Derry-Londonderry city: five things to do

Derry-Londonderry is a compact city with plenty of character. From cannon-laden walls to illicit love affairs and back to culture cool, there’s plenty to get your teeth into

1. Walk the 17th-century walls

It’s hard to escape the walls in Derry-Londonderry. Then again, why would you want to? Almost 20 feet high and at least as wide, the mile-long oval comes complete with gates, watchtowers, battlements, bastions and platforms. 

They are one of the most intact city walls in Europe, and the most civilised way to enjoy the stony stroll is to go slow. Promenade and pause, stroll and snap. The cityscape is modest in height, which makes it a great place to photograph from your historical perch.  

2. Delve into the story of an illicit love affair

Dangerous romance and 16th-century shipwrecks: the Tower Museum does history with a side of drama. A love story with a difference comes in the shape of Bishop Frederick Augustus Hervey and the mistress of Frederick William II of Prussia. 

It wasn’t far from Derry-Londonderry, on the Donegal coast in fact, where the Spanish Armada's fourth largest ship La Trinidad Valencera was lost in 1588. Get the grisly details right here with an audiovisual twist.

3. Dip in to open-air art

Londonderry’s history is a rich one. It’s so rich in fact that they’ve painted it on the walls. The city’s murals are a keyhole view into a time that’s known widely as “The Troubles”. The artists who painted a large number of them now conduct guided walking tours of the murals and as far as living history goes, this is unique.

4. Try the traditional

The bright Irish language centre Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin showcases the traditional skills of some of the city's best singers and dancers. A night here is not easily forgotten. As impressive in as it is out, the building is a beauty. Wander through its zigzag interior and you’ll see why it has been nominated for several architectural awards.

5. Indulge in some indoor visual snacking

When Derry-Londonderry dons its UK City of Culture hat for 2013, the arty party will be right at home. The city is bulging with galleries and art spaces. Cutting-edge spots, such as the Void and CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts), present established Irish and international art, while galleries such as the Gordon Gallery and London Street Gallery are also well worth a visit.

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