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Game of Thrones Film Set Archery Experience - Behind the Scenes

Posted on March 31, 2014 @ 4:54 PM in Adventure

With the eagerly awaited Season 4 of Game of Thrones premiering this weekend, Clearsky Adventure Centre in Castle Ward, Co. Down is launching 3 new Game of Thrones experiences in the very location where the Bafta Award Winning TV series was filmed!   If your life has been taken over by the boxset or you can’t wait to get your weekly fix of Westeros then be sure to head to Castle Ward and walk in the footsteps of Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage and Alfie Allen as you recreate scenes where Winterfell was first brought to life. 

I caught up with the guys at Clearsky Adventure Centre to go behind the scenes as they prepared for the opening of these unique experiences including their Bran and Ned Archery packages and a cycle tour of the onsite filming locations.

Game of Thrones Filming Location Northern Ireland

(Clockwise: Eddie in costume from the actual Game of Thrones Wadrobe,  The Set beginning to take shape, Me with the Hound of Helm.)

On the drive up to Clearsky’s courtyard headquarters through Castle Ward it didn’t take me long to see why the 820 acre site was chosen by Hollywood for the smash hit series.  Wide open fields sweeping down to the stunning Strangford Lough with ancient buildings and the remains of a medieval castle it doesn’t take much imagination to transport you to the fantasy world. 

On arrival I met up with Eddie, a Clearsky instructor who took me through how Winterfell will be resurrected over the coming weeks.  Our first stop was Clearsky HQ a 16th century courtyard where the finishing touches where being put together for their Game of Thrones Archery Experience. Eddie walked me through the experience which takes place on the actual location where young Bran Stark was trained by Jon Snow under the watchful eye of his father – it doesn’t get much more authentic than that! 

The experience starts in the courtyard barn, where participants will get kitted out in their Stark Family Costumes (shipped all the way from America).  The foreboding Hounds Helm will be watching you from the wall as you prepare to enter Winterfell for the first time.  The courtyard area is used exclusively for the experience with a clever layout meaning once you enter the barn you will leave reality behind and exit into the world of Westeros.        

Decked out with recreated props from fire braziers to barrel kegs and of course the all important archery bosses the courtyard will allow you to experience the feeling of being on your very own movie set.  It is here that you will receive instruction from ‘Jon Snow’ himself (aka character costumed archery instructor).  You’ll then get the chance to shoot medieval arrows with ancient bows with loads of opportunities for photos so you can capture your favourite moments.  Participants will get the chance to choose between the Bran Package or Ned Package – either way the experience is sure to be an authentic one. 

Game of Thrones Filming Location Northern Ireland

Clockwise: Strangford Lough the location for Robb's Camp, Audley's Castle, the hanging tree, me about to set off on the trails.

Once we’d attempted to hit the bullseye a few times it was time to experience the filming location cycle tour and head out on the off road trails to visit the locations of many of the pivotal scenes filmed for the series.  I was given my mountain bike and after some quick instruction headed out round the stunning grounds of the estate. As we biked our away along the off road trials Eddie let me in on a few secrets but I don’t want to give too much behind the scenes gossip away – you’ll just have to head down and ask the guys yourself!   The Cycle Tour includes a Medieval Scroll map (which you can keep as a momento) including fun facts about each filming location and where to find them.  You’ll also get to dress up in Stark Family costume capes and of course be given an all important sword – essential for recreating your own movie moments along the way.  

We passed many of the locations where the Game of Thrones pivotal scenes where filmed including 'Winterfell', ‘King Roberts Arrival’, ‘The Twins’, ‘Ned’s Picnic’, 'Baelor Battle Scene', 'Robb's Camp' and more.  We also came across the spot of a gruesome hanging and Audley’s Castle where Walder Frey’s Raven once flew from. 

Click on the image below to see the locations come to life on screen.

Once back from the cycle Eddie explained that they were eagerly awaiting the arrival of a 40 man teepee for their final experience; the King Robert Banquet. This will be an authentic medieval banquet complete with hog roast where participants will get exclusive use of the courtyard for a tasty lunch.  A great way to complete the Game of Thrones experience.     

 

Game of Thrones Archery Experiences are also available as gift vouchers for couples and groups. A unique present for any Game of Thrones fans. 

For more information on the experiences including prices visit Clearsky Adventure Centre.

Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson  Marketing Officer

Sarah joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in 2011. A firm believer in giving anything a go at least once (unless it involves jumping out of a plane at 6,000ft!) she is always looking for new adventures in the outdoors and can often be found wandering the Mournes or Glens of Antrim attempting not to get lost!

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