The Isle of Man is a self-governing island that sits between England and Ireland, so it makes a nice, little weekend getaway for UK residents. Earlier this year, Katie and I hopped on a flight and spent the weekend driving around, to see what the Island has to offer…
Morning: Food is the first priority after an early morning flight into Douglas (or just in general really), and I can’t recommend The Little Fish Café enough. As the name suggests, it’s a seafood restaurant and the perfect chance to sample the local delicacy, queenies. You can read all about our experience here, but I thoroughly enjoyed my Queenie Po Boy, as well as the relaxed vibe.
Douglas Tynwald Parliament is a short walk away from the Little Fish Café and a good chance to stretch your legs before the drive begins! At over a thousand years old, it’s the oldest parliament in the world, so although it doesn’t seem spectacular, it’s worth the short walk. The Electric Railway Sign is another sight to spot on the way out of town. The electric railway connects Douglas, Laxey and Ramsey, but departures are seasonal, so depending on when you visit, it might not be available. Having a car also means that you can get to these locations on your own, as part of the island loop. The sign looks like a smaller version of the world-famous Hollywood Sign, so grab a quick snap as you pass by.
Heading north from Douglas, your first stop should be Laxey. Here you can discover the Laxey Wheel, which is the largest working waterwheel in the world. After learning about the Wheel’s history, Corn Mill Tearooms is the perfect place for a tea break or something more substantial. The menu here offers everything from cakes and light bites to main meals. I opted for a Manx bacon and cheddar baked potato, so I could get my first taste of Manx Cheddar, and it was actually one of the best baked potatoes I’ve ever had!
Continue up towards the very north of the island, through Ramsey and Bride, to the Point of Ayre Lighthouse. From here, it’s time to head down the west side of the island to Peel. Make Davison’s your first stop, for some ice cream and/or chocolates, before taking a walk to Peel Castle.
Travelling south, Glen Maye Waterfall is a good chance to get outdoors and enjoy a nature walk, without having to spend hours doing so. The walk is fairly simple, although everyone’s ability is different, but you can take it at your own pace. The rushing sound of the waterfall, matched with the peaceful surroundings, makes for a relaxing, little walk.
A short journey from Glen Maye, you will find Niarbyl Bay, a gorgeous spot with a rugged coastline and quaint, thatched houses. Niarbyl is known for its many rockpools, so not only is it a beautiful place to visit, it’s also an interesting one.
The Café at the Sound, is situated at the very bottom of the island and has incredible views, as well as an opportunity for seal spotting. The traybakes at the café are delicious and the large glass windows provide an excellent setting and view for your tea break. Not far from here, there are more traditional Manx cottages, with thatched roofs, at Cregneash.
Castletown is the last main location you will visit during your tour of the Isle of Man. The town’s main focal point is Castle Rushen, which is a medieval castle down by the water. Whilst wandering around the town, be sure to look for the random fairy doors that are dotted about. There are over 70 to spot, but they’re more difficult to find than you would think!
The last sight to see on your drive back to Douglas is the Fairy Bridge. It’s considered unlucky not to greet the fairies as you pass over the bridge and you can also stop to take a quick photo. However, there’s not loads of space to park your car, so be careful!
After a busy day of driving and exploring you may decide to relax in your accommodation (I highly recommend Bluebell Cottage), or head back in to Douglas to sample the bars and restaurants they have to offer.
After arriving at Bluebell later than expected we picked up a takeaway and opted for a relaxed evening before our flight home the next day.