See ships, sieges and scenic walls

The province’s sec­ond city is the per­fect place to learn about an­cient and mod­ern his­tory

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - TRAVEL -


Lon­don­derry may have re­cently found it­self im­mersed in pop­u­lar cul­ture thanks to the suc­cess of Chan­nel 4’s hit Derry Girls, but the city has al­ways been steeped in his­tory. Take a trip to the north west to learn more about its fas­ci­nat­ing past, vi­brant cul­tural scene and rich her­itage.

Be­gin your his­tor­i­cal jour­ney by check­ing in to Bishop’s Gate Ho­tel, po­si­tioned per­fectly within the city walls and the cathe­dral quar­ter. The stun­ning listed build­ing was erected in 1899 and its Ed­war­dian ar­chi­tec­ture has been sen­si­tively re­stored to blend his­tory with lav­ish con­tem­po­rary fa­cil­i­ties. Drop off your bags in your lux­u­ri­ous bed­room and pre­pare to ab­sorb all the his­tory the Maiden City has to of­fer.

If you were a fan of Derry Girls, then you will be aware that the City Walls are “noth­ing short of spec­tac­u­lar” and there­fore a must­see for your trip.

The City Walls, built be­tween 1613 and 1618, have sur­vived two 17th cen­tury sieges and pro­vide a unique plat­form to view the lay­out of the orig­i­nal town.

Me­an­der along the walls for free, with plaques placed along the 1.5km prom­e­nade to in­form you of the events of the past. Al­ter­na­tively, at the Vis­i­tor In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre you can avail of a guided tour to hear more about the fa­mous 105-day siege of 1688.

Lo­cated within the walls is the Tower Mu­seum, where you will learn both lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional his­tory.

The mu­seum uses in­ter­ac­tive tech­niques to present ‘The Story of Derry’ from pre­his­toric to mod­ern times, show­cas­ing its colour­ful and dra­matic past.

Its other per­ma­nent ex­hi­bi­tion tells the tale of the sunken La Trinidad Va­lencera, one of the largest ships of the Span­ish Ar­mada, which was re­dis­cov­ered by divers from the City of Derry Sub-Aqua Club in 1971.

Once you have been cap­ti­vated by the past, come back to the present by trav­el­ling to level five of the mu­seum, where an open-air view­ing fa­cil­ity pro­vides stun­ning panoramic views of the city and the River Foyle.

After work­ing up an ap­petite, there are plenty of out­stand­ing eater­ies to choose from. Stop to re­fuel at the Ex­change Res­tau­rant and Wine Bar, which is well-known for fine din­ing and a bustling en­vi­ron­ment. The Ex­change is lo­cated be­side the Guild­hall and prides it­self on of­fer­ing first-class food that is lo­cally sourced and freshly pro­duced.

Derry has plenty of nightlife on of­fer with a tra­di­tional twist. Take a short walk from the Ex­change to the Grand Cen­tral Bar which was es­tab­lished in 1922. This cosy venue re­tains much of its orig­i­nal char­ac­ter and is a per­fect spot for great beer and lo­cal live mu­sic.

For more his­tor­i­cal sites to add to your itin­er­ary while in Lon­don­derry, visit www. dis­cov­er­north­ernire­

Derry’s walls pro­vide a unique plat­form to view the city and be­yond

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