With more film locations than anywhere else in the world, Northern Ireland is home to HBO’s hit series, Game of Thrones. Now in the 8th and final season, the world touring exhibition premiered in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter in a purpose built exhibition centre, right beside the famous Titanic Studios where many of the most iconic scenes were filmed.
We started watching Game of Thrones back at the beginning of series one, to see what all the fuss was about. Living in Northern Ireland, we knew that some big fancy series starring Sean Bean was being filmed here, but that was it. I hadn’t (then) read the books, and I knew nothing about George RR Martin’s epic tale set on the continent of Westeros.
It didm’t take long to be utterly hooked!
I won’t lie, there were scenes that shocked me, others that, watching with my teenage stepsons – made me want to crawl under a rock, but mostly I was enchanted. The politics were filthy and cut throat, the costumes were fabulous in their medieval splendour, and I got a real kick out of recognising many of the film locations. All that and dragons too!
It has been THE most wonderful thing for Northern Ireland and has really set up our emerging film industry. Many of the props, costumes, equipment and armour were made here by local crafts people, so when the chance arose to visit and have a look close up, it was a no brainer, we had to go.
It’s advised that you book tickets in advance, as you will be given a time slot. At certain times when it’s not too busy you may be lucky to pay on the door, but at peak times you would be advised to book in advance to avoid disappointment. You will be emailed an electronic ticket that can be scanned from your phone or you can print off if you prefer.
The Exhibition runs until September 2019
April – May: 10am – 7pm daily
June – September: 9am – 8pm daily
April – May
Monday – Thursday £15 Friday – Sunday £17:50
June – August
Monday – Sunday £17:50
The Exhibition is located in the TEC in Titanic Quarter: 17 Queen’s Road, Titanic Quarter, Belfast BT3 9DU
Bus – Metro Service 26
Train – Titanic Quarter Station
Glider Service – Titanic Stop or Catalyst Inc Stop
Paid car parking is available nearby, and disabled car parking is available on site.
No food or drink is allowed within the exhibition, there is a cafe on site to grab a coffee or wait until after you have seen around and head back into Belfast to one of our many, amazing restaurants.
What to expect
As you enter you can offload any coats or bags into a left luggage facility. After this and before you enter the exhibition proper, you will have the chance to pose for a green screen photo with a dragon. Just like at a theme park you will be able to view and purchase (if you wish) on your way out.
You can also purchase an audio guide, these are available in a wide range of languages. We didn’t avail so I can’t comment on the quality.
As you are ushered through, you will enter a holding area where some house rules are explained (no flash photography) and a short film compiling some of the show’s memorable scenes will be shown just to get you in the mood, then you have the chance to emerge through mist and winter forest into Westeros.
The first montage of costumes and props are from the infamous Purple Wedding. The costumes are fabulous, and up close you can really see the intricate detailing, particularly on Margaery ’s wedding dress, complete with miniature roses, and thorns!
Moving on you will see the Starks, and then costumes, jewellery and weapons from the other major characters. I found it surprising just how tiny some of the costumes are, but the amount of attention to detail is just magnificent.
This is the third time the exhibition has toured and there is always an interactive aspect. In previous exhibitions there was the chance to fire arrows into the Battle of Blackwater, or journey up to the top of The Wall (one of the best and most scary things I have ever experienced!), this time you have the chance to upload your face to the walls of the many faced god.
For fans of weaponry, you also get the chance to pose with a replicas of Needle, Ice and Longclaw, and there is a competition for best photo if you upload yours the exhibition website.
A word on access
The exhibition is all on one level with room to manoeuvre through the exhibits, but posing for some of the photos could be problematic. Additional props are available beside the Iron Throne (beside the tills) so rather then miss out, I would ask a member of staff if the relevant prop could be borrowed. Although there is an ‘accessible’ loo it’s behind a door that doesn’t have automatic opening.
As a dyed in the wool fan, I enjoyed the exhibition, have you been or do you plan to? Let me know how you get on.