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Isle of Man

The Isle of Man (in Manx: Ellan Vannin) is a picturesque island in the British Isles, located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. It is a British Crown dependency and therefore not part of the United Kingdom itself; the UK is responsible for defence and foreign affairs.

The island has its own government, headed by a Chief Minister, and has a parliament called the "Tynwald". This consists of the democratically elected House of Keys and the nominated Legislative Council. The Isle of Man is not a full member of the European Union, but is an associate member.

Towns and villages


  • 1 Douglas (Doolish) – the capital and largest town on the island.
  • 2 Castletown (Balley Chashtal) – a fine castle and the Old House of Keys.
  • 3 Peel (Purt ny h-Inshey) – an impressive castle, cathedral and nice museums.
  • 4 Ramsey (Rhumsaa) – beach and harbour for yachts.


  • 5 Laxey (Laksaa) – delightful village on the electric railway between Douglas and Ramsey. Noted for its water wheel (claimed to be the world's largest in operation), its mines railway and an electric railway to the top of Snaefell.
  • 6 Port Erin (Purt Çhiarn) – is a seaside village in the south west.
  • 7 Port St Mary (Purt le Moirrey) – village in south west.
  • 8 St John's (Balley Keeill Eoin) – a small village, next to Tynwald Hill. The Isle of Man's original parliament; thousands head here every Tynwald Day (July 5th) to witness the proclamation of new laws read in Manx and English.

Other destinations

  • 1 Calf of Man (Yn Cholloo) – small island bird sanctuary.
  • 2 Silverdale Glen – Owned by the Manx National Trust, has well laid out paths that lead past small waterfalls and through dense woodland. Look out for the Medieval Monks' Bridge in Ballasalla, which links Silverdale Glen to the historic Rushen Abbey, and the Monks Well which is a perfect place to throw in a few pennies and make a wish. An extensive playground area and pretty boating lake are also available. On site you’ll find a restaurant and well-stocked gift shop.
  • 3 Snaefell (Sniaull) – During summer, take the tram to the summit of Snaefell, the highest point on the Island. From the summit, the visitor can see 6 Kingdoms (Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, the Isle of Man and Heaven). It is a unique experience in that from the summit you can see the whole Island and the bodies of water that surround it. There is also a hiking trail to the summit that takes only about half an hour.



Temperate; cool summers and mild winters; overcast about one-third of the time. The Island typically enjoys "British" weather, tempered by the effects of the Gulf Stream that runs through the surrounding Irish Sea. Exposure to sea breezes keeps average summer temperatures in the low to mid twenties Celsius, while winters tend to hover around 9 degrees and snow sometimes strikes in late February/ early March. The thick sea fog that occasionally smothers the island's lowland areas is known locally as Manannan's Cloak, a reference to the Island's ancient Sea God swathing his kingdom in mist to protect it from unwanted visitors. Snow in winter is rare, except in the mountains - although recent years have seen an increase in snowfall.


A plain in the far north, with hills in north and south bisected by central valley. One small islet, the Calf of Man, lies to the southwest, and is a bird sanctuary. The highest point is Snaefell, at 621 meters above sea level. The summit can be reached by the Snaefell Mountain Railway from Laxey and on a good day it is possible to see Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland.


The Isle of Man was part of the Norwegian Kingdom of the Hebrides until the 13th century, when it was ceded to Scotland. The Duke of Atholl sold the sovereignty of the isle to the British crown in 1765, henceforth the British monarch has also held the title "Lord of Mann". Current concerns include reviving the almost extinct Manx Gaelic language.


English is the first language of all but there is a small number of speakers of Manx Gaelic (Gaelg or Gailck). It is a descendant of Old Irish, along with Irish and Scottish Gaelic. Like them, it differs greatly from English, and it was once the primary language of the Isle of Man. One of the most striking elements of the language is the initial consonantal mutations, e.g., Doolish (the Manx name for Douglas), can easily become Ghoolish. The spelling of Manx, however, differs considerably from that used for other varieties of Gaelic.

