If you’re in search for a Winter, or indeed a New Year Break away then I want to introduce the perfect Winter wonderland for you. Luckily for me is right on my doorstep, a true hidden gem called An Creagán, located in Co.Tyrone, between the historic town of Omagh and the market town of Cookstown in the foothills of the majestic Sperrin Mountains in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
I spent most of today taking in all the delights and wonders it has to offer and what a fabulous crisp sunny day it was to enjoy it and showcase it in its glory now to you.
This region presents a unique blend of stunning landscapes and wonderful wildlife where you can immerse yourself in the peace and tranquillity of it all and recharge your batteries or get your heart racing with some outdoor fun. It’s the perfect spot to take yourself for a day, a weekend or a week’s break. The wide range of activities and things to see and do make it appealing to families, couples groups and even solo travellers. This time of year it is particularly nice with some breath-taking winter scenes combined with a fantastic seasonal palette of colours, and today for me it was complimented by the bright blue sunny skies. I wrapped up warm and took myself on a tour around the site, I have put together below a snapshot of some of the great things you can discover and experience for yourself.
Festive Markets 1st & 2nd December
Step into a world of festive delights at their Christmas markets during 1st and 2nd of December 4pm – 9pm. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of the season in inspiring surroundings and find unique and high quality gifts from over 30 handmade crafters.
Entry and parking is FREE and you will find handmade and vintage items, locally-sourced food, a variety of arts and crafts products and beautiful decorations for your home.
As well as being a great day out for all the family it’s a perfect antidote to the stresses of the high street. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to find special presents for special people, the perfect place to work your way enjoyably through your Christmas list.
Santa’s Ice Cave
Discover the magical & enchanted world of Santa Claus at An Creagan! Meet the elves at Santa’s Ice Cave, enjoy family time and photos with St. Nick himself and don’t miss the Christmas activities for the kids with many other surprises! Delight in the magic of the holiday season on Saturday 3rd December 12pm to 5pm. Prices are £7 per child and £3 for under 1 year old. This includes entry to the Ice Cave, a gift and an emailed family photo. Pre booking is required as time slots sell out every year so call to BOOK on 028 807 61112 to avoid disappointment.
Get your Heart Beating
I love to get outdoors into the crisp clean air and regularly walk or jog here on the 5km walking/running track (and you can cycle if you prefer). Today I took a leisurely stroll on the 1km track and I was pleasantly surprised to discover yet another new trail called the ‘Dragonfly’ Trail, which took me right out into a new part of the grounds. The views were simply incredible as I wove my way through the open landscape and forest. If your there with your family getting out to explore the grounds is ideal for all ages to enjoy and younger children can also be entertained in the ‘Wild Woods’. Simply wrap up warm, roam wild and enjoy natural fun and play in the great outdoors.
Recharge Your Batteries
After my stroll I enjoyed a lovely cuppa coffee a sweet bite to go with it, I enjoyed the peace and quietness the lounge area has to offer, with all its festive charm at the minute. The day was so nice, some other visitors to the centre were enjoying their lunch outdoors in patio seating! The coffee bar is really nice offering all the winter warmers you could imagine as well as a delight of homemade bites from salads and sandwiches to scones and sweet bakes. It is a lovely space to just chill out and recharge or if you’re a bit like me and can’t be disconnected from your social media, then the Free WIFi is heaven, so you can sit and surf and watch the world go by, which is exactly what I did for about an hour.
Treat Yourself & Others
Like most ladies I love to shop, so I enjoyed a good old browse in the Gift & Craft shop. The shop offers a wide range of both local and leading brands, making it the perfect spot to pick up a treat for yourself or for a loved one. As noted above, next week there is fabulous Christmas Markets taking place on Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd December as part of their festive programme. I attended them last year and it really was a magical event, offering so many lovely little finds matched by a lovely festive atmosphere.
Tantalise Your Taste Buds
I didn’t have a meal today, but I eat here regularly when I want a break from cooking, which is quite often. It is the perfect spot to enjoy a wonderful evening meal as the restaurant overlooks a beautiful pond and serves all local produce food, using the finest seasonal ingredients, at a good price. I can highly recommend it for an evening meal out with friends, family get-togethers and celebrations, or a romantic dinner with your loved one. The restaurant now has a new look, a new chef and a new menu, making it the perfect time to sample the heart-warming dishes al for yourself.
Stay for the Night
Visitors can stay over and make a proper holiday of it in one of the four and three star eight self-catering cottages, which are all nestled in the forest onsite. Just recently refurbished they are finished in traditional style with all the modern conveniences. While I was out walking today and many days, I am always amazed at the amount of visitors at An Creagán here on their holidays and short breaks, from all over the world. It is really satisfying to see other people get equalled enjoyment, pleasure and excitement from all that An Creagán has to offer. All visitors have to do is snuggle up by the pellet burner fire, sip on a winter warmer and relax and unwind to the countryside pace of life. You’re sure to have a great time.
One of the fantastic things about the location of An Creagan is its central location within Northern Ireland making it also the ideal spot to base yourself if you also want to explore the majestic Sperrins and beyond. Many of the iconic sites and experiences that Northern Ireland has to offer are within an hour’s journey including Giant’s Causeway, Belfast, the Walled City of Derry, Fermanagh Lakelands and the mountains of Mourne. They are also easily accessible to all the major air and sea ports, approximately 1 hr drive away. We are also only 1 hour from the amazing landscapes of Donegal and the Wild Atlantic Way.
So what are you waiting for, come and discover and experience it for yourself and create your own lasting memory and treasures. www.ancreagan.com