Winter is coming but we won’t be giving it a frosty reception as we have the hottest new TV drama House of the Dragon to keep us entertained as the chilly, dark nights of autumn close in.
Set 200 years before the battle for the seven kingdoms depicted in the Game of Thrones, this series, created by GoT author George R.R. Martin, is based on his 2018 book Fire & Blood.
It documents the history of the House Targaryen – Daenerys’ distant relatives – leading up to the War of Succession, a new battle for the throne known as the Dance of the Dragons, and stars Matt Smith as Prince Daemon, the King’s disinherited younger brother, newcomer Milly Alcock as well as Emma D’Arcy, who both play the rightful heir Princess Rhaenyra, and Rhys Ifans who portrays Ser Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King.
And while some of House of the Dragon was filmed in the UK – in Hampshire, Surrey, the Peak District and St Michael’s Mount – you can tour to Cornwall, where pivotal scenes were filmed, and abroad to see where the original Game of Thrones, one of the biggest shows in TV history, was made.
Home to Arthurian legends and pirates throughout the centuries, one of the UK’s most beautiful coastlines is also the setting for the House of Velaryon in House of the Dragon.
From St Michael’s Mount, which stands in for Driftmark, the House’s ancestral seat, with a magical castle in the sea, through to Holywell Bay, a National Trust site with golden sands, grassy dunes and views out to Gull Rocks, where Matt Smith as Prince Daeman and Emmy D’Arcy as the older Princess Rhaenyra, were spotted filming, Cornwall is the perfect mystical setting.
Kynance Cove, almost at the Southern-most tip of England, and which rises from the sea in majestic rock formations, depicts a Velaryon army camp located in The Stepstones, the show’s lawless borderland.
Kynance Cove in Cornwall stars in House of the Dragon
Hurtigruten sails to Cornish harbours on its British Isles: Picturesque Ports, Isolated Islands and Wondeful Wildlife cruise. After taking in the rugged beauty of the Hebrides and Scottish Highlands, visit Devon and then Cornwall on this five-country voyage.
Docking at the historic harbour town of Fowey – pronounced Foy – explore the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, hike over Gribbin Head, or Pont Pill Creek, try a traditional Cornish pasty or a clotted cream ice. But you’ll have to join a waitlist for the next 15-day Hurtigruten British Isles: Picturesque Ports, Isolated Islands and Wonderful Wildlife cruise as it’s so popular.
Instead make like you’re in House of the Dragon and visit Cornish shores via an overnight stop at Falmouth, where you can explore this charming town or venture further afield to the famous Eden Project, Lizard Peninsula and Lost Gardens of Heligan.
A 5-night Bank Holiday Escape to Cornwall and Scilly Isles cruise departing Southampton on Balmoral on 26 May, 2023, calling at St Mary’s and Falmouth, starts from £899 per person for an oceanview cabin based on two sharing. fredolsencruises.com
Celebrity Cruises take Game of Thrones fans ‘Beyond the Wall’ to some of Iceland’s most dramatic locations used in the hit show. Take a glacier safari from Akureyi to visit the vast landscapes of the home of the Free Folk, or explore the capital of the land of Fire and Ice, Reykjavik which means Smokey Bay and was named that in the first century AD after Viking Ingolfur Arnarson spotted what he thought was smoke coming from the geysers and springs there.
The northernmost capital city in the world is home to a 10th century longhouse, and the famous Blue Lagoon. As you’re overnighting, no visit to Iceland would be complete for the TV show’s die-hard fans without a Game of Thrones tour. You can explore the Grjotagja cave where Jon Snow got up close to Ygritte along with the Thingvellir National Park where scenes at The Bloody Gate were filmed.
Back on board, guests can relax until they arrive in Belfast where the ‘Trip To Winterfell’ shore excursion will take them on a scenic coach ride to the historic Castle Ward Estate, the home of the Stark family on the show, where they can try their hand at medieval archery in Game of Thrones dress.
An 11-night Celebrity Cruises Iceland and Ireland cruise on Celebrity Silhouette on 29 August 2023, departing Southampton and sailing to Seydisfjordur, Akuyeri, Reykjavik, Belfast and St. Peter Port starts from £1,426 per person for an ocean view cabin. Guests can upgrade to ‘All Included’, for unlimited drinks, unlimited Wi-Fi, and gratuities for just £35 per person per day.www.celebritycruises.com
Crown of Croatia
From its cantaloupe-roofed ramparts, and thick 16th century stone walls, which encase the entire Old Town, Dubrovnik is a cinematographer – and traveller’s – dream destination, which is why it’s one of the most prominent filming locations for Game of Thrones.
Most of the action for the Iron Throne took place here, at the fictionalised King’s Landing, where you can get immersed in the Croatian city’s rich history with the perfectly preserved Rector’s Place, baroque St Blaise’s Church, and ornate Onofrio’s Fountain.
Everywhere you look there’s a familiar scene – the Plaza de Toros de Osuma was used for filming the main fighting pit of Meereen in the largest Slaver Cities of Slaver’s Bay conquered by Daenerys Targaryen, while the amphiteatre was in Season 7 of the hit TV show
After browsing Croatian artwork, museums and monuments, catch the ferry for a 15-minute ride to the Island of Lokrum, where the Iron Throne itself sits.
A seven-night Royal Caribbean Greece and Croatia cruise on Explorer of the Seas departing Venice on 4 June, 2023, and calling at Split, Mykonos,Santorini and Dubrovnik before returning to Venice, starts from £787 for an ocean view cabin. www.royalcaribbean.com
Dubrovnik with his rust-coloured roofs and ancient wall
The Pearl of Andalucia
The Real Alcazar of Seville depicted the seat of the House Martell in Game of Thrones
Seville featured heavily in the Game of Thrones with the Real Alcazar de Sevilla depicted as The Water Gardens and Sunspear, seat of the House Martell in Dorne, the large peninsula in the sourthernmost part of Westeros.
Meander along the cobbled streets of the city, towards the palace through a vibrant neighbourhood bursting with cafes, shops and historic gardens.
Everywhere you look there’s a familiar scene – the Plaza de Toros de Osuma was used for the filming the main fighting pit of Meereen, the largest Slaver Cities of Slaver’s Bay conquered by Daenerys Targaryen, while the amphiteatre, just outside Seville, along with the Royal Dockyards, were locations for Season 7 of the hit show.
Make time to experience the thrill of a live flamenco show complete with the cacophony of castanets at a local tablao. Then visit the Museo del Baile Flamenco to see dresses, shawls and photos celebrating this captivating dance.
A 14-day Princess Cruises’ Spain, France and Portgual cruise onboard Sky Princess, departing Southampton on 1 April, 2023, and calling at Vigo, Lisbon, Seville, Malaga,Cartegena, Gibraltar, Bilbao, La Rochelle, before returning to Southampton, starts from £2109 per person for a balcony cabin. www.princess.com