Castle Ward - NITB - 20th May 2015 Presseye Declan Roughan

A unique Game of Thrones® related archery activity based at Castle Ward in County Down has been awarded four-star status under a Tourism NI quality grading scheme.

The Winterfell Tours Archery Experience, operated by Clearsky Adventure Centre, replicates the movie set and courtyard where filming for the hit TV show originally took place.

Visitors to ‘Winterfell’ can dress up in character costumes from the show, tour the movie set, stand where the characters Jon Snow, and Robb and Bran Stark stood, and enjoy the thrill of shooting live arrows.

The tower house and courtyard of Old Castle Ward plus the surrounding Demesne have been used extensively for the filming of George RR Martin’s epic adaption of the Game of Thrones® novels.

The National Trust property and its surrounding woodland, gardens and parklands have now become a popular spot for several screen tourism related experiences.

Caroline Adams, Tourism NI Quality and Standards Manager, said: “Providing visitors with information on the quality of the experience they can expect at Northern Ireland’s tourist attractions is central to the future success of tourism, and that is why Tourism NI is committed to raising standards throughout the industry.

“For tourism operators the star award is an independent mark of quality. Clearsky Adventure Centre is to be congratulated on achieving an excellent four-star grading for this screen tourism experience.”

A four-star rating indicates that the activity is of ‘excellent’ standard.

Commenting on achieving the grading Andrew Porter, Director of Clearsky Adventure Centre, said: “We are very proud that our archery activity has been recognised by Tourism Northern Ireland as a four-star experience. Since we started we have been very encouraged both by the visitor numbers and the feedback we have received and we are confident that with this endorsement the Winterfell Tours Archery Experience will continue to grow in popularity.”

Tourism NI’s  Grading Scheme for Visitor Experiences is designed to provide visitors with information on the quality they can expect at Northern Ireland’s tourist attractions, whilst assisting operators to maintain and continually improve the quality of their offering.

The scheme is open to visitor attractions and experiences across a broad spectrum including castles, museums, tours, gardens and garden centres, art venues, wildlife experiences and historic attractions.

It is currently open for applications and further information can be found at www.nitb.com/qualityassurance.

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