Where to Stay in Derry – A Guide to the Maiden City
Derry, officially called Londonderry is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland. It is located in the west of the country, on both banks of the River Foyle and very close to the border with County Donegal (Republic of Ireland). It is known for its intact city walls. In fact, Derry is considered one of the best examples of a walled city in Europe. In this post, we will discover the best areas to stay in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
The main tourist attractions in Derry are its walls and old gates such as the Shipquay Gate, Bishop Gate, or Ferryquay Gate. Other things to see in town include the Peace Bridge and the Guildhall.
Those interested in the Irish Conflict (known as The Troubles) should definitely visit the Free Derry Museum and the Bloody Sunday Memorial.
And for urban art buffs, the murals in the area known as The People’s Gallery of the Bogside Derry are a definite must-see. Additionally, Derry Crafts Village offers paintings, pottery, and glass pieces from local artists, as well as several alternative places to eat and drink.
The City of Derry Airport (locally known as Eglinton Airport) is located 11 km northeast of the city. It is a small regional airport with a handful of flights to UK cities. The city is also connected to Belfast via train. Londonderry Station is located on the east bank of the Foyle, a 10-minute walk to the Historic District.
Derry, particularly its Historic Center, is a very compact city, very easy to navigate on foot. In order to move to other districts, you can use one of the 13 bus routes connecting the city and the suburban areas.
When it comes to the best areas to stay in Derry, the Walled City is home to most attractions, restaurants, and nightlife in town. See accommodation in Derry City Centre.
The Grade B1-listed Bishop’s Gate Hotel is positioned within the historic city walls of Derry City’s Cathedral Quarter. Built in 1899, Bishop’s Gate Hotel blends Edwardian architecture, stylish appointments, and luxurious facilities, which have been sensitively restored to pay homage to the rich heritage of the building, whilst exceeding the contemporary needs of its guests.
The Best Areas to Stay in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland
1. Recommended Area: City Centre & Walled City
Derry’s walls were built between 1613 and 1619 with the intention of protecting the Scottish and English planters. They are located at the centre of the historic city of Derry and within them, you can find several of Derry’s most important landmarks including the Apprentice Boy’s Hall, Tower Museum, and St. Columb’s Cathedral.
The Derry Craft Village, a reconstruction of an eighteenth-century Street and nineteenth-century Square filled with artisan craft shops, balconied apartments, local restaurants, and coffee shops is also located in the heart of the city, on Shipquay Street.
Just outside of the city walls, on their western side, lies the Bogside, a traditionally Catholic-majority area home to many murals and Republican sights including the Free Derry Corner and the Bloody Sunday Memorial. This is also where the Gasyard Féile (a music and arts festival) takes place every year.
If shopping is your thing, Foyleside Shopping Center, located on Orchard Street is home to over 50 stores, from department stores Debenhams, Dunnes, and M&S to several multinational retailers like H&M or Topshop. It also has restaurants, cafes, and valet parking.
The City Centre is the best area to stay in Derry thanks to its great location, public transport connections, a wealth of attractions, nightlife, and shopping options.
This is also the area where most hotels, B&Bs and tourist apartments are located, so there’ll always be something for every taste and budget.
Why is this a recommended area to stay in Derry/Londonderry:
- City walls and gates
- The Bogside murals
- Shopping and nightlife
- Craft Village
Accommodation in this area
On the banks of the River Foyle, City Hotel has a fine restaurant, modern fitness centre and free limited on-site parking. The 4-star hotel offers wonderful views of the river and Derry’s historic Guildhall.
In the heart of Derry-Londonderry city centre, the Chamberlain House offers self-catering rooms, free onsite parking, and free WiFi throughout. All rooms include tea/coffee making facilities and an en-suite bathroom.
Maldron Hotel Derry
The 4-star Maldron Hotel Derry is located within Derry’s historic city walls, offering luxurious accommodation and easy access to the city’s theatres, restaurants and shops.
2. Around Enagh Lough
Enagh Lough is the name given to a pair of lakes (each individually called Eastlake and Westlake), located between Judges Road and Temple Road in the Maydown area of Derry.
Enagh Lough and its surroundings are an area of incredible natural beauty. The park that surrounds the lakes is home to red squirrels and Pipistrelle bats, both of which are fast becoming scarce in Northern Ireland.
At the centre of Eastlake lies Green Island, also known as Templetown Island or Enagh Crannog, which is accessible by wading.
The surroundings of Enagh Lough are a great area to stay in Derry if you’re looking for some tranquility and to be surrounded by nature.
The area around Enagh Lough has a very suburban feel to it, with large houses, manors, and estates giving a sense of refinement to the neighbourhood.
This is a great area to stay in Derry if you have a car with you, as transportation here is not as comprehensive as in the central districts.
The accommodation in this area consists mainly of guest houses and bed and breakfasts, some of which are a true oasis from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Why is this a recommended area to stay:
- Nature, lakes and greenland
- Peaceful area
Accommodation in this area
Chic and unique, the Waterfoot Hotel offers free WiFi, and free parking. Guests can enjoy a contemporary wine bar and a restaurant. Waterfoot Hotel is on the east bank of the River Foyle (Waterside), a 5-minute drive from the city centre and within easy reach of many attractions.
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