Lurgan town is home to 19th century Brownlow House, with its stunning architecture and elegant Tea Room, 250 acre Lurgan Park - Ireland's second largest urban park, and the legacy of Master McGrath, one of the greatest ever racing greyhounds. A new interactive WW2 exhibition is now located in the basement of Brownlow House. Embark on a fascinating journey - entry is FREE however donations are welcome. Spend a day exploring the park and its 59 acre man-made lake built during the famine and said to be the inspiration behind the local phrase 'face like a Lurgan spade' which means to look a bit miserable.
A few miles west of Lurgan is Craigavon, a 'new city' established in 1965 and named after NI's first Prime Minister, James Craig. Although the 'city' did not materialise, the name remains for this mainly residential area between Portadown and Lurgan.
Beyond its oft-mocked roundabouts, pleasing remnants of its experimental origins remain, including Tannaghmore Gardens, on Lurgan's fringes, with its delightful - and free - rare-breeds petting zoo and Barn Museum. And the area's proximity to Lough Neagh and the River Bann ensures plenty of canoe trails, boat tours and adrenalin-fuelled watersports.
Back on dry land, fast car fans can fuel their motorsports enthusiasm at Alltrak Rallysports. Located just outside Craigavon, rally professionals co-pilot as you negotiate a range of circuits in suped up Novas and turbo charged Subarus. You can also go head-to-head in unique off-road buggies at the Rallykart Grand Prix. Or why not attempt The Ultimate Motorsport Experience which combines rally-karts, the Nova Rally Challenge, the Subaru Rally Challenge and a Quad Bike Auto-test all in one day.
Heading further west, Portadown town is a great spot for shopping, and its Millennium Court Arts Centre has two galleries, a Tourism Info Point and year-round creative and cultural events. Stop off for lunch at the charming Chimes Coffee House which overlooks the town's landmark St.Mark's Church and serves speciality teas, coffees and home-made food.
Beyond these three main towns, Oxford Island Nature Reserve is home to the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre with nature trails, the Loughside Cafe, Tourist Info Point and exhibitions on this, the British Isles' largest lake. Kinnego Marina is also on-site with regular boat trips departing from the shore jetty.
Exploration of the lough's Coney Island unearths a rich history spanning many centuries, with evidence of human occupation dating back to 8000 years BC. Take a boat trip and explore natural and historic sites such as Saint Patrick's Stone, Coney Cottage, O'Neill's Tower and the Anglo/Norman Motte. Boat trips run on the first Sun of each month May-Aug 13:30 - 16:30 from Maghery Country Park. Other times and visits can be arranged including private trips, and historical tours, woodland walks and nature walks are also available on request.
If your little ones need to unleash even more energy, Peter Pan's Neverland indoor play park in Portadown, and Edenvilla Park & Secret Garden between Portadown and Craigavon, with its play area and wood sculptures, will easily pass a few hours.
Around 30 miles west of Belfast and easy to reach off the M1 or by rail, Lurgan, Craigavon and Portadown make for a busy daytrip destination. And with some great, award-winning accommodation, restaurants, shops and bars, there's every reason to stay even longer.
For details of all the above, including directions, opening times and admission, or to download free town trails, visit www.discovercraigavon.com or www.facebook.com/discovercraigavon. Tourist Info Points are also located in Lurgan and Portadown Town Centres.