Known for its natural beauty and unique attractions, here’s some info on the 12 best things to do in the Isle of Man.
1. Manx Electric Railway
Built between 1893 and 1899, the Manx Electric Railway is the longest, narrow gauge vintage electric railway system in the British Isles.
Connecting Douglas, the capital of the Isle of Man, with the towns of Laxey and Ramsey, this scenic route covers a total distance of around 17 miles and takes about 90 minutes.
On one side you have the beautiful Manx countryside, glens and picturesque villages, to the other side you have views stretching out across the Irish Sea
Furthermore, with more than 60 official stops on the Manx Electric Railway network you have the perfect opportunity to hop on and off and explore some of the Island’s spectacular glens and coastal areas.
2. Dhoon Glen
Dhoon Glen, located between Laxey and Ramsey in the Isle of Man, is an enchanting trail leading to a rugged waterfall and rocky bay.
This stunning walk is around 3.2 km (2 miles) long and can be enjoyed at any time of the year, but is particularly stunning in the spring and autumn.
One of the Island’s most dramatic waterfalls, Dhoon Glen waterfall is a natural beauty and well worth visiting.
Leading on from Dhoon Glen Waterall, you walk down an enchanting canopy of trees towards a beautiful pebbly beach, the cove of Dhoon Bay.
Dhoon Glen, with its dramatic waterfall and stunning bay, is a real gem and has to be one of the best things to do in the Isle of Man.
3. Laxey Wheel
Built into the hillside above the village of Laxey in 1854, Laxey Wheel was designed to pump water from the Glen Mooar part of the Great Laxey mines.
Also known as Lady Isabella, after the wife of the island’s governor at the time, it’s the largest working waterwheel in the world. Also a great example of Victorian engineering that served the mine for 70 years.
Standing at over 72 feet tall, this impressive wheel still turns and has been one of the the island’s most popular tourist attractions for over 150 years.
At the opening ceremony, newspapers reported that up to 4000 people attended from across the island. All rejoicing and enjoying a meal of beef, potatoes and ale, followed by lots of grand speeches and a display of fireworks.
You can explore the mine and learn all about the lives of the Laxey miners. As well as climb up the 90 or so steps to a platform at the top of the wheel and enjoy amazing, panoramic views across Glen Mooar Valley.
Visiting this fascinating, world famous waterwheel is definitely one of the best things to do in the Isle of Man.
4. South Barrule Plantation
Located in the southern half of the island, South Barrule Plantation is one of the Isle of Man’s most popular woodlands for outdoor adventure and leisure activities.
With 128 hectares to explore, it’s popular with walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders. It is also home to a range of activities such as Lazer-Mayhem, Quad Bikes, Axe Throwing, Ape-Mann, Swegway Tours and more.
With a number of purpose built mountain bike trails and a skills area, it makes for a great introduction to mountain biking for first time visitors, new riders and children.
This picturesque plantation has plenty to offer for everyone, whatever age and whatever your interest.
5. Gravity IOM
Gravity IOM provide guided, off-road electric scooter trails. Costing £25 per adult this is a really fun and exhilarating way to explore the plantation.
Ridden like a scooter but with the look and feel of a mountain bike, these electric scooters give you a relatively effortless way to explore a large area.
The scooters are quite easy to master with handlebars and brakes like a bike. It doesn’t take long to feel confident to take off.
Make sure to check the website re age and height restrictions – www.gravity-iom.com. Although, they do have a couple of smaller scooters and do accept family bookings.
6. Quad Biking
Also on offer at the South Barrule Plantation Activity Centre you will find another great guided off road tour. This time taking you through the forest on four-wheels.
The quad bikes are easy to ride and with expert tuition given, you should feel comfortable and confident to take part in a short time.
Lead by experienced instructors you will encounter all sorts of terrain along the route including water features, steep climbs and lots of mud!
Starting at £58 per adult, they cater for individuals, groups and families. Protective equipment is provided and age and height restrictions apply.
This is another thrilling and exciting way to explore this beautiful plantation.
7. TT Tour On Trikes
Known as the motorcycle road racing capital of the world, the Isle of Man attracts thousands of people from across the world to watch the famous TT races.
With this in mind, TT Tours on Trikes, based in Douglas, offer a similar exhilarating experience. All with an emphasis on enjoyment and safety.
Just sit back on the trike and let the driver do all the work. You can enjoy the stunning scenery without the high speeds of a TT race.
Using a 3 way intercom, well informed drivers take you to places of historical interest. Sharing information about the island and its history, you can also ask any questions as you are travelling.
There are various tours to choose from including TT Enthusiasts, East Coast and Roads Less Travelled. They also offer bespoke tours of this unique way to see and learn more about the Isle of Man.
I would recommend this as one of the best things to do in the Isle of Man. Especially for TT enthusiasts who would rather someone else was driving!
8. Bradda Head
Bradda Head is a rugged headland just a mile north of Port Erin. The gem at the top of this headland is the unique Milner Tower that you can climb to the top of for stunning coastal views.
This is a relatively steady, if somewhat steep in places, climb through heather covered heathland.
It takes between 40-60 minutes to reach the tower and there are benches along the way for you to take a breather and enjoy the views.
Once you have reached the Tower it’s about 40 steps up a narrow stairwell to the top. From here you have superb views of Port Erin and its bay as well as the southerly part of the Island and much more.
