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5 riverside destinations for a relaxing retreat in Derry

Co Londonderry is a prime location for those who enjoy an aquatic adventure. Although the crashing waves of the Causeway Coastal Route make for a great Atlantic splash, further inland the Maiden City provides the ultimate opportunity to enjoy a more relaxed waterside retreat.

1. Only fifteen minutes from the historic City Walls, stay at the multi-award winning Da Vinci’s four-star hotel. Boasting Derry’s largest guest bedrooms, the accommodation is a burst of urban living in the rural surrounds. The contemporary hotel is stylishly furnished and located close to the banks of the River Foyle, with peaceful views over the calm waters to be enjoyed on the short walk into the city centre.

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Da Vinci's

2. Before making your way towards the bustling streets of the Walled City, take a short scenic drive across the Foyle Bridge towards Beech Hill Country House where you will be surrounded by beautiful wooded countryside. At the foothills of the Sperrins and nestled in the Faughan Valley, Beech Hill Country House offers you the unique opportunity to explore the surrounding secluded woodland on horseback.

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Beech Hill Country House

The Georgian elegance of the 18th Century country house is reflected in the magnificent grounds through which you will travel, with the sound of horse’s hooves accompanying the trickling waters of the forest to provide an ambient soundtrack. Close to the River Faughan, you will pass by ponds and scurrying wildlife along the country path with your knowledgeable guide sharing their insights to the landscape and local characters of the area.

3. After a few hours in the saddle, return to the city of Derry for a casual dining experience with fine flair. Browns In Town, located nearby the Harbour Square and River Foyle, offers a modern Irish menu with local ingredients at its heart. The Michelin Guide recommended venue is a continual hit with foodies and is popular with locals and visitors alike.

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Browns In Town

The restaurant combines delicious dishes with trendy décor and with multi-award-winning Chef Ian Orr at the helm of the busy kitchen, all guests are sure to enjoy a gastronomic treat. Browse through the menu of the ambient-lit establishment and choose from the mouth-watering options, including the signature Browns Burger or regionally-sourced Seafood Chowder accompanied by home-made bread and Eglinton butter. Accompany your meal with a traditional cocktail or craft-brewed beer before debating whether to opt for one of the delicately delectable desserts.

4. Ahead of taking the scenic route back to your hotel, make a pit stop at Sandinos on Water Street and nab a table outside to enjoy a riverside nightcap. The live music venue is popular with artists and musicians, ranging from lively traditional through to smooth jazz and world music from across the globe. The popular café bar is the perfect location to round off your night.

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5. Awaken refreshed and relaxed after a restful night’s sleep at Da Vinci’s Hotel and pay a visit to nearby Primrose on the Quay for a delicious breakfast. Using only the finest local meats from their own family-run Breslin Butchers and baked goods from their scratch bakery, you are guaranteed the freshest brunch with a picturesque backdrop at Primrose. The vibrant City quay is the ideal spot to enjoy a crisp morning with a coffee before drawing your trip to Derry to a close.

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Other nearby attractions

Brickwork Restaurant

Within the heart of the Walled City, Brickwork is an independent and locally-owned casual dining establishment serving up fabulous food using locally sourced ingredients.  The quirky venue features low ambient lighting and a fusion of traditional dishes with international cuisine.

The City Hotel

The City Hotel is perched in Harbour Square at the heart of Derry city, with panoramic views over the River Foyle. Only steps away from the famous Peace Bridge and iconic City Walls, the award-winning hotel is also home to Thompsons on the River restaurant which offers tasty dishes in a stylish setting.

River Foyle Stand Up Paddle Boarding

To truly experience the city’s waters from a unique perspective, engage in a stand-up paddle board session along the River Foyle. Embark upon a golden hour adventure at sunset to witness the lights reflecting off the glistening waters for a truly magical experience, as you slowly explore the maritime history of the area with your experienced guide.

For more of what’s on offer on the banks of Derry's rivers, visit

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