Hailed as a City of Culture, Derry is also thoroughly modern and there's much to see and do here during a short break...
Fly into the City of Derry Airport and discover one of the most enchanting small cities in the UK. Officially recognised as Londonderry, but almost always called Derry, there's no confusion about how you should spend your time in this city in the north west. From attractions exploring the ancient, such as the City Walls, St Columb's Cathedral and the city's excellent museums, to the shops, music venues, cafés and wonderful restaurants dotted among the streets, Derry never fails to dish up a sumptuous platter of city break delights.
Derry sits on the banks of the River Foyle, which flows into the nearby beauty spot of Lough Foyle, while the border with the Republic of Ireland is just minutes away. Hire a car to make the most of your visit. It makes it easy to get around Derry itself, while also acting as a passport to the glorious countryside and coastal areas that make this part of Ireland such a hit with lovers of the great outdoors.
Find out where to find the best hotels in Derry...
The city centre, located on the western banks of the river, is where you'll find most Derry hotels. This is also the place to be to see the main attractions of Derry, which include the historic walled part of the city. There are modern luxury hotels, a handful of boutique hotels and apartments and traditional hotels in the city centre. On both banks of the river you can also check in at B&Bs and budget chain hotels from the likes of Travelodge and Premier Inn. Other big brands operating in Derry include Best Western and Ramada.
The countryside surrounding Derry is home to a few country house hotels, which offer a very different view compared to the city hotels. A car would be useful if you do stay in the verdant environs of County Londonderry as public transport might not serve your needs well enough.
Discover the highlights that make locals proud to call Derry home...
There are plenty of ways to fill your days and evenings during a short break in Derry. Here's our guide to some of the best:
Top five attractions
Tour the only complete set of city walls in Ireland. Built 400 years ago to keep the English and Scots out, everyone is welcome these days to explore a key piece in the jigsaw that is Derry's history.
There are two notable trails to follow and watch Derry, its people and its past unfurl before your eyes. Keep on the Bogside Heritage Trail to see where “Bloody Sunday” took place, and tread the Murals Trail to see the famed Loyalist emblems.
Found within the city walls, this enchanting museum tells two big tales from Northern Ireland. The first unveils the story of Derry itself, while the second surveys the events surrounding the wreck of 'La Trinidad Valencera', which sank off the coast of Donegal in 1588 during the Spanish Armada.
The striking shapes of the Guildhall make their way onto many photographs. Visitors can tour the building any day of the week.
Fans of Irish whisky will fancy the hour's trip to Bushmills in the north, where the oldest working distillery in Ireland takes tourists on a journey through the whisky-making process. It's open year round.
The City of Culture has no shortage of events up its sleeve...
Derry puts on a fine calendar of annual events. Be in the city when any of these top events take place to get a real taste of this Irish city.
St Patrick's Day Spring Carnival; March: The nation's patron saint is celebrated with the same gusto in Derry as it is elsewhere in Ireland. Parades, parties and plenty of activities for all the family take place around March 17.
Flavours of the Foyle; July: Sitting on the river and near Lough Foyle and the beautiful Irish coast, it is little wonder that locals love to celebrate the fresh bounty of food from the water. A large programme of culinary events plays out at various city venues.
Walled City Tattoo; August: Thousands gather in Derry-Londonderry to experience the thrills of seeing Irish legs dancing and Irish arms thrashing drums, as well as wacky acts from around the world. It's an event not to be missed if you visit Derry during the long, warm days of summer.