Celebrating the best bits and bobs to be found while exploring Britain, Ireland and beyond. Much is inspired by real outings, whether they were walking, cycling or photographic in nature, while virtual blundering in the name of planning them has turned up some gems too. Regardless of how they were found, I hope that they keep coming so I can continue to share new things with you.
Between my first and second trips to the Isle of Man, there wasn't that much to be found on here about the place. Therefore, I got to adding this collection of places on the web that would be useful to anyone contemplating a Manx excursion, especially one that is longer in duration than my initial day trip. Since then, there have been two visits that had me walking sections of the islands 95 mile coastal path.
One thing that should strike you about the Isle of Man is how compact it is. That is a feature that makes it an ideal spot for a short break though it is more than possible to go there again and again. Usefully, it is possible to gather many of the websites offering information useful to a visitor onto a single page like I have done here. That's never to say that this will not grow but it's nice to have it all together away.
The first of these is the government web destination for potential visitors to the island while the second is a less official, not that getting a different perspective is at all a bad thing. Should I ever make a trip there that involves sorting out an overnight stay, then these would be my first port of call like they have been while I was compiling what you have found here.
On my most recent visit to the Isle of Man, I awaiting my ferry home when I was asked to participate in a survey organised by Manx National Heritage and it brought home to me that my focus on coastal walking had taken up my time instead of going to heritage sites. Saying that, it's hard to miss the Story of Mann boards that have been found in parts of the island and that is a keystone to what this government organisation is doing to convey the history of the island. Naturally, there's more to its work than that so here's where you can look on the web.
Motorcycle racing was never a fascination of mine but I cannot leave off one of the islands most enduring and world famous event. If you are into such things, then you probably know about the race already but it makes things busy in early June so picking another time might be an idea if a quiet visit is what you have in mind.
You'll find this near Ronaldsway in the south east of the island so there's some road travel needed to reach Douglas, the Manx capital. Saying that there's a regular bus service so it isn't too awkward. At the very least, the website will give you an idea as to who flies to the airport and from where. With a list including operators such as Manx2, FlyBE, easyJet, Blue Islands and Aer Arann, there hardly is a lack of flights and destinations include Ireland, the Channel Islands along with various British cities such as Manchester, Birmingham, London, Edinburgh and Glasgow too. With the possibility of rough seas, it's always good to have air travel as an option.
That first day trip was made by sea so I have had some experience by one of their catamarans though they have regular ferries too, the type that can travel in a greater variety of weather. Sailings are more regular in the high season with sailings between Douglas and such places as Dublin and Belfast to complement the more usual services to and from Heysham and Liverpool, the former of which being the main sailing point from mainland Britain.
Not only does the Isle of Man have a bus operation that might make some in the U.K. envious but it has no fewer than three main railways along with a number of other smaller operations too. One is the island's answer to Wales' Snowdon Railway, the Snaefell Mountain Railway, and it too goes up to the highest point of its nation. After that, there's the Manx Electric Railway linking Douglas with Ramsey in the north while the Isle of Man Steam Railway connects the Manx capital with Port Erin and Castletown in the south. I believe that there used to be a railway line to Peel but that fell victim to the passage of time and we have to content ourselves with a bus service in its place. With all of these, there should be plenty of options for getting about the place.
Though the seas were quiet when I went, the island was shrouded in a wet murk. It was if someone on high decided to hide its delights under a bushel and that made the sun that I found in Liverpool on the way home all the more memorable. Maybe, I should go for a stay and it will grant me the wish of seeing the Manx scenery at its best. Of course, that means smooth sea crossings too and it isn't for nothing that you find sea forecasts here along with their landed equivalents.