Those of you who’ve been following me for a little while may remember that last spring, I headed to the Isle of Man for a glorious little weekend with Ed, one that exceeded all expectations. What with all this Brexit talk and the ghastly things going on in the world, holidays to the countryside have never seemed so appealing. For that very reason, I reminisced over the beauty of the Isle of Man for the Evening Standard last week, and in case you missed it there, I thought I’d relive it right here. Because honestly, if you’ve got a weekend spare and are seeking a little down time and fresh air, Isle of Man is the place. Fellow Londoners, you can fly direct out of City airport with BA in the most adorable toy(like) plane.
In the middle of the Irish Sea, between the coastlines of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, the Isle of Man is a real gem of the British Isles. It’s got a rich history to discover, having been inhabited since before 6500 BC, and home to the Celts, the Vikings, and formerly part of Scotland. Just a short flight from London or a boat ride from Liverpool, its extensive rugged coastline, pretty bays, medieval castles and more make it the perfect spot for a weekend break that can be as active or as laidback as you’d like.
What is there to do?
Get outdoors! Wake up with a fresh stroll on an one of the bays, before hiring electric bikes to enjoy whizzing effortlessly up and around the hills of the island. They’re the perfect way to get around and mean you can see a lot in a short space of time. Hire them for half a day.
On your way through Port St Mary, stop at The Fish House for a mid-morning snack of a Manx Queenie bap – delicious and the must-try local delicacy.
Come lunch time, pick up a picnic from Patchwork Cafe and eat it on a grassy spot on the peninsula. With a full tum, head over to Peel for a stroll around the town and a little nap on the beach. If it’s warm enough, don’t miss the opportunity to take a dip, the water is fresh and impressively clear. Pay Peel Castle a visit then see out the evening with a sunset sea kayaking session (with Adventurous Experiences) and get friendly with the seals.
The following day, jump aboard the steam train to Douglas and enjoy a leisurely brunch at café-come-cultural-community, Noa Bakehouse.
Where to stay?
To embrace the real ruralness of the island, stay in a cottage — ideally one that’s seemingly in the middle of nowhere, enveloped in fresh sea breeze. Grenaby Estates have a nice selection scattered around Castletown. Take Sheerghlass for example, a 2-bed contemporary cottage at Pooilvaash, which a sleek open-plan set up, a garden, parking and sea views.
When should I visit?
The summer months are the obvious time, to make the most of the island’s beaches and landscapes. Even on a rainy weekend though, cosying up in your cottage with a book wouldn’t be the worst…
How much does it cost?
Prices are pretty much on a par with London, if not slightly cheaper. A pint will set you back £4, a Queenie Bap will cost you £6, half a day electric bike hire £25. Though Manx pound is an actual currency, you’ll be just fine with sterling.
You should visit here if…
You hate long haul flights, love getting outdoors and can’t get enough of beautiful Great Britain.