During our visit to Belfast in March, we had a chance to visit the Game of Thrones Tapestry at the Ulster Museum. Only for some reason I never got around to posting about it on the blog. I was unsure whether to finally post the photos, but figured at it was truly impressive I would go ahead and upload them, even though it is over six months late.
As I mentioned in a previously Northern Ireland has embraced itself as Game of Thrones territory. The tourist board are encouraging visitors to explore the locations used in the filming of the television show. They have even created unique experiences for fans. One of the more recent additions is the Game of Thrones Tapestry. Housed in the Ulster Museum the 77-metre tapestry retells the first seven seasons of Game of Thrones.
Combining traditional Irish crafts and Game of Thrones. The tapestry is a cloth base of woven Irish linen. Locally produced flax and linen are then sewn into the cloth producing the beautiful embroidered scenes. If you want to know more about the crafts involved in making the tapestry the Wikipedia page has a wealth of information. Including details on the loom used to create the base and threads used in the embroidery.
I have included a lot of my favourite scenes here, as you can imagine it is impossible for me to show the whole thing. However, if you want to see the whole tapestry, without a trip to Belfast the official website has a video showing the entire work.
As the tapestry includes scenes from all seven seasons, obviously this post will contain spoilers!
There is plenty of space at the end of the tapestry. I believe they will be unveiling a new panel next year after each new episode has aired. So you can see the Game of Thrones tapestry at the Ulster Museum in Belfast now, or wait until next year to see the complete masterpiece for all eight seasons.
Northern Ireland is really embracing the fact it is Game of Thrones territory. There is a “Welcome to Westeros” at Belfast Airport. The tourist board have created an app of film locations. As well as several extra attractions designed just for Game of Thrones fans. So whilst we were in Belfast we decided we had to visit some of the locations used for filming the programme.
Northern Ireland: Game of Thrones Territory
HBO film a lot of principal photography for Game of Thrones at the Titanic Studio in Belfast. As well as in the surrounding areas, that serve as locations for Westeros. Unfortunately, the studios aren’t open to the public. But you can see some of the sets towering over the waterfront. Whilst we were there, they were filming at Moneyglass. Which is now used as the Winterfell set, again this is not accessible to the public. Fear not, there are still plenty of film locations to see in Northern Ireland.
When visiting the locations, you will see tourist board plaques, relating to Game of Thrones. The plaques contain information about filming, like which scenes feature this place. As well as including behind the scenes photos and screencaps from the television show.
When researching our trip to Belfast, we found several companies that ran Game of Thrones tours from both Belfast and Dublin. There also seemed to be two tour routes. One north of Belfast along the coastal route and one south of the city. We decided to hire a car and attempt to do both tour routes in a day. (Which didn’t work out, more on that later).
We started heading north along the Causeway Coastal Route to Carnlough. The harbour here serves as the Braavos canals in the programme. Notably when Arya jumped in the canal during her fight with the Waif and had to crawl up the steps.
As I mentioned in my post about the Giant’s Causeway, the bad weather meant Larrybane Quarry was closed. So we missed out on seeing that location. The next stop on our tour was Dunluce Castle. This ruined medieval castle on the cliffs depicts the Iron Island. Primarily, when Theon Greyjoy returned home to the Pyke.
One of the most dramatic locations in Northern Ireland is The Dark Hedges. The avenue of trees is a must for everyone visiting the area, but especially for Game of Thrones fans. They filmed the scene on the King’s Road here, in the opening episode of season two, when Arya is fleeing King’s Landing. Unfortunately, several of the trees were destroyed in a storm last spring.
As I mentioned the Northern Ireland tourist board are encouraging Game of Thrones to visit. One of the attractions is Journey of Doors, using the wood from the fallen trees ten intricate wooden doors were carved and places in pubs in Northen Ireland, each pub is near a location used for filming Game of Thrones, so spotting the doors can become a fun game whilst visiting the locations.
On the first day exploring Game of Thrones‘ Territory, also decided to visit the Giant’s Causeway (as it was en route). We ended up spending a ridiculous amount of time there, as it was truly breathtaking. So we postponed visiting Castle Ward until the second day.
