Heritage Venues

Saint Columba Heritage Centre

Áras Cholmcille is a Heritage Centre promoting the life of St Columba, patron Saint of Derry. It is set on the site of the monastery from 546AD
Located near the historic City Walls on the grounds of Saint Columba's Church (Long Tower), and offering a unique insight into the life of Saint Columba and the City's ancient monastic routes.

The exhibition is in a category B2 listed building. The centre offers a bespoke, interactive experience detailing the extraordinary life of our city's founding father, complimented with a range of artefacts and manuscripts that include a facsimile of the Book of Kells, as well as items and objects relating to the 200 year history of the building.

Opening times

May - September
Monday - Friday 10:00 - 16:00
October - April
Monday- Friday 11:00 - 15:00



The Guildhall is a beautiful building and is well worth taking time to see. It is located in the heart of the city, just outside the city walls and close to the Peace Bridge.

Fashioned in neo-gothic style, the Guildhall is one of the most striking buildings in the North West and was originally built in 1887 by The Honourable The Irish Society. The red sandstone building is of neo-gothic architecture, with Tudor overtones. The Guildhall contains stunning examples of stained glass windows and visitors will be intrigued by its unique history and appeal. The staircase, main hall organ and corridors give a fascinating insight into this distinctive building.

A major £9.5m restoration of the Guildhall was completed in June 2013. The building which had been closed since 2012 now also boasts a new multifaceted tourism experience providing a central hub for visitors exploring the city. The huge undertaken which began in 2011 included external restoration works to the stonework, roof, windows, stained glass and the clock. During the second phase of the project work was carried out on the internal restructure to offer the following facilities:

An interactive Tourist Information Point. A new dedicated exhibition exploring how the Plantation has shaped our history. Cultural spaces and a new cafe area. Interpretation panels throughout the building to bring its many special features to life.

Opening times:

Monday - Sunday 10:00 - 17:30

Tower Museum

The Tower Museum is located within the City’s historic walls and has won four major awards since its opening in October 1992.
The Tower Museum houses two permanent exhibitions.

1. "The Story of Derry" tells the colourful and dramatic history of the city from earliest prehistory to the present.

2. "An Armada Shipwreck - La Trinidad Valencera" tells the story of one of the largest ships in the Spanish Armada, La Trinidad Valencera, which sank off the Donegal Coast in 1588 and was rediscovered by divers from the City of Derry Sub-Aqua Club in 1971.

Both exhibitions use a range of display and interactive techniques to present their stories.

The top of the Tower Museum (level 5) provides the only open air viewing facility in the heart of the city centre with stunning panoramic views of the inner city and river Foyle.

Opening times

Monday - Sunday 10:00 - 17:30

First Derry Presbyterian Church and Blue Coat Visitor Centre

Founded in 1690 and replaced by the present building in 1780, reflecting many 18th Century Presbyterian features.  The Blue Coat School Visitor Centre investigates ancient links between North West Ulster and Scotland.  Defending Derry’s Walls, spreading the word of First Derry.

Shortly after the lifting of the siege of Derry in 1689, a new Presbyterian meeting house was built within the walls, on the site that continues to be occupied by the present Church. To assist with the building, Queen Mary provided a large donation in recognition of the sacrifices of Presbyterians in the defence of Derry.

The current First Derry Presbyterian Church was opened in 1780, and is on the site of the earlier Church of 1690. The foundation stone of this earlier building can be found above the centre door, inscribed with the Roman numerals M.D.C.X.C (1690). In 1820 the vestibule, pediment and cornices of Dungiven sandstone were added. Then in 1892 the four fluted columns with Corinthian Capitals and the Portico were added.

The Church has recently been re-opened following a programme of restoration works due to a severe outbreak of dry rot. This restoration has totally renovated the building yet retaining its 1780 character. Having been closed for a period of nine eight years, the Church is once again being used as a place of Worship and a shared space for all the community.

Adjoining the Church is the refurbished Blue Coat School, now home to The Blue Coat School Visitor Centre. This new facility tells the history behind the Church, the arrival of Presbyterianism in the North East of Ireland in the early 1600s, the history of Presbyterians in the city (and beyond), the role they played in the great siege and much more!

Opening times

May - Sept
Wednesday – Friday 11:00 – 16:00
Sunday Service – 11:30
All welcome

Siege Museum

The Siege Museum and Exhibition is a permanent display of the history of the Siege of Londonderry and of the Associated Clubs of the Apprentice Boys of Derry, including artefacts, video and interactive media. 

This museum is dedicated to telling the story of the Siege of Londonderry 1688/89 and the development of the Apprentice Boys Association.  Audio visuals, touch screens, artefacts and scale models enhance the fascinating visitor experience for both young and old.

Visitors will also have the added attraction of being able to view one of the finest collections of meeting rooms used by the 'Loyal Orders'. There are separate rooms for each of the orders:

Apprentice Boys of Derry

Orange Order

Women's Orange and

The Royal Black Institution

Opening times

Monday to Saturday 10:00 – 16:30
Open evenings for Group Bookings by prior arrangement.

