Isle of Man TT: A beginners guide to booking a trip!
Our guide on how to book the Isle of Man TT
The Isle of Man TT can be a problematic holiday to book, trying to match up travel with accommodation can be time-consuming and can also create problems where you can get travel but not the accommodation or similar.
This is where Regency Travel can help, we are the Isle of Man TT Official Travel Partner appointed by the Isle of Man Government and our job is to make getting to the TT as easy as possible!
Each year we help thousands of TT fans from across the world attend the races with a wide range of packages and tours. We can arrange packages for individuals or large groups.
We have put together a simple guide to what to consider when booking a trip to the island for the TT races. This guide is also aimed at those who do not have a clue where to start when it comes to booking a trip to the TT.
Our first tip! If you are looking to book everything yourself then do not waste time looking for accommodation on the big travel websites like Expedia, Booking.com as island hotelliers do not list properties on these sites. They only sell direct or through us!
1. When do you want to come?
The TT is run over a two week period, the first week being the practice/qualifying week which has evening practice sessions starting around 6 pm through to 9 pm.
Race week which is the second week sees racing on alternate days, so the first race is on a Saturday then Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.
Practice week is the quieter of the two weeks and also sees cheaper deals on the ferries and hotels, also consider that you are likely to see more action than the races as more laps are done during this week.
Race week is a lot busier, it's the week everyone wants to be here but due to demand prices are higher and things sell out quicker. Races take place on alternate days which are Saturday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
2. How can I get to the island?
The Isle of Man is an island located in the Irish sea so you have two options, you can come by sea or fly to the island.
If you plan to come by sea you can sail from a number of ports in located in north-west England or ports in Ireland. The more frequent sailings are from England which operates daily from Liverpool or Heysham, Irish sailings are less frequent from Dublin, Belfast and Larne (only operated during TT).
You can travel on the ferry as a walk-on passenger, with a motorbike or with a car, van, campervan.
As you can imagine space is at a premium during race week for any type of vehicle, dates you prefer may not be available and, in this case, you need to be flexible. Foot space is always widely available on all sailings - except peak travel dates, if you plan to come as a foot passenger consider shipping your gear over.
A useful tip if you are planning to travel by sea from Europe with a vehicle is to travel via Ireland using the Irish ports as more space is available, the English sailing sell out quickly on all the peak dates.
By air - Please do not be put off by flying to the island, we have great public transport on the island so you can easily get around.
The island is also small so getting from one side to the other only take 30 minutes by bus.
You have many options available starting with camping through to Hotels, the cheapest option is camping with your own tent and the dearest being hotels.
Most accommodation providers have a minimum number of nights that you can stay, so keep this in mind!
Top Tip! Also consider what you want from your accommodations location. For example you don't have to be in Douglas, yes it has evening entertainment on the promenade but all villages and towns across the island have something happening, the TT is an island festival!
Camping with your own tent - The cheapest option and this is what we have the most of, you can choose from a number of sites around the island. You will be pleased to know we carefully select sites that have all the needed facilities. So each site we select has toilets, showers etc.
There is a minimum 4-night stay during race week at all sites, please consider if you prefer somewhere quieter pick a site away from Douglas as the Douglas sites are generally full throughout race week.
Pre-Erected Tents - This option is great, imagine just turning up with the tent already up so no putting the tent up in the pitch black of night! The tent then includes everything you need, a camp bed, pillows even a cooking stove and kettle! All that's missing is a sleeping bag!
The more people you have in the tent the cheaper this option gets, tents sleep from 1 up to 6 people, but they have a minimum night stay of 5 nights.
Glamping - The in between of camping and staying in a hotel, for those not familiar with Glamping this is luxury camping.
You can expect a large canvas tent so it is nothing like a little pokey 2 man tent. You have real wooden beds, carpeted floors, duvets and pillows. Tents sleep 2 to 4 people in single or double beds.
There is a minimum 4-night stay on all glamping with specific arrival dates, so you would need to arrive or depart on the specific dates.
Bed & Breakfast/Guest Houses - The impossible! - Rooms are very hard to source, each year repeat visitors book before they leave and, therefore, get the property. Even we cannot get rooms in guesthouses and this is why you won't find them on our package options.
Hotels - We have them!! We have a good relationship with the hotels so we get allocations which are then passed onto you the TT fan! You can try to purchase directly
This is not the cheapest option, Douglas only have around 2.000 hotel beds to prices are high as there is so much demand, you can expect to pay anything from £200 per room per night upwards.
Homestay - This is similar to a B&B, but you stay with a local resident in their home or in some cases rent out a house. This is not widely available and does normally carry a minimum stay of 8 nights. Self-catering or bed & breakfast options are available.
4. How to watch the races, do I need a ticket?
So you now know how you plan to get to the island and what type of accommodation you are going to stay in but how can you watch the racing?
Its simple the TT course is 38 miles long so you can stand or sit in a hedge (when not in a restricted area) and watch for FREE!
Or if you prefer to sit in a grandstand and get extra benefits such as free WiFI and race radio coverage then you can buy a ticket. If you purchase a ticket for a grandstand then your seat in the stand is yours for the full day! Tickets start from just £30 per race day or £5 per practice session.
if you want to treat yourself or a partner to a very special race day experience you can also buy VIP tickets!!
5. I can't get my bike on the ferry, how can I get around with no vehicle?
You don't need to bring a vehicle, the island is small getting from one side to another takes a maximum 30 minutes by bus.
Public transport is great, you can get around easily with a transport ticket (additional cost), put simply this give you access to any public bus, Electric Tram, Horse Tram or Steam Train while you're on the island (you can even upgrade to a Manx Heritage ticket which allows access to any national heritage site on the island).
This is increased over the TT period with extra trains and buses, you can even get around the course by bus (not the mountain section, this can be accessed using the Electric Railway) as long as roads are not closed So most viewing points on the course can be accessed.
6. What else should I consider?
From day to day we have clients bookings trips as a surprise for their partners, the above guide should help those who don't know where to start, but we also offer day trips which make a great gift.
Day trips always include travel by sea or air, transfers or a lap of the course if travelling by sea and a grandstand ticket to watch the races unfold.