Why go there?
Step in to the world of the Seven Kingdoms with Castle Ward, which is more familiar to fans of the hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones as Winterfell – the ancestral home of the Stark family.
While the 18th century mansion has a mixture of classical and gothic architecture, it was the estate’s 17th century farmyard that was transformed into Winterfell’s archery range where Jon Snow and Robb Stark taught sibling Bran about weaponry.
What to see
Situated on the Lough shore and close to Murlough National Nature Reserve, Castle Ward was the perfect place to film ‘The North’ of the Seven Kingdoms, with its sheltered woodlands, Mountains of Mourne and stunning dune landscape.
However, Castle Ward is not as rustic as Game of Thrones might have you think – the grounds are dominated by the 18th century mansion, which is open to the public from mid-June until the end of August, while the beautiful Sunken Garden and Temple Water are the perfect places to relax and unwind.
For those of you with more of an adrenaline streak, the grounds have a 21-mile (34km) network of new multi-use trails – ideal for cycling or horse riding.
Where to stay or eat
A mile away from Castle Ward is The Pantry in Strangford, a bistro restaurant that prides itself on an ever-changing menu that uses fresh, locally sourced produce. With glowing reviews and a hit with local foodies, make sure you reserve a table.
How to get there
Only a mile from Strangford and seven miles from Downpatrick, a drive to Castle Ward on the A25 takes you around the area’s stunning coastal roads and tranquil waters. It is no wonder that the area has been frequently used by the Game of Thrones production for several years.