Old House of Keys

Welcome to the group visitor information for the Old House of Keys situated in Castletown.  Here you will find everything you need to plan a visit.

Old House of Keys

The former home of the Manx Parliament and centre of 19th Century political life on the Isle of Man.  Animated portraits of Keys members and a simulated model of Mr Speaker bring the debating chamber to life.  The Secretary of the House welcomes you to join in the debates on law setting in this participatory experience.

Things to see and do:

  • Meet the costumed secretary of this historic building.
  • Take a seat in the finely restored debating chamber.
  • Watch as the talking head of Mr Speaker and animated portraits of Members of the House come to life.
  • Discover how democracy developed on the Isle of Man.
  • Listen carefully as Mr Speaker demands ‘Order’.
  • Shape this Island’s future and introduce motorcycle racing to the Island’s open roads.
  • Decide whether women should get the vote.
  • Shout ‘aye’ for those in favour and ‘no’ for those against!

Opening hours 2013

Open 7 days a week. 29th March to 3rd November.  Timed showings at: Midday and 3pm

Maximum Group size 25

Timing your visit

A typical show lasts ¾ hour.

Manx National Heritage recommend that a visit to The Old House of Keys is timed to coincide with other Southern area visits in Castletown including:

  • Castle Rushen, one of the world’s best preserved medieval castles
  • The Nautical Museum, home to the world’s oldest yacht
  • The Old Grammar School where rows of benches and desks are a reminder of early Victorian schools days
  • And nearby Rushen Abbey, The Abbey Gardens and Interpretive Centre, in neighbouring Ballasalla.

Admission prices 2013

Adult £4.50, Child (under 18 years): £2.25, Family (2 adults and 2 children): £11
Pre-booked Group* £3.60 per adult, Group (Ad hoc rate – paid on day of visit)* £4 per adult

10 Day Explorer Tickets and 5 Day Heritage Transport Explorer Tickets are also available and offer exceptional value for money.  Passes provide access to all Manx National Heritage sites and use of Heritage Transport priced from £17* to £49.50**.

*To qualify for the pre-booked group rate, groups must consist of at least 15 people and must be booked 7 days in advance to qualify. Multi-site discount admission passes are also available from all Manx National Heritage sites.  Valid passes must be shown on entry to each site. **Minimum group size of 20 people to qualify for discount to combined Heritage and Transport Explorer Tickets.

Manx National Heritage have reciprocal agreements with a number of organisations, providing free or reduced admission on presentation of a valid membership card. Refunds are not available for tickets purchased.

Booking your visit

Pre-booking is advised and achieves a number of benefits for your group including a substantial discount on the standard admission price and speedy, hassle-free entry to the site.

To book your group visit please telephone our group bookings office on (+44) (0) 1624 648017.  Payment is due no later than 7 days in advance and refunds are not given once the booking and group numbers are confirmed.

On receipt of payment, a Group Entry Permit will be issued to you for presentation at the site entrance on the day of your visit.

Private evening sittings

Private evening sittings at the Old House of Keys can be arranged during the summer months by special request.  An expert guide will greet you at the Old House of Keys and will explain the importance and historical significance of the Manx Parliament through the centuries, as well as answering any questions regarding the Old House of Keys and its fascinating heritage.  The evening sitting will last for 1 hour.

Information for visitors with disabilities

The Old House of Keys is fully accessible to wheelchair users, although there is a small step at the entrance to the building.  Please confirm any special access requirements by telephoning 01624 648017 ahead of your visit.

Visitor Information

  • Lavatories are not available within the Old House of Keys, however, there are a number of public conveniences throughout Castletown including at nearby Castle Rushen.
  • Photography and filming (for personal use only).
  • Mobile phones should be turned off during sittings.
  • Gifts are available to purchase nearby at the Heritage Shops at Castle Rushen, The Old Grammar School and The Nautical Museum.

How to get there

View the Nautical Museum on a map here and zoom in on Castletown.

Enter Castletown via the Douglas Road (from Douglas) or Alexandra Road (from the South).  Follow Victoria Road into Castletown, crossing the harbour bridge as indicated on the map below.

By bus: 1, 2, 8, 11, 12 – from Douglas, Peel, Port Erin and Post St. Mary.

Victorian Steam Railway: The Old House of Keys is signposted from Castletown station.

By road and by foot: The Old House of Keys is situated in the heart of Castletown between the town square and Castle Rushen.

Parking and Coach Travel information

Coaches may drop off or collect visitors at Castletown town square and coach parking is available in the area behind the George Hotel, adjacent to Castletown fire station.

For your guidance, please note that speed limits apply in Castletown and there are narrow streets within the town.

For Group ticket sales and information, please contact:

Lynn Mckibbin, Group Bookings Officer, Manx National Heritage, Kingswood Grove, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 3LY

Telephone (++44) (0) 1624 648000. Fax (++44) (0) 1624 648001

E-mail: Lynn.Mckibbin@mnh.gov.im