Isle of Man Towns and Villages
Douglas and the East
Visit the Island's capital of Douglas for a unique blend of traditional seaside resort, thriving finance centre and busy working harbour.
Set on the east coast, Douglas is the Isle of Man's largest town and offers a wide range of things to see and do.
Set against a two-mile sweeping bay and sandy beach you'll find the busy promenades buzzing with activity – why not take a trip along the stretch on the horse trams where you'll be afforded stunning views out to sea? Or start you journey south by steam railway or north by electric railway.
If you are interested in exploring the Island's heritage, Douglas is a great place to start. The Story of Mann trail, which guides you around some of the most iconic sites, begins at the Manx Museum. A trip to the Great Union Camera Obscura on Douglas Head is also worth a visit.
And if it's motorsport you've come for visit the TT Grandstand where you'll have a bird's eye view of the start and finish line as the bikes attempt the gruelling 37 ¾ mile Mountain Course.
You'll find the Island's main shopping area in Douglas as well as a wide range of guest accommodation and the magnificent Gaiety Theatre and Villa Marina – both of which offer a year round programme of entertainment.
Moving up the east coast you'll find the picturesque village of Laxey which is set in a deep valley. Here you'll be able to start your journey, either on foot or by rail, to the summit of the Island's only mountain where you'll be afforded views of the Seven Kingdoms on a clear day.
Laxey also offers an insight into the Island's mining heritage. It's home to the world's largest working waterwheel, Lady Isabella, which used to pump water to the mines, as well as the Laxey Mines Railway – parts of which are still in operation.
Located just 7 miles from the islands capital Douglas lies the quiet picturesque village of Laxey.
Laxey is set in a deep valley and is home to the famous Laxey Wheel which is the world's largest working waterwheel. Lady Isabella, which was used to pump water to the mines as well as the Laxey Mines Railway of which parts are still in operation.
WIthin the village itself you will find pubs, restaurants and local shops which stock all your needs. Laxey also have a small harbour and a beach which is a favourite with locals throughout the year.
It can be accessed from all parts of the island through regular bus services which go through Laxey from Ramsey and Douglas, while the Electric tram runs from Douglas to Ramsey stopping at Laxey station. From Laxey you can also take the Mountain Electirc railway to the highest point on the island and the islands only Mountain called Sneafell which on a clear day you can see the 7 kingdoms (Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales, Mann, Neptune and Heaven), you can also use the Mountain railway to get to the mountain section of the TT course.
Ramsey and the North
Head north and you'll find Ramsey, the second largest town on the Island, set against the magnificent backdrop of the North Barrule hills.
You can reach Ramsey by travelling along the world famous TT Mountain Course, which affords stunning views of the countryside and coast, or on the Manx Electric Railway where the line terminates.
Ramsey boasts an impressive working harbour, masses of sand and shingle beach and one of the most impressive recreational spaces the Isle of Man offers. Set in 40 acres, Mooragh Park is a hotspot for visitors who will enjoy the sporting facilities, boating lake and children's play areas.
Curraghs Wildlife Park in nearby Ballaugh is also worth a visit. This well maintained park is home to a wide range of wildlife from across the globe, much of which is set in walk through enclosures giving you the chance to get up close to these magnificent creatures.
If you're looking for something to make your pulse race head to the Venture Centre in nearby Maughold where you can take part in a variety of exciting outdoor pursuits including kayaking, abseiling and coasteering.
And if you're looking for something more relaxing don't miss Milntown or the Grove Museum. These well preserved period properties offer a fascinating insight into what life was like hundreds of years ago.
Moving further north to the Point of Ayre – the Island's most northerly tip – you'll find the Ayres Nature Reserve which is one of the best places to wildlife watch.
Port Erin and the South
Offering a variety of heritage attractions, glorious beaches and excellent walking trails, no trip to the Isle of Man is complete without a visit to the Beautiful South!
Popular with visitors since the Victorian era, Port Erin sits within a beautiful secluded bay which offers a magnificent sweep of sheltered sandy beach – enjoyed by watersports enthusiasts and families. Boat trips to the Calf of Man's nature reserve and bird observatory also leave from here.
The town is also home to the most southern point on the Steam Railway line and has retained its original station as well as a comprehensive railway museum which showcases vintage transport memorabilia.
You'll find Port Erin a great place to start if you're looking to explore the fantastic walking trails in the south of the Island – try weaving your way around the coastline to The Sound in Port St Mary. You'll be greeted with stunning views out to sea as well as the opportunity to spot the seals which bask on the small rocky islet near to the Calf of Man.
The busy harbour village of Port St Mary is home to the Island's only nine hole golf course as well as Cregneash – a living museum which shows what life was like in the 19th Century Manx crofting community.
No visit to the south is complete without a trip to the ancient capital of the Isle of Man –Castletown – which is dominated by the imposing Medieval fortress of Castle Rushen. The castle is one of the best preserved in Europe and was once dominated by the Kings and Lords of Mann.
Located around the picturesque harbour you'll also find the Old Grammar School, Nautical Museum, where you can learn about the Island's maritime history, and Old House of Keys – the previous home of Manx parliament.
Peel and the West
Pay a visit to the aptly named "Sunset City" where you'll be awarded stunning views of the sun setting, a glimpse of the Mountains of Mourne, and some of the best ice cream in the Isle of Man!
Located on the west coast, Peel is a thriving Manx fishing port with a marine heritage that spans hundreds of years.
Home to an extensive modern marina, the town welcomes a number of pleasure craft throughout the year – many of whom come for the fantastic sandy beach and variety of things to see and do.
The magnificent ruins of Peel Castle, located on St Patrick's Isle, dominate the landscape and visitors can tour the remains as part of the Story of Mann trail.
There's also the opportunity to find out more about the Island's, and Peel's, history by visiting the interactive House of Manannan museum, the Leece Museum and the unique Manx Transport Heritage Museum.
During your visit you'll also find the Island's only cathedral as well as a working kipper curers which offers a fantastic insight into the production of the famous Manx Kipper.
Between May and August Peel is also one of the best places in the British Isles to see basking sharks from the shore. Often up to the length of a bus in size they regularly come within metres of the shoreline and surrounding cliffs.
Near to Peel you'll find the pretty village of St Johns which is home to the Tynwald Millsshopping centre as well as Tynwald Hill which is an important landmark in Manx history and the location of an annual open air meeting for the Island's parliament.
Don't forget to visit the secluded area of Niarbyl Bay, also on the west coast, which is one of the Island's most important geological sites and offers fantastic walking trails.