A small-scale revival of Manx has been in progress since the last native speaker died in the 1970s. All children on the Isle of Man have the option of studying Manx at school, and there is now a primary school where Manx is the language of instruction.

Numerous street signs will have their Manx equivalent printed alongside English.

Get in

Entry requirements

British and EEA citizens are able to enter and live in the Isle of Man without a visa or clearance from the Immigration Office. However, these citizens will need a work permit if they want to work.

The visa policy here is very similar to the UK's, and if you have a valid UK, Jersey or Guernsey visa, you are able to visit the Isle of Man. However, Schengen visas are not valid for travel to the Isle of Man.

If you are not a non-EEA citizen (including the UK), and don't have a valid UK visa, you probably need a visa to travel to the Isle of Man. Visa applications can be made at the UK Government website.

By plane

The only airport of the Isle of Man is the 1 Isle of Man Airport (IOM IATA). The Airport is located at Ronaldsway, near Castletown, in the south of the island. There are regular bus services from the Airport to Castletown and Douglas.

A number of airlines operate regular services to the Isle of Man from regional airports throughout the British Isles such as Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, Dublin, Belfast, London (Gatwick, Luton, London City) and Birmingham. A ticketing agency based on the island, CityWing operates flights to Belfast from £15 one-way including tax.

Flybe operate several direct services to the UK, Jersey, Geneva and Brussels and also offer connecting services (often through Birmingham or Manchester) to many other destinations on their route network.

By boat

  • 2 Isle of Man Sea Terminal.

Ferries operated by the Steam Packet Company to Douglas from:

  • Liverpool, England – 2h 30m (Fast craft) / 4h (conventional ferry)
  • Heysham, Lancashire, England – 4h 30m (conventional ferry)
  • Belfast, Northern Ireland – 2h 45m (Fast craft)
  • Dublin, Ireland – 2h 50m (Fast craft) / 4h 45m (conventional ferry)

Get around

By train

The island has two main historic narrow-gauge railways, both starting from (separate) stations in Douglas.

  • Isle of Man Railway. In the south of the island, is a historic narrow-gauge steam railway operating between Douglas, Castletown and Port Erin (except during winter months).
  • 3 Manx Electric Railway. In the north of the island, runs between Douglas and Ramsey, using the original historic tramcars from the 1890s.

In addition the following small lines

  • Snaefell Mountain Railway (to the summit of Snaefell). starts from Laxey, where connections with the Manx Electric Railway are available.
  • Groudle Glen Railway (take the Manx Electric Railway from Douglas and change at Groudle Glen). is a small steam-operated railway

By car

Cars can be hired from various locations on the island, including the airport and Douglas Sea Terminal. Local agents operate on behalf of major international rental firms.

The Isle of Man has a very extensive road network which is passably well maintained. Congestion is low (outside Douglas at rush hour). Rules of the road closely mirror those of the United Kingdom with the exception that there is no overall speed limit for private vehicles (in other words, in a derestricted zone there is no blanket 70 or 60 mph limit like there is in the UK). Drive on the left. It is illegal to use a hand held mobile phone whilst driving. Petrol is expensive, even by UK standards.

Any penalties enforced on your driving license will be upheld in the UK.

Many of the country roads are narrow with substantial stone walls on each side, making evasive driving potentially tricky. Despite the absence of speed limits outside urban areas, caution is advised.

Caravans (camper trailers) may not be brought to the island.

The roads on the Isle of Man are popular with bikers, and care is encouraged when out and about.

During the Tourist Trophy (TT) motorcycle road racing fortnight, the main mountain road becomes a one way road from Ramsey to Douglas. Extreme care is recommended, as the number of bikers is exceptionally high, and they're known to ride the roads as if they were racing. There is no speed limit on rural roads at any point of the year.

By bus

The Isle of Man has a quite extensive public transit system using mostly buses. With a bit of planning, it is possible to get almost everywhere on the Island using this transit system. Note the availability of a bus timetable online or an interactive app with real-time tracking of all buses.

By taxi

Taxis are available from numerous taxi ranks, or can be hired by phone. Some provide an online booking service 24 hours in advance. Prices are a little higher than most in the UK, and considerably higher after midnight.

