Categories: Itineraries

Belfast & Derry~Londonderry, 2 day itinerary

Get ready for a whistle-stop tour of Belfast and Derry~Londonderry. You'll get as much art, culture, history, traditional music and good old-fashioned fun as you can handle, and it won't be long before you're planning a return trip.

Only an hour apart, each city has its own unique style and character. First-timers to either Belfast or Derry~Londonderry will be struck by how different both cities are from each other, yet how both manage to capture your heart. While travelling between them, you'll also get the chance to discover some of the dark skies in the area at OM Dark Sky and Observatory.

Day 1

City Orientation Tour

Enjoy a short bus tour of the City with your tour guide.

Crumlin Road Gaol

The Crumlin Road Gaol dates back to 1845 and only closed its doors as a working prison as recently as 1996. After extensive renovations the gaol has re-opened as a visitor attraction and conference centre. Today you can take a guided tour of the prison and hear about the history of the site from a time when women and children were once held within its walls, through to the political segregation of Republican and Loyalist prisoners, and learn why the decision was eventually taken to close the prison. During the tour of the gaol you'll visit the underground tunnel that once connected the gaol to the Crumlin Road Courthouse, as well as the chance to sit in the Governor’s chair, see all the wings from the circle, and of course pay a visit to the condemned man’s cell, before seeing the execution cell where the majority of the 17 men were hanged.

Traditional Music Tour Trail and Lunch

The well-worn cobbles of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter have seen many a wild night in their time. Weaving through its narrow streets, music old and new pulsates from historic buildings. This is the beating heart of the city – there’s no finer place to soak up the traditional Irish music scene. Join local musicians on a traditional music trail around Belfast, where you’ll visit bustling bars in some of the city’s oldest buildings.

Stars and Stones – Beaghmore Stone Circle, OM Dark Sky and Observatory

From the Bronze-Age Beaghmore Stone Circles at the foot of the Sperrin Mountains, to the twinkling blanket of night sky above you, the brand-new Stars and Stones experience is a unique and unforgettable chance to connect with land and sky, past and present, long-held facts and eternal mysteries. The seven stone circles of Beaghmore, near Cookstown, Co. Tyrone – an area of outstanding natural beauty – were re-discovered in the 1930s by a peat cutter, and an archaeological excavation followed. It was a most fortunate find. These ancient, intriguing and atmospheric low rocks lure you back thousands of years, deep into the past, when people marked their time by the sun, stars and planets.

Boasting the darkest sky in the heart of ancient Ulster, the OM Dark Sky and Observatory lies in the centre of Northern Ireland, located at the foothills of the Sperrin Mountains. The Park boundary includes Davagh Forest and Beaghmore Stone Circles. The strong link between a Neolithic and a modern-day observatory at Davagh connects the uniqueness of the sky with the uniqueness of the heritage. The Interactive Visitor Centre/Observatory is the first of its kind featuring an immersive experience based around the richness of the astronomy and the archaeological heritage of the area. The centre includes a Grab and Go Cafe, an outdoor lighting experience/digital visual show and viewing platform with AV technology. The Solar Walk opens in 2021 which links Beaghmore Stone Circles (our first observatory) with the new modern-day observatory.

Day 2

Unlocking the Walled City Experience – Tour of the City Walls and the City

“If stones could speak…” reads a 1633 foundation stone in Derry~Londonderry’s St Columb’s Cathedral. Here, in the vestibule of this historic church, all is quiet. But if Derry’s walls were to speak – from 400-year-old ramparts, to modern-day political murals – they’d have some mighty tales to tell. On a walking tour of Ireland's only completely walled city, you’re taking in this vibrant, diverse and friendly place from its finest vantage point. Derry’s origins date back to the 6th century, when St Columba founded a monastery here; the city’s name comes from the old Irish word for oak-grove. It has seen its fair share – a siege, emigration, the Troubles – and survived. “We’re the city with the acorns that become giant oaks,” says tour guide and local woman Finola Faller.

Visit to The Craft Village

A reconstruction of an 18th century street and 19th century square, the Craft Village provides an eclectic mix of artisan craft shops, balconied apartments, licensed restaurant and coffee shops.

Lunch & Beer Tasting at Walled City Brewery

The Walled City Brewery is a multi-award-winning restaurant and brewhouse based in Ebrington Square, Derry~Londonderry. By having a fully operating brewery and accompanying restaurant in the same building, it is the first of its kind in the country. The ethos behind the business is to provide both locals and tourists with a “Taste of the North West” through crafting local, authentic, premium quality, flavoursome beer and food.

Sheep Dogs at Work

In Jamese McCloy’s barn in the rolling Sperrin Hills, the only sound you’ll hear at sheep shearing time – aside from gentle birdsong – is the snip-snip of his blades as they work their way through the fluffiest fleece imaginable. Like his father and grandfather before him, Jamese has been tending to sheep for decades, with the help of highly trained border collies Moss, Jess & Tess (themselves from a long line of sheepdogs). Visit the Glenshane Country Farm and discover how, with a whistle, a whisper, or a gesture, Jamese can direct the dogs to herd hundreds of remarkably well-behaved sheep. Come rain, hail or shine – or even a blanket of snow – this shepherd is out with his flock. It’s not the easiest career, but for Jamese, “it’s a way of life. There’s just something about getting out into the fresh air and nature.”

Seamus Heaney HomePlace

Step into Seamus Heaney HomePlace, and discover the world-renowned poet in his beloved hometown. Journey through the life and works of this literary giant, greatly valued locally for his decency and humility, and experience the place, the people and the landscape that so inspired his work. Here, you’ll see Heaney’s leather school satchel and his wooden desk from Anahorish Primary School, handwritten transcripts from the poet, and books donated by the Heaney family. You’ll learn about the people who were integral to his life and poetry: his family, Barney Devlin at The Forge, and countless others from the area.

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City Tours Belfast
City Tours Belfast

Enjoy an open top bus tour across the beautiul city of Belfast, see the historic landmarks and listen to an entertaining and informative live commentary on the city's history, its present and its future. 72 hour Ticket.

Crumlin Road Gaol
Visitor Centres & Museums
Crumlin Road Gaol

On the 31st March 1996 Crumlin Road Gaol slammed shut its doors for what many thought would be the final time, but, on the 19th November 2012 the chains fell off and HMP Belfast was reborn as one of Belfast's most popular visitor attractions.

The Craft Village
Local Produce & Products
The Craft Village

Welcome to the distinctive delights of the hidden jewel in Derry~Londonderry’s crown, the classic Craft Village. Dickensian in appearance and delightful in layout, Derry~Londonderry’s Craft Village is a cultural oasis in the heart of a vibrant city.

Walled City Brewery
The Taproom at Walled City Brewery

The Walled City Brewery craft uniquely local, premium quality, fabulously flavoursome food and beer in their multi-award winning brewhouse, restaurant and new taproom. If you truly want a flavour of the North-West, it is a must-visit!

Seamus Heaney HomePlace
Visitor Centres & Museums
Seamus Heaney HomePlace - Exhibition

Seamus Heaney HomePlace takes you on an inspiring journey through the life and work of one of Ireland’s greatest writers. Situated between his two childhood homes at Mossbawn and The Wood, and only a few hundred yards from St Mary’s Church, Bellaghy, which he chose as his final resting place, HomePlace is at the heart of the area that inspired so much of the poet’s work.