In the first few seasons of Game of Thrones, they filmed a large number of scenes at Castle Ward. Although the property isn’t used for filming anymore, it has become a must-see attraction for fans of the show. Winterfell Tours, operate cycle or boat tours around the grounds, as well as offering archery demonstrations. Once again, we opted to adventure on our own and spend the morning wandering around the beautiful area.
Castle Ward is a National Trust property with a Gothic house and beautiful grounds. The old demise includes a Tower, courtyard and stables. These buildings create the backdrop for Winterfell in the first season. Memorable when Tyrion slapped Joffery during their visit up north.
They also filmed a lot of additional scenes on the grounds of Castle Ward. The ‘Battle of Whispering Woods’ in season one and Robb and Talisa’s wedding were all filmed here. We walked along the towpath on the bay, which served as a film location for the Riverlands, it was easy to see why they used this beautiful location for the Trident.
Of course one of the most famous locations on the Trident is The Twins, home to Walder Frey. And sure enough on the banks of the bay is the old castle that they used for filming scenes outside The Twins in season one. As with a lot of the locations, they footage is heavily CGI’ed in post-production. But it was still nice to get a sense of the place.
A short drive from Castle Ward is Inch Abbey. The ruin of a medieval monastery is a historic location in Ireland. However, it was also used as the location of Robb’s camp in the finale of the first season.
I loved seeing all the locations and adore the fact Northern Ireland is embracing the fact it is Game of Thrones Territory! It has given me the taste for exploring more locations. I would love to go to Croatia or maybe our next visit to Ireland would include a trip to Skellig Michael where they filmed Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
For our wedding anniversary, Jason and I wanted to have a mini break somewhere different in the U.K. Whilst tossing around ideas of the obvious places to visit, Oxford, Brighton, or Bath, Jason suggested Belfast. I immediately loved the idea because of the Game of Thrones connection and so our research began. Every guide about Belfast you read will include a trip to the Giant’s Causeway.
After the snow storms in London last week, we were fearful we would have to postpone our trip, or that if we did travel we might have to cancel some of our plans. However, luckily the snow didn’t seem to hit Belfast, yes it was cold, but we managed to achieve most things on our list. Including a few Game of Thrones-themed adventures (which I will post about later).
Saturday our first full day in Northern Ireland, we drove along the Causeway Coastal Route heading north. Driving along the landscaped varied from pretty fishing villages to rock headlands, making it easy to see why this is such popular scenic drive. We had planned on visiting the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge but, the wet weather caused the area to be closed off. So we were unhappy to miss out seeing it. As the site is also used as a filming location for Game of Thrones.
The Giant’s Causeway
The highlight of the Causeway Coastal Route is, of course, The Giant’s Causeway itself. The result of volcanic activity millions of years ago, the Giant’s Causeway is thousands of interlocking basalt columns. From above the columns look like hexagon paving, but actually the pillars run deep into the ground. (You can read more about it here)
Included with the cost of entry into the Causeway Experience, was an audio guide. The onsite staff recommended we took headphones with our interactive guides, to be handsfree and kee our hands warm. As we walked along the trail the audio guide explained the legend of the stones and the giants. Each part of the stones is built into the legends from the rock format that looks like the giant’s gate, camel or boot.
Star Wars Identities at The O2 London is more than just a show of props from the movies. Instead, it is an interactive experience exploring what elements make an identity, against the back drop of the Star Wars universe. Saying that if you are looking for an exhibition showcasing props, costumes and artwork from the movies, there are over 200 on display.
Star Wars Identities Experience
The Star Wars Identities Experience has toured around the world for the last few years. It started in Canada in 2012 before heading to Europe, first in Paris and now London. Because the experience is over five years ago, there is no mention of the newer movies. In fact, the only reference to The Force Awakens is a model of BB-8. Instead, the focus is more on the original trilogy and prequels. There is even a large section devoted to Jar Jar Binks!
Upon entering the experience we received an interactive wristband and audio tour headset. We watched a brief video, in which they quickly outlined how a personality is formed. Giving the examples of how both Luke and Anakin are from the same planet. Yet ended up having very different identities.
There are ten stations in the exhibit. Each one designed to shape your character in the Star Wars universe. Some stations are as simple as picking which species you will be, or which planet you will live on. Others related more to your personality, for example, do you have an altruistic or egoistic drive. Each station features scenes from the movies. Or has artwork or props from the Star Wars mythology to accompany it.
