For fans of TV epic Game of Thrones® there is only one place to be on 16 September – the Winterfell Festival in Northern Ireland.
The one-day festival is based on the grounds of the 820-acre Castle Ward estate, the National Trust property that doubled as the Stark family ancestral home for most of Season 1 of the series.
In the authentic location, one of 26 iconic filming sites in the real-life Westeros, the festival promises an immersive Game of Thrones-styled experience unlike any other.
Festival-goers will have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Ned Stark, Lord of Winterfell, and experience theatrical re-enactments of scenes from George R. R. Martin’s first novel in the fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire.
The sights, sounds and smells of a medieval village, with skilled blacksmiths, silversmiths and weavers at work, will be enhanced by the King’s Tournament Games, featuring skilled horse-riders performing enthralling film-set stunts and tricks fit for entertaining royalty.
Plenty of ‘Thrones’ costumery, full contact jousting, sword fighting, falconry and medieval fare such as roast hog and venison pie, washed down with cider and ale, will all add to the atmosphere.
‘Meet the actor’ tickets will offer the opportunity to join an intimate audience with stars from the series, while armourer Boyd Rankin, who played Mikken in the series, will display a selection of the swords and weapons he forged for Game of Thrones.
Grey Wind and Summer, two of the original Stark family Direwolf dogs – known as Odin and Thor in the real world – will also make a special appearance.
Fans can also enjoy archery in the very courtyard where Jon Snow taught his brother Bran to shoot a bow and arrow and explore an iconic feature of the Winterfell landscape, the tower where Jamie Lannister pushes Bran Stark from the window.
Home to more Seven Kingdoms locations than anywhere else in the world, Northern Ireland has truly earned its title as Game of Thrones® Territory. Those who fancy a full weekend in Westeros, or even longer, can fill their time with an array of ‘Thrones’ related experiences.
Coach tours, medieval banquets, self-guided cycles, sea safaris, archery experiences and even afternoon tea featuring Baratheon bread and Dothraki trifle with mini dragon's eggs – and much more – are all available.
Set-jetters who fancy splashing out on the experience of a lifetime should look no further than a Game of Thrones Air Tour from Cutting Edge Helicopters.
Ascend like a raven into the sky and take in the stunning film locations and many more beautiful locations along the famous Causeway Coastal Route, named with Belfast as Lonely Planet’s No. 1 region to visit in 2018.
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