A Northern Ireland Travel Guide + The Ultimate Game of Thrones Location Map



What's the best way to spend a sunny bank holiday weekend, you ask me? Go away with your friends, of course! This time, Hannah, Sarah, Lily and I jetted off to Northern Ireland, where Hannah's family owns a beautiful house, on the Antrim coast. We did everything you would expect girls to do in Ireland, from eating way too much cake to seeking out as many Game of Thrones filming locations as humanely possible and generally making the most of what the Emerald Isle had to offer. 

And because I had such a great time doing so, I am now sharing what I hope will be the first of many travel guides on this blog. I have even included an interactive map, which does not only feature everything I think is worth checking out in the area, but also every major filming locations used in Game of Thrones so far.

It's going to be a long one, so grab yourself a cup of tea and let's get started, shall we?


WHERE TO STAY


As I mentioned earlier, we were lucky enough to be able to stay at Hannah's in Bushmills, a lovely little town by the coast. It was a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city but if you're thinking of staying in the area yourself, you might want to rent a car or get the number of a local taxi company beforehand. On the plus side, Bushmills is full of hiking trails if you want to fit some exercise in and you can easily walk to a few landmarks, such as the Giants Causeway or the famous distillery.



WHAT TO SEE


THE GIANTS CAUSEWAY

44 Causeway Rd, Bushmills, Antrim BT57 8SU

Legend has it, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by Irish giant, Finn MacCool. As nice as the story is, the iconic hexagonal columns are, in fact, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't ask the guides about the legend. The volunteers working on site are all so passionate, they are probably much better at telling the story than I am so don't be shy and ask away.


THE DARK HEDGES

Bregagh Rd, Ballymoney BT53 8TP

This is one for the Game of Thrones fans who may remember the the Dark Hedges being used as the backdrop for Arya's journey north in the second season of the show. In reality, the stunning tree tunnel dates back to the 18th century and is one of the most photographed natural phenomenons in the world. Pictures really don't do it justice, so if you're ever in the area, make sure to stop by.


THE ANTRIM COAST

If you have access to a car, why not take a scenic drive along the Antrim Coast? We did and everywhere we stopped was incredible, with breathtaking views and typical Irish scenery (a.k.a. a lot of sheep and even more greenery), but a few places I would definitely recommend you pop onto your itinerary are Ballintoy Harbour, Dunseverick castle and Portbraddan. Surprise, surprise, Ballintoy Harbour is yet another Game of Thrones filming locations, but the little cake shop next door is the real star here. The selection of homemade cakes available there is one of the best I've ever seen and their lemon meringue pie will sure make for a nice break from all the driving.


DUNLUCE CASTLE

87 Dunluce Rd, Bushmills, County Antrim BT57 8UY, £5

According to the legend, the kitchen of the Dunluce Castle collapsed into the sea and only one of the employees survived. Thankfully, you can now visit the remains without fearing for your life, so take a minute to enjoy the beautiful Medieval ruins and their breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.


BELFAST'S BOTANIC GARDENS

College Park, Botanic Ave, Belfast BT7 1LP

With its wide selection of succulents, cacti and palm trees, it's hard to remember the Belfast's Botanic Gardens and its Palm House are indeed in the middle of the Northern Irish capital. The gardens are a strong favourite amongst locals and tourists alike, and it's easy to see why - it is the perfect place to relax, have a picnic or even study for those lucky few going to university next door.


MUSSENDEN TEMPLE AND DOWNHILL BEACH

Seacoast Rd, Coleraine BT51 4RH, £4.70

Northern Ireland is full of National Trust sites, each more beautiful than the other. Mussenden Temple is one of these so make sure to stop by and also check the view while you're there. I don't want to spoil it for you, but it is definitely something you need to see for yourself. It is well worth the £4.70 entry fee, in my opinion.


WHAT TO DO


TITANIC MUSEUM

Queens Rd, Belfast, County Antrim BT3 9EP, £17.50

We are all familiar with the Titanic's tragic story thanks to the many Hollywood films, but did you know it was originally built in Belfast? Well, this is just one of the many things you will learn at the Titanic Museum. The exhibition itself is very entertaining and interactive, with everything from Vegas-style slot machines delivering insightful facts about the ship to a full-on ride through the shipyard. On a more serious note, it also features some heartbreaking testimonies by the late survivors themselves which will leave you deeply moved by your visit. If you only have time to do one thing in Belfast, make it the Titanic Museum.


CARRICK-A-REDE ROPE BRIDGE

Ballycastle, Moyle BT54 6LS, £5.90

Not one for those afraid of heights, the Carrick-A-Rede rope Bridge offers some of the best views of the area. Be prepared to wait and pay a small fee before being able to fully enjoy the experience though.