At the final station just like Luke and Anakin, you are asked by the Emperor, if you wish to join the dark side. Then you can meet your character. One final tap of your wrist band reveals your Star Wars Identity on a giant screen. It would have been nice if you could have an actual print-out copy of your Star Wars Identity, photo and personality breakdown, however, that was not the case.
As a Star Wars fan, I loved the experience! I had been to Star Wars exhibitions, so I had seen a lot of the props and costumes before. This was an interesting twist on a traditional exhibition. I also loved thinking about what my role would be in the Star Wars Universe! I opted to be an X-Wing pilot and member of the Rebellion.
I love reading travel blogs, dreaming about all the places I would love to visit. What I love even more is reading tips from locals about their area. My favourites are tips for Disneyworld by Floridians (one day I will go back). I am a Londoner, I was born here and still stay in the same area. For all the wrong reasons London has been in the news a lot lately. I want to start writing about all the great things in this city.
Geek Girl Guide
London is an amazing place to be a geek girl! I thought I would put together some tips and tricks from a local for other geek girls visiting the city. Everyone knows about the historic buildings, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and more modern attractions like the London Eye or Shard. I love to explore the geekier attractions!
Dozens of television shows and movies are filmed in London, from Jason Bourne to James Bond, even the recent Wonder Woman film featured a few scenes in the city. It is easy to find these locations on your own. However, you can take an organised tour (both bus and walking) around some of these locations. A quick search online can show you all the options from specialist tours for fans of Harry Potter to places include in British Rom Coms.
London isn’t just about film locations, the city has many museums and exhibits with a geeky twist. Currently, there are also several temporary exhibitions perfect for a fangirl. The Star Wars Identitiesat the O2, a journey into Sci-Fi at the Barbican. and at the end of the summer, the British Library will showcase their Harry Potter collection of manuscripts and props.
London also hosts several conventions. In May over the same weekend, two of the convention centres in London held cons. MCM London in the east and Heroes and Villains in the west of the city. Last summer, Star Wars Celebration was held in the city. Still, to come this year are London Film Convention and the Vampire Ball.
Escape Games (or Escape the Room scenarios) are all the rage at the moment, with locations popping up all over the world. Whilst these, in general, are fun for a geek girl, there are several in London that have added to the geekiness by adding a pop culture theme. Including one set in a wizarding school or another based around the disappearance of Sherlock Holmes.
Even going to the cinema in London can be an adventure. Secret Cinema has taken to film going to a new level. They recreating the fantasy world from the movie, resulting in an interactive experience rather than just watching a film. Or how about a movie marathon? The Prince Charles Cinema regularly has all-nighters including Marvel Phase One and Harry Potter marathons.
What is your favourite fangirl thing to do in London? Do you have a London themed Bucket List? What would you like me to write about in the Fangirl Guide series? Let me know in the comments below.
When uploading these photos for the #100cupsofcoffee project to Instagram, I messed up the numbering. So I have added these in the order they happened, which doesn’t tally with the little number icons.
As I mentioned in my last 100 cups of coffee update, whilst in the Philippines. I use to pop to Starbucks every afternoon for 4 p.m. caffeine fix. All the travelling I did in October, gave me the ideal time to catch up with my reading. Ideal for travelling was The Good Immigrant, as the short essays where easy to dip into whilst waiting to board a plane or riding on a shuttle bus.
In Manila and Gibraltar, the cafes we used to have breakfast in served coffee in tiny cups. In London I have a large mug or “venti” cup with my breakfast. As a result I found in Manila, I needed several cups each morning to get my coffee buzz!
When I returned home in London, autumn was definitely here! My uniform for the Fall Season in 2016, became my “Her Universe” bomber jacket and a Pumpkin Spiced Latte!
At the end of October we were lucky enough to get tickets to the Doctor Strange Fan Screening in Leicester Square. Before the screening of the movie, the director and movie’s cast (including Benedict Cumberbatch.) did a short introduction.
When I discovered my local Starbucks had run out of Pumpkin Spice syrup at the before the end of October. It meant I didn’t get a P.S.L. on my birthday! So when I discovered another branch still had syrup in November. I took the opportunity to enjoy my last P.S.L. of the season.
What is #100cupsofcoffee? You can read about the project here.
You can see all the photos from the #100cupsofcoffee project on Instagram.
