Derry~Londonderry: 9 top attractions

Derry~Londonderry

Nine of the most interesting, enjoyable and unique experiences Derry~Londonderry has to offer

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 huge cannons.

Derry~Londonderry is the only completely walled city in Ireland and one of the finest in Europe, and the best way to enjoy these stony ramparts is to go slow. Take a walking tour and hear the fascinating stories about brutal 17th century sieges, starving citizens and fearsome roaring cannons. Then finish off by crossing the Peace Bridge to Ebrington Square and the Walled City Brewery, where you can raise a glass to this unique city.

2 Delve into the story of the Armada in Ireland

Dangerous adventures and 16th century shipwrecks: the Tower Museum does history with a side of drama. It wasn’t far from Derry~Londonderry to the Donegal coast where the Spanish Armada’s fourth largest ship La Trinidad Valencera was lost in 1588. Four hundred years later it was discovered by divers from the City of Derry Sub Aqua Club. Get the grisly details with an audiovisual twist at this award-winning museum.

And if tales of the sea make you long for the sound of the waves, you're in luck. At Derry~Londonderry, the Wild Atlantic Way meets the Causeway Coastal Route, making the city the perfect base to discover two of Ireland's great coastal touring routes.

3 Explore the stunning Guildhall

Looking for the most striking building in Derry~Londonderry? You’ve found it. The Guildhall is a red-brick, neo-Gothic wonder, on the edge of a picturesque square that’s perfect for a stroll or a snack.

Enter these red-brick walls, and if you’re really lucky, you might catch someone playing on the massive organ; let the music move through you as you admire the iconic building’s stunning stained-glass windows.

4 Try something traditional

The bright Irish language centre Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin showcases the traditional skills of some of the 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 Dip into open-air art

Derry~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.

Delve deeper into the story of Derry~Londonderry at the Museum of Free Derry, where state-of-the-art audio-visual displays offer a fascinating insight into the city's role in the worldwide civil rights movement.

6 View the city from the Peace Bridge

To get a look at the city from the water, why not take a walking tour and see the iconic Peace Bridge? Since it opened in 2011, this bridge has won a number of awards and is a vital link between the two sides of the River Foyle.

It's a focal point in this beautiful city, and every year thousands line its pathways for events such as New Year's Eve celebrations and the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race stopover. Pro-tip: visit the bridge at night to see it lit up spectacularly against the Foyle river.

7 Go back in time at St Columb's Cathedral

This beautiful cathedral dates back to 1633, making it one of the city’s oldest buildings – it’s a huge part of Derry’s fascinating history!

The spire dominates the city’s skyline from every side and at 221 feet tall, how could it not? Made from the same grey-green stone as the walls of the city, St Columb’s contains dozens of historical artefacts.

Call into the Chapter House Museum on the grounds of the cathedral to see old photos, paintings and books, and get to know the background of this historic city.

8 Explore local design at the Derry~Londonderry craft village

If you’re looking for a hidden jewel in this city, you’ve found it. The Craft Village is a cultural hub in the heart of Derry~Londonderry, and offers something for everyone.

The village is a reconstruction of an 18th century street, framed by craft stalls, coffee shops and restaurants. Amble around the village and taste some of the flavors of Northern Ireland, pick up a book or some hand-knitted pieces of clothing or simply soak it all in!

And if you’re lucky, you might even catch one of the many events that the Village hosts throughout the year, from art exhibitions to theatre.

9 Get spooked at Halloween

Not for the faint-hearted, DerryHalloween is one of the biggest Halloween celebrations in Europe.

Party with the supernatural at the Gothic Ball – this takes place every year at the Glassworks, a spooky 19th century church. If dancing the night away with ghosts and ghouls isn’t your thing, go for a spooky stroll through the Awakening of the Walls or take a tour through a haunted house.

One of the big highlights is the Carnival Parade, featuring music, theatrics and breathtaking performances. Guaranteed to blow those cobwebs away – and if you don’t dress up, you’ll stand out a mile!

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