From cosy pubs to hipster cafés, the food scene in Coleraine and all along the Lower Bann is nothing if not diverse. Feast on warm sourdough bread in standout local coffee shops, sugar-laced cakes in gorgeous vintage tea rooms and great local seafood in dining rooms overlooking the water.
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 Cranagh Coffee Shop, 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
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 Coffee Shop, Coleraine
In a tranquil setting just outside Coleraine next to
Hanna Boats, the Boatyard Coffee Shop 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, Toomebridge
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…