OLD BUSHMILLS DISTILLERY

2 Distillery Rd, Bushmills, County Antrim BT57 8XH, £7.50

The Old Bushmills distillery was the first of its kind and the fact it is still fully functioning today makes it an incredibly interesting place to visit - whether you like whiskey or not. I'm not a fan myself, but I personally loved learning about the process, as well as being introduced to the world of Irish whiskey and its main differences from its Scottish counterpart. And if whiskey is your tipple of choice, you will definitely enjoy the final stop of the visit, which is the distillery's very own bar in which you can try their distillery exclusive blend. It is definitely worth checking out if you're in the Bushmills area.


BARRY'S AMUSEMENT PARK

16 Eglinton St, Portrush, Antrim BT56 8DX

Barry's is an old school, seaside town amusement park which does exactly what it says on the tin, so get yourself some tokens and start queueing up for Barry's Big Dipper. It will (probably) not disappoint. 





ULSTER MUSEUM

Botanic Gardens, Belfast, County Antrim BT9 5AB

If you like the British Museum in London, you will love The Ulster Museum. With traditional Irish art, as well as a wildlife and Ancient Egypt sections, it is a great stop if you want something a little bit different or if you are already in the area.


WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK


THE COPPER KETTLE

61 Main St, Bushmills BT57 8QA

The Copper Kettle is the epitome of small town dinning. There is nothing overly fancy in this local joint, just a small selection of tried and trusted dishes. In true Irish fashion, the service is absolutely incredible and I can definitely see why this is a local favorite. Just don't go there expecting to find your usual avocado rose on gluten-free toast or your coconut milk cappuccino and try the soda bread breakfast sandwich instead, or like me, the mini fry-up. It may not be as Instagram-friendly as avocado on toast, but it is just as delicious.


WEE COTTAGE TEA AND COFFEE

Coleraine, Coleraine BT57 8UY

Northern Ireland seems to be full of these small coffee shops which specialise in homemade cakes. Think your grandmother's secret recipe, but even better. Sarah and I split a slice of their rose water and pistachio sponge cake, which was incredible but I hear Lily's coffee brownie was also worth a taste if you're not too keen on the former.


RAMORE WINE BAR

1 Harbour Road, Portrush, County Antrim BT56 8DF

The Ramore Wine Bar is the perfect place to grab dinner or a drink in Portrush. Not only is the food delicious and indulgent, their selection of gin-tails is pretty incredible too. And let's not forget about their dessert table, which is so decadent, you will not be able to decide which one you want - if you are still hungry after dinner, that is. There was a bit of a wait when we went, but nothing a margarita or two couldn't help with. 


KAFFE O NORDIC COFFEE SHOP

411 Ormeau Rd, Belfast BT7 3GP

If you fancy a coffee and want something local, the Kaffe O Nordic coffee shop is for you. It will please any scandi lovers, as well as those who may be struggling with jet lag. You'll thank me later.


MAGGIE MAY'S CAFE

2 Malone Rd, Belfast, County Antrim BT9 5BN

Located in the student district, the Maggie May's café is the ultimate uni throwback with its juicy bacon baps, crispy chips and extravagant milkshakes. I opted for a (not so healthy) student favourite : cheesy chips. These were not only delicious, they were also cheap as chips at only £2.69, if you excuse the pun. 

THE NOOK

48 Causeway Rd, Bushmills, Moyle BT57 8SU

This traditional pub is located right next to the Giants Causeway, making it a great spot to grab some lunch if like us, you have spent the morning hiking and exploring the area. Those familiar with Irish pubs will appreciate the traditional atmosphere, while others will be transported by the typical British menu. Either way, it's a good one to check out if you don't mind getting charged 20p for a glass of water. Sorry, for the ice in the water.


HOME

22 Wellington Pl, Belfast BT1 6GE

HOME's promise is simple : good, healthy food that doesn't break the bank. And it sure delivers, with a vast array of vegan, gluten-free and overall delicious dishes ; HOME is a real treat. And the best thing? Most dishes are available in a starter and a main size, which makes them perfect for sharing shall you want to. I had the pumpkin ravioli with the kale pesto and its toasted pine nuts, which was both hearty and moorish, but I hear Hannah's asparagus and pea risotto and Lily's baked chili tofu were also incredible. At less than £10 for a main and a drink, this is one you don't want to miss out.


And finally, as promised, here is my very own interactive map of Northern Ireland and its many Game of Throne locations. If you're not a fan of the show and would rather not see these, you can simply untick the category in the map's menu and voilà.


I hope you liked this travel guide. I am already planning a few more of these, so don't forget to follow ELLE yeah on Bloglovin' if you want to know exactly when the next one goes up.

Have you ever been to Northern Ireland? If so, what was your favourite thing to see or do there?

