About the Museum

The impetus for the establishment of a Maritime Museum at Holyhead followed successful maritime exhibitions held locally in 1982 and 1983. A Trustees group was set up in 1984 and after obtaining a nine year lease from the Church in Wales, a museum was established at the redundant St. Elbods Church. The museum was officially opened by the Duke of Westminster in March 1986.

On expiration of the lease on the church, Stena Line offered the museum a peppercorn rent on the renovated Lifeboat House at Newry Beach. After a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to improve the facilities and a renegotiation of the lease, the museum reopened at its current picturesque seafront location in 1998. The Patrons of the museum are Rear Admiral Keith Beckett CBE BSc. MDA CEng. FIMarEST Royal Navy and Mr. Albert Owen.

The museum continues to be managed by a group of trustees. Its aim is to explain the rich maritime history of Holyhead in respect of its coastal location on the Irish Sea and in particular its connection with the sea crossing to Ireland. Recognition and remembrance of the town's contribution in recent major wars and conflicts is also offered. A dedicated team of volunteers look after the shop, reception of visitors and act as museum guides.

We are an Accreditied Museum (No. 1320) meeting national requirements determined by the Arts Council of England (ACE) but administered in Wales by the Welsh Government under MALD: Museums Archives Libraries Division. The museum is a registered charity (No. 514840).

The museum is a fascinating experience for the whole family. Visitors can step back in time at the oldest lifeboat station in Wales (circa. 1858), which houses a wonderful collection of exhibits to illustrate the fascinating maritime history of Holyhead. Examine detailed models of ships sailing the Irish Sea over 100 years ago and compare them to the modern technically advanced vessels of today. Learn about local shipwrecks and the lifeboatmen who saved so many lives.

Housed in a Second World War air raid shelter, situated alongside the Maritime Museum, is the permanent exhibition "Holyhead at War". Here visitors can learn about the experiences and sacrifices made by the men and women of the town during both World Wars and more recent conflicts. You can even test our Air Raid Warning Siren!

Our volunteer guides have extensive maritime and local knowledge and are happy to share this with all visitors.

Part of the museum building is given over to a privately run and highly regarded Cafe/Licenced Restaurant, the "Harbour Front Bistro".

Photograph of the Holyhead Maritime Museum by Robin Drayton