Published On: Thu, Feb 3rd, 2022

Game Of Thrones ‘the gift that keeps on giving’ as £40m studio tour opens in Northern Ireland | Ents & Arts News


The world’s first Game Of Thrones studio tour could help tourism in Northern Ireland win the battle with COVID.

Based in Banbridge, County Down – between Belfast and Dublin – the £40m visitor attraction opens to the public this week.

The fantasy drama became a global phenomenon and put Northern Ireland on the map as a film and screen location.

A sign at the Game of Thrones Studio Tour at the Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, which opens to the public on February, 4th. Picture date: Wednesday February 2, 2022.
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The Game Of Thrones Studio Tour is at Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge

Natalia Tena, who played the wilding Osha, was among former cast members who returned to help launch the interactive experience.

She said: “When I got in last night, I kind of nearly cried.

“I felt really nostalgic landing into Belfast, coming out of the airport.

“It was just such a big part of my life coming here and working on the show.”

Costumes and props on display during a preview day of the Game of Thrones Studio Tour at the Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, which opens to the public on February, 4th. Picture date: Wednesday February 2, 2022.
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A variety of costumes and props are dotted around the tour
Costumes and props on display during a preview day of the Game of Thrones Studio Tour at the Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, which opens to the public on February, 4th. Picture date: Wednesday February 2, 2022.
Props on display during a preview day of the Game of Thrones Studio Tour at the Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, which opens to the public on February, 4th. Picture date: Wednesday February 2, 2022.

Daniel Portman, who starred as Podrick Payne, said: “It was a nice thing to be part of, to have so many people around the world fanatical about the show and supporting your every move.

“It’s a rarity, you don’t often get that in TV shows.”

A prop of Brandon Stark on display during a preview day of the Game of Thrones Studio Tour at the Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, which opens to the public on February, 4th. Picture date: Wednesday February 2, 2022.
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A prop of Brandon Stark
A woman looks at mannequins of Ser Jaime and Cersei Lannister on display during a preview day of the Game of Thrones Studio Tour at the Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, which opens to the public on February, 4th. Picture date: Wednesday February 2, 2022.
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A woman looks at mannequins of Ser Jaime and Cersei Lannister

Game Of Thrones contributed £250m to the local economy and accounted for one in six tourists before the pandemic.

Belfast’s Ian Beattie, who played Ser Meryn Trant, described the show as “the gift that keeps on giving.”

“HBO was the best thing that ever happened to this province,” he said. “When this pandemic finally ends, this is going to be such an incredible attraction for the fans.”

L-R Cast members Ian Beattie, Daniel Portman, Natalia Tena and Ian McElhinney pose for photos during a preview day of the Game of Thrones Studio Tour at the Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, which opens to the public on February, 4th. Picture date: Wednesday February 2, 2022.
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Cast members Ian Beattie, Daniel Portman, Natalia Tena and Ian McElhinney

Economy and tourism minister Gordon Lyons said: “The film and screen industry is hugely important in Northern Ireland.

“This has the potential to become the number one tourist attraction in Northern Ireland, but not only will they come here, they’ll see everything else that we have to offer in Northern Ireland as well.”

A woman takes a selfie next to dragon skulls on display during a preview day of the Game of Thrones Studio Tour at the Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, which opens to the public on February, 4th. Picture date: Wednesday February 2, 2022.
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A woman takes a selfie next to dragon skulls on display

With Boris Johnson fighting his own political battle, Ian Beattie didn’t think he would fare well in Game Of Thrones.

“I’d say the dragons would get him pretty quickly,” he joked.

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