We’re brightening up February with the Illuminate Festival and we can’t wait to welcome you to our city to enjoy an eclectic mix of sound, light and music.

Let us help you make the most of your short stay break in Derry with an example itinerary here to keep you busy during both your days and nights!

Getting Here!

Getting to Derry has never been easier. If you’re travelling by plane to City of Derry Airport, then it’s just a ten minute drive from the city centre with air access routes from London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester.

If you plan to travel via train, then you’ll be welcomed at the city’s new North West Transport Hub which is just a short walk from the city centre.

And, if you’re travelling between Derry and Coleraine you’ll enjoy what Michael Palin once described as ‘one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world’. Access by car is also easy to navigate, we’re only 90 minutes from Belfast and around 3 hours from Dublin.

You can find out more about how to get to the city here.

Check In

Your first stop will be checking into your accommodation, where our friendly hoteliers or accommodation providers will be on hand to give you a warm, LegenDerry welcome. There’s plenty of hotels to stay in, like the Shipquay Hotel, Bishops Gate Hotel, Maldron Hotel, City Hotel, Holiday Inn Express Evergaldes Hotel. There’s also a great range of B&B and guest house options to chose from too. Check out our Illuminate Hotel Offers here. 

Before the festivities commence in the evening time, you’ll have a chance to check out some of our top things to do in Derry! Call into our state-of-the-art Visitor Information Centre where you’ll be able to find out everything you need to know about your trip.

Pick up literature, enjoy our Amelia Earhart theatre experience, check out our gift shop and even grab a coffee at the Pickled Duck grab and go.

Our friendly Visitor Information Assistants will be on hand too, if you would like any help on things to do during your stay in Derry.

In the Visit Derry Visitor Information Centre you’ll also be able to purchase a Visit Derry Pass if you haven’t already done so in advance online. There’s no better way to familiarise yourself with the city than by going on a tour of it! The Visit Derry Pass, priced at just £25, will give access to ten of our top attractions. Find out more here.

Alternatively, you can avail of many of the tours taking place throughout the day, like Martin McCrossan City Tours, which leave 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm or Bogside History Tours which leave at 11am or 1pm. Fancy going it alone? Then there’s plenty of private tours available too. Our tour guides are the friendliest you’ll meet on the island of Ireland so we know you’ll not be disappointed.

Discover our Museums

After your tour you’ll be keen to explore some of our museums to hear all about the city’s colourful history.

Start at the Tower Museum where you’ll learn all about the ‘Story of Derry’, from its dramatic history of the city from early prehistory to present.

Afterwards take a step onto our 400-year-old City Walls and take a leisurely walk to the Siege Museum where you’ll be able to see a display of the history of the Siege of Derry.

Next stop will be the Museum of Free Derry, which was once voted the most authentic Northern Ireland Experience of the Year. The museum is located in the Bogside area of the city and there you’ll be able to see some of the city’s murals, including the Free Derry Corner.

Lunch Pit Stop

Don’t forget to take a pit stop along the way. We’ve plenty of great places to stop for lunch, including the Pickled Duck in Guildhall Square, the Sandwich Co in the Diamond or the Cottage Craft Gallery and Coffee Shop in the Craft Village. Check out more places here.

You’ll want to check out the Guildhall in daylight, before it’s transformed for Illuminate. The grade A listed building is home to some pretty incredible stained-glass windows that are definitely worth checking out. Plus, while you're there, you’ll learn all about the Plantation of Ulster. The Guildhall features a new interactive tourist information point and dedication exhibition exploring how the Plantation of Ulster has shaped the city’s history.

Prepare to be dazzled with Illuminate!

Head back to your hotel, get freshened up in preparation for Illuminate.

Festivities start around 5pm.

You’ll be amazing at how the city has transformed with the sound and light trail very much underway.

The live projection shows kick off at 6pm and you’re in for a real treat.

See the city light up like never before, as it’s transformed into a canvas for an epic tale told through light.

Best of all – it’s free!

Using the latest digital technology, projection, sound and animation you’ll make your way across six of the city’s most iconic landmarks and experience the ‘story of Derry’ through displays of adventure, history and imagination.

Indulge In Some Legenderry Street Food

Stop off the Legenderry Food Pop Up at Cathedral Car Park for the most delicious street food.

From there, experience the sound and light trail with a number of places offering immersive experiences, including St Columb’s Hall and more. Check out the listings here.

Head to the Sandwich Company for a music by candlelight and experience. The perfect appetiser for what lies ahead. Next, it’s time to enjoy the music! If you’ve booked tickets to the musical gigs, you’re in for a treat. Some of the best musicians will take centre stage to perform intimate gigs in venues across the city - including in the Guildhall. If you haven't booked tickets yet, you can book them here. 

After the gigs head to Waterloo Street and enjoy a night of craic at some of the best bars around.



After a night of fun, enjoy your hotel breakfast. If you prefer to eat out and explore our foodie scene then you’ll be in for a treat, with plenty of places serving up the most delicious frys around.

Time To Embrace The Outdoors!

Looking for an outdoor adventure? Then you’ve come to the right place. We’re a place known for our outdoor adventures and with the stunning backdrop of the scenic River Foyle it's no wonder why. 

Whether it’s a trip with Foyle Venture Cruises or trying your hand at Stand Up Paddleboarding with Far and Wild, there's plenty to choice from. 

After an exhilarating morning it’s time to unwind.

Check out Primrose Café for some delicious home baked goodies with the perfect view of the River Foyle. Afterwards, enjoy a stroll along the quay and take a dander across our Peace Bridge.

Fun For All The Family

Before festivities kick off this evening, why not enjoy a leisurely afternoon at the Brunswick Movie Bowl. There’s fun for the whole family there, from a movie theatre experience, bowling, a soft play centre and arcade games.

Enjoy A Legenderry Dinning Experience

Head to Timberquay for scrumptious dinning experience. You’ll not be disappointed with their mouth-watering dishes and great-value prices to match!

Be Amazed as Illuminate Lights Up The Walled City

Now it’s time to head out for Illuminate Festival. Check out the live projection shows taking place in six of our iconic landmarks.

As you embrace the Walled City, you’ll also get the chance to check out the Sound and light Trail along the way.

These events are all free.

Next, it’s time to head to an Illuminate Music Gig.

Set in intimate settings, we know this one won’t disappoint. Depending on the day you’re visiting there’s a number of gigs taking place including The Henry Girls, and Aoife Scott, at The Guildhall, Comrade Hat and Clodagh May at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Rosboroigh and Kate O’Callaghan at St Augustine’s Chruch, Roe, John Deery and The Heads at Echo Echo Dance Theatre Co or Kila and Basork at The Guildhall.

If you haven't booked your tickets yet, you can buy them here. 

Bucket List Musts Before You Head Home

Your last day in Derry is here! It’s been a fun few days but before you travel home make sure you tick off all those bucket-list must-dos before you depart.

There’s plenty to choose from, from horse riding with City of Derry Equestrian Centre, to a Derry Girls inspired day out.

Plus, who says you can’t do both!

Be A Derry Girl For The Day!

We recommend a morning spent horse riding before stopping off at the Everglades Hotel for a scrumptious – and if we say so ourselves a very unique – Derry Girls themed Afternoon Tea. Yep, we’re talking crisp sarnies, sausage roll baps and more! From there, you can go on a Derry Girls themed walking tour. The tours are available with both Martin McCrossan City Tour and Derry Guided Tours. On both these tours you’ll get the opportunity to check out the giant mural, located on Orchard Street, and get your selfie taken with the girls – and the wee English fella.