If you ask me, Derry city is absolutely worth a visit. A city famous for it’s …. past (and now famous for Derry girls yay!), it is well worth a trip. You can immerse yourself in the deep Irish history as well as visit the tourist sights, enjoy some fantastic restaurants and pubs and of course, visit the Derry Girls sites. If you are looking for some Derry City Things To Do, or you’re simply wondering “How Do you Spend A Day In Derry”, I’ve got you covered!

Is Derry Worth A Visit

The simple answer is yes. Whatever you’re into – visiting tourist sights, museums, shopping, pubs and restaurants, Derry has a bit of everything for you.

Things To Do in Derry City

Visit the cities heritage sites – Derry City Things To Do

Derry is steeped in Irish city in fact it is sometimes knowns as Ireland’s most historic city. There are so many heritage sites you can visit to learn more about the cities past:

Walk The Derry City Walls

Walk the city walls. Derry is Ireland’s only fully walled city and the walls are still fully intact. You can walk the whole perimeter and from the 400-year-old walls, you get to see so much of the city passing by hundreds of years of history.

The Guild Hall – Derry City Things To Dothings to do in Derry City - the guild hall

The Guild Hall, stands proudly in the heart of Derry. If you’re looking for things to do in the city, you can’t miss this. This iconic building has a striking neo-gothic look and has been a focal point since its completion in 1890. Originally constructed as a seat of local government, the Guild Hall has played witness to significant moments in Derry’s past. Today, it stands as both a symbol of the city’s heritage and a vibrant cultural hub.

It’s free to visit. Go in and enjoy the interior, with stunning stained glass windows and intricate woodwork, while also enjoying the plantation exhibition within its walls.

Derry’s First Blue Coat Heritage Centre

This was Derry’s first Presbyterian church (built in 1960) and the building behind now displays information on the church and the arrival of Presbyterians in North West Ulster during the plantations in the 17th century. This attraction is free to visit.

The Siege Museum

The Exhibition is a permanent display of the history of the Siege of Londonderry. Fee to enter is £5.00 for adults, under 12s Free.

St. Augustine’s Church – What To Do in Derry City

st augustines church derry

A stunning little neo-gothic church built in 1872 on the ancient site of St. Columba’s/Colmcille monastery founded in 546AD. As you walk the Derry City walls you’ll pass right by it.

St. Columb’s Hall – Heritage Sites in Derry

St. Columb’s Hall opened as a refugee for the local community during the temperance movement. It’s hosted figures of all backgrounds from Emmeline Pankhurst (one of the most famous and influential British suffrage leaders) in 1910, to the US singer Jim Reeves and all in between. It is open for events again.

The Museum of Free Derry

This is such a powerful experience. By visiting this museum you’ll learn about the tragedies that happened here between 1968 – 1972. It includes incidents such as “Free Derry” and “Bloody Sunday” but it …. many more. As you walk through at your own pace, you’ll see images, original artifacts, and original video footage and voice recordings. I found it to be very emotional and upsetting at times but these are stories that deserve to be listened to. It’s a chapter of Irish history we should all know about.

The museum is nestled in the Bogside just 2 minutes walk from the “Free Derry” wall, so be sure to check out the murals nearby when you visit.

Visit The Bogside Murals including the Free Derry Wall

As you walk through the bogside, you’ll see multiple murals, depicting different events from throughout the troubles. Each mural tells a compelling story, offering a visual journey through the city’s historical struggles and the resilience of its people. As you wander through the Bogside, you’ll find these murals not only as artworks but as powerful symbols that contribute to the collective memory and narrative of Derry.

The most famous of these is the “Free Derry” wall.

St Eugine’s Cathedral

This building just recently celebrated its 150th anniversary with the first mass being held in 1873.  This building is nothing short of stunning and each stained glass windows are gorgeous and each tells a different story.

It is said that this cathedral was built with “the pennies of the poor, the sixpences of those not quite so poor and the shillings of those who were better-to-do”. In fact of the 40,000 pounds it took to build the cathedral, 4k was raised in the US, the rest was donated by the people of Derry. Because of this, it took a long time to build the cathedral – it took time for the funds to become available.

The site was purchased in 1849 and the cathedral opened in 1873.

There are tours of the Cathedral Monday – Saturday although you can also take your own 40-minute Audio Tour from the information point in the foyer.

Walk The Peace Bridge

 

Spanning the River Foyle, the Peace Bridge in Derry is more than just a physical bridge; it’s a symbol of unity and hope. It oened in 2011 to provide a link between the city’s two sides but also serves as a reminder of Derry’s journey toward peace and reconciliation.

Places To Eat In Derry City Centre

Bron – Great Brunch Spot in Derry

Bron is a very Instagrammable spot in the heart of Derry City. It’s located right off the ….. I headed there for brunch and the food lived up to the … surroundings. I got the veggie breakfast and it was one of the nicest I’ve ever had. They serve class food by day and craft beers by night and they also have paint and prosecco events.

Nine Hostages Coffee – Places for Lunch in Derry

Have lunch at @ninehostagescoffeeco. The food is DEVINE. It’s built directly onto the city walls – some of which are still visible from inside the building. And there is also a library upstairs. It’s the perfect place to sit for a quiet cup of coffee and people-watch.

Yum Cakes Bakery – Food in Derry City

I stopped off in Yum Cakes after being pulled in by the vibrant storefront!

What Is Derry City Famous For

History

Derry, is a city mainly famous for its complex history, which weaves right up into the present.  The north of Ireland is known for being the original location for the plantations from the UK, sparking conflicts that reverberate through the city’s veins. As well as all over Ireland, this city witnessed even more tensions, giving rise to the Troubles—an era of conflict between Irish nationalists and the descendants of those who arrived during the plantations. The historical walls of Derry bear witness to the resilience and struggles that defined this period, shaping the city into a living testament of endurance and evolution.

Derry Girls

On a lighter note, the hit TV series “Derry Girls” has also etched the city onto the global map. The series was filmed in Derry city and the plot centres around life in the city while the troubles are taking place. There is a Derry Girls mural in the city and you can also visit many of the filming locations.

Halloween Festival

Derry takes spooky season very seriously, hosting one of the world’s most popular Halloween festivals. Every October, the city transforms into a bewitching spectacle, with parades, haunted houses, music and a festive atmosphere that excited locals and visitors alike. I was lucky enough to visit for the festival and I loved it so much!

Is Derry A Walkable City

Yes, the great thing about Derry is it’s fully walkable. I found that the city has a compact layout. This made it ideal for exploring on foot, allowing you to wander through its historic streets and iconic landmarks.

Where To Stay in Derry?

Any time I’ve stayed in Derry it’s been in an Airbnb and they’ve all been great. More recently I tried Oaklane Glamping which is just 10 minutes outside the city. It’s fab. Check it out here:

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