A Derry special destination
Why not experience one of the UK’s most culturally stimulating cities?
As one of the most culturally stimulating destinations in the UK, Londonderry has city break appeal written all over it. The thriving culture, arts and foodie scenes, the beautiful riverside setting and wealth of history and fine architecture are all presided over by the glorious 17th century city walls. As the final destination on the Causeway Coastal Route, the Walled City offers wall-to-wall inspiration — and every reason to get away for a few days together.
In this vibrant yet compact city the hotels are varied, so you will certainly be able to find the right spot to suit your tastes and budget. However, for those wanting to enjoy luxury and to be close to the main sights and attractions, the multi-award-winning Bishop’s Gate Hotel will fit the bill. This lavish urban oasis blends plush modern facilities with stunning Edwardian architecture in what was once a private members’ club hosting the likes of Winston Churchill and famed Irish poet WB Yeats.
Once settled in, start off with a walk or a guided tour of the city’s most famous landmark, Derry’s walls. A stroll around the milelong ramparts provides a unique promenade to soak up the history and view the layout of the original town.
Other must-see city landmarks include The Guildhall, full of stunning stained glass windows, and the iconic Peace Bridge. A walk or a cycle over the distinctive S-shaped bridge from the city centre yields beautiful views and photo opportunities along the River Foyle. On the other side, explore Ebrington Square and be sure to stop for some craft beer and tapas at the Walled City Brewery.
The vibrant cultural life that helped Derry capture the UK City of Culture title is waiting to be discovered in a host of creative venues offering an eclectic mix of everything from music, theatre and visual art to Irish language, Ulster-Scots song and dance and digital arts.
Delve into local history at the Tower Museum, which boasts an open-air viewing platform with panoramic views of the city and River Foyle. At the Siege Museum, unpack the story of the Apprentice Boys and the famous siege of 1688, or take in Northern Ireland’s more contemporary history in the Museum of Free Derry, dedicated to the story of the civil rights movement of the Sixties.
The Walled City’s food scene is flourishing, although foodies might prefer to munch their way around on a Made in Derry Food Tour, where you can meet chefs and producers and sample a range of local specialities.
Derry is also a fantastic place for shopping, but for a unique souvenir of your city break seek out the Craft Village on Shipquay Street. This eclectic mix of artisan craft shops, restaurants and coffee shops lets you step back in time and spend an afternoon browsing for one-off gifts for all occasions.
For more city break ideas in Northern Ireland, visit www.discovernorthernireland.com
VIBRANT: the Guildhall Square in Londonderry, the Peace Bridge (below left) and the Wig Champagne Bar at the Bishop’s Gate Hotel (right)