About Janet Canning

Traveler, CT/TECHED Teacher, Costumer ScotsIrishEngWelsh Punk, PostPunk, Celtic, Irish Punk

Game of Thrones Tours 2019 Northern Ireland

download.jpgOne of our most beloved television series, Game of Thrones, is concluding it’s 8 season run this coming week. To celebrate, fans from around the world are flocking to Belfast and Norther Ireland for touring. I’ve written about the joys of touring based on film and television fan travel in the past. This year even more places abound, with fans of Game of Thrones completing the journey. The current and final season now showing, with only two episodes left, were filmed in Northern Ireland, Croatia, and at the studios of Titanic Studios, located in the harbor of Belfast in the Titanic shipyards. Now that production is done, you can tour the studio area as well as take some tours to the filming locations.

Titanic studios are also hosts to two great attractions, The Titanic Belfast Museum, and the SS Nomadic. And if you travel to this wee ship, the last of the Star line, you may catch a glimpse of actor Duncan Lacroix (Outlander, GOT) shoveling coal in one of his earlier acting gigs.

Game of Thrones Touring Exhibition is now open in Belfast through September 2019. An amazing costumes and props exhibition encompassing the series 8 seasons, highly recommended. It goes on tour again in October and may hit a city near you. Some tours from Dublin are including this in their itinerary. Check if you need to purchase viewing separate from tour.

Tours

Want to dress up a bit? Visit filming locations and totally geek out? Here are a few companies just for you:

Game of Thrones Tours

Winterfell Tours

Stones and Thrones

Kings Landing is filmed in Croatia. Tours are here https://www.kingslandingdubrovnik.com/game-of-thrones-tours

Keep in mind that the tours with smaller vans will be better at getting into places and more intimate. The Dark Hedges may be blocked soon, as the beech trees are getting more damaged with tourism, and the trees themselves are coming to an end of life. Park in the actual car park and don’t ruin the view for others. Please check tour review sites for feedback. Since this is the season after the last season of GOT, many of the tours are booked through fall, and it is recommended that you book early online if possible.

Self Guided GOT Tours

There are several resources for finding locations by yourself for a much more quiet and intimate experience.

Self Guided Tours

Croatia King’s Landing Map

Game of Thrones Doors Map 

These unique doors were created as a result of a couple of the Dark Hedges trees coming down in a storm. Now you can travel N. Ireland and visit many locations where the doors, each uniquely carved, have been put to use.

Northern Ireland GOT Map

Fandom filming locations article, links to episodes information

These Fangirls are diehards. Read their locations guide here.

Article on sites

Outlander Touring Season 2019 in Full Swing

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Midhope Castle

Many of you lucky fans are hopping the Atlantic and exploring Scotland to follow in the footsteps of Jamie and Claire. There are a great many locations for seasons 1-4 and if you went solidly to just see all locations, it would take more than three weeks of travel. You may have to make some choices and come back again. That wouldn’t be so terrible.

Having gone to Scotland twice since the filming began, and relying on public transport for most of my stay, I found it very limiting in some cases when on public transit to try to get every day filled with locations. There are Outlander Tours a plenty if you have it in your budget, and knowing which ones are good can be difficult, as all of the commercial touring companies have set up tours. Not all tour companies have quality tours, for any of their tours. Check out trip reviews before you use one. Large tour buses to sites are highly annoying, difficult to get around to sites, and you will be limited to where  these monsters can go. Keep in mind that some tours may cancel or skip some locations due to time constraints. If you want a smaller intimate tour, which I do recommend van tours, check out my Tours Page. I am collecting information and feedback from people who have taken tours, and so far the ones listed have had favorable reviews.

Check out Traveling Savage’s Scotland article:

Traveling Savage Hire Cars Know Before You Go

Obtaining a hire car with several travel friends can be managed,  however familiarize yourself with the driving laws, and the driver cannot have access to a phone for navigation. There are heavy fines for phone use while driving. Many companies will take a huge deposit and not return it if there is even the smallest of scratches on the car. Check out hire car reviews!

