Game of Thrones used an array of locations for filming over its eight seasons including Malta, Iceland, Croatia and Northern Ireland, where the majority of the series was shot.
For House of the Dragon, however, HBO has decamped to Warner Bros. Leavesden Studios in England for the interiors, with several exterior scenes shot in Cornwall, Devon and Surrey — alongside European destinations including Spain and Portugal.
HBO moving the production to England is considered by Visit Britain as a huge boost to the film tourism offering and visitor revenue. A British Film Institute (BFI) report claims that in 2017 inbound tourists spent an estimated £729.4 million on film-related screen tourism in the UK. This is estimated to have increased to £892.6m in 2019.
Britain’s tourism board also believes that film and TV locations shine a spotlight on destinations right across the country beyond the obvious hot spots and drive tourism throughout the shoulder seasons and across the nations and regions.
VisitBritain Deputy CEO Patricia Yates said, “VisitBritain’s research shows that films and TV are powerful motivators for travel. With almost a third of potential visitors to the UK keen to visit locations used in filming and seen-on-screen, film tourism has been an increasingly valuable part of our global tourism offer.”
Watch a trailer for House of the Dragon
Fans are clearly keen to visit Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon film locations as according to Google Trends, Game of Thrones filming locations has had a 92% rise in interest over the last month. There are plenty of destinations where you can go dragon chasing this year in the UK and beyond.
From medieval fortresses to rugged Cornish coastlines, here are some of the House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones film locations in the UK and Europe, where you can follow in the footsteps of the Targaryen dynasty.
With hidden coves, weather-beaten castles and stretches of golden sand, Cornwall was the obvious filming choice for House of the Dragon. Fans flooded social media with snaps of elaborate production setups and costumes that were spotted in several locations on the popular peninsular.
Malcolm Bell, CEO of Visit Cornwall states that previous exposure from TV shows such as Poldark and Doc Martin has been proven to influence around 12% of visitors’ choices to visit Cornwall and has been the major driver in growing overseas growth.
Read more: Everything new on Sky in August
He said, “TV and film exposure in Cornwall has been key in raising the profile and standing of our beautiful region.
“House of the Dragon will expose Cornwall to a new demographic, and we are excited to see how it will further grow tourism to Cornwall from around the world”
Cast and crew raved about the Cornish locations used in the big-budget prequel with Eve Best, who plays Princess Rhaenys Velaryon, saying: “You walk around these sets that look like ancient monuments and buildings with massive statues or you can be on these amazing locations. You cannot believe that this is on the Earth, somewhere this extraordinary.”
Jagged Kynance Cove located on the west side of the Lizard was one of the filming locations used, along with tidal island St Michael’s Mount. Photos emerged of an archway set erected on the island, showing the ‘House Velaryon’ sigil of a seahorse – could this be the location of Driftmark, the Velaryon’s stronghold?
Holywell Beach near Newquay was also used for exterior scenes and can be seen in the teaser trailers when Daemon Targaryen and adult Rhaenyra Targaryen can be seen standing on a huge expanse of golden sans.
Caceres and Trujillo, Spain
Historic Cáceres was once again transformed into Westeros, according to media reports and fan snaps shared on social.
One of Spain’s World Heritage Cities, it has extremely well-preserved squares palaces and gargoyle-topped turrets that make it an ideal location for a fantasy epic.
Scenes in the seventh season of Game of Thrones were also filmed in Cáceres as it stood in as Lannister stronghold, King’s Landing. Filming locations during this season included Plaza de las Veletas, Arco de la Estrella, Plaza de Santa María, Cuesta de la Compañía.
According to the Spanish newspaper Hoy, House of the Dragon spent several weeks shooting scenes in Cáceres and Trujillo. This medieval town is packed with Renaissance architecture and palaces and previously provided the walls of King’s Landing in Game of Thrones.
Trujillo Castle also doubled as Casterly Rock, the ancestral stronghold of House Lannister
Picturesque Monsanto in Portugal is known as ‘the city of stone’ and has all the hallmarks of a fantasy epic town. Winding streets are carved from rock and granite houses are beautifully intertwined with giant boulders. Here, it’s all romantic cobbled streets, ruins and Romanesque chapels hemmed into a unique rocky landscape.
Thanks to a Portuguese casting call, we know that scenes from House of the Dragon were filmed at the Castle of Monsanto. This mediaeval fortress could easily double as a Westeros location with its hill walled courtyards and historic arched gates.
Fans hoping to visit this charming Portuguese House of the Dragon location need to be aware that the tourism offering is limited. Monsanto is one of Portugal’s oldest cities, so steps have been taken to preserve its distinctive heritage.
There are a few small hotels and restaurants if you want to spend the night following in the footsteps of your favourite characters.
Historic Surrey is home to the world-famous Magna Carta and is packed with countryside charm and woodlands.
According to Surrey Live, HBO shot a tourney scene here at Caesar’s Camp, with reports of a large set put up at the site in Aldershot. Warner Bros trucks featuring the Targaryen sigil banner were also spotted here.
Castleton, Derbyshire, England
Some exteriors for the show were reportedly filmed in the Peak District in September, 2021. The BBC reported that Matt Smith was spotted in the picturesque and historic village which is popular with hikers, and has local caves that have previously been used in films including The Princess Bride and The Other Boleyn Girl.
Peter Morris, landlord of Castleton’s Bulls Head Hotel which played host to several cast and crew members, told the BBC that filming had taken place at Cave Dale, Mam Tor and Eldon Hill Quarry.
House of the Dragon airs on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW from 22 August. The Iron Throne is touring the UK throughout August visiting London, Cardiff and Edinburgh.