Peace Bridge Derry Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry

Derry ~ Londonderry is one of those places that for a long time has been associated with conflict. If you’d asked me a month ago what I knew about the city, I would have mentioned Bloody Sunday and The Troubles. Don’t get me wrong, these tragic events are part of Derry’s identity today and must not be forgotten. But perhaps it’s time for the walled city to be known for more than that.

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Derry Today

Derry is a testament to what positive community relations can do for a place where conflict has ruled most people’s lives. Things have changed at a rapid pace in the last few years, and Derry is now a place of hope and of increasing prosperity.

This was evident to me over the two days I spent in the city. Locals, whether catholic or protestant, are proud of what both communities have achieved and there is a constant feeling of optimism in the air.

Bogside Derry Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry
The Bogside at night seen from the City Walls

So why should I visit Derry? 

As I discovered myself, Derry is a city full of powerful ancient and recent history, a foodie’s paradise, with quaint Georgian architecture and a vibrant cultural scene that is ready to be discovered by the outside world.

Derry Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry
Beautiful Georgian architecture in the streets of Derry
Derry Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry
More Georgian architecture in Derry

Divided in two by the River Foyle, Derry is very close to the border with Ireland. Its biggest draw are the 17th century walls that fully enclose the old city, one of the finest examples of a walled city in Europe. It is also a great starting point for the Causeway Coastal Route, that takes you past dramatic cliff-top castles, white sandy beaches, charming little villages, and of course, the famed Giant’s Causeway.

Here are some suggestions to get you started. I’ve highlighted some of my favourite places so you can pick and choose to create your own perfect Derry trip. Enjoy!

Top 10 Things to Do in Derry

Walking Tour of the City Walls

Derry’s star attraction is the 17th century walls, the only remaining intact walled city in Ireland. The walls form a historic walkway of just under a mile all around the old city and offer great views over the surrounding neighbourhoods. You will also come across the actual cannons that played a big part in the two 17th century sieges. I had the best guide I could have wished for, a local man so passionate about Derry’s history that he really brought it to life. And he seemed to know everyone we walked past! You can book your own walking tour here.

City Walls Derry Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry
Derry City Walls
Bogside Derry City Walls Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry
Derry City Walls overlooking the Bogside


The Tower Museum

An award winning museum, it is an essential visit in order to understand Derry’s past and present. It houses two permanent exhibitions, The Story of Derry, which tells the history of the city from prehistoric times to the present day, and the Armada Shipwreck. The museum is open daily and admission is £4.

Tower Museum Derry Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry
The Tower Museum

The Guildhall

One of Derry’s most recognisable landmarks, it is a must see destination for visitors. There is a permanent exhibition about the Plantation (organised colonization) of Ulster, but it’s worth a visit just for the stunning stained glass windows. It’s open daily and it’s free entry.

Guildhall Derry Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry
The Guildhall is visible from pretty much everywhere in the city
Guildhall Derry Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry
The stained glass windows inside The Guildhall

Walking Tour of the Bogside

The Bogside is a neighbourhood outside of the city walls where many of the events of The Troubles, including Bloody Sunday, took place. You can do a tour that visits the key locations of these events, including Free Derry Corner, a free-standing gable wall that commemorates Free Derry. You will see the People’s Gallery, a collection of large gable wall murals by the Bogside Artists that remember the events of The Troubles. Free Derry Tours is run by Eugene, a local Bogside man who knows the history of the area first hand. Tours leave from the Museum of Free Derry, so combine a tour with a visit to the museum for an in-depth view of the events.

Bogside Artists Murals Derry Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry
Two of the murals by The Bogside Artists part of the People’s Gallery
Bogside Free Derry Corner Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry
Two icons of the times of The Troubles – Free Derry Corner and The Petrol Bomber mural by The Bogside Artists

Museum of Free Derry

This museum tells the story of what happened in the city during the ‘Free Derry’ period (1968-72), and covers the civil rights era, the Battle of the Bogside and Bloody Sunday amongst other key events. What makes this place special is that the story is told from the point of view of those who were most affected by and involved in the incidents. It is an emotional journey through the events of the time, but one that everyone should learn about and they must not be forgotten. Entry is £4.