I have created a resource after my last visit. This and a good map should help you to plan. It is a Google Docs Document:

Outlander Locations: Access by Public Transport Access or Vehicle Only

PDF Download Outlander Locations Table

 

 

 

End of Winter Travels Lead to Great Places, Glasgow

It’s winter snows or pounding storms in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, this March?It’s the dregs of winter, and should be spring. There’s been a bit of snow? Whether you are a end of winter traveler taking advantage of off season pricing, or a resident day tripping, finding your way to sights to see or experiences to get out of the winter doldrums of your mind are paramount. But remember, it’s Scotland, The UK’s version of PNW weather, wait a bit, it’ll change. This great city of Glasgow is a fabulous walking town, and the best way I found to get around is by taking the subway, fondly called Clockwork Orange still by a few, but just ask for the subway. It makes a big subterranean loop and can keep you out of the elements for a quick journey to a part of the city, climb up top and you are within walking distance of many out of the way entertainments. Explore alleys off Sauchiehall Streets’s West End, or stroll the parks as there are many. And just like the PNW, people rarely use a brolly. Up your hood and go.

For some unusual things to do, check out these places. Contact them direct for winter hours of operation.

Day

download-1Glasgow Necropolis Beautiful both in snow and rain, and well, if you sneak in at night, moonlight. It’s filled with some very old grave sites and commands a great view of the city. Situated just behind St. Mungo’s Religious Museum and Glasgow Cathedral, Tennent’s Wellpark Brewery flanks it. Drygate area, John Knox Street.

Fossil Grove This is a subterranean find that will get you out of the elements. Travel to Victoria Park and take in this fun and spooky view of 11 fossilized stumps.

Hunterian Museum Spooky and kooky exhibits from medical and strange things. Check to see they are in operation, as in 2017 the museum was shut for rework, and still has some exhibition pieces not available. If you can’t make it to Edinburgh, it’s one of the best collections of oddities outside the capitol city. Fun stories of resurrectionists and all kinds of odd things. The anatomical collection is by appointment only. Off the Glasgow University (Hogwarts) campus. Just off the Hillhead station of the underground.

imagesSharmanka Kinetic Theatre. An animatronic, kinetic field day can be had here. Created and run by a Russian emigre Eduard Bersudsky, this theatre is filled with macabre to delight all. It illustrates the history of Russia with a murky feel. The main attraction is the heart of the theatre, but there are traveling exhibits in many parts of the world. TRONGATE 103,Glasgow, G1 5HD

downloadGovan Hill Baths Back in it’s Edwardian day, this community resource was where you went to swim, at one of the three pools, and do your wash (Steamie). It was shut down in 2001, but the public had sit ins to protest the loss of the historical baths. After several years, the community rallied back and now the large pool has been repurposed as an arts installation and performance venue. It is still going through renovations, but you can see community and old history in action as productions for theatre and music are hosted here. 99 Calder St, Glasgow G42 7RA

Night

Riding Room/Jodownloadint on the Corner BurlesqueCabaret and other quirk-filled acts. 7 Days or nights a week. Food and drink. Reasonably priced in the Merchant City area. 58 Virginia St, Glasgow G1 1TX

 

 

The Riverside Museum, Glasgow

Glasgow Weekend

Back to the Isles and a Return to Mull! — Travels with a Kilt

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Winter Island Getaways – Things to do on Mull I spent my first days of 2019 doing something of a first. I must be getting on but Hogmanay just wasn’t for me this year and the polar opposite of a raucous, alcohol-fuelled riot seemed more appealing – the Scottish Isles were calling. The Isle of…

via Back to the Isles and a Return to Mull! — Travels with a Kilt

Edinburgh Off The Path Things to Do This Winter

HighStreetPubWhat can you do when the holidays have wiped you out financially, and the traditional down time of winter from the New Year to March has got you down. Many flock, if they can get cheap flights, to warmer climes around the globe. What do you do if you are very poor after the holidays and you are also looking at the taxes blues. How can you budget to get away or do the staycation thing and feel like you are escaping the winter drears? Hopefully, you caught a great cheap flight to sunnier climes, or for you hopeless romantics, going to the country of your dreams may be much more affordable during the winter months. Flights will be cheaper for non traditional tourist months as will the accommodations. Can you plan a great trip with the idea that you will have 6 to 8 hours of sunlight during the day, as opposed to the summer where you can have until 11 pm for sunlight? Pack for colder climes but see great sights as the natives do.

