If you have seen the Game of Thrones, you are probably familiar with the Dark Hedges. This location was featured prominently in the highly popular HBO series. If you are a big fan of the show, or if you just want to see this amazing grove of trees in person for yourself, then this is the guide for you.
The Dark Hedges is one of the most photogenic locations I have shot in quite some time. I had the privilege to visit a few years ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed capturing this captivating scenery. If you would like to visit and photograph the Dark Hedges yourself, here are some tips that I can give you:
- Avoid the Crowds – Make sure you plan enough time to spend at the Dark Hedges because the crowds can be quite thick at times. The Game of Thrones has made this site very popular and at times it can be nearly impossible to get a good shot without people in it.
- Visit at Sunrise or Sunset – The Dark Hedges is at its best when the light is softer and dimmer. Don’t get me wrong, the hedges is an amazing place to visit at any time. However, if your goal is to photograph it, you will want to visit early or late in the day.
- Bring a Tripod – If you do visit either early or late in the day, you are going to need to use a longer exposure to properly capture the detail in the shadows of the tree. For this reason, a tripod is an essential piece of equipment that you will want to have with you.
- Bring a Wide Angel Lens – You are going to want to have a wide angel lens with you when you visit the Dark Hedges. To get the best shots, you are going to want to be in close to the hedges, if not inside the beginning of the row of hedges. A wide angel lens will assist you in capturing the full breath of the scene.
The Dark Hedges are located near the Northern coast of Northern Ireland, about 49 miles North of the city of Belfast. The Dark Hedges are located near a number of other wonderful attractions that are on the coast of Northern Ireland. These attractions include the Carrick-A-Rede Bridge, the Giant’s Causeway, and the Dunluce Castle (pictured above), which I have highlighted previously on this blog.
To get to the Dark Hedges by car, you will want to follow the directions below:
- Take Highway M2 North out of Belfast (2.3 mi)
- Keep left at the fork to stay on M2 (14.9 mi)
- At junction 1, take the A26 exit to Antrim/Ballymena/Coleraine (0.2 mi)
- At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Lisnevenagh Rd/A26 (7.1 mi)
- At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto A26 heading to Coleraine/Ballymena/Larne/A36 (1.0 mi)
- Continue onto M2 (4.8 mi)
- Merge onto A26 (8.5 mi)
- At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Drones Rd/A44
- Turn left onto Bregagh Rd (2.1 mi)
- Turn left onto Ballykenver Rd (23 ft)
- Turn right onto Bregagh Rd
Best Time to Visit
If you are adverse to either too hot or too cold of temperatures, then Northern Ireland is a pretty safe place for you to visit. The temperatures are pretty consistently mild year round, though the area does get a ton of rain every year. You are going to want to take that into account when planning your visit. I have included the average monthly high and low temperature, as well as the average monthly level of precipitation below for you to review when planning your trip.
Average Monthly Temperature (°F)
As I mentioned above, the average temperature in Northern Ireland is typically very mild year round. The average high temperature typically doesn’t get above the upper 60’s or lower 70’s, and the average low doesn’t get much cooler than the upper 30’s. While the summer months of June thru August are more pleasant, there isn’t enough variation in the average temperature to make it a large factor in when to plan your trip.
Average Monthly Precipitation (Inches)
Northern Ireland gets a lot of rain year-round. In fact, on average, it rains 157 days a year in Northern Ireland. In some months, Northern Ireland gets over an inch of rain. Because of the amount of rain that the city gets, the weather can be a big factor in when you should visit Northern Ireland. The best window for visiting is in the late winter thru late spring. The months of February thru May see far less rain than the months of July thru January.
The Dark Hedges is such an extraordinary place. If this amazing location looked surreal on the Game of Thrones, just wait until you see it in person. Below is a gallery of some of the images I was able to take when I visited the Dark Hedges.