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Coach Tour ~ Sunday 14 September 2014

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When TitanCon first started in 2011 the Game of Thrones tourist industry in Belfast was nonexistent and we were the first to offer a coach tour visiting Game of Thrones filming locations around Northern Ireland. It's a different story four years on and there are several businesses offering daily coach tours. We love the fact that fans have so much choice now and for anyone staying in Belfast on Monday or Tuesday we hope you'll take a tour and see more of this beautiful country.

The TitanCon Coach Tour is different to the others - firstly we are a not-for-profit organisation and therefore our ticket prices are at cost price. Secondly our tour is a one off experience, we only do one coach tour a year and each year is a different route visiting different locations. Lastly it's a really big fun group of people that attend making the event truly special with full drunken singalongs on the way home. You'll have a great time!

This year's Coach Tour visits an old favourite at Castle Ward with the chance to visit Winterfell Courtyard and several locations that we did not get to back in 2011. We'll be making a return visit to the windmill for a group Hodoring session and then our final stop is very special because no other coach tour has visited this location before! A small wood on the grounds of Clandeboye Estate that has several filming locations within a stone's throw of each other including Craster's Keep and the tree stump where Jaime's hand was cut off. Of course we end the day with a traditional Hog Roast Feast in Clandeboye's beautiful Banqueting Hall.

Coach tour itinerary

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Screenshots from Game of Thrones © HBO 2011-2014

10:00 am Depart Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast
11:00 am Arrive Castle Ward
Winterfell Courtyard
Ned and Robert's Picnic
Brienne cuts down hanging Lannisters
Winterfell Archery
Meet the Direwolf pups
2:30 pm Depart Castle Ward
3:15 pm Arrive Whitespots Country Park
3.45 pm Depart Whitespots Country Park
4:00 pm Arrive Clandeboye Estate Woods
Craster's Keep and Jaime's Stump
4:45 pm Depart Clandeboye Estate Woods
5:00 pm Arrive Clandeboye Estate Courtyard
Medieval feast
7:30 pm Depart Clandeboye Estate Courtyard
7:45 pm Drop off at Belfast City Airport
7:55 pm Drop off at Europa Bus Station
8:00 pm Drop off at Wellington Park Hotel

Please note that the itinerary times are rough estimates and are subject to alteration.

In previous years we returned to Belfast for 9.00 pm but this time we have decided to finish an hour earlier to help people get home afterwards. This should make it easier for anyone that needs to catch a flight or a train home. For those that are staying the night we figure you'll join us in the Hotel Bar anyway so the change won't make much difference to you guys anyway.

Please make sure you bring appropriate clothing and footwear for the weather conditions. We strongly recommend bringing a bottle of water with you.

Lunch

Lunch is not included in this tour (your evening meal is included in the ticket price) but there is a cafe at Castle Ward selling sandwiches, snacks, tea and coffee. Castle Ward also have Ned's Picnic sacks for sale which include wild boar rolls and Sansa Lemon Cakes in a Stark sigil sack. The picnic sacks will be in the Winterfell Courtyard conveniently ready for pick up while the cafe is around 10-15 minutes walk away. Ned's Picnic Sacks are only available via pre-order and cost £6.75 each. Please order your picnic sack when you purchase your Coach Tour ticket.

Alternatively you may bring your own packed lunch with you. There is a newsagents just opposite the Wellington Park Hotel where you can buy supplies in the morning. Eating on the bus is allowed but please make sure you take all rubbish [US translation: trash] with you afterwards.

Coach Tour Quiz

We ran a Game of Thrones Quiz during last year's Coach Tour which was very popular and competitive. The winner took the prize by a single point in the end. We'll be running another quiz this year with tricky questions to test your Game of Thrones knowledge between stops on the tour. We have fantastic prizes for the winners and it should be a lot of fun for everyone!

Castle Ward

Castle Ward

Our main stop of the day is Castle Ward. We'll be here for three and a half hours with plenty to see and do on site.

We start out in the courtyard area where the Winterfell courtyard scenes were shot in season one. Clearsky Adventure will be running archery sessions in the courtyard on the exact spot where Bran Stark learnt to shoot a bow in the very first episode of Game of Thrones. They will also be bringing in some old friends - two of the Direwolf pups that were adopted by one of the Extras who worked on the show. I'm sure they'll be just as cute four years on but here's hoping they have learnt to sit still for photographs a bit better now!

There are several other locations closeby and you may choose to walk out from the courtyard area to find them yourself using the maps provided or there will be a minibus service to shuttle small groups of people out to each location.

Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon have a picnic beside the King's Road. ©HBO 2011

Ned and Robert's Picnic

The spot where Ned and Robert sat down for a simple picnic beside the King's Road with table and chairs, enough meat and fruit to feed a small army and talk about Daenerys Targaryen's marriage to Khal Drogo. Yes season one feels like a really long time ago now.

The field right beside this spot was also used as the Lannister Camp in season one and was where the Battle of the Green Fork was filmed. That's the battle in episode nine of season one where Tyrion gets knocked out before it begins.

If we are lucky with the weather this may be a nice spot to sit and eat your lunch.