By tram

The island's capital, Douglas, has horse drawn trams operating along the Promenade (linking with the Manx Electric Railway). This is really a novelty available during the summer rather than a serious way of getting anywhere in particular.


  • Laxey Wheel, Laxey. A restored waterwheel operational during the summer months.
  • Located in Castletown, the ancient capital of the Isle of Man, Castletown, the impressive fortress of Castle Rushen.
  • Peel. Situated on St Patrick’s Isle, Peel Castle was originally a place of worship before becoming the fort of Magnus Barefoot – an 11th century Viking King of Mann. Also located on the Peel Quayside is the House of Manannan, a museum of the island's story from Celtic times through the Viking period to 19th century Peel.
  • The Sound Visitor Centre, near Port St Mary. One of the most picturesque points in the south of the Island.
  • Cregneash, near Port St Mary. A preserved and restored small Manx crofting village in the far south of the island.


  • Hike – There are many hiking/walking trails and footpaths on the Isle of Man, the most significant being the Raad ny Foillan (The Way of the Gull) which is a 95-mile footpath around the Island. Other trails cross the Island in various locations. The Raad ny Foillan follows the coast for much of its route and is really quite a spectacular hike, well worth the time and effort while visiting the Island.
  • Fish – There are numerous places to fish from piers and in lakes etc. Permits may be required in some areas.
  • Cycle – The roads of the Isle of Man are popular with cyclists, however it is recommended to be proficient and of a decent fitness, as the terrain is very hilly. Mountain biking trails are also available.
  • Heritage. The Manx National Heritage maintain numerous locations and museums important to Manx history, such as castles. The village of Cregneash in the South forms a 'living museum' dedicated to the preservation of the traditional Manx ways of life.


  • TT races. Held annually in June, are world famous, and motorcycling tourists visit to experience legal high speed riding.


Many UK chain stores are represented in the Island (mainly in the capital, Douglas); for example, Boots, WH Smith, Waterstone's, Marks and Spencer, Next, B&Q. The island has its own supermarket chain, Shoprite, with branches in Peel, Douglas, Ramsey, Castletown and Port Erin. UK-based supermarkets (such as Tesco) also have branches. There is a small 'lifestyle' shopping centre at Tynwald Mills near St John's, with a number of outlets selling upmarket clothing, furnishings and gifts.

Uniquely Manx products include Smoked Kippers and Manx Tartan.


Manx food is often very good and continues to improve. Some good restaurants and bistros can be found. Fish and chips are also popular. Crab baps are available from a kiosk on Peel Quay.

Locally fished queen scallops, referred to as "queenies", are a popular dish - often served with bacon and garlic butter.

There are several varieties of Manx cheese. Boxes of Manx kippers can be ordered for delivery by post.

A local speciality worth trying is chips, cheese and gravy, similar to the Canadian dish poutine.

Another favourite available as a takeaway is a baked potato with a topping such as chili.

Also try the "Peel flapjack" from Michael Street bakers in Peel.


The minimum age to purchase alcohol is 18. Unlike the United Kingdom, it is not permitted for 16-year-olds to consume alcohol on licenced premises with a purchased meal.

The Isle of Man has three breweries, Bushy's, Okells, and Doghouse plus The Shore, a brew-pub in Old Laxey. The Isle of Man has a beer purity law that permits no ingredients in beer other than water, yeast, hops and malt. Accordingly, a well-kept pint of Manx beer is worth seeking out.

Standout bars include The Bay View in Port Erin, The Rovers Return in Douglas and The Whitehouse and Creek (both in Peel).

Wine is quite reasonably priced and readily available in food stores.

During and around the TT fortnight, numerous beer tents are erected on the promenade, and a travelling fairground is often in attendance for the festival. The Bushy's tent is erected closest to the sea terminal, playing host to numerous live local bands, as well as serving Bushy's ales. An Okells tent is erected closer to the Villa Marina, providing a great location to view the evening street entertainment (stunt shows etc) put on during the fortnight. The two are often connected by the travelling fairground.