Bogside Free Derry Museum Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry
Display at the Free Derry Museum shows bottles used for petrol bombs and gas mask
Free Derry Museum Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry
Rubbish bin lids were banged on the floor and used as an alarm system

The Peace Bridge

The Peace Bridge was conceived as a project to literally ‘bridge’ the gap between the two communities of the waterside (protestant) and the cityside (mostly catholic). Originally there were concerns that people may not use it because who would want to visit ‘the other side’? This S-shaped bridge has proven to be a great success and has been pivotal in bringing the two communities together. It stretches from Guildhall Square to Ebrington Square, where you can enjoy a great view of the city.

Peace Bridge Derry Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry
The Peace Bridge at night from Ebrington Square


Ebrington Square

Recently regenerated, Ebrington Square was the site of the British Army barracks until 2002. It is now an open square where you can find a small but perfectly-formed brewery, Walled City Brewery, that serves delicious pintxos and craft beer. There are also plans for a distillery to open in the square in 2018.

Ebrington Barracks Square Derry Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry
Ebrington Square with the old barracks in the background

The Siege Museum

The Siege Museum is dedicated to the history of the Siege of Derry and the Apprentice Boys of Derry, who commemorate the events of the Siege with two annual marches along the city walls. These marches used to be seen as a provocation and they always resulted in riots, but thanks to the reconciliation between the two communities in the city, they now pass almost entirely without incident. The museum is closed on Sundays and entrance fee is £3.

Siege Museum Apprentice Boys Derry Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry
One of the standards used by The Apprentice Boys of Derry on their marches

Derry Craft Village

A little bit of an oasis within the city, Derry Craft Village is a Dickensian style complex with craft shops, balconied apartments, restaurants and coffee shops. It is ideal for a browse around the cute independent shops, for a nice meal or just a drink.

Derry Craft Village Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry
Derry Craft Village with The Guildhall in the background
Derry Craft Village Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry
A traditional cottage in Derry Craft Village

Church Cathedral of St Columb

Built shortly after the city walls, it is the oldest building in the city. You can book a tour directly by emailing the Cathedral, or you can just go for a stroll on the grounds.

Cathedral St Columb Derry Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry
Church Cathedral of St Columb

Derry or Londonderry?

The name of the city of Derry~Londonderry has been the subject of a naming dispute between Irish nationalists and unionists. Generally, although not always, nationalists favour using the name Derry, and unionists favour Londonderry.

The insertion of the hyphen between the words ‘Derry’ and ‘Londonderry’ was the grammatical equivalent of the city’s Peace Bridge, a device to link the two communities without diminishing either.” – Dr Paul Nolan, author of the Community Relations Council’s (CRC) third Peace Monitoring Report.

I have chosen to go for Derry for simplicity reasons.

Where to Stay in Derry

Bishops Gate Hotel Derry Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry

Bishops Gate Hotel – Luxury Stay

Located within the historic city walls in the heart of Derry City’s Cathedral Quarter, this hotel is the perfect base to explore Derry’s iconic tourist landmarks. These include the historic walls, Church Cathedral of St Columb, The Guildhall and the Peace Bridge.

Would you like more info? Click for Tripadvisor reviews.

City Hotel Derry Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry

City Hotel – Mid-Range Stay

On the banks of the River Foyle, City Hotel is just 550 yards from the Tower Museum. The famous golf courses at Portrush are less than an hour’s drive away, and Foyleside Shopping Centre is within a 10-minute walk.

Would you like more info? Click for Tripadvisor reviews.

Hostel Connect Derry Northern Ireland Ulster Londonderry

Hostel Connect – Budget Stay

It is Derry City’s largest hostel and is situated in the heart of the historic walled city. It is only 2 minutes from all the action of the pubs, clubs, restaurants and the city’s vibrant nightlife.

Would you like more info? Click for Tripadvisor reviews.


Or if you have specific requirements, use this search box.


Getting to Derry

By Air* (Updated February 2019)

As of February 2019 Flybmi has sadly ceased trading, but Derry is still very easy to access from other airports such as George Best Belfast City Airport, Belfast International Airport, and even from Donegal Airport, which has been voted as the most scenic landing in the world

There are two daily flights from London Stanstead to Derry with flybmi, with fares from £44 one way.

Book your Stansted Airport Parking with Holiday Extras.

Early flight? Check out Stansted Airport Hotels with Holiday Extras for the best hotel deals.

By Train

There is a direct train from Belfast Central to Londonderry Station that takes just over two hours.

Book your tickets here

By Bus

Bus 212 leaves Europa Buscentre in Belfast to Derry every half hour. It takes approximately 1 hour 50 mins.

Planning to explore further afield?

