48 hours in Derry~Londonderry and the Causeway Coast
Explore the very best of Northern Ireland from the heart of the Walled City – history, craic and epic coastlines await!
Imagine breathtaking clifftop temples and fresh seafood dishes, award-winning walking tours and the liveliest of local pubs… Are you ready to fill your heart with Northern Ireland?
Historic ruins, delicious seafood, BIG seascapes, and memorable moments with the locals... Northern Ireland's rugged Causeway Coast is a special place.Explore Day 1
To the temple
Located in the lush green surroundings of Downhill Demesne near Castlerock in County Londonderry, Mussenden Temple is quite the sight. Built in 1785 as a summer library, the temple is dramatically located near the edge of a cliff, 36 metres above the raging Atlantic Ocean below. Not a bad spot to while away a few hours reading a good book, we think you'll agree.
The panoramic views are stunning, and take in Downhill Strand and County Donegal to the west, and as far as Portrush and Fair Head to the east. Time for a quick selfie on the clifftop then onwards we go. Your day out on the Causeway Coast is off to a flying start!
Sea views and seafood
Next up is Portstewart Strand, a 3km stretch of golden sand along the north coast. Relax on a stroll along the stunning beach, or hit the water for a spot of adrenaline-pumping surfing. Also of interest are the 6,000-year-old sand dunes here, which are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna.
After that, you're sure to have built up a hearty appetite, so stop into Harry's Shack for a tasty seafood lunch. This restaurant is a local favourite and promises the freshest seafood at good value. From lobster and mussels to oysters and crab, Harry’s Shack is one of the best places to eat along the Causeway Coast, and boasts a gorgeous location right on the beach.
A Northern Irish rockstar
Next stop, the Giant's Causeway – one of only three UNESCO World Heritage Sites on the island of Ireland and a highlight of any trip.
Here you can walk across over 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns that were formed by volcanic activity some 60 million years ago. Sounds cool? Wait until you experience it for yourself!
You can learn more about this magical place and all its stories, both scientific and legendary at the visitor centre, which boasts interactive exhibitions. If you have more time, go on a guided cliff walk with a local tour guide. Hearing tales of the area as you hike along cliff paths through this majestic landscape is a Northern Ireland WOW moment you'll never forget.
From the causeway to the castle
From one pinch-yourself moment to another… This is what the Causeway Coast is all about! Dunluce Castle has occupied its dramatic location right on the edge of a cliff since the early 1500s. Daily tours of the ruins are available, if you fancy following in the footsteps of warring factions such as the MacQuillan and MacDonnell clans from times gone by.
As with this entire stretch of magnificent coastline, the views from the castle are simply out of the world. Close by, the newly-installed Magheracross Viewing Point is another excellent place to take in the sights on offer. The purpose-built platform juts out from the clifftop, providing panoramic views of the Skerries Islands and Whiterocks Beach.
A night out in the Walled City
That's about as many show-stopping attractions as one can take in over the course of a day! It's time to head back to Derry~Londonderry for a little rest before a big night out.
If you're looking for a place to stay and dine, Bishop's Gate Hotel is a great option in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter. This boutique hotel boasts luxurious rooms as well as the Wig and Gown Champagne Bar & Restaurant. Locally sourced seasonal produce is the big draw here and the trendy lounge bar serves up some of the best cocktails in the city.
Elsewhere, City Hotel Derry is a fine four-star establishment, idyllically located on the banks of the River Foyle. Like Asian food? Then Mekong is a must for dinner. This cool spot serves up delicious Asian street food dishes you might not have been expecting to find inside the 400-year-old city walls.
It's time to get up close and personal with the walled wonder. From Derry Girls and the Peace Bridge to buzzing pubs, it'll be a day to remember in Derry~Londonderry.Explore Day 2
Say hello to Erin and the gang
Starting your day off with a Derry Girls selfie sounds good to us! Created by Derry's own Lisa McGee, the comedy hit has catapulted Derry~Londonderry into the global limelight. In a city famous for big wall murals, this Instagram-worthy tourist hotspot is a reminder of what makes this city great – the warmth and wit of its people.
From a bridge to a brewery
After catching up with the Derry Girls, amble your way through the streets to one of the most striking attractions in the city – the Peace Bridge. Opened in 2011, the bridge is a symbol of peace as it connects both sides of the River Foyle. The elegant curves of the structure represent the city's triumph over adversity, and a stroll across is a must.
Don't forget to check out the stunning Guildhall before you embark on your journey across the river. It's arguably the most iconic sight in the city, and has been standing tall since 1887. Think it looks familiar? That's because the clock was modelled on London's Big Ben!
Once you walk across the Peace Bridge, make a beeline for the Walled City Brewery. All that walking works up quite a thirst, after all! As well as stocking a huge range of local craft beers, the brewery also features a multi-award-winning restaurant that's run by a Michelin Star-trained chef, so it's the perfect place to stop for lunch.
If these walls could talk...
After lunch, head back across the Peace Bridge for an afternoon exploring the 400-year-old city walls. There are gates, watchtowers, battlements, bastions and cannons on this 1.5km-long oval that encircles the old city.
To elevate the experience, go for a guided walking tour. Martin McCrossan City Walking Tours is a popular option, with bespoke tours on topics such as food, history, and Derry Girls. Bogside History Tours is an excellent choice if you want to uncover the difficult past of this historic city.
To Derry~Londonderry – cheers!
After a quick stop off back in the hotel to relax and refresh, it's time for your second night out in Derry~Londonderry.
For dinner, you could go all out at Browns Bonds Hill, a Michelin Guide-recommended fine dining restaurant that's established itself as one of the best eateries in town. Browns In Town is part of the same restaurant group, but offers a more casual dining experience. Think crispy chicken wings, beer-battered cod, and wild berry cheesecake for dessert. Nom, nom, nom...
Then head for a drink in Peadar O'Donnell's, one of the most popular pubs in the city. Step through the doors and you'll see why it's always packed with locals and tourists alike. The decor is classic Irish pub with some fun quirky touches. And you'll be greeted by the wonderful sound of live traditional Irish music all week long. So, sit back, relax with your tipple of choice, and savour the final evening of your trip to Derry~Londonderry.
From the epic sights of the Causeway Coast to the mighty "craic" (fun) of the locals, this trip will live long in the memory...