Guide to the UK City of Culture 2013: Derry-Londonderry

by Jules on March 10, 2013

Four shortlisted cities vied to host the prestigious UK City of Culture 2013 including Birmingham, Derry, Norwich and Sheffield. Derry-Londonderry won the honour and will spend the year hosting special events and festivals to place the city firmly on the map. Norwich at least has the consolation of being named the UNESCO City of Literature.

Historical Derry is one of the oldest cities in Northern Ireland. The name Derry originated from the Irish word ‘doire’, but when the city was colonized by the London Trade’s Guild, they decided to rename it Derry-Londonderry.

In 2009 there was a proposal to choose a City of Culture for the United Kingdom. Derry-Londonderry was among the four competing cities that were shortlisted from the total of 14 cities that were competing for this designation. This meant that the winning city would host a series of cultural events for a whole year. The final results came out in 2010 and Derry was chosen as the winner to be the UK City of Culture 2013. This year, the city of Derry will host and entertain almost half a million visitors with cultural events that includes music festivals, Halloween carnivals, award ceremonies, pageants and art exhibitions – to name a few. The scheduled program of events will in doubt highlight the city’s cultural skills and ability to the world, and also boost the economy of the country in general.

Planning Your Visit
Plan your trip in advance to pack the most into your schedule. There are plenty of extra events happening in Derry this year in addtioan to the usual cultural and historical sights.

Why not join an organised tour on your arrival to get your bearings and to get a good grouding in the local sights. For example there are the  17th Century walls that once protected the city and the  Tower Museum gives a good insght into the local history. Don’t miss the stunning architecture of  St Augustine’s Chapel, the Guildhall and the two ornate cathedrals; St Columb’s Cathedral and St Eugene’s Cathedral. Derry boasts several interesting museums that are essential to understanding the Irish heritage, inclusing the  Workhouse Museum which features a restored workhouse during the Irish famine period and the Free Derry Museum which focuses on the Northern Irish conflict. There is also a musum dedicated to Amelia Earhart, who was the first female to fly solo over the Atlantic in 1936.

How To Get To Derry
Derry is accessible via airlines for international travelers and by road and the rail from neighboring cities and countries. Travelers from international countries can fly into the Belfast International Airport and connect to Derry-Londonderry by coach.

Visitors from other European countries can also travel by air into either George Best City Airport or City of Derry Airport in Northern Ireland and connect to Derry from there.

Places To Go And Things To Do In Derry-Londonderry
Derry is where it’s happening this year with over 250 exciting events set to showcase the city to the world. Be it the Turner Prize awards, the Royal Ballet, a show of the London Symphony of Orchestra, there’s plenty going on to suit all tastes! Here are just a few of the cultural highlights for the City of Culture 2013;

• The 25th Foyle Film Festival scheduled to take place in November 2013
• City of Derry Drama Festival in March
• Saint Patrick’s Day Spring Carnival in March
• Royal Ballet
• Irish America and the Peace Process Conference
• Annie – The Musical; Derry has just been crowned the Guinness world record holder of the ‘Largest choreographed song and dance routine’ thanks to 5,482 people performing a song from Annie, see the video below.

Aside from the UK City of Culture 2013 planned events, Derry also offers a wealth of other exciting things to do and places to go. Travellers can take sightseeing tours of the walled city, partake in adventurous activities such as mountain climbing or wave surfing, or entertainment such as visiting the traditional pubs, shopping and cycling.

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