Douglas waterfront on the Isle of Man
Europe Isle of Mann United Kingdom

United Kingdom: Things to do in the Isle of Man

Part of my ancestry is from the Isle of Man so visiting was a trip with special significance for me. Combined with going to the Isle of Man TT Racing Festival, it really packed a punch.

Once upon a time the Isle of Man was a popular holiday destination for the British but the advent of cheap and easy travel saw a downturn in its tourist appeal. Well I loved it. The countryside has elements of England, Ireland and Scotland rolled into one. So here are my recommendations for things to do on the Isle of Man:

Douglas statue Isle of Man

The capital of Douglas has a marvellous frontage of Victorian and Edwardian seaside mansions. Take a horse-drawn tram ride along the promenade and be sure to sample a little of the Ale of Man. The local museum is very good, offering a fascinating look at the history of the island and how people lived there. People have lived here since before 6,500 BC and they are, generally speaking a mix of Celtic and Viking heritage. The Manx language is one of the Gaelic languages.

Manx people are very conscious of their separate identity from England and the UK, and of their heritage. Probably understandable after centuries of conquest and reconquest by Celts, Vikings, Scots and English. The Isle of Man has its own Tynwald Assembly.

Isle of Man TT races

Then catch the antique electric railway along the rugged coastline and inland to visit the mines and the Lady Isabella, aka the Great Wheel of Laxey. This is an enormous water wheel used to pump water out of the mines (lead/silver/copper). I toured the ruins of the buildings and got very excited about going down a tunnel. Perhaps it wasn’t very far but I did have to wear a hard hat.

Isle of Man TT Races UK

The train continues up the highest peak on the island – Snaefell.  At the top I saw what, from a quick glance at the visitors book, appeared to be the typical view – thick cloud with a freezing wind. On a fine day you are supposed to be able to see 7 kingdoms – England, Ireland, Scotland, Mann, Wales, Heaven and Earth. Next time.

Peel Harbour Isle of Man

The line then follows the coast through green countryside to the colourful fishing town of Ramsey. Then it takes you back to Douglas.

Another great day out is on narrow gauge steam train southwards to Castletown and Port Erin. I also visited Castle Rushen here, an ancient seat of the Kings and Lords of Mann. I walked on the beach and climbed the hills at Port Erin.

Bradden churchyard Three Legs of Man

And here, after a week of disappointment seeing only the tailed variety, I saw a manx cat! It was on the roof of a house and I had to climb up to check that it was the real McCoy. Couldn’t get a photo but it was indeed a manx.

By Natasha von Geldern

Any other tips for things to do on the Isle of Man?

By on .


  1. Christina

    I really like those Edwardian seaside mansions! Your first photo is stunning, green meadows and the sea in the background – ah!

  2. Sounds like a great place to visit.

  3. The scenery is so beautiful there!

  4. I’ve never been, but I always get the Isle of Man and the Isle of Wight mixed up in my head. All I knew about the former is that there is a motorcycle race, and the latter has a large musical festival 🙂

    • Natasha von Geldern

      LOL I’ve not been to the IOW but the festival sounds like a good one and who could resist seeing Queen Victoria’s tea set at Osborne House 😉

  5. I really enjoyed Isle of Man. Only trouble is everything (including the bus service) closes so early.

    I’d recommend Calf Sound as well. Lovely spot.

  6. I’ve never been but it looks like an interesting destination…. looks like typical british weather though!

    • Natasha von Geldern

      You’re right there Jade – one day cold and wet, next day sunny. Have to decide not to let the weather stop you enjoying things. I guess there’s a good reason you and I are in Australia though 🙂

  7. Hey, you did the TT’s that’s all that matters (to an enthusiast like me).
    I can’t find a mention of whether you have been to Edinburgh for the festivals within your blog?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.