Plan your journey and beat the queues this Halloween
24 October 2022
Derry's City Centre will be buzzing next week as the portal to the other world is thrown open, and ghosts and ghouls of all shapes and sizes take to the streets for Europe's biggest Halloween Festival.
With over 100,000 people expected to attend the four-day extravaganza, which runs from Friday October 28th to Monday October 31st, visitors are advised to plan ahead to ensure they have all the information they need to ensure a safe and hassle free Halloween.
It all kicks off with the Awakening the Walled City Trail, which runs for three nights, Friday – Sunday, taking in a range of sites throughout both the city centre and the Waterside on this magical 4km trail. Halloween night itself will see the welcome return of the annual Carnival Parade back at 7pm after a three-year break, followed by the Halloween Fireworks Finale at 8pm.
To ensure that everyone has the very best Halloween experience this year, Derry City and Strabane District Council has issued information to help avoid the queues, and access all the events over the weekend safely and easily. A number of arrangements and closures have been put in place to ensure the safe delivery of the event, and everyone is being asked to plan ahead and follow the directions of stewards and police.
Motorists are advised to expect some delays and diversions in the City Centre during the four nights of the event. From Friday 28th, Saturday 29th, Sunday 30th October City Centre Road Closures will operate from 2pm until 10pm in the following areas:
· Full Road Closure - Shipquay Street, Bank Place, Union Hall Street, Magazine Street, Magazine Street Upper, Butcher Street, The Diamond, Shipquay Street, Ferryquay Street, Bishop Street within, London Street, Pump Street, Artillery Street;
· No City Centre on-Street parking with exception of Shipquay Street before 11am;
· Foyle Street, Whittaker Street, Foyle Embankment Carriageway from its junction with Water Street to Harbour Square Roundabout from 4pm until 10pm;
· Bishop Street Car Park will have a partial car park closure in place from 28th – 30th October. From 2pm – 5pm each day vehicles can only exit via Bishop Gate. No vehicles will be permitted to leave Bishop Street carpark between 5pm -10pm;
· Society Street car park will be closed from 28th – 30th October;
· Foyle Street Carpark will be closed from the 28th – 31st October;
· Queens Quay and Strand Road Carpark will be closed on the 31st October
· Road Closure on St Columb's Park Road 2pm until 10pm (Residents Parking Only) from the 28th – 30th October.
Please note that this may result in some diversions and delays and all times are approximate, but road closures and diversions will be kept to the minimum length necessary to ensure safety.
Drivers are reminded that normal on street parking restrictions will be in place and people should avoid parking anywhere they may be blocking entrances to residences or businesses or where they may be obstructing emergency access.
Parking is available at a number of locations throughout the City:
Cityside carparks - Foyleside Shopping Centre Car Park East, Foyleside West and Quayside Shopping Centre, Foyle Road, Magee Campus (Lawrence Hill), Carlisle Road and William Street. From October 28-30 the Council carpark on Strand Road will be open to the public. The Fort George site will also be open for event parking.
On the 31st
October Strand Road carpark will be for accessible carparking only.
Waterside carparks - Oakgrove School, Foyle Arena, Foyle College, Spencer Road and Former Waterside Health Centre Car Parks.
On Halloween night the Carnival Parade will make a welcome return from 7pm with the fireworks finale closing the celebrations at 8pm. The display will take place on two barges located on the River Foyle, and in the interests of health and safety, the Peace Bridge will be closed from 7.45pm in advance of the display, reopening at 8.45pm.
Visitors are advised to spread out while watching the fireworks, with viewing points extended from the Peace Bridge right down to the Fort George Science Park.
A quiet space will be available in the Guildhall each day from 12noon – 10pm, and parents and carers can also pick up safety wrist bands at the Guildhall information point. Please be mindful that some of the areas along the trail are quite dark, with a number of pathways, so keep your little ones close. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own glow in the dark lanterns or sticks to add to the atmosphere of the event as they meander through the streets and paths.
For anyone with accessibility requirements, a full guide to available support is available here - https://derryhalloween.com/about/accessibility/
Translink will run a shuttle bus service from the NW Transport Hub in the Waterside to Foyle Street throughout the Awakening the Walled City event. A number of additional services within the City are also scheduled for Halloween night. For information on Translink bus and rail services to and from the city go to https://www.translink.co.uk/
Festival and Events Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Jacqueline Whoriskey, said it was important for people to plan ahead. "We are expecting huge crowds for this year's festivities so I want to appeal to people to prepare in advance so they can get the most from their visit.
"This is an extensive walking trail spread over several kilometres so we are advising people to try to break their visit up over two evenings if possible, so they can enjoy the experience at their leisure. Comfy shoes are a must, and be weather ready!
"If possible we would advise using public transport to avoid the hassle of parking – we do have lots of public car parking but with the anticipated crowds a space isn't guaranteed. I would recommend downloading our Derry Halloween app – this will give you the lowdown on all that's going on and all the information you need to plan your journey.
"I would appeal to everyone to please follow the guidance of our stewards and the PSNI – they are there to keep the event running smoothly and everyone safe.
"We are delighted to see the return of the full Derry Halloween experience this year, but we need everyone to play their part and help us deliver a safe and enjoyable celebration."
Derry Halloween is organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from Tourism Northern Ireland, the Executive Office, Translink and the North West Development Fund.
You can find all the details about traffic and travel and the full programme on derryhalloween.com