Brienne cuts down hanging Lannisters

Brienne and Jaime find Lannisters hanging in a tree and are confronted by Stark soldiers. ©HBO 2012

This scene was in episode ten of season two and featured Brienne with her captive Jaime finding some Lannisters hanging in a tree before confronting the Stark men that killed them. Brienne cuts the bodies down after dealing with the Stark soldiers. This location is very close to Audley's Tower where Robb's Camp was set in season one and was also used as the exterior location of The Twins so you can visit these locations too at the same time.

Anyone that was on the TitanCon 2013 Coach Tour will never forget visiting Audley's Tower and the infamous "Ten Minute Walk" (OK, it was more like 45 minutes) it took to get there. Would anyone believe me if I said it was a ten minute walk from Winterfell Courtyard to Audley's Tower?

See the video below for a closer look at the locations on site at Castle Ward.

Archery from Clearsky Adventure

Archery at Winterfell Courtyard by Clearsky Adventure.

Clearsky Adventure operate the archery range at Winterfell Courtyard allowing you to learn how to use bow and arrow on the exact spot Bran Stark learned from his elder brothers Robb and Jon in the first episode of Game of Thrones.

Please note that there is an additional charge of £7.00 per person for archery and this is only available by pre-order. This is a considerably discounted price compared to their standard charge of £25 each. Please add archery tickets to your order when you purchase your Coach Tour ticket.

In addition Clearsky Adventure offer costume and LARP (rubber) sword hire. These are official HBO replicas of the weapons and costumes used in Game of Thrones. Perfect for capturing awesome photographs of you and your friends in Winterfell Courtyard. These will be extra special with the Direwolf pups in shot too! There is no extra charge for the photographs by the way, you can take as many as you want.

Bran learning to shoot. ©HBO 2011

Costume and weapon hire charges are as follows. Money to be paid on the day when you pick them up from Clearsky Adventure.


Whitespots Country Park ~ Windmill

Windmill

The windmill where Jon Snow and Bran & company nearly meet up. © HBO 2014 Game of Thrones season 3

We visited the windmill on last year's tour but since we are practically driving straight past we decided to come back again. Last year a large group of people stood inside the windmill and shouted 'Hodor!' as loudly as they could. I think we'll try to cram as many people in as possible this year for a big group Hodoring.

One of the most recognisable locations from season three is the windmill that Ygritte was so impressed with and where Bran and company were taking shelter and came close to meeting up with Jon Snow (I know it was so frustrating that they didn't get to say hello) as he fought the wildlings outside.

The windmill was part of the Conlig Lead Mines, though the broken windmill sail is of course not the original. It was added as set dressing for the show.

Please note that there is a steep climb up from the car park to the windmill. The path itself is gravel and small stones with easy footing. The walk will take about ten minutes (no really I mean it this time, ten minutes). The good news is it's downhill all the way back to the car park.

Clandeboye Estate ~ Craster's Keep and Jaime's Stump

Craster's Keep. ©HBO 2012

From the windmill it is a short drive to the southern edge of Clandeboye Estate and a very special stop on our tour. This will be fans first opportunity to visit the woods where several major scenes were shot within a stone's throw of each other including Craster's Keep and the tree stump where Jaime had his hand cut off.

Craster's Keep appeared in seasons two, three and four of the show. In fact the climactic battle scenes in season four were being filmed around the time we visited Clandeboye Estate on last year's Coach Tour. Visiting these locations was our primary reason for coming here in the first place but because the location was dressed for filming we unfortunately could not visit then. With Craster's Keep burned to the ground the location is now available to us and while the building itself is of course no longer there we'll be able to see where it was and we can figure out where all those exterior scenes were shot.

The woods here have also been used in several other scenes, mostly woodland camp scenes such as the one in season three where Jaime and Brienne find themselves captives of Locke and he takes matters into his own hands chopping off Jaime's most valuable possession - his sword hand. I'm expecting a long line of people for posed photographs at Jaime's Stump!

Clandeboye Banqueting Hall

Clandeboye Banqueting Hall

Medieval Feast

The beautiful banquet hall at Clandeboye Estate will create a very special atmosphere for this year's feast. The hall has seating for 150 people with additional space available in the adjacent bar area. Our caterer, Andy Mulholland of The Plough, Hilsborough, will be cooking up another delicious Hog Roast with all the trimmings for us to enjoy. Drinks are available for purchase from the bar.

Kristian Nairn and Miltos Yerolemou at the feast 2011

Kristian Nairn and Miltos Yerolemou enjoying the feast from our 2011 Coach Tour


Drop off at Belfast City Airport

We will be passing right past Belfast City Airport on the way back from Clandeboye Estate so we can offer the option of a drop off at around 7.45 pm for anyone that has a late evening flight to catch. There will be an option on the Coach Tour booking form for drop off at the airport. Please remember to bring all your luggage with you in the morning for storage on the bus.

Drop off at Europa Bus Station

For those that need to take a train or bus home after the Coach Tour we can offer drop off outside the Europa Bus Station and Great Victoria Street Railway Station. Please select this option on the Coach Tour booking form if you want to be dropped off at the Europa.

After party and Dead Dog Party

Once we're back at the Wellington Park Hotel the party doesn't have to end there, we'll be in the Hotel Bar for the remainder of the evening. Also we have a Dead Dog Party (because that's what you feel like after a convention) in the Wellington Park Hotel bar on Monday 15 September from about 12.00 midday right through till the evening. So if you're in Belfast on Monday feel free to drop by and join us.


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