Kayaking on glimmering waters, walking through ancient forests, exploring riverside trails – with so much outdoor activity to enjoy around the Lower Bann, one thing’s for sure – you’ll definitely work up an appetite. And the good news is that from cheery little delis such as The Belfry in Coleraine to laid-back riverside restaurants such as the Wild Duck Inn in Portglenone, you’re never too far from something great to eat. Along the way, keep an eye out on menus for the famous Lough Neagh eels. With a creamy texture and incredible flavour, they’re regarded as among the best wild caught eels in Europe and are known as a local delicacy.
The Crannagh Coffee Shop and Bistro, Coleraine
With a great location overlooking the River Bann, The Crannagh acts as a refuelling pitstop through summer for the hungry crowds that flock to the adjacent watersports centre. Even if you’re not spending the morning cavorting on the huge inflatable slides or paddle boarding down the Bann, it’s a lovely spot to drop into for lunch or dinner with a view.
Lost and Found, Coleraine
Bringing a dose of urban cool to the centre of Coleraine, Lost and Found is a café that’s a cut above the rest. Hip young locals and busy professionals pack this place out at lunchtime for steaming bowls of Boston Beans and homemade soups and rolls. The coffee is great, the vibe is relaxed and the excellent Ursa Minor sourdough bread is worth making the journey for alone.
Memory Lane Tea House, Kilrea
Set within the scenic village of Kilrea, the Memory Lane Tea Room is a celebration of all things sweet, from its pretty vintage décor to excellent homebaked cakes. You’re guaranteed a genuinely warm welcome, too, with super-friendly staff and a cosy atmosphere. Perfect for a post-walk treat.
Manor House, Kilrea
Whether you opt for the relaxed vibes of the lounge, or the bar and conservatory overlooking the golf course, the Manor House in Kilrea is a great choice for a good-value lunch or dinner. Sunday lunch is particuarly popular here, with a kids menu as well as roast beef, roast lamb and roast chicken.
The Boatyard Café, Coleriane
In a tranquil setting just outside Coleraine next to Hanna Boats, the Boatyard Café is one of those great little finds – an under-the-radar gem that really delivers with great breakfasts and lunches. Located within a chunky stone listed building on the banks of the Bann, this family-run café is a favourite with locals in-the-know.
The Crosskeys Inn, Toombridge
Nestled deep within the rolling County Antrim countryside, this beautiful thatched pub has a reputation that justifiably stretches far and wide. Dating back to 1654, the sense of history here hits you as soon as you step through the yellow latched doors, thanks to an interior graced with picture-lined walls, snug little rooms and open turf fires. Traditional music nights are popular here, as too are the summertime “eel suppers” with locally sourced Lough Neagh eels.
The Wild Duck Inn, Portglenone
Set in a cheery butter-coloured building in the village of Portglenone, the Wild Duck Inn is a great little spot on the edge of the River Bann. The huge menu covers everything from pub classics to Indian curries, duck burgers and steaks. Vegetarians are well catered for, too, with lasagne, omelettes, veggie stroganoff and salads…