With holiday gift guides a plenty, everyone has started making their wish lists of yet more “stuff”. Adventure specialists and outdoor pursuits company Explore 4x4…
The Isle Of Man - A small island with huge charisma
Stunning landscapes, spectacular wildlife and scenic drives galore. You’ll find all this and more on the Isle of Man.
Factor in fresh, locally produced food, outdoor adventures plus fascinating Manx heritage and you have a unique holiday destination packed with variety and charm. For such a small landmass, it certainly boasts plenty of reasons to visit. At just 33 miles long and 13 miles wide, it is possible to cover much of the island by car in just one day.
See the rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, hidden coves and famous glens. But there are also plenty of other ways to get around this magnificent isle. The Raad ny Foillan coastal path is certain to help blow the cobwebs away as you traverse cliff tops, beaches and pretty wooded glens. There is also the option to explore the island by bike, with several pre-planned routes for road and mountain bikes available on the Isle of Man visitor website to help you. For those who want a more leisurely trip, why not travel in style, on the island’s impressive network of heritage railways?
As well as an array of working railways, the island is home to many museums and events that celebrate the heritage transport system. These include the Manx Aviation and Military Museum, the Steam Railway Museum and the ARE Motorcycle Collection, which houses an superb range of vintage models including Triumph, AMC, BSA, Vincent and Guzzi. Apt, of course considering that the island is home to the world famous TT races and Festival of Motorcycling. But bikes aren’t all that’s on offer for sports fans here.
There is also the chance to watch - or even participate in - traditional events such as the Tough Mann Adventure Challenge, Viking Longboat Race and the wacky Tin Bath Races. Just try and cross the finish line without sinking! There are plenty more unique events that add to the intrigue of the Manx culture. Tynwald Day celebrates the Isle of Man’s Parliament, which is the oldest continuous parliament in the world.
The open air ceremony was established by Norse Vikings in the 13th century when the famous Tynwald Hill was built. As a national holiday on the Isle of Man, Tynwald Day is a great way to experience authentic Manx culture and join in the festivities. The event brings lots of stalls, food outlets and entertainment to St John’s and is a brilliant family day out.
The Isle’s Celtic heritage is also celebrated with a fun-filled festival of song and dance. The Yn Chruinnaght Festival takes place every July to mark the Manx culture and its connections to other Celtic countries. Hop-tu-Naa is a Celtic festival celebrated on October 31, predating Halloween and marking the end of summer in the Celtic calendar. In contrast to the British tradition, children carry lanterns carved from turnips, rather than pumpkins, and sing traditional Hop-tu-naa songs.
In addition to the Isle’s rich cultural heritage, there is plenty to gain from the great outdoors here too. The west coast is particularly good for birdwatchers, while the diverse countryside and extensive coastline offer lots of opportunities to spot wildlife, not least the wild wallaby or Manx cat!