I often vote for the obscure, out of the way things to do, and as many low budget or free activities as possible. Remember, museums are free in many countries and great for rainy days. Cafes are great places to dodge the elements, but there are more entertaining ways to do that.

Head to Scotland!

Edinburgh

Edinburgh is known for many things, including its centuries old tradition of training some of the best surgeons in the world. It’s twisty wyndes will get you pleasantly lost and overhead streets and underground tours will make for an eventful saunter.

I always vote for a music tour if you can find one. Edinburgh had it’s own great Punk history as well as a post punk explosion in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Everything from Punk to Funk. As always on tours, check reviews on Trip Advisor or local Yelp to see how these tours are doing.

Edinburgh Musical Tour

http://www.edinburghmusicaltour.co.uk/

Edinburgh Music Tours

https://glasgowmusiccitytours.com/edinburgh/images

Mary King’s Close

The Closes of Edinburgh are fantastic twisty stairways that often have shops and historical places leading off of them. This close sadly had a terrible history with the close being blocked off by the city in the 1600s due to plague, and all inhabitants became trapped. This was a common quarantine action in the days of the plagues with many large cities forced to try to contain a disease they did not know. Thankfully the city took reasonable care with the inhabitants, those that were healthy enough were moved, and others stayed behind with food being left for them. These days, the close is one of the many great routes through the city.

https://www.realmarykingsclose.com/

Surgeon’s Hall Museums, History of Surgery Museum Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9DW, UK

I can attest to the amount of weird fun you will have here. Not for the squeamish, houses really great, bizarre medical specimens that have been collected over 200 years have gathered here at the training college. Rows of jars filled with unique human issues that helped surgeons understand the human body, often with the conflict of medicine of the times and laws that would limit exploration to treat people effectively. There is an exhibit of Burke and Hare, the famous body snatchers and murderers. Burke was hung and dissected, with his skin used to cover a book.

Check days and times before you go.

https://museum.rcsed.ac.uk/

https://www.rcsed.ac.uk/

Old Calton Cemetery

Nothing better for a weird cold day than to visit the various cemeteries of Edinburgh. I confess that I have done the cemetary walk as a self tour, just hitting up all of the cemeteries and kirkyards of the city. This cemetery had some of the best 18th century to Victorian effigies and funeral arts in the world. Great places to dodge out of the rain. They are quite lovely in the snow as well, and free. download

 

Barnton Quarry Nuclear Bunker

Yup, the nuclear fear hit Scotland too. This bunker was set aside for the Royals to escape should the need be. Secret until 1963, it was purchased back in 2005 with the intent of turning it into a museum. You can see the exterior of the facility, but due to fire it’s full of asbestos. If the bomb doesn’t get you.

Record Stores

Yes, you vinylphiles like to travel. And it’s such a danger being on vacation and finding Scottish and UK music records where they were produced, used, and maybe in mint shape if you’re lucky. Check with these shop and see if they ship, or very carefully gather up all your acquisitions before return trip and  in the appropriate sized and padded record box, ship it back home to your best friend who knows your fiendish record fetish. You’d do the same for them.

VoxBox Music 21 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh

Born out of the Gramophone Shop, which is across the street, it’s an Edinburgh institution and has some rarities for you. Vox Box has the front room with new and very good used selection of all genres. The back room is a bargain hunters paradise. Something for every budget, and a dodge out of the rain.

Unknown Pleasures 110 Canongate, Edinburgh

I have been in this wee boutique shop, it’s loads of fun. It’s at the bottom of the Royal Mile, convenient to having tea after. Vinyl and CDs.

Underground Solu’shn 9 Cockburn St, Edinburgh EH1 1BP, UK

Coda Music  12 Bank St, Edinburgh

Coda

Want more record fun after your music tour of Edinburgh, read this.

The Best Record Shops in Edinburgh

Hope you enjoy your trip to Edinburgh. Let us know what strange, fun, things you can do on a wintery day there.

 

What to Do for Free in Amsterdam — Free Tours by Foot

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This post will include a variety of free things to do in Amsterdam, including a Top 10 list. We also cover free things to do at night as well as free, family-friendly activities. Top 10 Family-Friendly Nighttime Activities Seasonal (Month and Season) TOP 10 FREE THINGS TO DO In the following section, we…

via What to Do for Free in Amsterdam — Free Tours by Foot

Holiday Markets: The Push, the Jingle, Music and The Food!

