The Isle of Man is beautiful British island tucked in between England and Ireland. The Isle of Man can be accessed by ferry, train, and plane. Although a self-governing island, it is still dependent on the United Kingdom.
The flag of the Isle of Man is a very unique looking design with three joining legs and a red background. The flag actually dates all the way back to the 13th century. While the currency looks like the British Pounds, their currency is called Manx pounds and contains the distinctive tree leg symbol.
The capital of the Isle of Man is Douglas, which dates back to the 1870’s and is along the Bay of Douglas. In the middle of the Bay is the Tower of Refuge that kind of looks like a sand castle. In fact, it signifies dangerous rocks nearby that might threaten shipping.
The Tower of Refuge or St Mary’s Isle was used as a rescue place for people waiting for help to arrive. The town of Douglas is famous for is the Isle of Man TT race event, which is a motorcycle race held in the summer since the 1900’s.
A Relaxing Island Getaway on the Isle of Man
During the summer of 2013, I had the opportunity to travel to the Isle of Man for a weekend getaway. I was very excited because it was something new and not part of the typical sites to see in England.
Getting to the Isle of Man
For my trip, I decided to take a ferry from Liverpool to the Isle of Man and stayed in the town of Douglas. The ferry ride across the sea was about an hour ride and was like riding a small cruise ship.
The boat that I traveled on boasted two movie theaters, a dining room, a small gift shop, and plenty of seating inside and outside. Luckily the weather was lovely for the trip and the water was not too rocky and bumpy.
This ferry to the Isle of Man can also travel to Ireland. When the ferry arrived to Douglas, the boat was docked at the Sea terminal, which looked like a small airport and had two terminals.
Stepping Back in Time
Once safely docked on the Isle of Man, I gazed from the terminal doors and felt like I had stepped back in time. The town looked like a very quaint Victorian sea town surrounded by mountains. The main road of the town that leads from the Sea Terminal to Summer Hill is the Promenade, which curves along the Bay of Douglas.
An old fashioned horse drawn trolley is one of the oldest services on the island rides up and down the main road for most of the day. This is an excellent way to take in the beauty and history of the town. Located on Summer Hill is the Manx Electric Railway that travels in the mountains to various towns such as Laxey and Ramsey.
Getting Around and Things to See and Do
The historical railway trams date back to the Victorian period. Just past the hill is the King Edward Bay golf course that overlooks the terrific views of the Bay of Douglas and the mountains. The course has been around since the 1890’s.
Although the town of Douglas on the Isle of Man is mainly known for the Victorian hotels and restaurants, the Gaiety Theatre is an ornate Victorian opera house and theatre that hosts various play, musical, and comedy productions.
Eating Out, Shopping and Recreation
Attached to the theatre are the Villa Marina Arcade that is a performance area, a lovely Italian restaurant, an ice cream parlor, a huge concert auditorium (Royal Hall), a movie theater, an art gallery (Sayle Gallery), and a beautiful garden that has some pretty walking trails and a playground for kids.
I took a hike on the walking trails and was able to take in some breath taking views of the island. I have also been to the Italian restaurant which was so good. I had their seafood pasta. The Manx Museum is a history museum that has lots of interesting information and artifacts from the island.
The Strand Shopping Center has a music store, a few fashion shops such as Peacocks and Miss Selfridge, and a café. High street fashion shops are located nearby too.
Douglas Head and Marina
Douglas Head is a gorgeous light house across from the Sea Terminal and town marina. The marina also has a walking path along the water that features sea food restaurants, pubs, and shops.
Most shops have outdoor seating that overlooks the water and boats. The Jubilee Clock is located across from the marina and dates back to Queen Victoria’s reign. The clock was dedicated to her for her Golden Jubilee.
Places to Stay on the Isle of Man
I stayed at the Rutland Hotel while on the Isle of Man which was a very nice place to stay indeed. The guest room was very spacious, clean, and very nicely decorated, all in a lovely place to stay for the duration of my trip.
Plus the Rutland Hotel in Douglas was very close to the beach and has a horse trolley stop outside the hotel. My hotel room was on the top floor of the hotel and had a great view of the Isle of Man. The breakfast was buffet style and was very good.
Overall, the town has a few attractions for tourists, but is mostly for relaxing and escaping reality. It is a great location for an individual traveler seeking solitude for private thoughts. Or for a couple on a romantic break that demands privacy and personal space.
Someday in the future I would love to come back to see the rest of the Isle of Man, visit the majestic castles, and take the ghost tour around the island.