The rejuvenated Victorian Guildhall, fresh from a three-year £10-million makeover, is an outstanding example of the city's ornate architecture. It has been refashioned as a visitor center with interactive exhibits telling the story of the Plantation of Ulster and the construction of the walled city, and how these events shaped present-day Derry. Touch-screen displays explain the building's special features such as elaborate ceilings, baronial wood paneling, and a magnificent organ. For children, hands-on displays include a puzzle to recreate a 1598 map of Ulster, or they can spin a wheel to find out about the different London companies and how land was divided. Kids can also build a bawn, stone house, or castle using wooden blocks, or dress up in the clothes of Planters or Irish people of the period. Look out too for the delightful scale model of the city in 1738 showing just a few thatched cabins outside the perimeter wall. A conserved page (a folio) from the Great Parchment
Book of 1639 detailing the account of the Plantation is also on display. With the gleaming restoration, one of the most famous of all Derry's local sayings, "You've more faces than the Guildhall clock" (not to be taken as a compliment), has renewed resonance. Enjoy an alfresco coffee in the Guild Café at the harbor square entrance overlooking the Foyle, an ideal spot to catch the riverine light and reflect on 400 turbulent years of history.
Guildhall Sq., Derry, BT48 6DQ, Northern Ireland