The Isle of Man has an air of mystery about it. Maybe because it’s an island in the middle of the Irish Sea surrounded by England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Maybe it’s because of its rugged coastline, medieval castles, rural landscape and mountainous center. Maybe it’s because of the island’s Celtic and Viking heritage. Whatever it is, it’s captivating and worth exploring. Considering its surroundings, getting there is fairly easy. What’s much more difficult is deciding what to do once you’re there. For most, time is limited so choosing wisely is key. The Island highlights its best offerings during all four seasons, and because it’s that time of year, we’ll share some of summer’s best.
You don’t have to go on a Caribbean cruise for summer beach time. Isle of Man has a range of beach options: pebbles, soft and sandy, rugged and rocky, beautiful bays and sheltered coves. One even has an ancient fortress as a backdrop. If you’re looking for something quaint with thatched cottages then Niarbyl Bay is for you. Talk about your classic IG moments. If windsurfing is your thing, Castletown Beach should be added to your list. Looking for other water sports? Check out Kirk Michael Beach. In addition to windsurfing, Isle of Man offers kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding and scuba diving. Your perfect Instagram moment awaits.
Isle of Man Guided Tours are available throughout the year and include exploration of the coast, woodlands, and historic sites. There are a variety of ancient sites to explore that include Neolithic tombs, Viking burials, castles and forts. A guided tour of the Gaiety Theatre will showcase outstanding architecture. Expert theatre staff share stories of the prestigious venue located in central Douglas. Built in 1899, the theatre is steeped in history and tradition and is one of the finest examples of work from architect, Frank Matcham. You can also tour the High Court of Tynwald, the oldest continuous parliament in the world. Tynwald has an unlimited legislative competence with two branches, the Legislative Council and House of Keys, which sit together in Douglas and are open to members of the public.
Long before the last Ice Age, the Isle of Man’s unique and varied history has been shaped by those who forged their destinies here. To understand just how ancient and important their history is you’ll need to visit some of the old burial grounds and Neolithic chambered tombs. It includes the largest collection of Celtic and Norse crosses, produced between the 6th and 13th centuries. Meayll Hill is a unique archeological monument which has 12 burial chambers in an 18 foot ring. There are six entrance passages leading into each pair of chambers. Cashtal yn Ard dates back to approximately 2000 BC where large firmly set stones create a dramatic burial site. The views are spectacular. Balladoole has been the site of many excavations and revealed a number of significant finds including prehistoric flints, Bronze Age burials, Iron Age earthworks and early Christian lintel graves. In 1945 a 10th century Viking boat burial was discovered along with the bodies of two adults. The ancient sites are a fascinating way to learn about the Isle of Man’s fascinating past.
The ancient capital of the Island, appropriately named Castletown, is the site of a prominent fortress that was once home to the Kings and Lords of Mann. Originally built for a Norse king in 1265, Castle Rushen has been a fortress, royal residence, a mint and even a prison. On the west of the Island is Peel Castle which was originally a place of worship. The castle became the fort of Magnus Barefoot, an 11th century Viking King of Mann. And more spectacular views await!
When you’re ready to relax with a pint, take a guided pub walk which includes information on local points of interest and a visit to a smugglers cave from the 1750’s. Guided tours are the perfect way to experience the real character of the Isle of Man and learn more about its vibrant past.
Isle of Man is just 30 miles long and 10 miles wide but it’s loaded with history and a good bit of mystery. This thoroughly captivating destination will be ready to welcome visitors when the time is right. You won’t be disappointed.