Getting Around Isle of Man
There is some very good driving to be had on the Isle of Man, with superb, scenic sweeping bends and exciting stretches of tarmac to follow. The road network is extensive and outside of Douglas there is very little congestion. The most popular driving route is to follow the course of the TT race.
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Roads on the Isle of Man are generally well-maintained.
Road classification is the same as for the UK. Roads are well-signposted and symbols are consistent with those used on the mainland.
Private taxis operate all year round and there are a number of car hire firms, most of which have offices or desks at the airport or sea terminal. Most international car hire firms are represented on the island. You will need a full, clean license to hire a car. Satellite navigation systems and children's seats are also available to hire.
Taxis can be found in most of the main towns and are a convenient way of getting around the island.
Bicycles are available for hire in the summer months. Eurocycles (www.eurocycles.co.im) have bikes available to hire per day.
There is a comprehensive bus service, Bus Vannin, on the Isle of Man that means you can go almost everywhere on public transport. There is a timetable available at the tourist office in Douglas. You can also buy tickets here. For the best value, buy an 'Island Explorer' ticket, which entitles you to free rides on all public transport, including trams.
The minimum driving age is 16. In derestricted zones there is no speed limit, so outside of towns it is possible to drive as fast as you like although you may still be stopped for dangerous driving. Be aware that petrol on the Isle of Man is expensive. There is plenty of parking on the island and you can park for free with a hire car if you display a parking disc, included with your hire vehicle. It is a criminal offence to drive whilst using a mobile phone.
There are a number of breakdown and recovery services operating on the island – check with your car hire company for what to do in case of emergency.
Full UK driving licence is acceptable.
Most towns and cities, even Douglas, are small and compact meaning that you can comfortably explore them on foot. For something different, try the horse trams that ply their trade on the Douglas Promenade.
Horse trams run along the 3km (2 miles) of the Douglas Promenade during the summer; they are essentially a novelty rather than a serious means of getting anywhere but they do allow you to enjoy the views in a certain style. The Steam Railway operates from Douglas to Port Erin and the Manx Electric Railway runs from Douglas to Ramsey.
Other rail services include original 19th century electric and steam services; an historic narrow gauge steam train rumbles from Douglas to Port Erin via Castletown, whilst an electric service travels from Douglas to Ramsey via Laxey.
The unique Snaefell Mountain Railway, which runs to the summit of Snaefell mountain, and the Groudle Glen Railway (a narrow gauge system), which provides a limited service along a scenic track near Douglas in the summer months are two other interesting train trips to take. For more information, contact the rail and bus information line (www.iombusandrail.info).
There are two separate stations in Douglas, one for each rail service.