- Elodie x

Don't forget you can get £30 / $37 / 30€ off your first Air BnB booking when you sign up here. Happy travels!
  1. Wow, what a great guide! Northern Ireland is firmly on my travel bucket list - will definitely bear this post in mind whenever we go.

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    1. Thanks! I hope you like Northern Ireland as much as I did! x

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  2. What an informative travel guide, so handy. We visit Ireland later this summer so will bookmark this post.

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    1. I'm glad this was helpful! Hope you have a lovely time! x

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  3. Northern Island looks so beautiful! I have always wanted to visit the Giants Causeway!

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    1. I hope you go and see it. Words and pictures definitely don't do it justice! x

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  4. What a fantastic place and you have shared a really detailed guide. It's very informative.

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  5. I visited Northern Ireland a few years ago and braved Carrick-a-Rede - it is absolutely terrifying! I'd also recommend popping into the Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast for a drink -it's a gorgeous Victorian pub with quirky private booths.

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    1. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who thought it was! Ha! 😂 x

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  6. I've never been, but with a boy obsessed with both giants and the Titanic, I really feel it is somewhere we should visit.

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    1. Oh definitely! He'd have the best time there! x

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  7. I did;t realise how much there is to do - I must visit soon!

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    1. I didn't either but NI is really full of (beautiful) surprises! x

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  8. I can't believe we were there a week ago! x

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  9. While I'm not someone who watches game of thrones, this was really helpful to me still as I'm actually going to ireland later this year xxx

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    1. Glad I could help! I don't actually watch it either, but I really enjoyed my time there. x

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  10. How stunning are those photos. It looks like a great place to visit.

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    1. Thank you! I try. 😉 x

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  11. It looks stunningthere, great photo's. I didn't realise there was so much you can do.

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  12. Wow, gorgeous photos. Ireland never looked so good!

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    1. Stop it, you're making me blush! Thank you though. 🙈 x

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  13. Game of Thrones travel map? I'm there!! This is amazing, thank you so much!!

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    1. You're welcome! 😊 x

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  14. This is such a good post! I want to go visit Northern Island badly! Must persuade Tom that it would be a good idea for a mini break away!

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    1. It is the perfect place for a weekend away and I'm sure Tom would love it! x

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  15. This has been on my to do list for ages. I was going to go with a friend this last bank holiday, but by the time we got around to looking at flights they'd gone beyond ridiculous. So it's still on the agenda to do!

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    1. We booked ours well in advance and they were not cheap, but it was 100% worth it. x

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  16. omg these pics are wonderful. didn't think of it but now it all makes me want to visit ireland!

    xx
    lau
    www.malibluemymind.com

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  17. I went to Northern Ireland a couple of years ago to visit some distant relatives and I really loved it there but unfortunately we didn't get to see much other than grave yards which was a little weird, I really wish we could've seen some of these places! Hopefully I'll get to go back soon!

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    1. Well, at least you have an excuse to go back now! 😉 x

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  18. Northern Ireland is somewhere I would love to visit one day and how cool for GoT fans to be able to visit some of the locations where filming has actually happened. x

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  19. Wow, there really is a ton of beautiful places. It's now wonder they shot so many GoT scenes in northern Ireland.

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  20. Oh my gosh, I HAVE to go here! What a stunning, breathtaking place! A fantastic post!

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you liked it. 😊 x

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  21. You make me feel that I was also there. The giants causeway and the castle look magical. :)

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    1. Thank you so much! It was exactly what I was aiming for! x

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  22. I've always wanted to visit Ireland and it still is on my bucket list. Thank you so much for sharing. Everything looks absolutely amazing and breath taking!

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  23. I have always wanted to go to Northern Ireland, but I wouldn't know where to go.
    Will keep this guide handy so I can go check out these wonderful gems!

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    1. Do! You definitely won't regret going! x

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  24. ive never been to northern ireland before but i would love to even more!

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  25. Fantastic guide! I still can't believe how lucky we were with the weather.

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    1. I know! Thanks again for showing us around! xx

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  26. We have stayed several times on the West Coast of Republic of Ireland but have never yet ventured up North. The scenery looks simply stunning - I think we would give that rope bridge a miss though. Looks completely terrifying!

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  27. I have a friend that lives there and she always tells me how beautiful it is over there but after reading this post and seeing your awesome pictures I really want to visit now!

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  28. Such a fun idea to check out all of the Game of Thrones locations! Some amazing scenery in that show :) Beautiful pics!

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  29. As a huge Game of Thrones fan, I need to come to Northern Ireland! I've never been before but I had no idea that GoT locations were so close to home :p

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    1. Oh, you definitely do if you're a fan! x

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  30. Absolutely adore this post, lake me back!


    My Sentimental Heart

    x

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  31. I have to admit, I am not a fan of Game of Thrones, having never watching a single episode, but this is a fab post x

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