13 Things To Do on the Isle of Man

Here are our 13 things to do on the Isle of Man.

Beaches, Culture & History, Europe, Gastronomy, Outdoors, Sustainable / Eco

A beautiful island set in the Irish Sea, a short ferry ride from the UK mainland, with stunning walking, ancient traditions, wonderful seafood and great beaches, the Isle of Man has something for everyone. Here are our 13 things to do on the Isle of Man.

13 Things to Do on the Isle of Man

1 Say Hello to The Fairies

The first thing you must do is bless the fairies on Isle of Man Fairy Bridge. From then on you are set fair for a wonderful Isle of Man holiday.

2 Choose between Four Types of Heritage Railways

The Isle of Man is ideal for train enthusiasts. First, there is the Isle of Man Steam Railway from Castletown to Port Erin, which apparently inspired Wilbert Awdrey to write the Thomas the Tank Engine series of books. Then, the 100-year-old Manx Electric Railway runs from Douglas to Derby Castle through the most spectacular countryside. Or you can take the Snaefell Mountain Railway up to the highest point on the island. Finally, the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway is one of the last of its type in the world. Details of all four Isle of Man heritage railways can be found here.

3 See the Laxey Wheel Isle of Man

Laxey Wheel Isle of Man
Laxey Wheel Isle of Man

A must on any visit to the Isle of Man is to see the Laxey Wheel or Lady Isabella. Built in 1854 to pump water from the nearby mines, this is the largest working water mill in the world. An amazing feet of engineering, it is stunning with the sun behind it. This is part of the Isle of Man’s National Heritage.

4 Walk the Coastal Path and Stroll on Isle of Man Beaches

Port Erin is a beautiful town to the south of the island with an excellent beach and wonderful coastal walk to Bradda Head and the Milner’s Tower. Slightly further along the coast is The Sound which has the most amazing views across the Irish Sea especially towards sunset. Throughout the island there are great walks to explore the Isle of Man countryside.

5 Visit a Museum

The Isle of Man has some excellent museums ideal for those rain days. The excellent House of Manannan museum in Peel provides you with insight into the history and legends of the island from the Vikings to the present day. Also, well worth a visit is the Manx Museum in Douglas which has a section on the Isle of Man TT as well as a very interesting social history collection. If the weather is set fine you can visit Cregneash, the National Folk Museum, which shows you what it was like to be a crofter in the 18th and 19th centuries.

6 Explore Castletown Isle of Man

Things To Do on Isle of Man
Castle Rushen (Balley Cashtal), c. Mark Bibby Jackson

Castletown is the ancient capital of the Isle of Man. Situated in the south of the island, it has an attractive harbour as well as Castle Rushen (Balley Cashtal), a wonderfully well preserved medieval castle. Castletown also has the House of Keys, which was the home to the Manx Parliament between 1821 and 1874.

7 Discover the North of the Isle of Man

The north of the Isle of Man has two wonderful towns. Peel has its own castle which overlooks the most amazing beach as well as the House of Manannan. Ramsey is an attractive town and great place to halt your ride on the Manx Electric Railway, especially if you visit the Fynoderee distillery right next to the station.

House of Manannan, Peel, Isle of Man
House of Manannan, Peel, c. Mark Bibby Jackson

8 Visit a Camp

Knockaloe Internment Centre, the largest camp of its type in World War I within the British Isles, is also a fascinating visit, providing an interesting view of a period of history that was often glossed over. Some 23,000 men were held here, one of whom went on to invent Pilates.

9 Take the Bus

The Isle of Man has an excellent cheap and efficient bus service. Buy a day-ticket (£8) and this will allow you to explore most of the island, hopping off whenever you like. Just catch the next bus. It really is a great way both to see the island and chat with the local Manx community.

10 Eat Some Queenies
Queenies at Little Fish Café c. Renate Ruge
Queenies at Little Fish Café c. Renate Ruge

The Isle of Man is noted for its seafood. The Port Erin Chippy has a reputation for being one of the best fish and chip shops in the Isle of Man. However, if you want a really local experience than sample some Queenies, which are small scallops. Either try them pickled in a tub from the stall beside Peel Castle, or in a wonderful sauce at the excellent Little Fish Café on the North Quay in the capital Douglas. You might also like to try the excellent Isle of Man kippers.

11 Take in a Festival

Isle of Man Festivals
The World Tin Bath Championships in Castletown, Isle of Man

The Isle of Man has an amazing array of festivals, details of which you can find in our 5 Isle of Man Festivals article. These include the Isle of Man TT, the World Tin Bath Championships and the island’s very own Halloween.

12 Walk the Esplanade in Douglas Isle of Man

Douglas is an attractive Victorian seaside town and makes an appealing base for your Isle of Man stay, especially as this is where the Isle of Man ferry docks.

13 Take The Ferry Home
Isle of Man Hoiiday
Isle of Man Steam Packet

The Isle of Man is a UNESCO Biosphere which takes its sustainability pledges seriously. If you wish to reduce your carbon footprint, take the bus while on the island and take the ferry back to the UK mainland or Ireland. Looking back upon the island upon your departure, one thing is for sure you will be planning your next Isle of Man holidays.

Things To Do on the Isle of Man

For further inspiration on things to do on your Isle of Man holidays, we suggest you go to the Visit Isle of Man website. And if you are planning a trip then a good place to start is with our Planning an Isle of Man Holiday: The Basics.

Photos courtesy of Visit Isle of Man unless stated.

Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

Read more posts by Mark Bibby Jackson →

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