With just five locks along a stretch of 60km, the Lower Bann is perfect for on-the-water fun whether you're after high-octane watersports or a relaxed kayaking trip.
Boasting a scenic location on the mouth of the River Bann, Coleraine feels anchored to the waters that flow through it, so it's no surprise that much of the area's on-the-water fun takes place near the town, with yacht clubs and marinas dotted along the riverbanks.
Bookended by the Atlantic Ocean and Lough Neagh, the Lower Bann is zoned to ensure safety and to section it into powered and non-powered zones, which means it's easy to enjoy it exactly how you want. Rent a kayak or canoe and go slow along waters that have been travelled by the earliest humans on the island of Ireland, as well as St Patrick and even the Vikings. You'll find handy mooring up places along the way, such as at Drumaheglis Marina and Portglenone Marina, and if you want to amp-up the adrenaline, there's no better place with wakeboarding, jet-skiing and waterskiing all on offer.
If you are not confident enough to take control, then jump aboard River Bann Tours or White River Charters for a guided tour along the Bann.
The Edge, Coleraine
Hurtle down a massive water slide, kayak through the waters of the Lower Bann or get a different perspective with a spot of stand-up paddle boarding. Basically, if it's a water-based activity and you want to do it, then The Edge is the place to come. Located at The Crannagh Marina on the Coleraine to Portstewart Road, The Edge will get your pulse racing with waterskiing, wakeboarding, banana boating, tube rides and more… A big attraction is the massive inflatable waterpark that takes up residence on the river from May to September. There's a restaurant and café on site, too, so you can spend all day here. Bring lots of energy and a sense of fun!
Lower Bann Canoe Trail
Challenge yourself by trying out the entire trail or take it easy with shorter sections – however you want to tackle it, the 58km Lower Bann Canoe Trail offers a unique way to experience this beautiful stretch of water. From the trailhead at Toome, the river weaves towards the Atlantic Ocean through the waters of Lough Beg, and past some of the earliest known sites of human habitation in Ireland. For guided trails, check out Ardclinis Outdoor Adventure, who offer canoe trails along the Lower Bann with trips lasting from three hours to several days.
ardclinis.com / canoeni.com/canoe-trails/lower-bann
There is little more enjoyable than pootling along the river in a boat that does the work for you, and if that sounds like your thing, then head to Bann River Cruises at Drumahegalis. It's the perfect way to enjoy the Bann for a few hours of blissful boating whether you decide to head north towards the coast or venture inland, where the quiet waters and riverbanks harbour beautiful wildlife and scenic spots.
Cruises of the Toome Canal
A guided boat tour is ideal for uncovering the secrets of these incredible waters, from wildlife and history to pure, simple fun. Abhainn Cruises run an array of guided tours including a Toome to Portglenone trip, which takes in the eel fishery and bridges at Toome and brings you along the Bann, unveiling its secret histories on the way. The Toome Lough Trip is another great option, particularly for Game of Thrones® fans, as Abhainn assisted with the filming of the Narrow Sea scenes in the HBO series.