Home-from-home charm on a unique and magnificent island
A superb tour to the charming Isle of Man, with three full days of varied excursions to the island's old fashioned towns, pretty fishing ports and breathtakingly picturesque coastline on the different historic railways.
You arrive in Heysham, Lancashire, ahead of your early afternoon ferry journey to the Isle of Man. Heysham is easily accessible from other parts of the UK and the train from Lancaster arrives straight into Heysham ferry terminal. The Irish Sea crossing on the ferry takes three and a half hours. Arriving into Douglas sea terminal. you are then transferred to your hotel, the Ascot, occupying an excellent location just 100 yards from the sea front.
This morning you arrive at Douglas railway station to board the Isle of Man Steam Railway, the island's oldest Victorian rail system. The mesmerising steam-hauled journey in restored heritage carriages takes us through verdant countryside and along the stunning southeast coastline as we travel past small towns and oldfashioned fishing ports. The train pulls into the station in Port Erin, an imposing town set within a beautiful bay on the south-west point of the island.
After time to explore, you are collected by coach for a tour of the headland overlooking the Calf of Man. This terrific corner of the island is home to an array of delightful wildlife including seals and a wide variety of nesting birds. After touring the headland, you travel to Castletown, the island's ancient capital. Castle Rushen, a magnificently preserved medieval fortress, dominates the town and merits a visit during our time here, as do the Nautical Museum and the Old House of Keys. Entrance to all three sites is included on the Heritage Explorer Pass.
Today you take the coach to Peel - an oldfashioned fishing port whose quaint, narrow streets lead to its deep harbour. On the way you call at Tynwald Hill, in the village of St John's, where you see the Church of St John and the Tynwald Exhibition. The Tynwald claims to be over 1,000 years old with the earliest records dating back to 1422. The museum charts the history of this fascinating political entity and proves a delight to discover. You then arrive in Peel. The thriving fishing industry and many smokehouses have made Peel famous for kippers. During our time here, you may wish to visit Peel Castle, located on St Patrick's Isle, which dates back to the 11th century, or the House of Manannan, a museum that explores the island's Celtic, Viking and Maritime heritage. Entrance to both is included on the Heritage Explorer Pass.
You then carry on and enjoy a journey on the full length of the Manx Electric Railway from Ramsey to Douglas. The railway is recognised as the longest narrow-gauge vintage railway in the British Isles, taking you on a 17-mile journey through glorious countryside, across gorsetopped hills and along the stunning coastline of the east coast on its way to Douglas. You make this journey travelling in the oldest working tramcars in the world.
Your excursion today takes you to the summit of the island's only mountain: Snaefell. You begin with a journey north along Douglas promenade, travelling by historic horse-drawn tram*. The trams, known locally as 'toast racks', have been running since 1876 and remain a testimony to Victorian engineering, as popular today as they were when first introduced. You then board an electric train to take us to the fishing village of Laxey. Here you board the Snaefell Mountain Railway - the only electric mountain railway in the British Isles, dating from 1895. The journey takes us all the way to the summit of Snaefell at 2,036 feet. On a clear day you can see England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
You then return to Laxey, where you have time to explore. Separated into two parts, the main village and Old Laxey, which surrounds the picturesque tidal harbour, the town is home to the Laxey Wheel, the world's largest working waterwheel. The 'Lady Isabella' was built in 1854 to pump water from Laxey's lead and zinc mines. It is possible to climb the steep spiral staircase to view the working wheel from the platform above. The wheel is one of the iconic images of the Isle of Man and to see it from above and in action is a fascinating experience. Later you make our way back to Douglas by electric train.
*Please note that the horse-drawn trams do not operate on the early May and late September departures.
Today is free for you to explore using your included Explorer Pass for travel on the local transport and your Heritage Pass for entrance to Manx National Heritage Sites. Options include a visit to the beautifully restored Victorian Gaiety Theatre, a journey on Groudle Glen Railway or witness the very unique Great Union Camera Obscura.
Today you leave Douglas on this morning's ferry, and arrive back into Heysham just after midday, where your tour concludes.
Please note that while every departure of this tour features the same excursions, they may not necessarily be in the order listed above.
We depart from Heysham to the Isle of Man at approximately 2:15pm on the first day of your holiday. On the return trip, our ferry docks in Heysham at around 12:15pm.
However, we will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.
This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 20 verified reviews
First time to the Isle of Man . It was interesting to see their Parliament and way of life.
The courier was excellent, Hotel first class, and the excursions were fine.
An overall good experience with no negative points.
Returning to I.O.M. after 52 years was wonderful. It's changed in many ways but still retains it's old world charm. Nice that the fairies are still around.
Very well organised with a great bunch of fellow travellers. Guide Caroline was excellent... very friendly, mixed with all, great leadership and pre-holiday phone call was unexpected and put me at ease, travelling alone, so I didn't feel nervous or worried.
The hotel was 3 star and we were happy with what we expected. Room comfortable staff friendly and food good. The table staff were very keen to clear the tables, to the point where they would clear one plate whilst others were still eating !!!
Great value and a wide range of activities. Pacing was just right: not too rushed and enough free time to enjoy ourselves.
Great hotel, good outings, nice people
Well organised throughout.
Excellent holiday and excellent tour manager. The additional excursion to the Gaiety Theatre in Douglas was fantastic.
In my opinion, the Isle of Man is the best kept secret in the British Isles. My favourite journey is from Ramsay to Douglas on the Manx Electric Railway where the scenery is just stunning. To round it off with a ride back to the hotel on a horse-drawn tram is the cherry on the cake for me.
I also enjoy seeing part of the famous Isle of Man TT course from the comfort of the coach and imagining the sight of motorbikes on country roads travelling at 180mph. Incredible but mad!
Home-from-home charm on a unique and magnificent island