A BRAND new Game of Thrones Studio Tour opens near Belfast today.

Tucked away in the countryside town of Banbridge, one of the show’s filming locations, the £24million attraction hopes to become Game of Thrones’ answer to the Harry Potter Studio Tour near London. Here's what fans can expect…

Drawing my giant bow, I take aim at the zombie-like creature scrambling across the screen in front of me. 

I release my string, sending a flaming arrow straight into its body and striking it to the floor.

The screen flashes: “1 Wights”

I’m in the fictional kingdom of Winterfell and it’s my job to defend the mighty fortress from the undead as I play my part in a fierce battle scene from the final series of Game of Thrones.

I only manage to knock down three wights in total.

The guy next to me has killed 30.

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This game is just one of the many interactive activities at theGame of Thrones Studio Tour.

Throughout the tour, I’ve been transformed into famous characters like the villainous Night King himself, and even had my grinning face placed among the gormless ones in the Hall of Faces, where Arya Stark learns to become an assassin.

Any fans of the Harry Potter will certainly recognise similarities between this tour and the Warner Brothers wizarding one, near London.

Standing in a blue-lit room the wall comes to life in front of me and the exhibition kicks into action with videos of soaring dragons and eerie White Walkers.

The theme tune thunders throughout the room and suddenly the wall opens to reveal a huge iron door concealing a snowy tunnel and the tour entrance.

It takes between one and three hours on average, although fans can spend as long as they like getting stuck into scene sketches, real-life costumes and prosthetics or weapons.

But it’s the interactive tools and lifelike sets that really bring the story to life.

“The brilliant thing about [the tour] is, you’ve seen it on the screen, but now you’re actually in it,” says actor Ian McElhinney, who plays Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.

And he’s right. 

It feels as if I’ve walked not just onto the set but straight into the fictional world, as I meander through mighty stone archways and ivy-wrapped pillars into the map courtyard, where Cersei Lanister plotted her conquest of Westeros.

Then, I end my visit in heroic victory, with a seat on the Iron Throne and taking with me a souvenir snap in front of a green screen that places me in the very same throne room that I’ve seen on my TV.

The Studio Tour is just the start for Game of Thrones fans visiting this part of Ireland.

“What Harry Potter has done for the UK and what Lord of the Rings has done for New Zealand, Game or Thrones has done for Belfast,” says tour guide Máire, who runs themed tours in Belfast.

Fans can walk the 3km Glass of Thrones trail around the Maritime Mile, which features six ornate stained glass windows inspired by the TV show.

The windows were unveiled one-by-one in 2019 to coincide with the release of each new episode of the final series and the artwork is not to be missed.

Of course, a trip to Belfast isn’t complete without a pint of Guinness or two and visitors can knock them back on a Game of Thrones themed pub crawl.

Dotted around the city, hidden in various pubs, are 10 wooden doors with carvings of dragons and house crests.

Tickets for the Game of Thrones Studio Tour are on sale now and cost from £39.50 per adult, £27.50 per child and £115 for a family of four.

Those staying in Belfast can buy a return coach package and Studio Tour ticket from £59 per adult and £39 per child.

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