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The Portico of Ards

Steel Dickson Avenue, Portaferry, County Down, BT22 1LE
The Portico of Ards

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The Portico of Ards is located in picturesque Portaferry at the tip of the Ards peninsula. Built in 1841, this beautiful church, modelled on the Greek temple of Nemesis, has unique ‘grade A listed’ architecture. It was restored and reopened in 2016 as an Arts and Heritage Centre, retaining many original features including its pews and marbled columns. The pipe organ was also refurbished, with a new Greek-inspired case and a spectacular new console. The organ loft is now accessible and showcases how the organ works. The heritage tours at Portico include the organ loft and a chance to have a play on the organ or make it play by itself!

Portico’s heritage displays hold artefacts from nearby Neolithic sites and an excellent timeline detailing local history from the Ice Age to the present. Interactive options include the story of Christian music, access to a Digital Film Archive and a wealth of history on tablet computers outlining Portaferry’s fascinating history and Portico’s links with the United Irishmen. Guided tours are available at any time of year but must be pre-booked.

Seating over 300 and with stunning acoustics, Portico’s events programme is highly popular. There are concerts most weekends ranging from all kinds to music to theatre, film and comedy. In September, the Portico Comedy Arts Festival takes place with events including operetta, stand-up comedy and sketch shows. Portico attracts many high quality international artists: to check what’s on this month or buy tickets please visit

Portico is part of the Strangford Lough Tourism Cluster and there are frequently offers for accommodation or dinner and concert deals with The Portaferry Hotel, a five minute walk away at the edge of the lough. Portico is also easy to reach by ferry from Strangford: ferries operate every half an hour and concerts always end in time for the last ferry.

Guided tours £10 per person (discounts for groups)
Events individually priced (please see website)


Children & Infants

  • Baby changing facilities

Guide Prices

Guided tours £10 per person (discounts for groups)
Events individually priced (please see website)

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Opening Times

* See website for details of events.
Guided tours available at any time but must be pre-booked.

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