The award-winning Bishop’s Gate Hotel in Derry, a 200-year-old building located in the city’s Cathedral Quarter, is the ideal place to stay when you visit the famous walled city.
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The iconic building, which received a TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice Award in 2020, was once the home of the Northern Counties Club, a private club whose members included Sir Winston Churchill, W.B. Yeats, and others.
The TripAdvisor awards are announced each year highlighting hotels across the world that have received exceptional reviews.
The hotel’s interior reflects its storied past, with many of the building’s original features intact.
They include a sweeping staircase, a recessed Inglenook fireplace, decorative paneling and moldings, and much more.
When it's time to eat, you can choose from The Wig Champagne Bar for lunch and dinner or The Gown Restaurant for breakfast and dinner.
If you really want a treat during your stay in Derry, book afternoon tea in either The Gown or the Hervey Library.
If you choose to stay at The Bishop's Gate Hotel in Derry, you'll discover that it’s an ideal spot to explore the city's main attractions.
Some of those include the following:
The Derry City Walls
Derry’s city walls were originally built between 1613 and 1619 by a group called the Irish Society.
Forming a walkway around the entire city, the walls – a mile in circumference – will give you a bird’s eye view of Derry, also known as Londonderry.
There are seven gates in total, which were built to provide controlled access in and out of the city for natives and visitors alike, as well as monitoring the movement of vehicles, goods, and animals.
They include the four original gates, which are named Bishop’s Gate, Ferryquay Gate, Butcher’s Gate, and Shipquay Gate.
The three gates added later are named Magazine Gate, Castle Gate, and New Gate.
You’ll also discover the largest collection of cannons situated at different points along the walls, two from the Elizabethan era that shows the etchings of a Tudor rose and the date 1590.
Derry Girls Mural
If you’re a fan of the Channel 4 series (aired in the U.S. on Netflix), you won’t want to miss this fantastic mural of the main characters Erin, Orla, Clare, Michelle, and James.
The mural can be found on the gable of Badger’s Bar & Restaurant on Orchard Street.
You can also take your own tour of the Derry Girls sites that are associated with the series.
The impressive neo-Gothic Guildhall is located in the city’s Guildhall Square.
It was built in 1890.
Today, it is used by elected members of the Derry and Strabane District Council.
The building was severely damaged in 1972 after two bombs went off inside. It was restored and reopened in 1977.
The beautiful stained-glass windows are its most striking feature.
The windows tell the story of the city from its earliest times to the recent past and are well worth a look.
The Guildhall is free to visit, but you can also get a guided tour if you wish by emailing [email protected].
The Peace Bridge
No visit to Derry is complete without walking across the iconic Peace Bridge officially opened in 2011 as a nod to the progress that has been made in bringing the two historically divided Catholic and Protestant communities together.
Those communities include the Catholic Bogside, mentioned below, and the Protestant Waterside neighborhood.
The bridge is 253 meters long (830 feet), with a 4-meter (13-foot) footpath that is ideal for walkers and cyclists.
There is also seating along the way where you can take in the beauty of the city.
The path stretches from the Guildhall to Ebrington Square and St. Columb’s Park.
If you want to fully understand the conflict that ravaged Derry for many years, you must visit The Bogside, the city’s working-class Catholic neighborhood.
Major events in the city’s history are commemorated in a number of powerful murals there.
They include one depicting the Battle of the Bogside, which was a large riot that took place in August 1969 for three days and nights between residents of the neighborhood and the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary), and local Unionists.
It was widely seen as the first major confrontation of the Troubles.
There are other murals referencing the 1981 hunger strikes that took place at the Maze Prison, which was built by the British specifically to house paramilitary prisoners (the IRA and others).
The Tower Museum
This museum, located within a historic tower beside the city walls, is a must-see if you are interested in the city’s prehistoric origins.
Two interesting exhibits include An Armada Shipwreck: La Trinidad Valencera and The Story of Derry.
The Armada exhibition tells the story of the fleet’s largest ship that sank in 1588 off the coast of Co. Donegal and the soldiers and sailors who were onboard. It was discovered nearly 400 years later by local divers.
There are two online exhibitions that you can enjoy from home as well. The video below is part of the online exhibition.
Be sure to go to the fifth floor to see a replica of a 16th-century tower house.