St Augustine’s

Proudly sitting on the Grand Parade of Derry’s Walls on the site of St. Columba’s first monastery in Ireland.  With many famous graves in the graveyard, St. Augustine’s has a history second to none and remains a living, thriving church with a faithful congregation.

Architect: JG Ferguson. A neo-Gothic church of 1872. Built of whinstone with sandstone dressings, It is a very ancient church and is the site of St. Columba's/Cholmcille monastery, founded 546AD.

In 1164 the ancient church was surrounded by a Cashel and the new cathedral of Temple Mor was built outside the walls at the present site of Long Tower Chapel. From thenceforth, the little abbey on the site of St. Augustine's Church was called Dubh Regles (Black Church). In 1613, the Church, then named the Church of God in the Cittie of Derry, was used by the first settlers from England, Wales and Scotland and the cannonball containing the terms for surrender during the Siege 1688/1689 fell in the church graveyard. The present building dates from 1872 and was consecrated by Bishop William Alexander, husband of the famous hymn writer, Frances Cecil Alexander.

There are many famous graves in the graveyard. St. Augustine's has a history second to none and is a thriving, living church, with a faithful congregation. Their strapline reads: "We are a community whose hope is in Christ".

Opening times

May - Oct
Monday- Saturday: 10:30 – 16:30
Sunday Services 11am
All welcome

Long Tower

Opened in 1788, this Roman Catholic Church is located outside the City Walls. The present church is built on the site of Roman Catholic worship which goes back as far as the 12th Century.

The current church began life in 1783 on the site of the Cathedral of Tempull Mor. Father John Lynch started action to raise funds for the building of the Long Tower Church and he received finance from both Roman Catholics and Protestant people in Derry at the time.

Opening times

08:30 - 20:00 daily

St Columb’s Cathedral

Saint Columb’s Cathedral, was the first Cathedral built after the Reformation. It is the city’s most historic building containing displays of artefacts from the Siege.

A fine collection of silver Communion plate, as well as information on famous personalities, e.g. Cecil Francis Alexander (the internationally renowned hymn writer), the Earl Bishop and the philosopher George Berkeley. An exhibition of facsimilies of the Book of Kells was recently opened. It is dedicated to the name of St. Columba (Columb),the Ulster monk who established a Christian settlement here in the sixth century.
St. Columb’s Cathedral was built in 1633 by William Parrot for the Honourable The Irish Society and is in the Planter Gothic Style.

The current tower and main building are that of the original Cathedral, with the spire being added in 1821. The Chancel was added in 1887 and the Chapter House in 1910. The Cathedral was built of stone from local quarries.

The old pillars and arches bear testimony to sound judgement and first-rate craftsmanship. The Cathedral has many fine stained glass windows, regimental flags, memorials and a large collection of historical items from the time of the siege. The foundation stone in the porch, part of which originally from the 12th Century Templemore Monastery of the Columban tradition is inscribed:

“If stones could speake, then London’s prayse should sounde who built this church and cittie from the grounde, Vaughan aed”came The peal of eight bells is the oldest set in Ireland, presented by Charles 1 in 1638."

Opening times

Mon-Sat: 09:00 - 17:00
Mon-Sat:10:00 - 14:00
Sunday Services – All welcome

New Gate Arts and Cultural Centre

New Gate Arts & Culture Centre is one of the newest community art venues in Londonderry.

Located in the heart of the city centre, within a few minutes’ walk from the historic city walls, St Columb’s Cathedral and the main shopping centres; New Gate Arts and Culture Centre is easily accessible and close to all major transport links.

The centre aims to promote community participation in arts and cultural activities; advance education by encouraging and fostering enhanced understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the arts; promote citizenship and social inclusion through involvement in the arts and advance community development.

The North West Cultural Partnership bought our current premises in 2016 and are working on ambitious plans for a state of the art facility.

Opening times

Contact 028 71265869


Museum of Free Derry

The Museum of Free Derry re-opened its doors in Derry’s Bogside following an extensive redevelopment and offers a full multi-media exhibition on the civil rights and early conflict era in the city, including Battle of the Bogside, Internment, Bloody Sunday and Operation Motorman.

The museum was established by the Bloody Sunday Trust in 2006 to tell the story of the civil rights movement and the creation of Free Derry in the 1960's and 1970's, and it has become an important part of Ireland’s radical and civil rights heritage. It tells the story of how a largely working class community rose up against the years of oppression it had endured.

The museum is a public space where the concept of Free Derry can be explored in both historic and contemporary contexts. Free Derry is about our future together as much as it is about the past. The struggle of Free Derry is part of a wider struggle in Ireland and internationally for freedom and equality for all. It tells the people’s story of the civil rights movement, the Battle of the Bogside, Internment, Free Derry and Bloody Sunday.

Brand new, award winning purpose built museum has an archive of over 25,000 individual items relating to this period in the city’s history. Most items with immense historical significance were donated by local residents.

Opening times

Mon-Fri 09.30 - 16:30
Sat 13:00 - 16:00
Sun (Jul-Sept) 13:00 - 16:00
(Closed Christmas-New Year)
(Extended hours during peak periods – contact Museum for details)


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