20/04/2022

Game Of Thrones Studio Tour Weaves Its Magic In Banbridge

It's fair to say that the Game of Thrones series has paid plenty of dividends to Northern Ireland. While the show was filmed around the world, no fewer than 25 filming locations were chosen in NI, including those for Winterfell (Castleward, Co. Down), the Vale of Ayrn (shot in the beautiful Glenariff Forest Park, Co. Antrim), and the House of Greyjoy (Dunluce Castle, Co. Antrim). Of course, with our weather, you are not going to be able to portray the southern kingdoms in GOT. But for fans of the show, Northern Ireland offers so much in the way of GOT experiences. Indeed, take any typical day in Belfast, and you'll see loads of buses ferrying tourists to and from different filming locations around the country.

Of course, as you might have heard, the world's only official Game of Thrones Studio Tour is now located in Banbridge. The site is in the Linen Mill, which was one of the studios used during the production. It is located on the A1 dual carriageway, around 30 minutes from Belfast and just over an hour from Dublin. To be fair, eyebrows were raised when Banbridge was chosen for the location. With all due respect, the mid-sized town is hardly a tourist hub. However, the Linen Mill was a key studio for production, and it's perfect for the Studio Tour. The studio itself is located just behind the large-scale outdoor shopping mall, The Outlet.

Attraction opened in early 2022

The Game of Thrones Studio Tour opened for business in early 2022, and it's fair to say it has been a success. It's been given attention by the international media, and many reporters have taken the time to visit the attraction and give it the thumbs up. While we might always be sceptical about reviews on TripAdvisor and similar sites, it should buoy the organisers of the tour that there are mostly five-star reviews on those sites. A lot of effort – and a lot of money – went into making this a world-class experience, and it shows.

Of course, the Studio Tour benefits from more than just Game of Thrones fandom. We are in an era where interest in fantasy content seems to be at an all time high. From Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings, there is a need for fandom to be served. Even fantasy video games and Wizard-themed slots get a bump due to the interest in magical tales. But to get people to make the journey to Banbridge and pay out nearly £40/€48 (the cost of an adult ticket) for the experience, it has to offer something exceptional. And by and large, it seems like it does.

Studio Tour packs a lot in for fans

The Game of Thrones Studio Tour has, as you might expect, a plethora of memorabilia from the television series. This includes the famous Iron Throne, and other curios like the Night King and Jon Snow's costumes. While that's probably enough to tickle most fans, it goes further, with workshops – like building your own 'house' insignia on a shield. There's the full weight of technology behind the tour, too, with augmented reality and interactive experiences. The Linen Mill looks small from the outside, but it packs a lot inside. If you're a fan and willing to spend the time, it could be well worth the ticket price.

There's been other benefits for the local economy, too, as The Boulevard has reported a notable increase in footfall around the shopping centre in the months since the attraction opened. While those behind the tour have been tight-lipped about ticket sales, the suggestions are it's doing better than expected. It will, therefore, be interesting to see how busy it becomes during the 2022 tourist season in Northern Ireland, particularly over Easter and high summer. For the moment, though, it seems that almost three years after the final episode aired, Game of Thrones is still casting its spell over Northern Ireland.



Game of Thrones Studio Tour

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