If you would like to get out of the city, driving yourself along the Causeway Coastal Route or through the countryside, can be a great option. But car hire is not cheap, so to get the best deal, click on this banner below.

For a great road trip in Northern Ireland, check out this post from Jill at Reading The Book: Discover Northern Ireland’s beautiful Causeway Coast

And if this hasn’t convinced you yet, here are 5 reasons why you will love Northern Ireland.


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48 Hours in Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Guide to Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Things to Do in Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Things to Do in Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland

48 Hours in Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Things to Do in Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Disclosure: A big thank you to Visit Derry, who hosted me on this trip. As always, all views are my own. 




    • Teresa says:

      Hi Julieann
      Thank you so much. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
      The Museum of Free Derry was one of the highlights of my visit to Derry. Keep up the great work! 🙂

  1. Maria says:

    Loved the piece about the city – shows it in a great light that you don’t see on the news.

    One note:
    “Bus 212 leaves Europa Buscentre in Belfast to Derry every half hour. It takes approximately 50 mins” – closer to an hour and 50 minutes

    • Teresa says:

      Thank you Maria. I’m really happy you enjoyed the post.
      I wrote about what I saw just as I saw it. Derry was a great surprise for me as, like you said, when it is on the news it is not necessarily in a positive light. I loved the enthusiasm that local people have for their own city. 🙂

      Thanks for the note about the Belfast bus. I have corrected it.

    • Teresa says:

      Hi Mark

      Thank you so much for message. I am so glad that you enjoyed my post. Please feel free to share it around. I think Londonderry deserves more recognition as a tourist destination. It’s got so much to offer! 🙂

    • Teresa says:

      Thank you so much Christine! I ate at The Gown (Bishops Gate Hotel), Browns, Walled City Brewery, Brickworks and Harry’s. The food was incredible! I am working on a foodie post too so keep an eye out for it over the next couple of weeks 🙂

  2. Derek says:

    A great visitors view of what to do in Derry/Londonderry . Great city of for places to eat as well

    • Teresa says:

      Hi Derek

      Thank you so much. I agree with you that the city has great places to eat. I am working on another post that covers those places. Stay tuned! 🙂

  3. Fidelma says:

    What a lovely snapshot of our beautiful city. At Elaghvale Camping Park we frequently hear the same reports, we have a city wishes acknowledges its troubled past but continues to drive towards a brighter future. Hope you visit again.

    • Teresa says:

      Thank you Fidelma. I’m so happy that you enjoyed it. Our own history is what makes who we are, and we should embrace it, learn from it and move forward. I thought Derry was a great example of a place that has done just that, and that in itself makes it very special. I will visit again for sure! 🙂

  4. Christie says:

    Derry sounds amazing! It’s great to hear how much the spirit of the city has improved in recent years too. I have some friends from Northern Ireland so definitely need to visit on my next trip to the UK!

    • Teresa says:

      Hi Christie
      Thank you for your comment. Yes, do visit! It’s a fab city and you can combine it with a bit of a road trip along the coast. The Giant’s Causeway is not that far! 🙂

  5. Louise says:

    Wow, Derry looks beautiful and not how I expected! Your photos are wonderful. I’ve been wanting to visit Northern Ireland for a while – I’m only in England so no excuse really! This article has made me even keener to get over there. Thanks for the ideas!

    • Teresa says:

      Thank you so much Louise!
      It’s funny that sometimes the closest places to us are the ones that we explore the least it or we plainly ignore. Derry is definitely worth a visit if you get the chance 🙂

  6. Aarti Kamath says:

    This was very informative! The pictures are definitely very inviting. Hoping to make it sometime for sure and hence pinning the post. The traditional cottage in Derry Craft Village looks like a nice little cream cake 🙂 :)….

  7. Garvin Kerr Jnr says:

    Fantastic Article! Some great photos aswell! I’m very proud of my home city. I will pass this article on to my dad (Garvin the tour guide) I’m sure he will be pleased to read such a great article about his tour! Thanks ☺

    • Teresa says:

      Thank you so much for your comments Garvin! I’m so happy you enjoyed the post! I love that you are Garvin’s son. Please do send him my regards 🙂

  8. Maggie says:

    Thank you so much for the beautiful tour of Derry, my hometown from long ago. Wonderful to see that the places of my childhood memory have survived and the City appears to be thriving. Worth a visit for sure!

    • Teresa says:

      Thank you Maggie! I’m so happy you enjoyed reading my post. Derry is a wonderful city and as you said, worth a visit for sure! 🙂

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