The Peace Bridge in Derry~Londonderry
The Walled City of Derry’s unparalleled setting, fine architecture, wealth of history and thriving arts, music and foodie scenes make it a fantastic place to spend a few days.
Here are 10 of the top things to do.
1. Wander the walls
If you do nothing else in County Londonderry, you should linger around The Walls, feel dwarfed, and then walk the one mile around them – all for free. The only completely intact city walls in Ireland, they stand 26 feet high and 30 feet wide. Or take a guided tour and hear all about the famous 105-day siege of 1688, when the Apprentice Boys closed the city gates against the forces of King James II.
2. Go to the Guildhall
The Guildhall is a must-see major city landmark, full of stunning stained glass windows, an exhibition on the Plantation of Ulster and more. Enjoy a cup of tea and a “fifteen” (a traditional Northern Irish traybake) at one of the many cafés overlooking the building, the city walls and Guildhall Square before meandering through the great shopping along Shipquay Street and the delightful Craft Village.
3. Dander over the Peace Bridge
Why not take a “wee dander” across the Peace Bridge spanning the River Foyle. The views from the bridge are superb, but on the other side is Ebrington Square, a historic old military barracks and hub for cultural events and concerts. Don’t miss the Walled City Brewery there for some Kick or Boom craft beers and a Walled City Burger.
4. Explore the nightlife
The night-time scene thrives in the Walled City. Check out live music venues like Peadar O'Donnell’s for great craic and live music, Sandinos for Latin American vibes, the intimate Bennigans Bar and Jazz Club, or the historical Grand Central Bar, a long-standing watering hole with carved wood, stained glass and great local beers.
5. Dress up for Halloween
It’s acclaimed as the best place in the world to experience Halloween, and the eeriest time of year is certainly one of the best times to go to the ‘City of Bones’ – but do dress up. Thousands of be-costumed witches, devils and fun loving what-nots throng the streets for the main parade and the whole carnival lasts for four days. The most haunting must-do Derry~Londonderry experience.
6. Picture an iconic slogan
The gable wall proclaiming the ‘You are now entering free Derry’ slogan has become an enduring image of the Troubles, the Bogside area, and Londonderry’s past. The row of houses the gable once propped up is long since gone, but the perfect Instagram moment still awaits at Free Derry Corner.
7. See the Museum of Free Derry
Increase your knowledge of Northern Ireland’s more contemporary history at the Museum of Free Derry, dedicated to the story of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. It portrays the impact, trauma and division of the Troubles, including the events of Bloody Sunday and the Battle of the Bogside.
8. Take a Tower Museum moment
The Tower Museum is spread over five floors and its uppermost level gives stunning panoramic views of the inner city and River Foyle. Immerse yourself first in the city’s past with the Story of Derry Exhibition and An Armada Shipwreck – La Trinidad Valencera, the story of the Spanish Galleon that sank of the Donegal Coast in 1588.
9. Tour the Siege Museum
Take a tour of The Siege Museum, an permanent exhibition of the history of the Siege of Londonderry and the Associated Clubs of the Apprentice Boys of Derry, including artefacts, video and interactive media. You can also see on display the finest collections of meeting rooms used by the 'Loyal Orders'.
10. Discover a foodie city
For a special occasion Browns Restaurant and Champagne Lounge is a top quality spot that many hail as being worth the trip to Derry~Londonderry alone. Round your night off and extend your stay in the heart of the city at the stunning edwardian Bishop's Gate Hotel.