Why you should visit this picturesque island between Ireland and the UK that everyone forgets

For a less traveled road vacation, look no further than this picturesque island in the middle of the Irish Sea.

Do you have to be a member of the United Nations to be considered a country? Well if you ask the people of the Isle of Man they will give you a no. The Isle of Man is considered an island nation and an autonomous territory of the United Kingdom – but is not part of the United Kingdom (if you have a UK SIM card you will likely have to pay roaming charges during your stay ). This island in the Irish Sea is quaint and beautiful and a great place to visit for those looking to get off the beaten track a bit more.

Peel Castle, Isle of Man

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Introduction to the Isle of Man

How to get there

Fly: All flights originate from various cities in England and a few from Edinburgh or Belfast

Ferry: Several daily ferries from Lancaster, England; seasonal or infrequent ferries from Scotland, Dublin, Belfast and Liverpool

The Isle of Man was never part of the European Union but is now part of the common travel area with the United Kingdom and Ireland. So if you can get to UK and Ireland you can visit Isle of Man (without any border checkpoints).

Related: These Hidden Gems In England Are Worth A Visit

Naming a date when the Isle of Man became independent is a bit tricky. For hundreds of years, it regularly changed hands between English and Scottish rule. This continued until it finally came under some sort of English rule, then gaining autonomy in 1866.

Isle of Man: Highlights

Population: 83,000

Zone size: 221 square miles or 572 square km.

Official languages: English and Manx

Capital and largest city: Douglas

The people of the Isle of Man are of Celtic origin and its historical language is a Celtic language called Manx. Additionally, the people of the Isle of Man are referred to as Manx (never call them British, English or Irish!). Today the language is only spoken by a few enthusiasts on the island and everyone speaks English. The English who come from England are called by the locals “Come Overs” and if they live there they are nicknamed “Stay Overs” (one third of the population is of English origin).

What he’s known for

The Isle of Man is famous for two things in particular. The Manx cat – a type of cat that lives on the island without a tail. But its main attraction is the annual TT motorcycle races. If you are interested in racing, now is the best time to go. If you are not, it will be the worst as the island will be inundated with visitors along the roads and it will be very difficult to find accommodation. TT motorcycle racing is adventurous and has been dubbed one of the most dangerous in the world. During this period, the roads are closed to the public.

Related: 10 Of The UK’s Least Visited Cities You Should Visit

TT Motorcycle races at a glance

First race: 1907

Lap record: Peter Hickman 16m 42,778s – 135,452 MPH

Three cancellations in history: Second World War, foot-and-mouth disease epidemic in 2001, Covid-19 pandemic 2020-2021

Next scheduled race: May 29 – June 10, 2022

It is by far the main attraction of the island. If you are planning to go, you will need to book your accommodation well in advance. It’s common to stay in an Airbnb as most locals leave their island, travel to Spain or elsewhere, and rent their homes during that time.

The island is much more than TT races, come any other time of the year and you will see a picturesque, romantic and peaceful island.

What else to see and do

The coastal village of Peel (which is also home to the world’s smallest car) is definitely worth a visit. It is a very sleepy and picturesque town, here you will go for a walk along the coast, have a coffee, taste their famous herrings and explore the coastal castle.

Things to do in Peel:

Attraction: Peel Castle

What to eat: The Kippers Peel

Hiking: Hike along the coast, through farms and town (the trails are marked)

Assist: Local Christmas celebrations are fun with fireworks and bagpipes

The main settlement on the island is Douglas. This city is beautiful with a superb waterfront. In fact, before the era of cheap flights to Spain and France, it was one of the main seaside resorts in England. And now he’s long forgotten. Yet the town was built along the beach to classic Victorian standards.

Other attractions on this beautiful island include:

Tynwald Day

  • Location: Center of the island
  • When: July the 5th
  • What: National celebrations organized every year since 1417

The Manx museum

  • Or: City of Douglas
  • What: National museum covering comprehensively the history of the island

Castletown and Castle Rushen

First construction: 13th century

Fun fact: It was previously the site of a Viking fortress

  • Opening days : From Thursday to Monday (Closed Tuesday and Wednesday)
  • Opening hours: 9.30-4.30
  • Cost: 10 pounds ($ 14)

Laxey’s Ferris Wheel (also called Lady Isabella)

Built: 1845

Record: The largest operating waterwheel in the world

  • Admission fee: 8 pounds ($ 11)
  • Height: 72.5 feet

On top of all this there are countless other castles to explore and plenty of history – the history of the Vikings, Scots, English and Manx all mingling on this island. It is a beautiful island with breathtaking landscapes and many hikes. Plus there are plenty of shops a block from the coast in the main town of Douglas!

In short, as it is not a fully independent country, the Isle of Man is a slice of paradise in the Irish Sea that is overlooked and overlooked by many (except for the TT Racing season).

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