The majority of hotels are located in Douglas, including the traditional seafront hotels on the Douglas Promenade. Standards can be variable - some are rather dated and in need of refurbishment. More luxurious hotels (up to four stars) are also available. B&Bs are also available, mostly outside of Douglas.

BeWelcome and Couchsurfing hospitality is available.

During the TT fortnight, a government-sponsored homeshare scheme is available, with residents renting out their homes and flats to visitors. Some residents offer this service outside of the government scheme.


There is no university on the island, although the University of Liverpool runs some courses. There is an Isle of Man College, and an International Business School.

Located in the southeast, King William’s College opened on 1 August 1833. The College was the first of the ‘new’ public schools, its mix of 'day boys' and boarders together with older academic (university) students, constituting an institution unlike any other at its time. The beautiful stone buildings can be seen on approach to Ronaldsway Airport.


The Isle of Man has very low unemployment, largely because of the financial sector. Seasonal work in the tourism industry is available, but note that a Work Permit is required to work on the island for anybody born outside of the island and is obtainable from the Isle of Man Government.

The online gaming industry is also a major employer, with PokerStars having their head office just outside of Douglas in Onchan. Numerous other companies that provide support, software and other systems to online gaming companies world-wide are also present.

The IT sector is in a growth period, albeit small.

Stay safe

The Isle of Man is generally a very safe place, more so than much of the United Kingdom. In an emergency contact the Isle of Man Constabulary (the island's police force) on 999.

Town centres have real glass in bus shelters and graffiti has become a thing of the past, even though birching as a punishment was abolished in 2000.

Stay healthy

Health conditions are very similar to the UK. The island has a well-equipped modern hospital (Noble's Hospital, near Douglas) but some complicated medical conditions may require removal to the UK.


The Isle of Man is still a fairly socially conservative place, although some major social reforms (in line with the rest of western Europe) have been legislated for by Tynwald, the Manx parliament.

Capital punishment for murder was officially abolished as recently as 1993 - although no execution had taken place on the island for over 100 years. Corporal punishment has also been abolished - it was used for young male offenders until the mid 1970s.

People from the Isle of Man are known as Manx. The Manx are very proud of their identity; the Manx flag will be frequently seen. To dismiss the island as just a "tax haven" may cause annoyance; the finance industry is the major employer and considerable efforts have been made by the Manx authorities to improve the regulation and propriety of this industry. Nevertheless, taxes are considerably lower than in the UK - although Valued Added Tax is the same by agreement between the Manx and UK Governments.

The UK is often referred to simply as "across", and the more patriotic Manx residents may be offended if you call the UK "the mainland". Similarly, the island is very proud of its long history of autonomy and it should be remembered that the Isle of Man has never been part of the United Kingdom nor the European Union. Calling it "England" is likely to raise eyebrows.


The international dial code for the Isle of Man is the same as the United Kingdom and as part of the UK telephone system has the dial code 01624.

Prepaid SIM cards are readily available in mobile phone shops around the place. The local networks are Manx Telecom and Sure.

It is worth noting that UK networks do not cover the Isle of Man, and will be in roaming mode if used. The inverse is also true – Manx networks will be roaming when in the UK.

It is worth buying a cheap handset and PAYG SIM card for your stay – obtainable from either the MT or Sure shops, or from local shops (e.g. Spar). These shops may also stock cheap, basic handsets behind the counter for between £10-20, prepaid SIM included. Alternatively for travellers with a desire to use their current phone can get a SIM from Manx Telecom or a different carrier providing their phone is SIM-unlocked.

Manx mobile networks have the dialling code of 07624.

When dialling from a Manx mobile or landline phone to any other Manx number, the dialling code is not needed - i.e. to reach 01624 111111, one would simply dial 111111.

Go next

  • Ireland
  • England and on to Wales
  • Scotland

Isle of Man (OS Landranger Map)

Ordnance Survey

The OS Landranger Map series covers Great Britain with 204 detailed maps, perfect for day trips and short breaks. Each map provides all the information you need to get to know your local area and includes places of interest, tourist information, picnic areas and camp sites, plus Rights of Way information for England and Wales. OS Landranger now includes a digital version of the paper map, accessed through the OS smartphone app, OS Maps.

