Derry-Londonderry: The Gateway to the North West
One of the world’s most famous walled-cities, Derry-Londonderry is a treat for visitors looking for a city break with a difference. Recognised as the gateway to the North West of Ireland, the city is the perfect spot to explore the region with much to see and do. With lively night-life, the city is home to some of Northern Ireland’s finest eateries, and has something special for all ages to experience. Read on to find out why Derry-Londonderry should be at the top of your destination wish-list:
Landmarks and Landscapes:
Derry-Londonderry is uniquely positioned to both embrace the beautiful untapped landscapes of the Sperrin Mountains and the hills of Donegal which are just minutes from the city centre while visitors can explore the scenic beauty of the River Foyle which connects the city with the North Atlantic Ocean.
- 17th Century City Walls – A visit to Derry-Londonderry isn’t complete without a walk around the city walls. The city is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and the walls were built as defences for early seventeenth century settlers from England and Scotland. The walls vary in width between 12 and 35 feet and are the ideal vantage point for getting some stunning photographs of the city centre and the Hills of Donegal
- The Guildhall – located in the heart of the city, just outside the city walls, the Guildhall is one of the most striking buildings in the North West, originally built in 1887 by the Honourable Irish Society. Since undergoing restoration work between 2011 and 2013 the Guildhall contains an interactive Tourist Information Point, a dedicated exhibition exploring how the plantation has shaped the city’s history, cultural spaces and a new café area
- The Peace Bridge – since its launch, the footbridge which connects the city’s Waterside with the city centre has dramatically changed the way people perceive the city. It has become a focal point for city celebrations including the Halloween and New Year’s Eve festivities.
- Mussenden Temple – located approx. 30 minutes from the city centre, Mussenden Temple is located in the surroundings of Downhill Demesne near Castlerock. Sitting on a cliff-top some 120 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, the temple was originally built in 1785 and it’s architecture was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy. The temple is open to visitors all year-round.
Action Packed Breaks:
If outdoor thrills and spills are your thing; the North-West region is home to some of Northern Ireland’s most exhilarating activity hotspots:
- Located in south county Derry, The Jungle NI is an award-winning outdoor adventure park. Famous for its Paintballing and Zorbing offerings, the centre is home to Ireland’s first High Wire Tree Top Adventure Course while those looking for a more relaxing day can enjoy Llama Trekking in the unspoiled beauty of the Sperrins.
- Northern Ireland’s only Hovercrafting Centre, Foylehov is great for a day out with all the family with a range of water and land-based activities from Off-Road Driving, to Laser Tag, Golf and Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting.
- Carrowmena Activity Centre – try your hand at canoeing, raft-building, climbing walls, zip-lining and abseiling in the popular centre set as the foot of Binevenagh along the Causeway Coastal Route. With packages tailor made for families, youth groups and corporate away-days, the centre is just 30 minutes from Derry-Londonderry.
Derry-Londonderry is home to some of Northern Ireland’s most popular shopping outlets with a selection of the biggest names in high-street fashion alongside boutique craft and souvenir stores that you won’t find anywhere else on the island of Ireland.
- Foyleside in the heart of Derry city hosts over 50 stores with big names including Debenhams, Dunnes, M & S, River Island and many more. The centre is also home to a 450 seater food quarter with kids play area.
- Craft Shops – within the confines of the city walls, visitors to Derry will find a wide range of craft and souvenir shops stocking a selection of the finest locally produced goods. Popular outlets include Number 19 Craft and Design, Edel MacBride, The Donegal Shop and City of Derry Crystal.
With Guided Walking Tours, Open Top Bus Tours and Food Tours, visitors to Derry-Londonderry are spoiled for choice. No visit to the North West is complete without taking in one of these popular tours:
-Martin McCrossan City Walking Tours: The only tour in the city to receive the 5 Star Award form the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the tours operate all year around and last approx. 1 hour taking in some of the city’s most famous natural and built attractions.
- City Sightseeing Derry: The famous Hop on Hop Off Bus departs from the Tourist Information Office at hourly intervals between 10am and 5pm each day and will allow visitors to explore the delights of the walled city and further afield taking in attractions including Ebrington Square, Clooney American Naval Base, and the Peace Bridge.
- Food Tours: Made in Derry food tours will allow guests to taste over 20 different food and drinks, with everything from local Street Food to exquisite fresh fish and sweet treats.
Derry-Londonderry boasts a number of popular arts and cultural centres celebrating the city’s visual and performing arts scenes.Some of our favourites include:
- The Millennium Forum: The largest theatre in the North West, this 1000 seat auditorium is the perfect place to find everything from West End Musicals to some of Ireland’s best loved musicians and performers
- The Glassworks: A former 19th century Georgian Church building, this charming performance space has welcomed diverse performers including George Ezra, Foy Vance, Hot House Flowers and Soak
- VOID: This contemporary art space founded in 2005 hosts up to 5 exhibitions per year showcasing the work of established Irish and international artists. The gallery has established an international reputation for its wide-ranging and challenging programme