming Locations Opening as Tourist Attractions in 2019

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HBO officially announced today that fans will have a new opportunity to connect with Game of Thrones, with the launch of Game of Thrones Legacy Experiences in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland (and particularly Titanic Studios in Belfast) has served as the shooting home base for the entire run of the show.

HBO says:

As Game of Thrones finishes filming after a decade in Northern Ireland, HBO is celebrating the show’s incredible legacy in the region by converting several filming locations into tourist attractions. For the first time ever, fans of the Emmy® Award-winning series will have the unique opportunity to visit iconic sets from the show and immerse themselves in the world of Westeros.

Building on the success of past Game of Thrones live branded experiences, including the Touring Exhibition and Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience, HBO will open up the archives and share them with the series’ loyal fans. In true Game of Thrones fashion, the Game of Thrones Legacy attractions will be on a scale and scope bigger than anything the public has ever seen, offering the first opportunity for the public to set foot inside some of the most iconic locations from the series and behind the camera lens to see how the world’s biggest TV show was made. Each site will feature not only the breathtaking sets, but will also exhibit displays of costumes, props, weapons, set decorations, art files, models, and other production materials. The visitor experience will be enhanced by state-of-the-art digital content and interactive materials which will showcase some of the digital wizardry the series is known for.

“HBO is thrilled to celebrate the work of the Game of Thrones creative team and crew by preserving these locations and inviting fans to visit Northern Ireland and explore Westeros in person,” said Jeff Peters, Vice President, Licensing and Retail, HBO. “We look forward to opening the gates and sharing the excitement of stepping inside these amazing sets with Game of Thrones fans from around the world. The opportunity to celebrate Northern Ireland’s pivotal role in the life and legacy of the show and share its culture, beauty and warmth is also a huge inspiration behind these Legacy projects.”

“We couldn’t be more excited about the Game of Thrones Legacy project coming to Northern Ireland. While fans have seen the stunning landscapes, coastlines and mountains in the series, we are thrilled they will now have the opportunity to fully experience the charm of Northern Ireland and immerse themselves in to the world of Westeros,” said John McGrillen, Chief Executive of Tourism NI. “The Game of Thrones Legacy project will be a game changer for Northern Ireland on the global tourism level. We very much welcome this exciting announcement by HBO and look forward to welcoming many more visitors to our beautiful country as a result.”

Given the unique and impressive nature of the production work in Northern Ireland, HBO is considering including the standing sets for iconic locations such as Winterfell, Castle Black, and Kings Landing alongside a formal studio tour of Linen Mill Studios which will showcase a wide array of subject matter from the series spanning all seasons and settings. A description of the full scope of the Game of Thrones Legacy project will be revealed at a later date after the exploratory process is completed. A tentative targeted open date is currently set for 2019

It sounds like there are still several decisions to be made about the Legacy project, since they don’t have some major sets locked in as part of the tourist attractions, based on this release. But nonetheless it’s exciting and I’m glad to see HBO and Tourism NI are moving ahead with preserving GoT’s sets. The long-lasting influence of Game of Thrones is still awe-inspiring and touching. We’ve come a long way from the earliest days, hoping that the show would at least last a season!

15 responses

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    1. This explains why none of the sets in Northern Ireland have been dismantled, I walk past the Kings Landing set daily and it still has a green screen on it.

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    2. Hellsss yeah!!!🙌🏻 This is amazing news!! To be able to experience all these amazing sets and sites is an amazing opportunity and I pray one day that I will be able to have the chance to do so! Thanks HBO for making this happen! And I really hope many GoT fans will be able to experience this as well! Thanks Sue for bringing us this fantastic news!❤️

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    3. I’m sure they will be using SOME of the areas for the prequel! But the actual sets probably wouldn’t be used, especially the interiors. They could put those up somewhere. How much fun would it be to sit in Lady Olenna’s death chair and drink a glass of wine!!! Or see the bed where Shae was killed, or better yet, the throne room where Tywin was killed! teehee!

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    4. This is fantastic news! NI 2019 it is then! 🎉🎉

      I’m not entirely surprised as the the latest KL set was clearly built to stand for some time, but haven’t they dismantled the Moneyglass set already?

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    5. Yet more incentive to save up for a trip to the UK (and to live another few years). Looking forward to the opportunity to visit Medieval Land Fun-Time World…err, Westeros!

