Portaferry Visitor Information Office

Visitor Servicing in Portaferry is changing with the creation of a new Local Visitor Information Office in the reception of the town’s main attraction, Exploris Aquarium.  There is open access to the Visitor Servicing Office, you do not need to pay the entry fee to Exploris to use it.

This new facility will replace the previous seasonal Visitor Information Centre at the Stables and offer year-round provision, with new extended opening hours. New directional signage will be installed to make the location easy to find. 

The Council’s Tourism Team will work closely with staff in Exploris to ensure that the new office provides an effective information service for Portaferry and the Ards Peninsula.  Training on the local tourism product is planned before the facility opens and updates on new developments and events from Ards Visitor Information Centre will be ongoing.

In addition to assistance from Exploris staff, visitors will be able to access literature on what to see and do, where to stay and local events along with an interactive touchscreen map to assist them in plotting an itinerary.  On dedicated days, such as Bank Holidays, Council Visitor Information Advisors will provide an added outreach service in the town.

Literature and information will continue to be delivered to additional locations across the town and Borough, as has always been the case. If you wish to be added to the list for distribution, please contact us at ardsvic@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk

It is hoped that the thousands of annual visitors to Exploris, along with those visiting the region, will now be more equipped to explore more of the area and stay longer, experiencing to the full what this wonderful destination has to offer.


Nugent’s Wood, Portaferry

PEACE IV Project at Portaferry’s Nugent’s Wood Completed

Visitors to the recently reopened Nugent’s Wood in Portaferry can now enjoy an even better experience at the beautiful National Trust site thanks to a cash injection from the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme.

Improvements to the walking trail path and repairs to the existing stone wall have been completed, while additional drainage works as well as new seating, sculptures and entrance signage have been installed.

The project was supported by the EU’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match-funding was provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.

It marks the successful completion of one of the four Ards and North Down Borough Council’s PEACE IV ‘Shared Spaces and Services’ projects. Work was carried out by contractor F.P. McCann and design consultants, AECOM.

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings said:

“I am delighted to see this project come to fruition. Nugent’s Wood is a beautiful location with stunning views that all residents and visitors to the area can enjoy. Going outside and getting some exercise is vital for our physical and mental health. The Nugent’s Wood walking trail provides the perfect place where you can get fresh air and enjoy a walk while socially distancing.”

The National Trust acquired Nugent’s Wood in 1983. The wood covers 13 hectares and was originally planted as a shelter belt to the adjoining Portaferry House Demesne. The 1.5-mile path through the woodland features views across Strangford Lough to the Castle Ward Estate.

Commenting on the project, Andrew Upton, Countryside Manager for the National Trust, said:

“Nugent’s Wood is a wonderful mixed woodland on the shores of Strangford Lough. This open space provides visitors with access to woods and countryside, allowing people to reconnect with nature, something which is vital for health and wellbeing, especially during the current Covid-19 crisis. We’re delighted to see the completion of this funded project and we look forward to protecting and caring for Nugent’s Wood so people and nature can thrive, long into the future.”

For more information about the Ards and North Down Borough Council’s PEACE IV Shared Spaces and Services projects, visit ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/peaceiv.

L-R: Andrew Upton (National Trust, Countryside Manager), Aaron Devlin (F.P. McCann), Hannah Lambe (AECOM Project Manager), Councillor Trevor Cummings (Mayor of Ards and North Down) and Joanne Brown (PEACE IV Officer). Image: Graham Baalham-Curry

Charity Quiz

Charity Zoom Quiz

Local charities/Clubs are invited to register their interest in organising a “Zoom” quiz during our Great Gadget Gala Week.

Portaferry Gala will provide the Zoom platform free of charge. All charities/clubs make their own quiz!

To get more information or register an interest – Use our registration page online (linked below) or email admin@portaferrygala.com.

Quiz dates will be allocated via random draw.


Supporting Portaferry Gala Festival

Would you as an individual or business like to make a donation to The Great Gadget Gala 2020?

Unfortunately the usual Government/Council funding is unavailable this year, but our Great Gadget Gala is going ahead – a blend of actual and virtual activities! Programme is available on the Gala website.

If you are able to help, in any way, please click the link below to donate, or call the Gala Helpline on 07398 788313.

A little goes a long way!