Undoubtedly the Isle of Man’s main attraction in modern times has been the Manx TT bike race and this sometimes overshadows the other less glamorous things to do. One interesting alternative is to spend time on the island’s impressive heritage railway network. Tourists can explore the Douglas Promenades on old fashioned horse trams, ride the Manx Electric Railway or scale the heights of the only mountain in an electric tram car. Essentially the whole island can be traveled by rail, and most of the major attractions are all within easy reach of its stations.
Alternatively, head to the Erin Arts Centre, in the south of the Island, or Peel Centenary Centre in the west where you will find a diverse range of musical events including local and visiting performers and festivals. The Villa Marina in Douglas annually attracts a number of high profile bands, singers, comedians and entertainers to its impressive Royal Hall. The Edwardian style auditorium provides a memorable venue for any concert or show.
Watching the Manx TT superbike race is an exhilarating experience that has been attracting thousands of bike enthusiasts to the Isle of Man for over 100 years. Started in 1907, the race is a time trial on public roads. Every May the island reaches fever-pitch excitement as the best in the world risk life and limb to win the coveted trophy. Check out www.iomtt.com for dates and details.
As a result, the island has become a haven for mountain bike enthusiasts and caters to cyclists of all levels and abilities. There are trails to challenge you or more sedate routes for those who just want a leisurely ride. The Isle of Man sees hundreds of visitors each year from across the globe for a number of cycling events including the famous End-2-End Mountain Bike Challenge which sees cyclists race from one end of the Island to the other taking in 75 km of climbing with an enthralling combination of fast roads, sweeping paths and country lanes. Visit www.manxe2e.org for more information.
The island’s heritage railway offers an interesting way to see the majority of the island by travelling on the railway networks that links many of the main attractions. Tours and tickets can be purchased through Manx Heritage Tours.
The Isle of Man has a number of vantage points where you can watch the wildlife and a variety of birds in their natural habitats – whether in the serene countryside or nesting in the craggy coastline. If the Island’s marine species appeal to you, make sure you visit the Sound at the southern tip of the Isle of Man where you are almost guaranteed to see a large population of seals that bask around the coast. Contact Isle of Man Wildlife Tours for details.
Whether you choose a pleasure cruise, fishing trip or wildlife tour, a boating on Manx waters will be an activity you won’t forget. A number of operators run from varying locations around the Island and can cater to speciality interests including photography trips, shark fishing or just a simple coastal cruise. Isle of Man Boat Charters can provide you with more information.
Run by Isle of Man Ghost Tours, ghost tours are not for the faint of heart and will take you to some seriously spooky places. Walk in the footsteps of the condemned at Rushden Castle, hear about haunted hotels in Douglas, learn about ghostly goings on in the financial district, and the tale of a nurse who still haunts the Island’s old hospital.
First opened in 1900, the Gaiety Theatre has since undergone extensive restoration to ensure it remains one of the finest entertainment venues in the British Isles. Boasting a year round schedule of top-billed entertainment, there are shows, musicals, pantomimes, plays and concerts. To see what’s currently going on check out villagaiety.com.