September means the new autumn television schedule and an important part of that use to be The Great British Bake Off. To mark the start of the seventh series, and continuing our little tradition. We popped to our favourite bakery, The Outsider Tart to buy cake for our viewing party.
For the first time this year Starbucks released Pumpkin Spiced Lattes at the beginning of September, instead of the end of the month. The release of the drink happened to coincided with one of the hottest weeks of the summer. So I took the chance to try a Pumpkin Spiced Frappacino. I was not convinced by this cold version of my favourite drink.
With the British weather being as unpredictable as it is. A few days later we had grey and rainy skies. This was the perfect weather for an autumnal walk along the river whilst drinking a Pumpkin Spiced Latte.
When I went to visit Jason in Gibraltar, we would visit a cute café around the back of his apartment for breakfast. It was on the corner of the mini square, and the ideal spot to people watch whilst eating. It also seemed right to have this photo in black and white, for that artistic European feel.
The next stop on Jason’s overseas working tour was the Philippines. Next door to his apartment here was a Starbucks. So every afternoon, just like at home I would pop downstairs for my afternoon pick me up. They didn’t serve PSL here, but did have traditional lattes and had an amazing range of teas.
What is #100cupsofcoffee? You can read about the project here.
You can see all the photos from the #100cupsofcoffee project on Instagram.
Currently Feeling… Adventurous
Over the last few weeks Jason has had to work overseas. We are not used to spending time apart, so I took the opportunity to travel a lot this month. As a result I spend the beginning of October in Gibraltar visiting him for the weekend, and a fortnight in the middle of the month in Manila.
Currently Reading… Batman: No Man’s Land
I have toyed with writing a series of blog posts about Batgirl recently so have done so research – e.g. re-reading some old comics and trade paperbacks.
Currently Watching… Luke Cage
Currently Listening to… San Junipero Playlist
If you have seen the Black Mirror episode San Junipero, you will understand why I have become obsessed with the soundtrack. For days after watching the episode I couldn’t get the song “Heaven is a place on Earth” out of my head.
Currently Eating… Birthday Cake and Halloween Candy!
It was my birthday at the end of October on Halloween, so it’s the ideal time to pig out on sweet stuff!
As several members of Jason’s extended family have moved to the Norfolk area, we have visited the area a lot. The problem is most of our visits coincide with family events (weddings or birthdays). So our time in Norfolk involves seeing family and not enjoying the countryside.
On our most recent visit to Norfolk we wanted to this visit to see more of this county. When planning our trip we set aside two days for exploring along with catching up with family. We figured one day we would visit and stately home and the other plan a visit to the beach.
I did some research into stately homes in Norfolk, the obvious house to visit would have been the Sandringham Estate, as it is the Queen’s country home. However, after our research we decided we wanted to visit Houghton Hall, because of its collection of modern art.
The inside of Houghton Hall has several state rooms for you to visit including Sir Robert Walpole’s library. The grounds contain a deer park and beautiful walled garden. Hidden among the garden where a beautiful rustic temple made of wood, beehives and a mini orchard.
Our real reason to visit the Hall was the amazing collection of Contemporary Sculptures in the gardens. The artwork includes one of James Turrell’s Skyscape pieces, Waterflame and Scolar Rock.
Norfolk has some amazing beaches, based on recommendations from our family we decided to visit Wells next to Sea. The beaches are beautiful like a picture postcard, a wide open space with miles sand, views over the bay and multicoloured beach huts.
The Wells also has a working harbour. You can talk a leisurely walk along the harbour wall or get the mini train to the town. We took a slow walk playing Pokemon Go along the way. We looked around the town, watched people crabbing and brought some sticks of rock candy. Before treating ourselves by having fish and chips for our dinner, and eating ice cream on the walk back to the car.
If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen we just had a mini vacation in Barcelona. It was our first break in over a year and after the problems with our health last year, we were looking forward to just relaxing.
We stayed at the amazing W Hotel right on the beach. It was a little out the way from the main tourist spots, but was right on the beach and had plenty of restaurants in the area.
We also had this amazing view, each morning, we would wake up use the remote to open the curtains and watch the early morning runners and surfers.
It was our first time in Barcelona, so it was just a taster trip (I’m already planning our next visit), all we really had time for was a little sightseeing, a lot of food and of course watching some football!