Destination UK

Exploring Castle Ward and Audley's Castle

Posted on
February 19, 2019

There are a number of reasons that we chose Northern Ireland for our half term break this year, but one of the main ones was to find as many of HBO’s Game of Thrones® filming sites as possible.

With a young family in tow, we decided against doing a structured tour to allow us to explore at our own pace, instead downloading the Discover Ireland Game of Thrones app, available on GooglePlay and Appstore which gives you location names and directions to help you find them.

The first location on our list was Castle Ward, a National Trust property, whose historic farmyard is the location of Winterfell, the backdrop for the series pilot and much of season one.

Whether you are Game of Thrones fans or not, Castle Ward is a beautiful place to visit and I highly recommend that you take the Shore Trail, where if you are lucky, you may even spot some seals.

There are two car parks to choose from, an upper car park which is close to the house, or a lower car park which is closest to the farmyard setting.

Although the set has now gone, there is a large photo book in the courtyard showing how they set up and filmed some of the scenes, plus a huge replica Winterfell Archery Range, where you can dress up and try your hand at the sport, just like Jon Snow, Robb and Bran Stark. Please note you need to book this in advance with

There was also the opportunity to meet Lord Stark and his beautiful Dire Wolf – Kai.

The kids were also keen to explore the tower, before we headed off around the lake for a walk and to find more filming locations.

We were given a map to follow which marks out some of the filming locations, which include Robb Stark’s Camp, the Baelor battle and when Brienne confronts the Stark men. 

Many of the actual spots are marked out with signs and photographs, so you know what scenes were set in which location.

The kids were happy to just to run around playing, whilst we found the tree where Robb Stark and Talisa got secretly married.

Also on the trail is Audley’s Castle. which was also used as a filming location for several important scenes in Game of Thrones, as well as the new Dracula Untold movie.

We then circled back along the trail to treat the kids to a warming hot chocolate, stumbling across a stable block complete with Hobby horses to race along the way.

There are also two adventure parks for the kids to enjoy on site with swings, slides, climbing frames and zip lines to try.

For those after a more historical day out, the house at Castle Ward is famed for being most unusual and all because of a marital disagreement.

One half is built in the classical Palladian style, with the other half which faces out across Strangford lough is built in the more elaborate Gothic style.

Entry to Castle Ward costs from £23.80 for a family, but National Trust members are free. Our NT passes have been invaluable this week as most of the attractions we have visited are all part of the National Trust. Annual membership costs £120 for a family (or £10 per month by direct debit) and if you use TopCashback when you purchase you earn £8.40 back.

  1. Reply

    Treasure Every Moment

    February 20, 2019

    Ahh my husband would love to visit here as some scenes from Games of Thrones was filmed there! I’ve never watched it, but he loves it 🙂

  2. Reply

    Fran || FrannyMac

    February 20, 2019

    What a cool day out – the National Trust has some gorgeous buildings.
    I’ve not watched GOT yet but I really need to start!

  3. Reply

    sonia cave

    February 20, 2019

    What a cool goal to have! Loving that you met a character and his dog too. I am rather against structured tours as well with three children in tow…they need to go at their own place and look at things very randomly as well!

  4. Reply

    Sabina Green

    February 20, 2019

    Wow Castle Ward is stunning. How cool to meet a “real life” Dire Wolf, I am jealous.

  5. Reply

    Angela Milnes

    February 20, 2019

    I have never taken my daughter to a castle. It’s something I’d like to do at some point. I think my hubby would love this place as it’s connected to Game of Thrones. The hot chocolate also sounds good!

  6. Reply

    Lacey Dearie

    February 20, 2019

    I love that the kids were riding hobby horses. I haven’t seen those for years!

  7. Reply

    Tracey Kifford

    February 20, 2019

    I’ve never watched Game of Thrones … where have I been?! But I love the idea of an app to help guide you round some of the filming sites. N Ireland is on our hit list of places to visit – it’s so accessible from the UK mainland, we really must get something booked

  8. Reply

    Michelle Murray

    February 21, 2019

    i would love to visit the locations that Game Of Thrones was filmed in. It’s my fave TV programme. Can’t wait to watch the final season.

  9. Reply

    Melanie williams

    February 21, 2019

    Oh wow how exciting is this. Looks like a fab day out and you clearly got fab weather too which always helps xx

  10. Reply

    Rebecca Smith

    February 21, 2019

    Castle Ward is absolutely beautiful! My OH is a big GoT fan so this is definitely a trip we would consider taking.

  11. Reply

    Mellissa Williams

    February 22, 2019

    What an amazing place to explore. Northern Ireland is such an incredibly beautiful country.

  12. Reply

    Kaz | Ickle Pickles Life and Travels

    February 22, 2019

    I have been to Northern Ireland – and never watched Game of Thrones but wow, it looks a beautiful place. Kaz

  13. Reply


    February 24, 2019

    I am yet to venture to Northern Ireland but I do love a good National Trust property visit. This sounds like a lovely way to spend half term.

  14. Reply

    Mudpie Fridays

    February 24, 2019

    I have only ever been to Ireland once. My husband would have loved to do this as he really like Game of Thrones. Its good you can get an app and do it yourself. Structured tours dont work well with kids in my experience.

  15. Reply

    Mellissa Williams

    February 25, 2019

    What a great castle. We have some many wonderful castle in the UK, I think there are over 600 in Wales for example

  16. Reply

    Nicolette Lafonseca

    February 25, 2019

    We are National Trust members this looks like a fab castle and not too far.

  17. Reply

    Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too

    February 25, 2019

    Oh WOW! what an amazing place to take the children. My husband is a big Game of Thrones fan so I might need to plan a holiday to Northern Ireland

  18. Reply

    michelle twin mum

    February 25, 2019

    I don’t know anything about Game of Thornes but my husband has watched it. I think I’d just ove to visit these places as they are full of history and look amazing. Mich x

  19. Reply

    Jess Howliston

    February 26, 2019

    Oh wow what a great family day out and beautiful castle! My kids would love this and it looks like a great space to explore. I love all the pictures and info about Game of Thrones you can spot on the way round too!

  20. Reply


    February 26, 2019

    You got some great weather for exploring! It looks beautiful

  21. Reply

    Jennifer Gladwin

    February 26, 2019

    Oh wow, we’re big GOT fans here so we’d love that! It looks like a great day out x

  22. Reply

    Laura Dove

    February 27, 2019

    Oh wow this looks amazing! We have never been to Ireland, its somewhere we really want to visit and see more of though. Love this castle!

  23. Reply


    February 27, 2019

    Sounds like a brilliant place for a family day out, especially on a sunny weekend!

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Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog