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Lough Neagh Discovery Centre

What will students see and do?

Oxford Island National Nature Reserve and the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre are well established as high-quality outdoor education providers. It is a fantastic place to take your class for science trips or geography trips and teach them about nature, science, and the outside world.

Learning outside the classroom will engage your class, allowing them to get hands-on with the things you might be talking about in the classroom. If your children are looking for wildlife, activities, and excitement in the outdoors, Lough Neagh Discovery Centre is the place to go.

An environmentally conscious hub of learning that blends in with the vast natural landscape, there’s plenty to see and do there.

Lough Neagh is the largest freshwater lake in the British Isles, covering 160 square miles and draining almost half of the land area of Northern Ireland. Where six large rivers flow into the Lough, only one flows out. A prime spot for wildfowl, it is a Ramsar site, a Special Protection Area, and an Area of Special Scientific Interest.

The Lough area is of great importance for biodiversity. It is surrounded by several smaller lakes and the associated habitats of wet woodland, meadows, and fen.

The Lough has supplied much of Northern Ireland with drinking water and supported countless industries. Reeds from the shore were even used to make thatch for local cottage roofs.

All of this, combined with the legends surrounding the Lough, means that a trip to the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre will be filled with learning opportunities.

You could take your students on a guided walk to learn about trees, animals, or woodland habitats. Workshops full of games and crafts are offered. There are even activities suited to whichever season you choose to visit in.

If your school is based in the Armagh City, Banbridge, or Craigavon Council area or near to the borough, the Oxford Island Education Team can also deliver their outreach programmes in your classroom. Here is a list of those on offer:

Garden Birds
Minibeasts
Wildlife, Habitats, and Biodiversity
Water
Energy, Pollution, and Recycling
Growing Your School Grounds

Lough Neagh and Oxford Island have no end of exciting and informative outdoor activities to offer to your pupils. They’ll love getting an environmental education by experiencing such wildlife and natural beauty first-hand.



Teaching resources provided

The team at the Discovery Centre has compiled a list of all the educational services that they offer, which is of great use when planning your trip, helping you to decide which activities will best serve your class.

Lough Neagh Discovery Centre also has useful web pages dedicated to providing information about habitats, biodiversity, and various species. These can be used in class before or after your trip.


Minimum and maximum group size

You can bring your whole class to the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre. However, if your class has more than 25 pupils, the group will likely be split up into smaller groups when doing activities. There must be at least one adult with each group.


Details of risk assessment

All of the activities carried out at the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre are fully risk assessed. These assessments are reviewed and updated on a regular basis. You are welcome to ask the education team for copies of the assessments for each activity.

PLANNING

Don't miss our downloadable A-Z guide on completing a risk assessment

icon for A-Z guide on completing a risk assessment

Facilities on-site

There is both a picnic area and a café on-site, and a gift shop. If you wish to eat in the café, please book well in advance and notify the chef of meal choices at least four school days before your visit.

On-site parking is available but charges may apply. Coach parties are accepted.


Opening times

The Lough Neagh Discovery Centre is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 5pm on weekends.

From Easter until September, the centre stays open until 6pm on Sundays.

The Loughside Café is open Monday to Sunday, 10am to 4.30pm. From Easter until September, the café remains open until 5.30pm.

To check availability or make a booking, contact a member of the education team on 028 3831 1671 or 028 3831 1678.

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Pricing

Here are the prices for a trip to Lough Neagh Discovery Centre:

• 3 hours or more – £3.60 per child
• Two hours or less – £2.90 per child


Travel arrangements

Lough Neagh Discovery Centre is located in Craigavon. From the M1, exit at Junction 10. Lough Neagh is signposted.

Address

Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Oxford Island National Nature Reserve, Annaloiste Road, Craigavon, Armagh
BT66 6NJ


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Book your school trip to Lough Neagh Discovery Centre

For information on booking your school trip to this venue, click below.

Book your school trip to Lough Neagh Discovery Centre

For information on booking your school trip to this venue, click below.

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