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Co Antrim hotel at Dark Hedges in receivership as Game of Thrones tourism hit by pandemic


The Hedges Hotel

The Hedges Hotel

The Hedges Hotel

A hotel built to cash in on the Game of Thrones tourism trade in Northern Ireland has been taken over by a receiver.

The Hedges Hotel, just yards from the iconic Dark Hedges in Co Antrim, was bought by property developer Stephen Gray in 2017.

Officially known as Beragh Road, it has become world famous as the Kings Road in the hit series and is a magnet for fans from around the world.

At the time Mr Gray described the purchase as a "no brainer" but documents filed with Companies House show an accountancy firm based in England has taken over the property. Other papers filed for Dark Hedges Limited also state that Stephen Gray stood down as a director of the company in May this year.

The hotel had been billed by Visit Causeway Coast and Glens as "the perfect destination to stay and explore the area" for the tourists who flock to the area pre-Covid.

Sunday Life tried to contact the hotel but could not get through on its telephone number and its website appears to no longer be active.

Speaking to The Guardian in 2017 about why he bought the hotel, Mr Gray said he had a "lightbulb moment" when driving along the road lined with the iconic beech trees.

"That was the moment when I knew this hotel and the ground around had the potential to be part of this globalised product," he said.

"If people were prepared to come on to this road at 11.30pm on a cold, dark winter night just to say they were on the Kings Road, then they would come any time, throughout the year, any season. It was a no-brainer."

Mr Gray and a business partner purchased the hotel, the nearby Gracehill House and surrounding land before pumping £5m into the venture.

He added that he had plans to construct a helipad so guests could be flown to any Game of Thrones filming location in Northern Ireland.

In another interview he said: "Look at the show Friends. It was not even as popular as Game of Thrones, but it's still on TV every day. In Ireland, you have examples like the Quiet Man - a film made 60 years ago, but is still attracting visitors to this day."

Sunday Life