Top 5 things to see and do in Derry

Ireland’s most northern city is one of the most fascinating places to visit on the Emerald Isle. Here are the top 5 things to see and do in Derry City.

Known as ‘The Walled City’, Derry is Ireland’s most northern city and has witnessed some of the country’s most unique, tragic, and important events across its turbulent and captivating history.

Nowadays, tourism in Derry is on the rise, with around 335,000 overnight trips to the city in 2018 alone, catapulting from whenever Derry was the City of Culture in 2013.

The mix of past and present makes Derry an intriguing and exciting place to visit. Here are the top 5 things to do and see in Derry.

5. The Millenium Forum – watch the best of Derry’s talent

The Millenium Forum is one of the top things to see and do in Derry, especially with its range of entertainment.

The Millennium Forum is the first purpose-built theatre in Derry and is one of Ireland’s largest theatre and event centres with a capacity of 1,000.

It opened in 2001 and hosts a range of entertainment; comedy, musicals, pantomime, opera, ballet, country music, dance, and family events.

The Forum has Italian-style marble floors and golden interiors that give it an authentic theatrical look and design.  

There’s no better time to visit; The Sound of Music and Walking on Cars are happening in December alone, making a show in the Forum one of the best things to do in Derry.

Address: 3 Newmarket St, Derry BT48 6EB

4. The Peace Bridge – to bridge Derry’s divide

An iconic symbol of Irish history, the Peace Bridge is one of out top five things to see and do in Derry.

Derry’s Peace Bridge crosses the 400-year old city partition, the River Foyle. It connects Ebrington Square with the rest of the city centre.

It was opened on June 25th 2011, built at the cost of £14 million, and funded by the European Regional Development Fund’s PEACE programme. It is 235 metres long and 4 metres wide.

The meaning of the bridge is in its elegant architecture. The two arms point in different directions but symbolise the unification of the Protestant Waterside and nationalist Bogside communities.

The curved bridge includes a footpath, track and cycleway, and its subtle lights provide a delicate backdrop to the city at night.

Address: Derry BT48 7NN

3. The Guildhall – where Derry’s power lies

Neo-Gothic and stunning, the Guildhall of Derry is one of our top five things to see and do in the city.
Credit: Jenny Jensma

The Guildhall is one of the city’s most iconic buildings, based at the slope of the Peace Bridge and just beside the city walls.

The Guildhall was built in 1887. The neo-Gothic style is exemplified in the building’s red sandstone. When finished marvelling at the outside, take a walk inside and observe the stunning glass windows.

The building is the home to the Derry and Strabane District Council, while the square outside is the perfect place to relax in the heart of the city.

The Guildhall underwent a £9.5 million restoration in 2013 and welcomed its one-millionth visitor in 2016, cementing itself as one of the top things to see in Derry.

Address: Derry BT48 7BB

2. Go for a drink in the city – for an unforgettable night

The night-life of the city is great. It offers so much choice, another one of our top five things to see and do in Derry.
Credit: @Peadarsderry / Facebook

A mark of any great city is the bars and pubs it has to offer, and thankfully, Derry is no different. It’s great for a quiet pint or a partying night out.

Derry is, after all, an Irish city and home to several traditional Irish bars, such as Peadar O’Donnell’s and The Gweedore Bar, known for live Irish music.

The city is also in tune with the times with the likes of Granny Annies and Blackbird, whose wooden booths, leather sofas, and warming fires complement the craft beer and cocktails it sells.

Derry doesn’t leave anyone behind, with quality nightclubs such as Sugar, The Metro, and Sandinos catering for true nights out in the city.

1. The Derry Walls and murals – for the history of the city

Historic and symbolic, the Derry Walls and murals are one of the top sites in the city.

Derry is one of Ireland’s most historic cities. One of the best things to do while visiting is to take in, experience, witness, and live the legacy it has left behind.

Derry is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland, built between 1613-1618. The encircling city walls offer unrestricted views of the city and form a walkway around the inner city. Along the wall is Europe’s largest collection of cannons.

Derry has also inscribed its history onto its walls and buildings, the Bogside being a particular hotspot, near the spot where fourteen civilians were killed by British soldiers on ‘Bloody Sunday’, January 1972.

When in the city, make sure to visit the “Free Derry” corner and other murals depicting the reality of the recent conflicts in the city.

Address: The Diamond, Derry BT48 6HW (Walls)

Address: Derry BT48 9DR (Murals)

Make sure you experience these top 5 things to do and see in Derry, one of Ireland’s most unique and fascinating cities.

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Note: our travel articles should be used only to plan future trips. Please stay at home until the government has advised otherwise.

Dan O'Muirigh is a keen travel writer from Belfast, County Antrim. He is a passionate sports man who plays Gaelic football for Naomh Gall GAC. He recently graduated with a degree in Law but instead wants to pursue a career in writing. He loves Ireland and believes the island offers something for everyone. He has immersed himself into the country by playing Irish sports, taking part in the culture and learning the Irish language.