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A perfect day on The Isle of Man

Visit the self-governed island for rugged coastline, eccentricity and true isolation

A perfect day on The Isle of Man

How many Manx folk does it take to change a lightbulb? None, because they don't like change. It's a local joke, and one that sums up this self-governed island sitting in the Irish Sea. It's home to the oldest-operating horse-drawn tram in the world and locals use the space public transport that their Victorian ancestors had. It's a land of fairies, tailless cats, beautiful scenery, oddities and contradictions that soon get under your skin.

A perfect day on The Isle of Man

Snaefell mountain

First up

Reach the windy heights of Snaefell, the island's highest peak and the only place in the British Isles where you can see England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (on a clear day). Travel up on the creaking Snaefell Mountain Railway. Its Victorian wooden interior will charm your socks off.

The Great Laxey Wheel

Soak up the vibes

Traa dy liooar ('take things easier') is a Manx mantra. Make like a local and stroll around the sleepy village of Laxey. Spy The Great Laxey Wheel, the largest surviving waterwheel in the world, and the harbour's quaint boats and pastel cottages.

Peel bay

Stop for lunch

The Isle of Man is a haven for seafood lovers. Find some of the best at Peel Breakwater Kiosk, an unassuming hole in the wall at Peel Harbour serving greasy-spoon-style baps full of crab meat, prawns and fresh-as-you-can-get lobster. Prefer a more refined affair? 14North serves perfectly cooked plates piled with famous queenie scallops.

Drink like a local

Sink a pint in The Rover's Return. Tucked away on a little Douglas back street, it serves lip-smackingly good ales from the town's own brewery, Bushy's. Prefer wine? Independent specialist Vino has rows of quaffable bottles.

Isle of Man

Get back to nature

The Isle of Man is a Unesco Biosphere Reserve thanks to its vibrant coastal ecosystems. Get an eyeful of gorgeous white-sand beaches littered with scallop shells at Peel and Port Erin. Or get up close with beautiful marine life on a sea-kayaking tour where you can explore rugged cliff nooks and spy on seals and sea birds.

TT Motorbike Isle of Man

If you only do one thing

Every year since 1907, the TT motorcycle race has torn through the usually quiet Isle of Man in early summer. The island's population doubles during race time as people flock to see bikers whizz along the twisting roads at speeds exceeding 130mph. Get a taste of the action on a TT Trick Tour. You'll be kitted out in leathers, and whipped around the island. 

Seascape Isle of Man

And if you stay the night, wake up here

Sea views don't come much better than this tumbling expanse of blue. Spend an hour or two gazing through the boutique B&B Seascape's floor-to-ceiling windows. All glass and sharp angles, this slice of luxury protrudes from the rugged cliffs of Laxey Bay, looking straight over the waves. Inside there are three bright, white rooms to snooze in with sumptuous baths, fluffy pillows and high-grade bed linen. On colder nights, there's a log fire and a sauna to keep you toasty. Don't miss a soak under the stars in the outdoor hot tub. With only the crashing waves in earshot, you'll feel a world away from the big city. From £150 a night.