County Londonderry

Mussenden Temple

There's more to this county than a walled city

County Londonderry is well known for a number of things: its wild Atlantic coast, its famous siege and, of course, Derry~Londonderry, a historic walled city that acts as a cosmopolitan gateway between two epic touring routes – the Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route.

Sitting snug on the River Foyle, Derry~Londonderry is Ireland’s only surviving walled city and one of the finest in Europe. But don’t think for a second that those walls hem it in. Northern Ireland’s second city a buzzing, modern spot with great pubs, fantastic restaurants and a lively cultural scene.

Wander the bustling streets or cross the stunning Peace Bridge and you’ll sense an energy in the air. This is a place where things happen, whether it's the Clipper Yacht Race sweeping into Foyle Marina, a huge Halloween carnival on the banks of the River Foyle or any number of concerts, plays and exhibitions in the city’s impressive selection of venues and art galleries.

Derry has a great riverside setting, several fascinating historical sights and a determined air of can-do optimism that has made it the powerhouse of the North’s cultural revival.

Lonely Planet

You can see traces of Derry~Londonderry’s more recent history at the riveting Museum of Free Derry and in its political murals – like the famous Free Derry Corner – in the city’s Bogside neighbourhood. The difference is that today, they’re tourist attractions.

Beyond the city walls

When you’re ready to leave the city behind, County Londonderry is standing by to dazzle you with its golden beaches, lush valleys and unique heritage. Explore this stretch of the Causeway Coastal Route by train and you’ll be wowed by views of rugged cliffs and tumbling waves – the railway tracks run right along Benone Strand. But there’s a reason Condé Nast Traveler called this one of the best coastal drives in the world. It’s a joy to travel these cliff-hugging roads, where every bend brings even more breathtaking scenery.

If you love scenic routes or are just looking for a way to make the time pass quicker while traveling around then this is for you. The scenery around this route is breathtaking.

Gary, TripAdvisor

If you can tear yourself away from the coast, it’s time to discover Londonderry’s inland treasures. Test your skill against the salmon and trout along The Foyle System, one of the richest fishing rivers in Europe. Cycle the Foyle Valley Cycle Route from Derry~Londonderry to the border town of Strabane. Visit Ness Country Park to check out the highest waterfall in Northern Ireland or drop in to the Seamus Heaney Homeplace in Bellaghy, which celebrates the life and legacy of the Nobel-Prize-winning poet.

Slow it down

If that sounds too energetic, you’re in luck. County Londonderry is the ideal spot to slow things down. Set out on a laid-back slow travel adventure where you get to meet local craftspeople and connect with nature, against the backdrop of little villages, heather-flecked hills and shimmering lakes.

Picture it... an afternoon horseriding through lush green meadows. A canoe trip on the River Foyle with a pop-up slow food experience. Or maybe a walking tour of the Sperrins in the company of a local ecologist. Whatever you choose, one this is certain: County Londonderry knows how to do mindful travel.

Music and more in the air

Londonderry has a thriving arts and cultural scene, and the county has produced two Nobel Prizewinners in its time: Seamus Heaney from Castledawson, and John Hume from Derry~Londonderry city, which incidentally is also hometown of Choice Music Prize winner SOAK, former Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle and composer Phil Coulter.

"There was music there in the Derry air,” as Coulter wrote in The Town I Loved So Well, a famous tune in which the singer laments Derry~Londonderry’s tragic history, but looks forward to “a bright, brand new day” in the future.

Looks like that day is well and truly here.

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