Scott and I have developed a little habit for getting away from London for new year’s eve – last year we headed to Edinburgh, and this year, to ring in 2017 we headed to the Isle of Man.
It’s smack bang in the middle of the Irish Sea, between the coastlines of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales – and if you climb to to the submit of Sneafell you can actually see all four! It’s 33 miles in length, and 13 miles in width. Make sure you walk the width of the island along the Heritage Trail from Douglas to Peel along the old railway, which can easily be done in a day. The Isle of Man is just a short flight from London, and it’s rugged coastline, medieval castles and picture perfect bays make it the an ideal spot for a weekend break.
Where to stay
If you can’t drive, I’d highly recommend staying in Douglas which is the capital of the island and is the hub of the bus networks. The town is also home to two of the main railway lines: the steam railway to Port Erin and the electric tramway to Ramsey, these however only run in the summer months.
Scott and I used Air bnb to book our cottage, but Grenabye Estates have some beautiful properties in the south of the island. Next time I visit, I’ll definitely be staying in Sheerghlass – a two bed contemporary cottage just outside of Castletown with a sleek open-plan set up, garden and sea views!
What to do whilst you’re there
Lace up those walking boots and get outdoors! Stroll along the Douglas promenade and along the coastal path to Laxey. You’ll be surrounded my lush hilltops with the sea by your side. On your way through Laxey head to the Shore Hotel which is the islands only brew pub. Grab yourself a pint of Old Laxey Bosun Bitter as it can only be found here.
If you’ve taken the Heritage Trail from Douglas to Peel, have a short stroll around the town and have a dip in the sea (if it’s warm enough!). Pay Peel Caste a visit and watch the sunset over the bay.
Where to eat
Queenies (giant scallops) are the local speciality, they’re dead cheap and you’ll find them on almost every menu. Try a Queenie bap at The Fish House in Port St.Mary, they pile them high on in between slices of thick white bread.
If you’re looking for somewhere to dine in the evening, then look no further than 14North. It’s located in the heart of the North Quay in Douglas (which is the islands dining destination). They aim to use seasonal and local ingredients to showcase the best of the island. Scott and I feasted on this Pork Belly which was served with a black pudding sausage roll and heritage carrots.
Best time to visit
Visit during the summer months in order to make the most of the island’s beautiful beaches and walks. But even on a rainy weekend in December cosying up with a good book, and a log burning stove in a cottage isn’t the worst thing in the world…
How much does it cost?
Prices are similar to London, if not slightly cheaper – a pint will set you back around £4. Manx pound is an actual currency, but you’ll get on fine with sterling.