Friday, December 8, 2023

Stay of Thrones: Visit the Locations Behind the Season’s Most Anticipated Prequel

For fantasy fans looking for some holiday inspiration, you can visit some of the real-life natural scenery and get inspired for your own wild adventure.

Making a pilgrimage to where your fave TV show is filmed can be a joy for many of us – whether it’s Carrie’s apartment on the Upper East Side, or Platform 9 3/4 at Kings’ Cross Station. For Game of Thrones fans, trekking through the spectacular locations has long been on many a traveller’s bucket list and now fantasy fans have a whole new list of inspiration, thanks to the prequel House of the Dragon. With international travel back on the cards, has uncovered some of the dramatic destinations where the new series was filmed. From all the natural splendour the English coastline has to offer to the ancient cities and ruinous castles of Europe, travellers can witness first-hand the incredible locations that have helped bring this long-awaited prequel series to life.

Marazion, Cornwall, United Kingdom

If travellers are looking for dramatic coastal views, the ancient market town of Marazion is a haven of soft sandy beaches, Grecian blue sea and the stone walls of fishermen’s cottages. Guarding the bay lies the jewel in Cornwall’s crown; the amazing island castle of St. Michael’s Mount where extensive filming of the new series has taken place, and where travellers can discover legends, myths and over a thousand years of incredible history. Marazion is a great base to explore the rest of the Cornish coast where the prequel was filmed: a short drive away is the scenic Holywell beach, a surfing hotspot which was used for several battle scenes, while Kynance Cove features distinctive serpentine rock formations and ethereal white sand. Cornwall has an abundance of activities to offer, with opportunities to go kitesurfing, paddleboarding, dolphin spotting and swimming with seals. Visitors can learn to capture the views for themselves at the most southerly point of the UK with a Photography Skills Audio Tour at Lizard Point, shooting landscapes and seascapes along the magnificent South West Coast Path.

Where to stay: The stylish Marazion Hotel is a stone’s throw away from the beach and boasts rooms with sea views overlooking the fortress of St Michael’s Mount. Set in a former 17th century coaching inn, a full English breakfast is cooked to order every morning, while guests can eat fresh seafood straight from the sea at the hotel’s restaurant – and a Cornish tea room is moments away in town. Carved nearby into the granite cliffs, and set in sub-tropical gardens, is Porthcurno’s world-famous open-air Minack Theatre. An iconic Cornish attraction that resembles something out of ancient Greece, the venue hosts incredible live plays and performances for a very special evening out.

Hartland, North Devon, United Kingdom

Fantasy lovers across the world will love the towering cliffs of the 16th-century Hartland Quay, which can be accessed by the popular South West Coast Path. With magnificent cliff walks, extensive coastal views, a large variety of wildflowers and wildlife including peregrine falcons and wild deer, it’s the perfect place for hikers and photographers. Both cameras and crew have been spotted shooting dramatic scenes for the series amidst the rocky formations and rolling green hills. Travellers can explore these same shady lanes and ancient woodlands the actors have walked, discover beaches and waterfalls along the peninsula or even hop on a helicopter for aerial views of this unique coastline and learn about the legend of shipwrecks past.

Where to stay: The quaint and cosy Downes Cottages are inviting holiday homes located on the Hartland Peninsula. The cottages come with seven acres of glorious garden views, a communal reading room, a play area for young children, as well as complimentary access to the spa and gym. Set in rolling farmland and wild meadow that slopes gently to the coast, the cottages are only a short stroll from one of Devon’s sheltered beaches where guests can enjoy an array of watersports including snorkelling, windsurfing and paddle boarding. Even in peak season, this area feels like a deserted sanctuary and is recognised for having no light pollution – perfect for stargazing on a clear night.

Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain

Travellers will feel like they have stepped back into the Middle Ages in the mysterious city of Cáceres, located in Extremadura, in the west of Spain. Protected by defensive walls, its narrow cobbled stone streets and ancient stone walls are lined with palaces, mansions, arches and churches, while the skyline is decorated with turrets, spires and gargoyles. Considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Spain, it comes as no surprise that Cáceres was a recurring filming location in the original series and its value to the ancient world represented in the prequel. The well-preserved city has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO due to its mix of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, while the Parque Del Principe – famous for its fountains, gardens, and sculptures – offers travellers a charming old-world leafy oasis to relax in. For those who have dreamt of galloping through the picture-perfect landscapes of the Spanish countryside, enjoy an Ambroz Valley Horseback Tour and soak up the beauty of the surrounding terrain in true big-screen style.

Where to stay: The characterful Apartamentos Plaza Mayor 35, situated in the historic square, have been immaculately renovated respecting their original stately home features including the vaulted ceilings and original tiled flooring. The property has a Travel Sustainable badge for its impactful sustainability efforts including eliminating single-use plastic and using 100% renewable electricity. Steeped in history, this enviable location features San Juan Church and the Cáceres Museum on its doorstep, as well as fabulous tapas restaurants and bars where guests can while away a lazy afternoon.

Monsanto, Centro, Portugal

Engraved into the slope and spread along the hillside, gigantic granite boulders form the walls of houses in the most quintessentially Portuguese village of Monsanto. This unique mountain village and its fabulous mediaeval castle look right at home in this fantasy series. Resting atop a hill, the fortress of Monsanto Castle – now in ruins – features walled courtyards and intricate arched gates. Visitors can clamber up the hillside to enter its doors where filming has taken place for the prequel, and admire the wonderful surrounding scenery from up high. Monsanto also houses various 18th-century manor houses and Romanesque chapels in its rocky landscape: close to the Chapel of the Holy Spirit is the house of Fernando Namora, an acclaimed Portuguese doctor and writer – both well worth a visit. Nearby, Castelo Branco is known for its quaint old town and beautiful baroque garden with elegant fountains and tilework.

Where to stay: At the Old Hotel situated in the west of Monsanto, guests can delight in the breath-taking lake and mountainous views from their balconies, which can also be explored along the popular hiking routes nearby. This ancient granite 15th-century guest house is charming, historic and homey and offers double as well as family rooms, a continental breakfast and a warm welcome from the owners. Ideally located just a short walk from Monsanto Castle, its views of the orange sunsets that span the valley are outstanding.

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