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8 ways to explore the historical Walled City of Derry

Londonderry may have recently found itself immersed in popular culture thanks to the success of Channel 4’s hit Derry Girls, but the city has always been steeped in history.

Take a trip to Derry to learn more about its fascinating past, vibrant cultural scene and rich heritage.

1. Begin your historical journey by checking in to Bishop’s Gate Hotel, positioned perfectly within the city walls and the cathedral quarter.

The stunning listed building was erected in 1899, and its Edwardian architecture has been sensitively restored to blend history with lavish contemporary facilities. Drop off your bags in your luxurious bedroom and prepare to absorb all the history the Maiden City has to offer.

2. If you were a fan of Derry Girls, then you will be aware that the City Walls are “Nothing short of spectacular” and therefore a must-see for your trip.

The Derry Walls, built between 1613 and 1618, have survived two seventeenth century sieges and provide a unique platform to view the layout of the original town. 

Meander along the City Walls for free, with plaques  placed along the 1.5km promenade to inform you of the events of the past. Alternatively, at the Visitor Information Centre you can avail of a guided tour to hear more about the famous 105-day siege of 1688.

3. Located within the City Walls is the Tower Museum, where you will learn both local and international history.

The museum uses interactive techniques to present “The Story of Derry” from prehistoric to modern times, showcasing its colourful and dramatic past.

Its other permanent exhibition tells the tale of the sunken La Trinidad Valencera, one of the largest ships of the Spanish Armada, which was rediscovered by divers from the City of Derry Sub-Aqua Club in 1971.

Once you have been captivated by the past, come back to the present by travelling to level five of the museum, where an open-air viewing facility provides stunning panoramic views of Derry~Londonderry and the River Foyle.

4. After working up an appetite, there are plenty of outstanding eateries to choose from in Derry~Londonderry.

Stop to refuel at the Exchange Restaurant and Wine Bar, which is well-known for fine dining and a bustling environment. 

The Exchange is located beside the iconic Guildhall and prides itself on offering first-class food that is locally sourced and freshly produced. Bask in the ambient surroundings as you enjoy your meal with a quality glass of wine.

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5. If you are intent on continuing your historical tour of the city, Derry has plenty of nightlife on offer with a traditional twist.

Take a short walk from the Exchange to the Grand Central Bar which was established in 1922. This cosy venue retains much of its original character and is a perfect spot for great beer and local live music.

Once you have explored the city from the archives through to the current day, return to the beautiful Bishop’s Gate Hotel for an undisturbed slumber. Rest well, as there are plenty more historical sites you may wish to delve into in the morning.

6. Housed in a 19th century merchant building, the Guildhall Taphouse is a cosy and quirky bar just minutes from the City Walls, Peace Bridge and iconic Guildhall itself.

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Food is served daily, and the venue is already well known as a live music hub, with top musicians from near and far providing entertainment.

7. The Museum of Free Derry was highly commended within the Tourism Innovation category at the 2017 Northern Ireland Tourism Awards.

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The museum has an archive of over 25,000 individual items relating to the Troubles, most with huge historical significance after being donated by local residents. Entry is £5 for adults.

8. Located in the heart of the city, the Maldron is another great base for your tour of the city.

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Onsite the four-star accommodation is the Lyric Bar and Grill, which showcases the city’s musical history through pictures of familiar faces. Another dining option is the Stir Restaurant, which has views of the historic City Walls.

For more historical sites to add to your Derry~Londonderry itinerary, visit www.discovernorthernireland.com.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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