Isle of Man, A Megalithic Journey

Neil Mcdonald

Neil McDonald has been leading tour groups around the Isle of Man for many years. He is an expert on the ancient, mystical and historical sites that cover the island, many of which are quite unique. Neil has used his experience to create this book that takes the reader on a circular tour of the best sites of the Isle of Man. With detailed descriptions it also includes direction right up to the sites. This book is therefore an ideal companion on any personal megalithic journey of the island.

Walking on the Isle of Man

Terry Marsh

40 walks on the coast, fells and inland valleys of the Isle of Man are explored in this guidebook. Most of the walks are short and accessible for walkers of all abilities, however for a greater challenge, many of the routes (between 2 and 22km) can be combined. The Isle of Man offers the walker a wonderfully diverse range of landscapes within a relatively compact island setting, and the routes reflect this diversity - scale the highest point Snaefell (620m), cross wide open moorlands, drift over beaches and climb coastal clifftops. The assortment provides walkers with fantastic trails, along with detail on the wildlife, wild flowers, unique history and points of interest encountered. Alongside detailed route descriptions and OS maps, there is plenty of practical information on getting to and around the Manx Isle and advice on making the most out of any exploration of the Isle of Man.

Isle of Man Travel guide, and Tourism: Culture, Environment, Locations, People, Sights, Business Information

Samuel Ash

Isle of Man, also spelled Mann, Manx-Gaelic Ellan Vannin, or Mannin, Latin Mona, or Monapia, one of the British Isles, located in the Irish Sea off the northwest coast of England. The island lies roughly equidistant between England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom but rather is a crown possession (since 1828) that is self-governing in its internal affairs under the supervision of the British Home Office.The Isle of Man is about 30 miles (48 km) long by 10 miles (16 km) wide, its main axis being southwest to northeast. It has an area of 221 square miles (572 square km). The island consists of a central mountain mass culminating in Snaefell (2,036 feet [621 m]) and extending north and south in low-lying agricultural land. Man’s coastline is rocky and has fine cliff scenery. The grass-covered slate peaks of the central massif are smooth and rounded as a result of action during various glacial periods. The island’s landscape is treeless except in sheltered places. To the southwest lies an islet, the Calf of Man, with precipitous cliffs, which is administered by the Manx National Heritage as a bird sanctuary…

The Folk-Lore of the Isle of Man (1891): Being an Account of its Myths, Legends, Superstitions, Customs & Proverbs

A. W. Moore

From inside book:The wonders of the Isle of Man, according to Nennius, are " a strand without a sea . . . . a ford which is far from the sea, and which fills when the tide flows, and decreases when the tide ebbs"; and " a stone which moves at night in Glen Cinden, and though it should be cast into the sea, yet at morning's dawn it would be found in the same valley." . Can the existence of superstitions among a people so excluded from the outer world be wondered at ? It is difficult in these days to estimate how complete this seclusion was, but a fair idea of what it was, even at the beginning of the present century, may be arrived at from considering the fact that the Battle of Waterloo was not heard of in the Isle of Man till the beginning of September, six weeks after it had taken place. Apart from their isolation, too, the people, who are of mixed Celtic and Scandinavian race, were naturally superstitious, so much so that Waldron stated "he verily believed that. idolisers as they were of their clergy, they would be even refractory to them were they to preach against the existence of fairies;" and at the beginning of the present century, we have the evidence of Sir Walter Scott, who was well informed about the Folk-Lore of the Island by his brother, who lived there, to the effect that "Tales of Goblins, Ghosts, and Spectres; legends of Saints and Devils,of Fairies and familiar Spirits, in no corner of the British dominions are told and received with more absolute credulity than in the Isle of Man.Contents:(1) Legendary Myths.(2) Hagiological, and Mytho-Historical Legends.(3) Fairies and Familiar Spirits.(4) Hobgoblins, Monsters, Giants, Mermaids, and Apparitions.(5) Magic, Witchcraft, Charms, &c.(6) Customs and Superstitions connected with the Seasons.(7) Superstitions connected with the Sun, Animals, Trees, Plants,Sacred Edifices, &c.(8) Customs and Superstitions, connected with Birth, Marriage, Death, &c.(9) Customs formerly enforced by Law.(10) Proverbs and Sayings.This pre-1923 publication has been converted from its original format for the Kindle and may contain an occasional defect from the original publication or from the conversion.

