Our trip to Winterfell
(Castle Ward, National Trust)
Dear Mummy, after visiting Mount Stewart on our recent trip to Northern Ireland we tracked down where they filmed scenes from Game of Thrones. Season 1 of the TV adaptation used the courtyard of Castle Ward in County Down, Northern Ireland, for Winterfell.
So we’re heading to Winterfell, home of the Starks. Well actually it’s called Castle Ward and home to The National Trust.
We visited Castle Ward’s neighbour Mount Stewart a couple of days ago and had a lovely afternoon.
Today is filled with the same excitement about attending a new National Trust property.
Castle Ward is on the other side of the lough, 2-3 miles from Strangford Town. It takes around 45 minutes from Belfast and I nap on the way there.
We arrive in Strangford first to have lunch and see the little fishing port.
A warm welcome greets us at The Cuan Hotel where we stay by the fire and eat a great lunch. We study the local maps and watch the little car ferry travel across the waterway known as The Narrows to Portaferry. The ferry crosses every 30 minutes and only lasts 8 minutes.
Strangford Harbour, Lough and The Narrows are home to a variety of wildlife such as Crabs, Lobsters, Sharks, Seals and the odd killer whale and humpback have even been spotted! Wow that’s a lot of wildlife to see!
We see the sign for Castle Ward and head down the long drive pass the main house and into the car park.
It’s not what we expected as we roll up to the estate through the rolling fields with views over Strangford Lough. It’s a cold and bright December day in Northern Ireland. The most interesting aspect of Castle Ward is its dual architecture from the 16th-century fortified tower house (used as inspiration for Winterfell filming and CGI) to the 18th-century house.
There’s a little children’s playground next to the information point and only the grounds are open today (we knew this before we left) so we miss out on seeing the cafe and main house.
There is enough to see and do though. We trundle off to the farmyard and the bank side of Strangford Lough.
Walking down the path we can see the turrets of the old farmyard. This is where they filmed some of the first season of Game of Thrones. Through the iron gates you can see the lough and they also have a little farm area with goats and chickens.
The light is fading…so we take the woodland path back up and get a good glimpse of the 18th-century house, I play for a while in the play park before heading home. Well worth a visit if you are a Game of Thrones fan, enjoy beautiful scenery and a good old walk.
A lovely day in Strangford and Castle Ward.
Can’t wait to return in the summer to have a good explore when it’s not so cold! Brrrrrr.