The official website of Visit Ards and North Down

The Portico of Ards

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

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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)


Sunday, 8th October 2023 - Sunday, 8th October 2023

Wayne Marshall organistOrgan recital: Wayne MarshallBritish organist, pianist and conductor Wayne Marshall is world-renowned for his musicianship on the podium and at the keyboard. Notable organ recitals included Walt Disney Concert Hall Los Angeles; Kimmel Centre Philadelphia and Symphony Hall, Birmingham UK. He is a regular performer at the BBC…
more info

Friday, 13th October 2023 - Friday, 13th October 2023

Reginald D HunterReginald D. HunterReginald D. Hunter: The Man Who Could See Through Shit In these supercharged socio-political times the challenge is more and more becoming separating what's true and what's real. Lucille Hunter proudly proclaimed "It's easy to see through shit, the hard part is pretending you haven't." Join…
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Saturday, 21st October 2023 - Saturday, 21st October 2023

The Illegals on stage at The Portico of ArdsThe IllegalsWidely regarded as one of the best live tribute acts in the country, The Illegals are into their 25th year with this ever-popular show. Every year, the Illegals delve deeper into the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac back-catalogues to keep their dynamic live show fresh but familiar to packed venues…
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Sunday, 29th October 2023 - Sunday, 29th October 2023

The Phantom of the Opera with live organ musicThe Phantom of the Opera Screening + Live OrganA special seasonal screening of this 1925 cult classic silent movie with live organ accompaniment from Richard Hills. Richard Hills is widely acknowledged as one of the world's leading contemporary theatre organists, and is also one of the very few musicians to have mastered the divide between the…
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Tuesday, 31st October 2023 - Tuesday, 31st October 2023

Halloween Scream  with bats and ghostsHalloween ScreamExpect the unexpected! Centre Stage Theatre Company return to bring some panto-style chaos to Halloween celebrations at Portico. Or should that be commemorations... mwha ha ha ha ha ha ha! PLEASE NOTE: This event is not suitable for anyone sensitive to flashing lights, loud noises or sudden…
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Saturday, 4th November 2023 - Saturday, 4th November 2023

The Scott Flanigan Trio plays The BeatlesThe Scott Flanigan Trio plays The BeatlesThe Scott Flanigan Trio returns to perform their own jazz arrangements of classics from The Beatles. Scott is delighted to bring this concert to the Portico of Ards, and has arranged two sets of music by the Beatles for piano trio, focusing on some of the well known classics but the lesser-known…
more info

Saturday, 11th November 2023 - Saturday, 11th November 2023

The Bjorn Identity Abba Tribute Band in concertThe Björn IdentityAny introduction required? Simply the best ABBA tribute! As a full time, dedicated, professional tribute show, their commitment and delivery of Abba's greatest hits is unrivalled on these shores, simply, an Abba tribute band at the top of their game.
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Sunday, 26th November 2023 - Sunday, 26th November 2023

Scott Brothers DuoFairy Tales & Fantasy; The Scott Bros DuoThrilling music and gorgeous animation for the whole family The internationally-renowned Scott Brothers Duo return to Portico to perform another fun-filled concert of duos for piano and organ for all the family, featuring thrilling music accompanied by Tom Scott's captivating animations, including…
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Friday, 1st December 2023 - Friday, 1st December 2023

Neil Delamere 2nd night at PorticoNeil Delamere: Neil By Mouth (the night before!)Neil Delamere: Neil By Mouth (the night before!) Second night announced!
more info

Saturday, 2nd December 2023 - Saturday, 2nd December 2023

Neil Delamere Neil by MouthNeil Delamere: Neil by MouthHo ho ho! Say something about him? Really? Um.... he always sells out and you've now been warned?
more info

Friday, 8th December 2023 - Friday, 8th December 2023

Christmas Karaoke with Lady PortiaChristmas Karaoke with Lady PortiaShe's back! The gorgeous Lady Portia returns to host a crazy Christmas Karaoke night! Darlings, it'll be fabulous!
more info

Sunday, 10th December 2023 - Sunday, 10th December 2023

Little Miss Muffet's Christmas AdventureLittle Miss Muffet's Christmas AdventureCentre Stage Theatre Company is back with another Christmas show in classic panto style! Oh ho ho! Are we really thinking about Christmas already? Of course we are! Christmas isn't Christmas without a trip to see a panto... Supported by Ards and North Down Borough Council
more info

Saturday, 16th December 2023 - Saturday, 16th December 2023

Cappella Caeciliana choral groupCappella Caeciliana: The Magic of ChristmasLeading Northern Ireland choir Cappella Caeciliana returns to Portico to present a concert celebrating the magic of Christmas. Under their Musical Director Matthew Quinn they will perform a wide range of seasonal music, mixing old favourites with some beautiful modern compositions.
more info

Saturday, 13th January 2024 - Saturday, 13th January 2024

Jake O'Kane: The Inappropriate TourJake O'Kane: The Inappropriate TourDavid Hull Promotions Presents – Jake O'Kane "The Inappropriate Tour" Roll up, roll up, the Jake O'Kane circus is back in town! After a decade of sell-out tours, Jake is back with his annual multimedia roundup of the year's events in NI and beyond.
more info

Sunday, 28th January 2024 - Sunday, 28th January 2024

The FureysThe FureysWhen The Fureys make their eagerly awaited return visit they will treat their audience to one of popular music's richest legacies. They are one of Ireland's all-time most acclaimed and influential middle of the road, folk and traditional bands. Furey's classics like I Will Love You, When You Were…
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Saturday, 27th April 2024 - Saturday, 27th April 2024

The Legend of Luke KellyThe Legend of Luke KellyAfter a sold out performance in 2023, the Legend of Luke Kelly is back! Book early! The Legend of Luke Kelly is an authentic show celebrating the life and songs of Ireland's most iconic and greatest folk singer. Created and performed by the renowned Chris Kavanagh the show is not a tribute but a…
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Friday, 3rd May 2024 - Friday, 3rd May 2024

Comedian Paddy RaffPaddy Raff: Gimme A Minute!Award-winning Northern Irish comedy sensation Paddy Raff is back on tour taking his brand new hilarious standup show 'Gimme a Minute!' on the road in 2024. Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday 29 Sept.
more info

Saturday, 1st June 2024 - Saturday, 1st June 2024

Legends of American Country Tribute ConcertLegends of American CountryNow seen by over 350,000 fans live and watched by millions on TV Europe's No.1 multi award winning show "The Legends of American Country". The 2024 tour will showcase highly acclaimed tributes to Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Don Williams, Patsy Cline, Charley Pride, Tammy Wynette and Kenny Rogers…
more info

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Opening Times

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

What's Nearby

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    0.13 miles away
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  3. Situated on the hill south east of the town below the stump of Portaferry Windmill, a lay…

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  1. These ruined churches are situated one and a half miles north east of Portaferry on the…

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  4. Within it are the ruins of a medieval church which is believed to be the Church of…

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  5. Ballyquintin Nature Reserve includes Ballyquintin Point at the tip of the Ards Peninsula,…

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  6. On the coast, two thirds of a mile south east of Cloughey village. This house appears to…

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  7. Traditionally believed to have been built by Roland Savage of Ballygalget in 1622,…

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  9. The Livingston Centre at Killinchy Parish Church is a local heritage centre. It tells the…

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  11. Burr Point, the most easterly point on the island.

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  12. Nendrum is thought to have been set up by St Machaoi in the 5th Century and also has…

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