Find out which attractions and destinations linked to TV and movies made the top ten most popular places for visitors. 

The research, by City Tours Belfast, found that The Giant’s Causeway topped the table as the region’s most popular destination, closely followed by Mourne Mountains and The Dark Hedges. Read on to discover where each location was used on screen:

1. The Giant’s Causeway 

Flanked by the wild Atlantic Ocean and a landscape of dramatic cliffs, for centuries the Giant’s Causeway (pictured above) has inspired artists, stirred scientific debate and captured the imagination of all who see it. Known for its iconic hexagonal basalt stones and the legend of Finn McCool, avid film fans will also recognise its vista from Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Dracula Untold. Hourly guided tours are available for groups to explore its interesting history.

2. Mourne Mountains

With Slieve Donard as its peak, the County Down mountain range has proven popular in TV and film productions worldwide. Robert Eggers’ Nordic epic The Northman used many locations across Northern Ireland, including the Mourne Mountains, where the sweeping backdrop sets the scene for a Viking ball game. Other productions that used the Mournes include Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves and Game of Thrones.   

Mourne Mountains, County Down, Northern Ireland

Source: Chris Hill Photographic / Tourism Ireland

The Mourne Mountains can be found in County Down, Northern Ireland.

3. The Dark Hedges 

The famous route of intertwining beech trees is synonymous with Game of Thrones as the King’s Road, featuring as one of the prime destinations on Northern Ireland’s Game of Thrones tours. While the 18th-century trees shot to worldwide fame via the HBO show, they also served as a filming location for the 2017 American blockbuster Transformers: The Last Knight.

4. Titanic Belfast

The world-famous museum, which details the story of the famous ship from its development in the early 1900s to its tragic end in 1912 ranked fourth in the study. Despite its status as a museum and visitor centre in Belfast, its halls can also be seen in the 2014 TV mini-series Halo Nightfall, produced by legendary film director Ridley Scott. More recently, the museum served as a secret rendezvous in series 2 of the hit BBC series Blue Lights, set in Belfast.

The Dark Hedges

The Dark Hedges were known as The King’s Road in Game of Thrones.

5. Strangford Lough

Visitors to the UK’s largest sea lough can discover an abundance of wildlife, which is why it is widely recognised as one of Europe’s key wildlife habitats. Local BBC crime drama Bloodlands featured Strangford Lough prominently. The plot revolves around a car with a suicide note being recovered from the lough, with groups able to admire the scenic views on a visit.

6. Dunluce Castle

The North Coast medieval structure is one of Northern Ireland’s many Game of Thrones filming locations, where it spotlights as the House of Greyjoy in the Iron Islands. It is the region’s most popular Game of Thrones castle filming location, ranking above Castle Ward, aka Winterfell. Group rates are available for 15 or more people and there are guided tour options.

Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland

Dunluce Castle posed as the House of Greyjoy in Game of Thrones.

7. Tollymore Forest

Tollymore Forest is the only forest park in Northern Ireland to be named among its most famous filming locations. The County Down site has proven immensely popular with large film and TV productions, featuring in Game of Thrones, Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves, Dublin Murders, Philomena, and many more.   

8. Mussenden Temple

Yet another Game of Thrones location to feature in the ranking, the historic building claimed eighth place in the study. The cliff-top structure served as Dragonstone in season 2 of Game of Thrones, pictured in the backdrop as Stannis Baratheon drew his flaming sword ‘Lightbringer’ on Downhill Beach. Groups can not only explore the ruined 18th century mansion, but also see its arboretum, gardens, mausoleum and Gothic lodge. 

Belfast City Hall, Northern Ireland

Belfast City Hall is worth taking a quick snap with the group in front of.

9. Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Hall’s interior was used in The Lost City of Z, starring Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson. Guided tours of the historic venue can be organised on certain days so it’s worth checking in advance. The building itself its spectacular too, so make sure you stop with the whole group for a quick picture.

10. Mount Stewart

Mount Stewart was used in several productions, including Your Highness, Philomena, and Dracula Untold. Its gardens are made up of smaller individual spaces to explore, while groups can also view red squirrels, pine martens, badgers and a variety of birds feeding and playing at the Squirrel Hide.

City Tours Belfast analysed the top 50 films and shows with filming locations in Northern Ireland, according to IMDB. Each location was then ranked on the total volume of Instagram posts and Google rating to reveal the final list.