Lock Keepers Cottage
A Place Like Home
Toome has been an important meeting place and crossing point for centuries, with a long tradition of hospitality to visitors and travellers. That tradition continues today at the Lock Keeper’s Cottage Tea Room and Waterways Heritage Centre. Set in breath-taking surroundings alongside the lock on the famous Toome Canal, the Lock Keeper’s Cottage is an oasis of calm where you can sit down and relax with friends over a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy some delicious homemade scones or cakes.
Of course, maybe you have just completed the beautiful canal walk and are ready for something more substantial. In that case you’ll find a rich and varied menu featuring local garden produce straight from the nearby allotment, and perhaps some wonderful Lough Neagh Eel or Pollan, plucked fresh from the lough.
The poet Seamus Heaney was born nearby and he loved this place. In his poem, At Toomebridge, he describes it thus:
Where the flat water
Came pouring over the weir out of Lough Neagh
As if it had reached an edge of the flat earth
And fallen shining to the continuous
Present of the Bann.
Look & learn
The Lock Keeper’s Cottage has plenty to stimulate the mind, as well as satisfy the stomach. Engaging and informative displays in the Interpretive Centre help to ‘Unlock the Lough’ with fascinating insights to Lough Neagh’s people, flora and fauna. Themes explored include its role as a Transport Hub, Nature & Legends, Trains & Planes, the Lough Shore & Locks, Working Waterways & Fishing and the Geology of Lough Neagh.
Situated beside an idyllic two-kilometre Canal Walk to the mouth of Lough Neagh, and overlooking the River Bann, The Lock Keeper’s Cottage is an ideal base for all types of hobbyists, from near and far. The wonderful biodiversity of this area makes it a ‘must-see’ destination for wildlife enthusiasts and if canoeing is your passion, you can join the many others who set off from the jetty, returning later for great food and warm hospitality. In winter, visitors love to gather around the wood burning stove to chat, exchange stories and admire the displays of local art and craftwork.
A taste of home
The tea room is open 10:00 to 16:00 daily and as well as light refreshments, a full menu is available upon prior request. The cottage can also be booked for meetings, conferences, functions & group activities. Groups of up to 40 can be comfortably accommodated, with a full menu upon prior request. Weekend and evening events are a speciality and the cottage’s stunning setting makes it a popular venue for wedding photographs. Parts of the worldwide phenomenon “Games of Thrones” was filmed here, so why not complete your visit with a photograph taken where Tyrion Lannister travelled through!