Last month #ThroneWatch hit the road once again, this time stopping at the Londonderry Arms in the quaint coastal village of Carnlough for a day of Game of Thrones-inspired craic!
Situated right along the stunning Causeway Coastal Route, this AA 3 Star Hotel is a beautiful base from which to view several iconic Game of Thrones filming locations.
Traditional, enveloping and imbued with just the right amount of classic luxury, the Londonderry Arms is one of Northern Ireland’s most historic hotels. Originally built by Frances Anne Vane Tempest, Marchioness of Londonderry in 1848, the hotel was inherited by none other than Winston Churchill in 1921.
Now owned by Denise Hunt O’Neill, the hotel is also run by manager Carol Glanville with the help of Denise’s father. The friendly, attentive staff could certainly rival the cup bearers of King’s Landing and management clearly place great importance on warm, traditional customer service. Perfect if you want to drink wine at the rate of Tyrion Lannister.
After being greeted by Carol and Denise, Niall Delargy popped in from Glenballyeamon Eggs to speak about the hen-friendly company and even treated us samples of their locally-produced free-range eggs.
The hotel is fortunate to be able to source plenty of local produce from the surrounding areas, with various fresh fish plates on the menu as well as delicious home-cooked baking.
Exploring the area, the first recognizable spot is literally seconds from the front doors of the Londonderry Arms. The Carnlough steps (pictured) are easily spotted as the shooting location for Arya Stark’s stabbing scene in season 7, and the hotel even got in on the action by lending the crew one of their chairs during the filming of this exact scene.
Next up we hopped on board a coach with Damien and Ann of Ardclinis Outdoor Adventure Centre for a walking tour. Damien and Ann offer a range of exciting outdoor excursions on both land and water including archery, rock climbing, coasteering and kayaking (check out www.ardclinis.com for further information).
The walk took us to O’Kane’s Layby which was used to film the Runestone at the Vail of Arryn where Little Finger takes Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones season 5. A short drive away are the Cushenden Caves where The Red Woman gave birth to the Shadow Assassin, and beyond that are the iconic Dark Hedges (“King’s Road”) and Ballintoy Harbour (“Pyke Harbour”) as well as several other GoT filming locations.
The Glens of Antrim which line the coastal route are a sight to behold in themselves, whether you are a Game of Thrones fan or not. The views of the sea are simply breathtaking and other nearby attractions include Dunluce Castle, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Bushmills Distillery.
Carnlough Bay Boat Tours offer regular half-hour boat trips that give you a spectacular view of the Northern Irish coast from out at sea. It may not be a boat as big as Daenerys Targaryen’s, but you can check out the scenery from your very own Narrow Sea and plot conquering the Seven Kingdoms all the same.
Back at the Londonderry Arms it was time for craft beer tasting with Glens of Antrim Craft Ale & Beers, including their Rathlin Red, Fairhead Gold and my personal favourite; Lizzie Ale.
Dinner in The Churchill Suite or the Hunting Room is an experience not to be missed when visiting the Londonderry Arms. High ceilings, open fires and natural lighting provide a sense of luxurious indulgence that is only enhanced by the mouth-watering choices on the menu.
Over tasty salmon fillet, fresh greens and a decadent chocolate dessert cooked by chef Manus Jamison, we listened to artist and historian Hector McDonnell give a talk on the rich history of the hotel.
Lively local entertainment was later provided in the Arkle Bar, a place where visitors can relax with a drink after a long day and enjoy a cosy, laid back atmosphere by an open fire.
The day’s excursions had taken their toll by 11pm, but it was worth every minute. Reclining on a classic four-poster bed in a spacious room with dark oak furnishings, Game of Thrones fans could easily believe they were in the royal chambers of the Red Keep. Without the risk of beheading, of course.
The Londonderry Arms are offering some fantastic packages over the next few months, including:
Ben Glover Concert, 21st October 2016 B&B: £60.00 Double/Twin Room and £40.00 Single Room
American Legends Tribute Night, 3rd December 2016: One Night Bed & Full Irish Breakfast with Ticket to Tribute Night – £45.00 per person sharing
Causeway Coast One Night Escape: One Night Dinner B&B with Tea/Coffee Scones on Arrival – £55.00 per person sharing
Causeway Coast Two Night Escape: Two Nights B&B & 1 Evening Meal with Tea/Coffee Scones on Arrival – £85.00 per person sharing
Paul Holmes Watercolour Painting Workshop – 18th-20th October: From 160.00 per person
Christmas & New Year Celebrations 2016: From £35.00 per person sharing.
For more information contact the hotel on 02828 885255 or visit www.glensofantrim.com