On a clear day, you can even see as far as the Mountains of Mourne in Northern Ireland!
9. Port Erin
Port Erin is a pretty seaside village in the south west of the Isle of Man and boasts a beautiful, sandy beach and a promenade backed by picturesque Victorian buildings.
Sitting between two headlands, this beautiful bay is sheltered and offers lots of beach activities including paddle boarding, kayaking, beach football and more.
You can also jump on a steam train in Port Erin and enjoy an hour long journey to Douglas, through beautiful countryside and along the coast.
Next to the station is the Port Erin Railway Museum which is home to steam engines, carriages, memorabilia etc all telling the history of the steam railways over the last 140 year.
Famed for its views and stunning sunsets, Port Erin may be small but has lots to offer and is easily worth being on the list of best things to do in the Isle of Man.
Located on the south coast of the Isle of Man, Castletown was the capital of the island until 1869.
With lots of small winding streets, a harbour surrounded by picturesque fishing cottages and a medieval castle, this is fascinating and historical town.
Castle Rushden dominates the town square and was originally built for a Norse king in around 1200AD. Over the years it has been used as a fortress, royal residence, a mint and even a prison.
Open to the public (£12 per adult/children free) you can explore the castle and learn about its history. As well as climb the spiral staircases to the roof and enjoy panoramic views of Castletown and beyond.
You can also enjoy a walk along the harbour, home of the famous annual World Tin Bath Races as well as large fishing vessels from Castletown’s days as a busy fishing port.
11. Calf Of Man
Located half a mile off the south west coast of the Isle of Man, the beautiful Calf of Man is a small island extending to just over 600 acres. It has a population of two – an estate warden and an ornithology warden!
The island is accessed by small boat operators running return trips from Port St Mary and Port Erin. These trips need to be booked in advance.
The island has been a bird observatory since 1959 and there is accommodation for up to eight visitors in self-catering accommodation which can be booked through Manx National Heritage.
It’s home to many species of birds, including seabird colonies and thousands of migrating birds on route. This is a great place to visit if you are a keen birdwatcher.
Some of the species of birds that breed on the island include Manx Shearwater, Kittiwake, Razorbill and Shag. Other species also seen on the island include Peregrine, Hen Harrier and Chough.
12. Eat, Eat, Eat
Whilst visiting the Isle of Man, one of the best things to do is definitely enjoy some good food. We found the following great eateries during our visit:
Set in the heart of Laxey Village, Laxey Kitchen is an independently owned, family business and the Isle of Man’s only exclusively Vegetarian/vegan cafe.
This friendly bunch pride themselves on creating colourful and flavourful recipes, powered by plants, to suit everyone’s tastebuds and you won’t be disappointed.
Open Wednesday – Sunday, you can sit in or take away, have a meal or just coffee and cake.
La Mona Lisa
Another great family run eatery in the village of Laxey is La Mona Lisa. In a picturesque setting near the harbour, this little piece of Italy has been serving quality Italian cuisine since 1944.
Passionate about home cooked traditional Italian food, all their meals are freshly cooked and the pizzas are made from scratch using local Manx pizza flour.
Open every evening, there is also a wide variety of poultry, meat and fish dishes, as well as vegetarian and gluten free options.
Secret Pizza Co
Lastly, located in Castletown and a real favourite of mine, the Secret Pizza Co. This micro restaurant retains a great street food vibe with indoor and outdoor seating as well as live music at weekends.
Open Wednesday and Thursday from 4pm and every weekend from 12pm, Secret Pizza Co offer delicious wood-fired artisan pizzas using quality local produce.
The pizzas are vegetarian with vegan bases and sauces and the option to add meat.
For a great, relaxed night out accompanied by delicious food I would highly recommend a visit to this fab little pizza restaurant.
Where To Stay On The Isle Of Man
Luxury: Baie Mooar Guesthouse
Baie Mooar Guesthouse is situated in Ramsey and offers panoramic sea views as well as views towards Snaefell.
Free WiFi is available throughout the property. Every room is equipped with a 32-inch flat-screen TV, free toiletries and a hairdryer. All rooms have an en suite bathroom.
There is also a shared lounge available for guests to relax and breakfast is included in the room rate too.
Douglas is 30 minutes’ drive from Baie Mooar Guesthouse. Guests can enjoy various activities in the area including mountain biking, sailing and walking. The nearest airport is Isle of Man Airport, 19.3 miles from the property.
Mid-Budget: At Cedar Lodge Apartment
At Cedar Lodge Apartment is located in Ramsey and offers a garden as well as a terrace.
The accommodation is 9.3 miles from Douglas. Guests benefit from complimentary WiFi and private parking available on site.
This apartment has 1 bedroom, a kitchen with a microwave and fridge, a flat-screen TV, a seating area and 1 bathroom, including a shower. Towels and bed linen are also provided in this accommodation.
The nearest airport is Isle of Man Airport, 16.2 miles from the apartment.
Budget: Ascot Hotel
The Ascot Hotel is affordable luxury with superior service.
Whether your visit to the Island is for business or pleasure, the Ascot offers a range of hotel rooms and suites to ensure a pleasant and relaxing stay in the Isle of Man.
Located just off the Promenade in Douglas, the hotel is within minutes of local tourist attractions, shops, business centre, nightlife and only a minute’s walk from the beach.
For more places to stay in the Isle of Man, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.
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