There's so much to see and do in the Craigavon area that won't hurt the pocket and it's all within a few minutes drive (just a little longer if you're cycling).
Boat trips and woodland trails
Start a perfect day at Maghery Country Park (tel: 028 3839 3590) on the shores of Lough Neagh. Stroll through the delightful woodland trails and take advantage of idyllic bird watching and fishing. For something really special there are boat trips to nearby Coney Island, the lough's only inhabited island, which has played host to Saint Patrick, secret royal trysts and buried treasure and features an Anglo Norman motte and a 16th century round tower. Call for boat trip times on 028 3832 7573 (private trips can be arranged).
Back to the 18th century
About three miles south of Portadown on the Newry Canal Waymarked Way, you'll find the charming 18th century lock keeper's house with stables and bothy (a basic shelter), Moneypenny's Lockhouse (tel: 028 3834 1635). It captures the traditional life of a lock keeper and the lightermen who operated the locks. There's a fascinating exhibition on the history and wildlife of the area too.
In nearby Portadown pick up the ingredients for the perfect picnic from the foodie heaven that is the award-winning Yellow Door Deli, where gourmet food doesn't cost the earth. Choose from delicious sandwiches made with their acclaimed breads, creamy Irish cheeses, enticing cakes and tarts, and a wide selection of superb home made food.
Northern Ireland's most beautiful park
Take your picnic to Lurgan Park, Northern Ireland's largest and most beautiful urban park, where there's an abundance of things to do. There's rowing and tennis, beautiful walks, excellent coarse angling (with 20 new fishing platforms) for the likes of tench, pike bream, roach and carp, a fantastic new playground for the kids, and when you've exhausted all your options, some delightful spots to enjoy your picnic.
Take a little time out to follow the fascinating heritage trail around historic Lurgan town centre, before making the short journey to wonderful Oxford Island, whose Lough Neagh Discovery Centre is the perfect base to begin an exploration of the UK's largest inland lake.
In the steps of Saint Patrick
Oxford Island also hosts the enthralling Craigavon Museum, where the rich history of Portadown and Lurgan and the surrounding area can be traced, including the area's unique Christian heritage. Learn about one of Ireland's earliest Quaker settlements and their huge influence on the linen trade and much more.
You'll also find some of the most beautiful scenery in Ireland along the wonderful Oxford Island Loughshore Trail. Enjoy idyllic forest walks and wonderful views of Lough Neagh, while tranquil bird watching at special hides will allow you to spy on some of Ireland's most endangered birds, like whooper and Bewick's swans, great-crested grebes and Brent geese. There's even a great kid's play park.
Catching the earlybird
An action-packed day like this is bound to whet the appetite so why not head off to another award-winner, the renowned Planters Bar and Restaurant in historic Waringstown, a five-minute drive from Lurgan. Recently refurbished, their Earlybird Menu offers a three-course meal plus a bottle of wine for under £30 for two (if ordered before 6.45pm).
And when it comes to great value accommodation, Craigavon Borough has a wide selection from idyllically located caravan site at Oxford Island to welcoming B&B's such as the delightful Grey Gables (tel: 028 3833 5268) near Portadown.