A Derry spe­cial des­ti­na­tion

Why not ex­pe­ri­ence one of the UK’s most cul­tur­ally stim­u­lat­ing cities?

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - TRAVEL -

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)

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