Moving to Londonderry

Moving to Londonderry

By Property News Team

A historic city packed with arts and culture, could Londonderry be the place for you to put down roots?

Londonderry, also known as Derry, is the second largest city in Northern Ireland. It sits on the border with the Republic of Ireland in the north of the island.

The city is steeped in history, with 17th-century walls and ancient streets and buildings.

Since being named UK City of Culture in 2013, Londonderry’s arts and entertainment scene, including large-scale festivals and lively programmes of drama and music, has gone from strength to strength.

Despite these draws, house prices remain low, even by Northern Ireland's standards. The average currently sits at just £122,000, well below the country's overall average of £135,000. You can compare the most up-to-date figures here.

Detached house in Londonderry

Living in Londonderry: what to expect

Londonderry is divided by the River Foyle. The original settlement, on the west, is known as Cityside, whereas the east is called Waterside.

The heart of Cityside is still enclosed by large stone walls and has kept its Renaissance layout. Main roads are lined by late Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian buildings and traffic is directed through many gates.

Both sides of Londonderry are characterised by steep streets thanks to the city's hilly location. Grids of tightly knit Victorian terraced homes are found throughout and bungalows are particularly prevalent on the outskirts.

A thriving shopping district has made the city a top retail destination in the north. Multiple shopping centres and retail parks boast both big names and local shops, bars and restaurants.

Cityside: There are narrow grids of Victorian terraced homes both within and immediately outside the city walls, on Fahan Street, High Street and Kennedy Street, and roads leading off Elmwood Street.

Larger three-storey Georgian terraced properties with arched doorways can be found on Marlborough Street. Alternatively, Creggan Heights and Aranmore Avenue have a wide selection of spacious post-war terraces, most of which have white or coloured rendering.

The suburb of Rosemount is another good area to find terraced homes. Northland Road falls within a conservation area and has some grand three-storey rendered properties with bay windows and long gardens. Some of these have been converted into flats.

Take a look around the Shantallow area to the north of the city centre for bungalows. Most date from the late 20th century and some have attractive bay windows. Alternatively, try the streets in and around Hatmore Park.

For sizeable 1950-60s family homes, consider The Collon area. Homes with three to four bedrooms line roads such as Messines Park, some of which are well set back from the road and hidden by trees.

Waterside: Look near the river, including The Bolies area, for traditional terraced homes.

The Waterside has a good range of well-kept bungalows (consider Abbeydale, and Manning Way). But if you want a larger family home, try Caw Hill Park and Rosswater, where five-bedroom properties have double garages.

You can find a number of new housing developments in this area too. Contemporary family homes tucked in quiet cul-de-sacs are available on roads such as Waterfoot Park and Clooney Road.

Family-friendly homes are scattered throughout the Altnagelvin suburb. Roads such as Ivy Mead have spacious five-bedroom houses with integrated garages as well as some neat semis and detached bungalows.

Semi-detached homes are also easy to find on Dungiven Road, Good Shepherd Glen and Rossdowney Gardens.

Bungalow in Londonderry

Getting around Londonderry

By rail: Londonderry station has regular services to both Belfast Great Victoria Street and Belfast Central. A typical journey takes two hours.

Services also run to Antrim, Ballymena, Bellarena, Castlerock, Coleraine, Cullbackey, Lisburn, Lurgan, Moira, Mossley West, Portadown and Yorkgate.

By car: Londonderry doesn't have a direct motorway link with either Belfast or Dublin, which can make road travel to the two cities time-consuming.

In Cityside, the A2 heads up to the border with the Republic of Ireland.

And in Waterside, the A2 runs east to Artkelly before connecting to the A37 to Coleraine.

The A6 trails south east from Waterside, before eventually connecting to the M22 and M2 at Antrim.

By air: City of Derry Airport currently offers flights to London, Glasgow International, Liverpool and Majorca. Flight operators include budget airline Ryanair. For a greater choice of destinations, head to Belfast's airports, which are 90 minutes away by car.

Bridge in Londonderry

Things to do in Londonderry

History: The stone city walls are Londonderry's most defining feature. They are some of the most complete in Europe and helped repel several sieges after their construction in the 1600s. Walk the full circuit of the walls with or without a guide to learn more about the city's history.

If you want to learn more about the city, visit the Tower Museum, which is embedded in the walls. It has permanent exhibits telling the story of Londonderry and the wrecking of a Spanish ship from the 1588 armada. Go to the top floor to access the open-air viewing platform for panoramic views of the river and the city.

St Columb's Cathedral is the city's oldest building and the first cathedral built in Britain following the Reformation. It was completed in 1633 and now runs regular tours.

Cultural: Creative centres include the Nerve Centre, which showcases several arts events and projects every year.

The Millennium Forum is a larger theatrical venue. It can seat up to 1,000 people and has a full programme of musicals, ballet, comedy, drama, concerts and pantomime.

Major cultural events include the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival, when Londonderry puts on a host of spectacles including fireworks and ghost tours.

Outdoors: St Columb's Park, an area of attractive woodland and parkland, is one of a number of green spaces in Londonderry. It was once part of an estate but is now a favourite spot among families.

If you’re a keen bird-watcher, head to Lough Foyle bird sanctuary. In autumn, birds such as Brent Geese and Whooper Swans flock to the area for food and shelter.

Enjoy countryside walks at 55-hectare Ness Country Park. Its open parkland and woodland boasts the highest waterfall in Northern Ireland as well as seven kilometres of walks.

Shopping: Londonderry is home to several shopping centres, including Foyleside Shopping Centre, Richmond Centre, Quayside Shopping Centre, Lisnagelvin Centre and the large Crescent Link Retail Park.

For more independent shops and businesses, check out the area within Cityside’s walls, and Spencer Road in Waterside.

Food and drink: Waterloo Street and Strand Road are packed with a selection of bars, pubs and restaurants. They include Granny Annies, which serves cocktails and crowd-pleasing dishes.

For a traditional experience, go to Peader O'Donnell's. Alongside its attractive food and drink menu the authentic Irish bar is also famous for its live traditional and contemporary music, as well as occasional spontaneous acts.

Quieter restaurants include The Sooty Olive in Waterside. Its menu is full of locally sourced and seasonal dishes. Try fish chowder or opt for a large scotch egg for a satisfying meal.

Semi-detached house in Londonderry

Hidden Londonderry

Londonderry is one of the few European cities to never have been breached during a siege. To celebrate its 'maiden' status, residents hold an annual Maiden City Festival, which includes music, dance, theatre and a pageant.

5 reasons to live in Londonderry

  • Attractive house prices
  • Wide choice of property, from terraced housing to bungalows
  • A packed calendar of cultural events
  • Steeped in history
  • Selection of shops, bars and restaurants

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