Local Links and Attractions for Douglas and the Isle of Man
Nestling between England and Ireland the Isle of Man is a little gem of an island some 13 miles wide and 33 miles long packed full of things to see and do!
Small it maybe, but there is a wide variety of things to enjoy including sea fishing, sea kayaking, coastal walks, cycling, mountain biking, golf, wildlife
and there are miles of unspoilt countryside and coastal vistas.
The first settlers arrived here in Neolithic times before the ancient Celts and Vikings whose legacy is still alive today in the landscapes, culture and government.
There is a wealth of historical landmarks including the world’s largest working waterwheel
the Laxey Wheel (nicknamed the Lady Isabella),
Castle Rushen (one of Europe’s best preserved Medieval Fortresses)
Peel Castle (originally constructed by the Vikings)
For motorcycle fans there is the famous
Isle of Man TT and the Festival of Motorcycling
and there are classic car rallies organised by the
Manx Classic Car Club
for those who prefer four wheels (more accurately the car rallies are for those who prefer more than two wheels…).
During the summer months there is a number of annual events and attractions that appeal to visitors of all ages, sadly outside of summer not all, but many activities aimed at children tend to go into semi-hibernation
Out and About in Douglas
Douglas Bay Horse Tramway
The horse trams are a common sight on the promenade during the summer months.
Started in 1876 by Thomas Lightfoot to take advantage of the booming tourist trade, the 3ft gauge tramway today is owned and operated by Douglas Borough Council.
It runs from the main depot at Derby Castle, along the Promenade to the Sea Terminal
Manx Electric Railway
Built between 1893 and 1899, the unique Manx Electric Railway is located on the eastern coast of the Isle of Man and connects the towns of Douglas, Laxey and Ramsey.
There are some seventy or so Stops on the line which still operates with the majority of its original Victorian and Edwardian rolling stock.
Manx Steam Railway
The Manx Steam Railway runs from Douglas to Port Erin in the south of the island.
A one way journey through the beautiful Manx countryside starting in Douglas and stopping at
Port Soderick, Santon, Ballasalla, Castletown, Colby, Port St Mary and Port Erin
takes around an hour to complete.
In July and August, the peak months of the holiday season, there are seven return trains a day one of which is an evening service.
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company
Regular Ferries run to and from Belfast, Birkenhead, Douglas, Dublin, Heysham and Liverpool
Villa Marina and Gaiety Theatre
The Manx Museum
The Sayle Art Gallery
Villa Marina Colonnade
The High Court of Tynwald
The High Court of Tynwald is the parliament of the Isle of Man.
Tynwald is of Norse origin and at over 1,000 years old is the oldest parliament in the world with an unbroken existence
Great Union Camera Obscura
One of only four remaining camera obscuras in the British Isles, the Great Union Camera Obscura is unlike other similar structures in that
the Isle of Man’s camera obscura was built in the 1890s purely as an attraction for the tourist industry,
while others were built for astronomical purposes
Douglas Farmers Market
Villa Marine Parade
The Douglas Farmers Market is held on the first Saturday of every month with the exception of June when the Market is held on the last Saturday of May before TT Week
Out and About on the Isle of Man
Nature and Beauty Spots on the Isle of Man
The Ayres National Nature Reserve
covers several miles of sand and shingle beaches with windswept dunes renowned for its wildlife (including Basking Sharks and Whales) and rare native fauna
Bradda Glen is a winding coastal footpath leads through trees to Bradda Head where there are sweeping views over Port Erin Bay
Niarbyl on the west coast of the island is an area of outstanding natural beauty and an important geological site. There are great views and it is a great place for spotting Basking Sharks
Scarlett Point is just outside Castletown and is renowned for fossil rich limestone formations and birdlife.
The Calf of Man is a small island of approximately one square mile just off the south east tip of the main island.
It has been a bird observatory since 1959 and during the summer months there are a pair of fulltime Wardens onsite and there is limited overnight accommodation available. Day trips by boat are available from nearby Port Erin and Port St Mary.
Overlooking the Calf of Man is the
Sound Visitor Centre and Café,
built into the headland the café offers views of the Sound and the Calf.
The Sound is popular with kayakers who have a death wish and want to battle the swirling tidal races and here you can get great views of people trying to remove themselves from the gene pool…
My last fiancé came from the Isle of Man and her middle name was Glen which I thought a bit unusual at the time and then I met her mother who’s first name was Glen, but when researching this page I found out there are lots of Glens on the Isle of Man, eighteen at the last count! These Glens are a mix of mountain and coastal landscapes and provide fantastic away from it places for walkers, nature lovers, photographers and artists
Isle of Man Glens
Cycle Hire on the Isle of Man
Cycle Hire Isle of Man
15 – 17 Michael street
Erin Bike Hut
32 Church Road
Fishing on the Isle of Man
Manx Sea Fishing
Golf on the Isle of Man
Isle of Man Golf Union
Isle of Man Golf Tours
Railways and Trams on the Isle of Man
Douglas Bay Horse Tramway
Groudle Glan Railway
Manx Electric Railway
Snaefell Mountain Railway
Orchid Line Miniature Railway
Curraghs Wildlife Park
Sea Watching on the Isle of Man
Boat trips are available from all the larger ports on the island and offer a great chance of marine encounters, however there are many vantage points around the coast, some with permanent binoculars and refreshments.
are regular summer visitors, seen from mid May to mid August on the South and Western Coasts and occasionally off the East Coast near Douglas and Laxey
Grey Seals are present all year round and popular places to see them include The Sound, the coast around Peel, Ayres Nature Reserve near Bride, Maughold Head south of Ramsey and Langness Peninsula near Castletown
Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch
There are nine regular cetaceans seen around the Isle of Man at various times of the year, these are:
Harbour Porpoise; Common Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Risso’s Dolphin, Killer Whale, Minke Whale, Fin Whale and the Long Finned Pilot Whale.
More occasional visitors are: The Humpback Whale, Northern Bottlenose Whale, Culver’s Beaked Whale, Atlantic White Sided Dolphin and the White Beaked Dolphin. Other species of cetaceans are also seen, but these are very rare.