If you’re looking for some inspiration for a great day out this summer, then why not take a road trip around Lough Neagh, the U.K.’s largest lake. Situated in the heart of Northern Ireland, Lough Neagh captivates visitors with its tranquil atmosphere, un-spoilt scenery, secluded bays and skyward views & is a haven for wildlife with many viewpoints around the shoreline. The area around Lough Neagh boasts a wealth of sights & attractions including historical landmarks & many activities. Here’s a few ideas of what to get up to in the area!
A must see for Lough Neagh is Oxford Island Nature reserve and the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre. An ideal spot for families, as it is home to a vast range of birds, plants & animals, and allows visitors to explore a diverse range of habitats. Enjoy walks around the shores of Lough Neagh, stop off at the bird watching hides – where you are welcomed with stunning views over the Lake, the kids can enjoy the play areas & paddling pool. Take a trip into the lough Neagh Discovery Centre which has a wonderful craft & gift shop, you can also find plenty of information on the area and its wildlife. If you fancy a break or a spot of lunch – take a rest in the Loughside café with panoramic views of the Lough, or if the weather allows bring a picnic along with you! For more info on the centre: www.discovernorthernireland.com/loughneaghdiscovercentre
Lough Neagh Discovery Centre
On the Water
Lough Neagh offers an amazing range of water activities – whatever your interest you will find something to keep you entertained. With Canoe Trails, great angling, boat trips & plenty of water sports, you can easily spend a great day out on the shores of Lough Neagh. For more info on water activities go to: www.discoverloughneagh.com
Lough Neagh has a rich history & heritage – why not take a detour and discover more about the history of the area. Stop off at the picturesque Ardboe Cross located in Co. Tyrone which is a national monument dating from the tenth century. It was the first High Cross built in Ulster. Standing at 18.5 feet high and 3.5 feet wide, this is the original stone cross, placed here over one thousand years ago. There are also remains of a church and abbey here. The abbey was founded by Saint Coleman in 590 and the church built during the sixteenth century.
Another wee hidden gem off the beaten track is The Turf Man Sculpture in Bellaghy, the sculpture was unveiled in the home town of Seamus Heaney, the life size bronze sculpture celebrates Heaney’s famous poem titled ‘Digging’.
The Turf Man Figure in Bellaghy
Lunch & Refreshments
If you’ve worked up an appetite on the road – then take a break at the Elk Inn, located just outside of Toome, offering everything from light lunches to 3 course meals and all at great value. The Elk Inn pride themselves on good food & excellent customer service, now offering 3 course meals for £10, the Elk Inn is the perfect place to recharge or unwind for an evening!
The Wild Duck Inn, Portglenone
Take a wee spin through Portglenone – stop off at the newly renovated marina situated on the banks of the River Bann The Wild, where you will be greeted by stunning views. A few meters up the road is the Wild Duck Inn, enjoy a cocktail made by their award winning barman or if you are feeling peckish – their menu boasts a delicious selection of home cooked style dishes that are bursting with flavour and textures. The Wild Duck Inn offers customers a traditional pub style dining experience in a warm and inviting environment, if the sun is shining you can enjoy views over the river in the wonderful outside seating area.
Turn you’re great day out into a short break with a stop over at the stunning Newforge Guesthouse. Located just a few minutes drive from Moira & less than 30 minutes from Belfast Newforge House offers warm hospitality & superb food in the tranquil surroundings of the beautiful Georgian Country House. This classic Georgian Villa blends original period features with contemporary comforts & facilities. The house features 6 individually designed & beautifully finished double & twin rooms, all en suite. Newforge is the perfect spot for a country getaway, relax in front of a log fire in the cosy drawing rooms, enjoy afternoon tea in the picturesque gardens & finish your day with a fabulous 3 course meal in the stylish dining room. Food is central ti the Newforge experience, the best local seasonal produce is used, some of which comes from their own gardens & orchard! You are guaranteed a relaxing enjoyable stay in this beautiful country retreat. Newforge House also cater for special events & have some great special offers on their website: www.newforgehouse.com
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