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Although Craigavon itself officially only came into being during the 1970s, its location close to the southern shore of the imposing Lough Neagh means that this is a part of Northern Ireland which has been inhabited for as long as 8,000 years.
The ancient churches and burial grounds which you can explore whilst staying in Craigavon are testament to this rich history, but the area has so much more than simply fascinating glimpses of the past to offer. The appeal of the natural landscape is embodied in the number of forests, lakeshores and parkland spaces which can be explored from the centre of Craigavon, and the range of exciting activities they play host to.
Craigavon itself has two artificial lakes and a water sports centre offering a range of activities. At Craigavon Watersports Centre you can try your hand at canoeing, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing, wakeboarding and banana boating, all under the supervision of highly qualified instructors. If you’d rather stay dry, the centre also offers archery, climbing, cycling and orienteering. If you’ve brought your kids to Craigavon, or are simply feeling active yourself, then the water sports centre simply has to be experienced.
A little further away, 7 miles outside the centre of Craigavon, you’ll find the vast Lough Neagh, the largest freshwater lake in Britain. Its sheer scale makes it worth admiring from the shore, or from the roads that surround the lough. You can also take a boat trip around the shoreline or explore the visitors centre to learn more about this fabulous natural phenomenon. Kinnego Marina, the largest marina on the Lough, is situated just outside Craigavon. From here you can sample activities such as power boating and fishing, or simply sip a coffee whilst soaking up the incredible views.
It’s not all about the water, of course, since the wide open spaces surrounding Craigavon offer an appeal all of their own, as well as being packed with hugely varied attractions. The Ballydougan Pottery Centre offers the chance to purchase unique, hand crafted items of pottery or, better yet, make one of your own, with classes offered to children and adults.
Lurgan Public Park, just a short trip down the central Portadown Road, is the second largest public park in Ireland. As well as allowing visitors to enjoy the tranquillity and fresh air, it offers facilities including football fields, cricket pitches, tennis courts, playgrounds and the chance to try your luck angling in the waters of Lurgan Lake.
For outdoor activity of a more unusual kind, head for Craigavon Golf and Ski Centre. Here, as well as three golf courses and a floodlit driving range, you’ll find the only artificial outdoor ski slope in Northern Ireland. A 300 foot main slope, together with a nursery slope and snow tubing area, mean that participants of all ages and experience will be able to have fun slipping and sliding.
Craigavon itself might be relatively new, but it’s quickly establishing itself as the perfect base for anyone wanting to explore the nature and landscape of Northern Ireland, as well as sampling a wide and varied selection of activities.
Located in Portadown, this bed & breakfast is 2 mi (3.2 km) from Treasure Trails and within 9 mi (15 km) of Ardress House and Oxford Island Nature Reserve. Loughgall Country Park and Armagh Observatory are also within 12 mi (20 km).
Situated in Craigavon, this vacation home is 5.4 mi (8.8 km) from Oxford Island Nature Reserve and within 12 mi (20 km) of Craigavon Museum Services and Ardress House. Loughgall Country Park is 11.3 mi (18.3 km) away.
Situated near the airport, this inn is within 9 mi (15 km) of Brownlow House, RSPB Portmore Lough, and Scarva Visitor Centre. Craigavon Golf & Ski Centre and Wetlands Way are also within 12 mi (20 km).
Located in Belfast Central District, this eco-friendly hotel is steps from Crown Liquor Saloon and Grand Opera House. Ulster Hall and Belfast City Hall are also within 10 minutes.
Located in Belfast City Centre, this hostel is within a 15-minute walk of Queen's University of Belfast and Ulster Museum. Belfast Botanic Gardens and Ulster Hall are also within 1 mi (2 km).