‘Game of Thrones’ locations to open as tourist attractions
Tourism chief welcomes HBO’s announcement as game-changer for Northern Ireland
The Stark family home of Winterfell, which is a composite of Castle Ward in Northern Ireland and Doune Castle in Scotland. Photograph: HBO/PA Wire
A number of locations and sets used to film Game Of Thrones in Northern Ireland are to be opened to the public next year.
The award-winning TV series recently completed filming for its final season, to be released next year.
Season eight will bring to an end the epic tale of the families struggling for supremacy in the fictional world of Westeros.
HBO has announced it plans to celebrate the show’s legacy by converting several filming locations into tourist attractions.
The US production company is also set to open up production archives to share with fans.
The sites will include film sets as well as displays of costumes, props, weapons, set decorations, art files, models and other production materials.
HBO said it will reveal more details about the Game Of Thrones Legacy project after the exploratory process is completed.
A tentative open date is set for 2019.
Jeff Peters, vice-president of licensing and retail for HBO, said the company is looking forward to opening up the sites.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
John McGrillen, chief executive of Tourism NI, said: “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 into the world of Westeros.
“The Game Of Thrones Legacy project will be a game-changer for Northern Ireland on a global tourism level.
“We very much welcome this exciting announcement by HBO and look forward to attracting many more visitors to our beautiful country as a result.”
Game Of Thrones tourism is already flourishing in Northern Ireland with a number of themed bus tours, visitor maps and phone apps.
Last year a tapestry chronicling the story of the epic was opened at the Ulster Museum in Belfast, and a series of decorated doors referencing key scenes were unveiled at venues across the region. – PA