Game of Thrones: ‘The Sopranos meets Middle Earth’ at Castle Ward

If you’re settling down this evening and holding you breath in anticipation of watching episode three of series three of Game of Thrones, you might be interested to know that one of the National Trust’s properties played a starring role in series one.


Based on the best selling novels Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin, the television series is set on the fictional continents of Essos and Westeros and follows the violent dynastic struggles of rival clans who fight for supremacy and the Iron Throne.

Game of Thrones has been filmed in a variety of locations including Morocco, Iceland, Malta and Croatia, however the majority of filming took place in Northern Ireland, where the rugged yet beautiful landscape provided a stunning scenic backdrop.

With well known Hollywood stars taking centre stage such as Sean Bean (Ned Stark), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) and Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister), the visitors and staff at Castle Ward witnessed the temporary transformation of the 17th century farmyard into “Winterfell” – House Stark.

Game of Thrones cast and crew ©Jacqui BairdHBO

The filming started with a pilot episode in 2009, some of which was located at the National Trust’s Castle Ward in Co. Down, which included eight weeks building “Winterfell” and then four filming days, and was successfully adapted for television with filming continuing throughout 2010.

Jacqueline Baird, Visitor Services Manager for Castle Ward describes her experience of the filming and dramatic transformation of Castle Ward:

“It was a great privilege for me to see Game of Thrones being filmed at Castle Ward and to witness the bustle of production, crew, cast, special effects, cinematography, horses, swords and much more; it truly has to be one of the most amazing and memorable experiences I have had working for the National Trust”. 

Game of Thrones archway and horses Castle Ward ©HBOJacqui Baird

As well as showcasing Castle Ward and the surrounding countryside on the small screen, the location fees support a variety of operational projects to help with conservation of the property and assist the Castle Ward team with the continuous care of this special place.

Game of Thrones airs Monday nights at 9pm on Sky Atlantic HD and Sky Atlantic.

Find out more about other National Trust places which have starred on the small and silver screen here.


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