‘Game of Thrones’ Airbnbs taking fans to Westeros — including Rose Leslie's childhood home

Go north of the wall and find a castle once owned by the family of one of the show's stars

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Fire, blood, battles and betrayal: Game of Thrones is back.

As viewers around the world plan how and where to watch the House of the Dragon premiere on August 22, a dedicated trio of superfans have transformed their homes for a screening fit for Westeros royalty — and, we’re all invited.

Venture north of the wall in Scotland, the UK

In Aberdeenshire, Scotland, James Davies and his parents offer rooms to rent at Lickleyhead Castle, the childhood home of actress Rose Leslie who played flame-haired wildling Ygritte in the HBO series.

Lickleyhead Castle is in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and offers the perfect spot to watch the 'House of the Dragon' premiere. Photo: James Davies

For £215 ($260) per night, fans can bed down inside the 15th century castle where Leslie lived until she was 10, among winding staircases, four-poster beds and towering turrets.

“The castle has a strong connection with Game of Thrones, not only because Rose Leslie grew up here, but because of its stunning medieval features, too,” says Davies, 38, who is also the castle’s general manager.

“Each part of the castle has a different theme representing its history and each room feels like a different region of the Seven Kingdoms.

“We have a medieval room that’s draped in bear skins and tapestries and there’s a 16th century-style box bed in another. It’s like stepping into another world.”

Leslie, whose character was known for her heated temper and brusque manner, shot to fame with her withering putdown: “You know nothing Jon Snow,” before going onto marry her on-screen lover, played by Kit Harrington, in 2018.

After moving out, her family still owned the castle and eventually returned to list it on Airbnb in 2016, with former guests even raving about Leslie’s home-cooked chicken dinners. The property was sold to the Davies family three years ago and given a major overhaul.

Lickleyhead Castle has been transformed since the Leslies sold to the Davies family. Photo: James Davies

“There are shoot holes in the turrets and three spiral staircases where you feel as though you could bump into show characters Cersei Lannister or Margaery Tyrell,” says Davies.

“The renovations add a luxury touch to the original features and the result is pretty spectacular.”

Despite its northern location, Davies feels as though the castle would be too lavish for the Stark family, who act as wardens of the north in the series and are loved by fans for being rough around the edges.

“Lickleyhead is a bit more sophisticated than Winterfell,” he says. “I’d say it has more of a King’s Landing vibe. It’s really beautiful with an almost whimsical feel to it.”

Lickelyhead was built in 1499 and is the ancestral seat of the Clan Leslie. Set in 10 acres of grounds, it features a great hall, stone staircases and the original open fireplace.

With its seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms, the castle is ideal for parties.

“I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan myself and I can’t wait for the prequel to be released,” says Davies.

“We even have a collection of medieval style costumes so fans can dress up as their favourite characters and reenact the most memorable scenes.”

Dungeons and dragons in Kentucky, the US

In Kentucky, the US, Wayne Ebersohl, 51, and Rachel Johnson, 46, spent $100,000 transforming their one-bedroom apartment into an abode fit for a dragon queen, with a California king-size four-poster bed, an Iron Throne, a dungeon and handmade weaponry decorating the velvet-clad space.

A stark warning carved into the wooden panelling predicts “winter is coming”, while stained glass windows, gilded dragon doorknobs and a castle door set the scene for the fiery drama for $155 a night.

The Airbnb in Kentucky is fit for a dragon queen. Photo: Bo Stamper

“For diehard fans, there’s nowhere better to get into the action,” says Ebersohl. “We spent three months transforming our apartment into a medieval fortress and people are loving it.

“We have had well-known celebrities and actors with ties to Game of Thrones as guests, as well as several professional sports players.”

For Ebersohl and Johnson, it was vital to provide a unique experience and create something they could be proud of.

“We wanted to give guests the feeling that they were staying in a medieval castle, rather than just throw some Game of Thrones posters on the walls,” he says.

“The whole room is eye-catching. We also hired a blacksmith from Ukraine to make the shield with axes and spears by hand.”

White walkers in Colmar, France

In Colmar, France, Morgan Rebouche, 37, transformed her one-bedroom property into a Winterfell-inspired chateau, complete with a life-sized Iron Throne, medieval weaponry and a statuesque four-poster bed.

A white walker roommate is also on hand to welcome guests to the property, while a watchful dragon keeps an eye on things in the bathroom.

This Airbnb in France brings the magic of Westeros to life. Photo: Morgan Rebouche

“I’m a big Game of Thrones fan and I wanted to create something otherworldly,” says Rebouche. “One of the most unique features is the white walker embedded in the wall.

“It faces the entrance, so as soon as you open the door it’s there in your face. However, the Iron Throne is the centrepiece, of course.

“In the bathroom, it’s all about Daenerys and her dragons. There’s a dragon's eye set in the wall and three dragon eggs, which really brings the theme to life.”

Fans of the series can snuggle under rustic furs in the glow of ancient torch sconces as they watch the House of the Dragon prequel play out for €93 ($92) per night.

“People love it,” says Rebouche. “It really captures the magic of Westeros.”

Westeros wanderlust: the real-life filming locations for 'House of the Dragon' — in pictures

Updated: August 17, 2022, 2:37 PM
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