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Derry-Londonderry: A Jewel of Northern Ireland
Derry-Londonderry, or commonly referred to as simply Derry or Londonderry, is a charming city in Northern Ireland that dates back to the 6th Century. Compact, yet overflowing with sights to see and things to do, Derry – the only walled city in all of Ireland – is a place that takes pride in its rich history and heritage. Yet the ‘Friendliest Destination in Northern Ireland’ is not without its modern-day enticements, with Derry also recognised as a vibrant hub for culturally diverse activity.
History Meets Contemporary
Known as the second largest city in Northern Ireland and with 1.450 years of history in the bank, Derry is home to an enviable amount of heritage and fascinating places of interest – and that’s without going into the long dispute about whether the city should be named Londonderry or Derry! Part of County Donegal up until 1610, the city has developed its own distinct identity. This is perhaps best emphasised by the surrounding City Walls, which were built in the early 17th Century and remain as one of the finest examples of a walled city in Europe. Within these walls you will find acclaimed landmarks such as St. Columb’s Cathedral and Guildhall. Also, if you fancy further experiencing the historic side of Derry, a stay at the stand-out Bishop’s Gate Hotel is in order. While various other hotels and accommodation choices are available, the Bishop’s Gate is a Grade B1 listed property built in 1899 that blends stunning Edwardian architecture with contemporary convenience. And speaking of contemporary, Derry is continuing to undergo a transformation that, while celebrating its legacy, embraces present-day ideologies.
A City for Everyone
With an assortment of activities and attractions, Derry is a place that captures the interest of all types of travellers. As aforementioned, enthusiasts of history have a wealth of things to explore and discover during their time in the city. If you are travelling as a family, there is plenty of fun to be had for both young and old visitors. For example, the Brunswick Moviebowl packs in a cinema, bowling and expansive play area to ensure boredom is non-existent, while other family-oriented attractions include the Riverwatch Aquarium, Tower Museum and Creggan Country Park. Travelling in a group, as a young couple or just on a solo adventure? Well do not worry, as there are plenty of things – including lively bars, dining options and fashionable shops – to peak your interest during a short or long-term trip to Derry.
Getting Around the Area
Separated by the River Foyle, Derry is divided up into two main areas: the Cityside and the Waterside. While the Waterside has a selection of things to do and features the Londonderry railway station, it is the Cityside where you want to be for all of the action. Most hotels, shops, restaurants and attractions – including the Peace Bridge, Foyleside Shopping Centre and Museum of Free Derry – are all situated in the Cityside. And better yet, the city centre is so compact that everything is within reasonable walking distance – although be aware: Derry is characterised by its steep hills that can be tricky to negotiate! As for actually getting to the area when residing outside of Ireland, Derry Airport is positioned near the city centre, and getting there by ferry is possible from numerous ports throughout the UK.
Drinking & Dining Out
When it comes to dining out, you are spoilt for choice when residing in Derry. From quaint pubs serving up traditional fare to popular chain restaurants, many eateries are available to match all tastes and budgets. Although if you want to push the boat out and go for something that extra bit special, heading over to the Waterside area of the city is a safe choice. This is because it contains three of the most highly acclaimed dining options in Derry in the form of The Sooty Olive Restaurant, Walled City Brewery and Browns. That’s not to say that the Cityside doesn’t feature a healthy selection of restaurants and fast food joints, with various cuisines served at a range of locations. As for having a drink, the city boasts an energetic nightlife scene that is covered by a wide selection of clubs and bars.
If you are looking to celebrate Halloween in style, Derry is the place to be. This is down to the annual Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival, which is renowned for being the biggest Halloween-related street party in all of Ireland. So if you’re visiting, make sure to get dressed up, prepare for scares and take in the electric atmosphere of the festival. Halloween, however, isn’t all that the city has to offer in terms of yearly events. In spring, lovers of music are welcomed to sample the talents of local and popular jazz musicians via the City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival. During the summer, the popular Foyle Maritime Festival enjoys many nautical-themed activities for all of the family to experience. Many other festivals and events also take place throughout the year, which means that there is usually always something on in Derry-Londonderry!