Here Is Where: Discovering America's Great Forgotten History

Andrew Carroll

Here Is Where chronicles Andrew Carroll’s eye-opening – and at times hilarious -- journey across America to find and explore unmarked historic sites where extraordinary moments occurred and remarkable individuals once lived. Sparking the idea for this book was Carroll’s visit to the spot where Abraham Lincoln’s son was saved by the brother of Lincoln’s assassin. Carroll wondered, How many other unmarked places are there where intriguing events have unfolded and that we walk past every day, not realizing their significance? To answer that question, Carroll ultimately trekked to every region of the country -- by car, train, plane, helicopter, bus, bike, and kayak and on foot. Among the things he learned: *Where in North America the oldest sample of human DNA was discovered * Where America’s deadliest maritime disaster took place, a calamity worse than the fate of the Titanic *Which virtually unknown American scientist saved hundreds of millions of lives *Which famous Prohibition agent was the brother of a notorious gangster *How a 14-year-old farm boy’s brainstorm led to the creation of television Featured prominently in Here Is Where are an abundance of firsts (from the first use of modern anesthesia to the first cremation to the first murder conviction based on forensic evidence); outrages (from riots to massacres to forced sterilizations); and breakthroughs (from the invention, inside a prison, of a revolutionary weapon; to the recovery, deep in the Alaskan tundra, of a super-virus; to the building of the rocket that made possible space travel). Here Is Where is thoroughly entertaining, but it’s also a profound reminder that the places we pass by often harbor amazing secrets and that there are countless other astonishing stories still out there, waiting to be found. Look for Andrew's new book, My Fellow Soldiers. 

The Land of the Green Man: A Journey Through the Supernatural Landscapes of the British Isles

Carolyne Larrington

Beyond its housing estates and identikit high streets there is another Britain. This is the Britain of mist-drenched forests and unpredictable sea-frets: of wraith-like fog banks, druidic mistletoe and peculiar creatures that lurk, half-unseen, in the undergrowth, tantalising and teasing just at the periphery of human vision. How have the remarkably persistent folkloric traditions of the British Isles formed and been formed by the psyches of those who inhabit them? In this sparkling new history, Carolyne Larrington explores the diverse ways in which a myriad of fantastical beings has moulded the nation’s cultural history. Fairies, elves and goblins here tread purposefully, sometimes malignly, over an eerie landscape that also conceals brownies, selkies, trows, knockers, boggarts, land-wights, Jack o’Lanterns, Barguests, the sinister Nuckleavee and Black Shuck: terrifying hell-hound of the Norfolk coast with eyes of burning coal. Ranging from Shetland to Jersey and from Ireland to East Anglia, while evoking the Wild Hunt, the ghostly bells of Lyonesse and the dread fenlands haunted by Grendel, this is a book that will captivate all those who long for the wild places: the mountains and chasms where giants lie in wait.

Philip's Isle of Man: Leisure and Tourist Map (Philip's Red Books)

This leisure and tourist map of the Isle of Man gives detailed coverage of the island's road network at a scale of approximately 1.2 miles to 1 inch. It also includes town centre street maps for Castletown, Douglas, Peel, Port Erin and Port St Mary, and Ramsey.The map shows places of tourist and historic interest, including castles, camping sites, country parks, galleries, gardens, golf courses, marinas, museums, nature trails, historic sites, sports venues, theatres, theme parks, wildlife parks and zoos. An index to principal places of interest (including TT course vantage points) is also featured.In a convenient folded format, this single-sided sheet map is ideally suited for both leisure and business use, whether by locals or visitors.

The Isle of Man (Pevensey Island Guides)

Trevor Kneale

One of the popular Pevensey guide series.

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