Places in Isle of Man

Top events in Isle of Man

September
09

Hundreds of visiting mountain bikers descend on the island every year for this prestigious race, which involves cyclists riding from one end of...

September
20

This prestigious three-day rallying event is one of the most prestigious in the European calendar, with races run on closed public roads around...

September
22

For a small island the Isle of Man produces an amazing range of quality food and drink; the festival is the place to find out more about it....

Lighthouses and FogHorn at Point of Ayre, North of the Isle of Man
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Lighthouses and FogHorn at Point of Ayre, North of the Isle of Man

© Creative Commons / seanb.murphy

Isle of Man Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

572 sq km (221 sq miles).

Population

86,866 (2014).

Population density

151.9 per sq km.

Capital

Douglas.

Government

Self-governed dependency of the British Crown.

Head of state

HM Queen Elizabeth II since 1952, represented locally by Lieutenant Governor Adam Wood since 2011.

Head of government

Chief Minister Allan Bell since 2011.

Electricity

230 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs with three square pins are standard.

As quirky destinations go, you’d be hard-pressed to beat the Isle of Man. Its mere existence is even a bit odd. Though officially part of the British Isles, the island is a self-governing kingdom that belongs to neither the United Kingdom nor European Union. Confused? You should be.

Things get stranger still, when you arrive on the island and find you’ve travelled back in time – this is a place where it is possible to get a steam train to the airport.

Suffice to say the island’s antiquity adds to the charm of this destination, which is also home to some spectacular scenery: lush valleys, rugged shores and fine sandy beaches abound, making it an adventure playground for outdoor enthusiasts.

Measuring 53km (33 miles) long and 21km (13 miles) wide, the Isle of Man floats in the middle of the Irish Sea, just off the Lancashire coastline. Killer whales, humpbacks, basking sharks, dolphins, seals and myriad bird species can be spotted in the surrounding waters, which are ripe for scuba diving.

The island’s main draw, however, is the notoriously dangerous TT motorcycle race, which takes place annually. Too fast for you? Then hit one of the many hiking and mountain biking trails, which crisscross the island. Or delve into the island’s curious history by exploring the prehistoric tombs, elaborate Celtic crosses and Iron Age hilltop forts, which are scattered across the wild landscape.

Beneath the time-warp surface, present-day Isle of Man has a contemporary edge. It’s still heavily associated with the finance industry, yet film-making and tourism are increasingly important as people start to discover the island's quiet natural beauty and rich heritage.

All things considered, the Isle of Man is a curious destination and perhaps the best-kept secret in the British Isles.

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