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Family fun

02nd Oct 2022

MIdterm break: Derry is set to host Europe’s biggest Halloween festival

Trine Jensen-Burke


Yes, it feels like the kids are only just back in school, and yet somehow, it is almost time for the midterm break.

And if you have nothing booked or planned yet, but fancy a few days away with the family, you might be keen to learn that Derry is set to play hosts to Europe’s biggest Halloween festival this month.

Northern Ireland’s famous Walled City will welcome up to 100,000 visitors this Halloween weekend, as the festival takes place at 14 key locations across the city, as well as extending into Strabane and Donegal, the festival will run from October 28-31, coming together in one giant finale with the return of the magnificent carnival parade and epic fireworks display.

‘Festival, folklore and family fun’

“This is a vibrant city with a rich, mythical, creative and cultural history, explains Visit Derry Chief Executive Odhran Dunne.

“When people visit for the Halloween festival, they are guaranteed to have a wonderful time at great value.”

He adds:

“As always, we’re looking forward to welcoming people from all over the world to Derry once more as our festivities get back to full strength. The city really does roll out the red carpet for visitors. The festival attractions are some of the best you will find in the world but beyond that our bars and restaurants are always lively and serving some of the best produce the North West has to offer.”

Dunne says the festival is the perfect time to visit the area.

“We are famed as being the gateway to both the Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coast with an abundance of stunning places to visit.”

Renowned as the birthplace of Halloween, Ireland has a deep connection with the celebration, but nowhere stronger than in the North West where the event has grown into a gruesome global phenomenon.

In 2015 Derry was voted Best Halloween Destination by the readers of USA Today while this year it has been named alongside Dublin as The Best Place in the World to Visit for Halloween by The Planet D, one of the most influential travel blogs on the planet.

What to do and see

Enjoy some gentle ‘exorcise’ at Awakening The Walled City, along the 1km City of Bones Trail through the centre of Derry with haunting animated projections and audio, spectacular street performances and creepy walkabout characters ready to give you a fright around every corner.

The Forest of Shadows Trail will be a 2km walk over The Peace Bridge, leading you through a portal into the iconic St Columb’s Park where the veil is at its thinnest between worlds. Be prepared to face your fears as demons and creatures emerge from the underworld, intent on entertaining everyone who is brave enough to visit.

Feast at the mouth-watering Legenderry Food Market and with the fearsome Little Horrors Family Programme and the stunning Live Music Programme also taking place, there’s something to get everyone in the spooky spirit.

The city is guaranteed to be buzzing throughout with visitors from this world and beyond. You can be assured of lively entertainment, lots of craic and the warm welcome Derry is renowned for.

When it comes to visiting Derry there are some spooktacular places to stay to suit everyone’s budget and taste, either in the heart of the city or in the surrounding area.

From international hotel brands, and boutique designer hotels right through to the best B&Bs, guest houses and self-catering accommodations in the country, Derry has it all, but be warned and book early as they are usually packed to the rafters for Halloween.

For a full preview of Halloween in Derry and for great places to stay and eat visit and