Many countries and cities have their version of a Holiday Market. While the countries’ population may vary greatly in religious custom, many cultures have a special Market in the winter, weather permitting. It’s a great way to take the holiday, whatever it is, and make it about people gathering for food and drink. So even if you are not one who celebrates the Christian Holy Days, you will find a Holiday Market chocked full of food, grog of some sort, and entertainment. Hopefully bands will play in halls nearby if not in the streets, and there will be entertainment for all. So grab a hot toddy or chocolate, make sure you wrap up, have a pal on your arm, and swing around the market.

Ireland

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Dublin Town has several Pantos already lined up, head to the Grafton Centre, a large trendy shopping area in Dublin. The performances of The Snow Queen will be on, and at the Olympia, Polly and the Magic Lamp will be on. Great fun for families. But what of the REAL Dublin markets. Each quarter will have it’s on festive wear and food will be everywhere. Head for the George’s Street Arcade, one of the oldest shopping areas in Dublin. The stalls harken back to days of old, and you will be fit to burst by the time you get through a bit of it, with food and fun for all ages.

Many other cities in Ireland have their holiday on as well, Galway, Cork, Limerick and Belfast all have big Holiday Markets. Dublin at Christmas.

London

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London, UK. Of course when we think of the Holidays, we tend to get Dickensian about it. Of course that means Scrooge and Holiday Trees and that feeling of olde time London. There may be that bit of festive feeling about, but London being the massive eclectic hub that it is, and people from all around the world making it up, you can find a festive holiday mood in many areas. There are several small areas with a local feel for markets, many pop-ups with food and wares that can fit any holiday, however many of them pop up seasonally for Spring/Summer and traditional Nov-December runs. Here are a few areas to check out. Remember, pop-ups are usually local people, not chain store, restaurants and that’s what is so great. Variety and helping out the real people of London is the thing.

Southbank Wintertime Market, gifts and food stalls.Continue walking the Thames and progress on to other shopping areas.

Christmas in Leicester Square, near Covent Garden, has a great many theatrical venues. While you may find a Panto advertised, it will be far from traditional. Heavy entertainment area and plenty of food and gift stalls.

London Holiday Markets

Scotland

Scotland can boast the classic Holiday markets and the Hogmanay celebrations as well. Hogmanay runs the week after Christmas, so if you are lucky to make it through the 25th and stay on, there is a lot doing in the run up to the new year.

Hogmanay in Scotland Festivals

Edinburgh

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Don’t miss the markets all over Edinburgh. If you are lucky enough to make it there for Holiday and Hogmanay stay, you’ll be stuffed to the gills. Stay from the scales! Markets to try out:

Christmas Market at the East End of Princes Street. There has been a bit of controversy over this area, as recently many trees were cut down for the market. So chose if you wish to support that decision by the city to take the trees away. Markets are open from 10am – 10pm. Markets open at 1pm on 17 November, close at 8pm on 24 December, are closed 25 December, open 12pm 26 December and 1 January.

Pop Up Seasonals will be at Multrees Walk in the fashionable side. Head to the downtown area centre for more magical treats.

Edinburgh’s Christmas

Hogmanay Festivals

Glasgow

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Head to George square for outdoor Holiday Markets, foodie festival fun at pop ups and gift stalls.

Markets

St Enoch Square Christmas Market
Fri 9 Nov – Sun 23 Dec
Mon – Wed, 10am – 9pm
Thu – Sun, 10am – 10pm (finish at 6pm on Sun 23 Dec) Christmas Village, German Bars

George Square Christmas Market
Sun 25 Nov –  Mon 31 Dec (closed Christmas Day)
Mon – Wed, 10am – 9pm (finish at 6pm on Mon 24 Dec)
Thu – Sun, 10am – 10pm (finish at 6pm on Sun 31 Dec)

George Square comes alive this Christmas with over 50 traders from across the globe, as well as closer to home, selling artisan products and high quality crafts.
And don’t forget Hogmanay
Every weekend, 11am – 6pm
Royal Exchange Square
Sat 1 & Sun 2 Dec, 11am – 4.30pm
The Briggait