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    6. Castle Black set has been used in all seasons, so it should be in decent shape. What about the battlements of King’s Landing? The village of Hardhome? Will they be repaired/restored for visitors?

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    7. This is cool. I made the pilgrimage to NI last year and saw a bunch of filming locations (I couldn’t help but laugh at the group tour we ran across at ballintoy harbor- the tour outfitted everybody with Greyjoy regalia and longswords)
      I would gladly go back to such a wonderful country, to see yet more sights and some sets. Plus, the titanic museum, the pubs, the music in Belfast, are all worth checking out (and this isn’t even scratching the surface- the countryside is amazing, and he people are all so friendly, proud, and tough).
      Glory to Northern Ireland!

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    8. Sister Kisser,

      It’ll be a missed opportunity if they don’t have a Crossroads Inn restaurant and bakery, with wolf bread and kidney pie on the menu. And gravy. Don’t get me started on the gravy. Some people give up on the gravy. You cannot give up on the gravy! No gravy, no pie. It’s as simple as that.

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    9. Ten Bears,

      Lol, indeed. At the winterfell festival held at Castle Ward, they had an “inn at the crossroads” type of situation…. One could order stew in a bread bowl with a pint of ale. A man was happy

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    10. I can see it now… Watchers on the Wall Presents “Cruisin’ For a Westerfell Bruisin”” with your hosts Sue the Fury and That Guy (you know, that guy ).

      Join us won’t you as we sail aboard the S.S Onion Knight from Hardhome to Sunspear. Estimated time of arrival: seven or eight years, maybe fifteen years if you’re lucky.

      After that, my friends, you’re on your own.

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    11. As a GOT fan I’d love to visit some of these places however the downside is there isn’t too much to do in Northern Ireland apart from these to warrant a visit with my family. Would certainly love to go to Croatia though given the lovely beaches and ancient city of Dubrovnik.

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    12. I visited Northern Ireland last year and saw Castle Ward (met “direwolves” Thor and Odin), stayed the night at The Cuan and had their Winterfell dinner and breakfast package and went on two GOT inspired location tours. It was really the trip of a lifetime for this GOT fan. I’m planning on doing it again in 2019 for the premier episode of season 8 or whenever the new exhibits open. Anyway I’m glad this is happening.

      The best thing is there are so many real locations that when I binged the series after I returned home, it give me a whole new perspective of watching the show. Standing in the place where some of my favorite scenes took place was surreal. We are lucky to live in a time when this is possible and available.

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    13. GoT has already been such a boon for NI tourism, and this new initiative can only be more of the same – providing Brexit doesn’t collapse the Good Friday (peace) Agreement and the euphemistically called “Troubles” re-emerge.

      I first visited NI in 1992, before the GFA (peace), and it was a bit strange seeing police stations surrounded by barbed wire fences and armoured vehicles on the streets… But we were outsiders and all the people we met were friendly and welcoming, maybe a bit wary. Not so (i.e. wary) the next couple of times after the GFA had been implemented and NI had moved on – becoming the production base of GoT is testament to how NI has moved on, there’s a positive buzz about the place… But also old baggage, and Brexit carries risks for the positive development of NI. I know WotW is not the place for RL political discourse and debate, so I’ll leave it at this.

      NI has some amazing scenery. We’ve all seen some of it via GoT, but take it from me, it looks even better in the flesh. Seriously, any of you who can, travel to NI and, if at all possible, hike in places where a tourist bus can’t take you.

      My nearest brush to an actual GoT location was in July 2017. We were sailing from Scotland and I suggested Ballintoy harbour (Iron Islands harbour in the show) for a stopover/night berth. Alas! At low tide it’s so shallow our boat’s keel would’ve stuck in the mud and the boat would’ve keeled over. Oh well, at least I saw it from the sea and briefly imagined we were sailing to the Iron Islands. (The skipper (my brother) and the first mate, the real serious sailor, neither of them knew anything about the Iron Islands, haha. )

      As to the GoT sets… I’m a bit iffy about them. They’re “fake”, as in plywood dressed to look like stone. I wonder how they’d withstand the NI weather, how much it’d cost to maintain them, is it worth the money you can fleece from tourists.

      Sorry to be such a downer and so cynical, GoT locations and even sets will be a tourist draw for a few years. I’m just thinking about longer term. Medieval World Fun Time Land, anyone?

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