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Exploring Isle of Man’s capital: Douglas

Douglas is the capital town of the Isle of Man. Set on the east coast of the Island, Douglas is the largest town and offers a wide range of things to see and do. This travel guide to Douglas, Isle of Man, will give you advice on how to get to Douglas, where to eat in Douglas, what to do in Douglas, and where to stay in Douglas. Enjoy!

What about Douglas, Isle of Man?

Douglas is the capital town of the Isle of Man. Set on the east coast of the Island, Douglas is the largest town and offers a wide range of things to see and do. It’s home to the Island’s main shopping area, the Manx Museum, the Tower of Refuge and the great Union Camera Obscura that uses mirrors to provide panoramic views. On the promenade a horse-drawn tram ply and both a steam railway and electric railway depart from Douglas. It’s beautiful sea front is lined with picturesque hotels and restaurants. Douglas is the island hub for shipping, transport, shopping, and entertainment.

How to get to Douglas, Isle of Man?

Isle of Man is easily accessible by air or sea from various locations across the UK. There are regular ferry services to the North West of England all season, and the East Coast of Ireland in the summer months. 

Nestled along the east coast of the Isle of Man, Douglas is also easy to reach. By car from the South (Castletown, Port Erin) you can head into Douglas on the A5 and when driving from the West (Peel, St Johns, Ramsey via the TT Course) you can take the A1. When traveling by public transportation you can use the Manx Electric Railway and Horse Tram (Summer season only) or by the Steam Railway (summer season only).

Where to eat in Douglas, Isle of Man?

Noa Bakehouse

This bakery comprises an artisan sourdough bakery, coffee roaster and cafe. It serves great coffee and delicious pastries.

The Tea Junction

This tearoom is a lovely place to drink some tea, eat some scones or slices of cake. The macrons were so good, I bought a dozen to take home. The place and atmosphere is civilised and stylish. The food is good and well priced. A brilliant place.

The British

This pub/inn is a classic, yet modern city-style bar serving great food and drink with a distinctly British feel.

Wine Down

This restaurant really impressed me! They offer a very good service throughout the meal and there is plenty of choice for vegetarians. Seafood is fresh and they offer local produce specials. The meals are served tapas style. Food prices are reasonable, but could become expensive if you add a couple of sides. Wine Down also has an amazing selection of wine. The restaurant has over 100 different wines to choose from, of which are available to take away or drink in.

What to do in Douglas, Isle of Man?

There are plenty of nice activities you can do in Douglas, Isle of Man. Here’s a list with examples:

Take a trip on the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway

You can take a trip along the promenade on the horse trams at either end of the Douglas Promenades. After you have boarded, you can simply sit back, relax and enjoy the two mile journey and the stunning views out to sea. The horses that pull the trams have an average working life of 15 years. Upon retirement the horses spend the rest of their lives at the Home of Rest for Old Horses in Douglas.

Explore the Island’s heritage

Douglas is a great place to explore the Island’s heritage. The Story of Mann trail guides you around some of the most iconic sites, starting at the Manx Museum.

Explore the island by steam railway or electric railway

You can also choose to explore the south of the Island by steam railway or explore the north by electric railway. Both railways depart from Douglas, so it is the ideal location to base yourself.

Go Shopping

You’ll find the Island’s main shopping area in Douglas.

Watch the TT motorcycle races

If it’s motorsport you’ve come for, make sure to visit the TT Grandstand, where you’ll be rewarded with a bird’s eye view of the start and finish line. The TT motorcycle races and international cycle races are held each June; the Manx Grand Prix race is in September. 

Photo by Jan Starek

Explore the landmark of Douglas: Tower of Refuge

The Tower of Refuge (also known as St. Mary’s Isle) is a small structure erected upon a partially submerged reef, originally for the purpose of offering shelter to shipwreck victims until help could arrive.

Visit the theatre

Visit the Gaiety Theatre or Villa Marina. Both offer a year-round programme of entertainment.

Visit the St Thomas’ Church

St. Thomas’ Church stands tall at the heart of Douglas. Services are held every Sunday at 11:00am. A Coffee Morning is held each Friday 10.30am to 12.00pm.

Visit the Manx Electric Railway Museum

At the Manx Electric Railway Museum you can learn more about the history of the pioneering railway at the Isle of Man. The museum enables you to learn more about the island’s railway with artefacts and informative displays. Admission is free.

Where to overnight in Douglas, Isle of Man?

Many hotels are found along Douglas Promenade, showing spectacular views of Douglas Bay and the Tower of Refuge, particularly at sunrise. If you like to overnight in Douglas, you should think about where you would like to be. There are two sides to the hotel market. The south side is close to town, steam railway, buses and sea terminal. The north side leaves behind the noise of town and is closer to the Manx Electric Railway. And for business visitors the financial district sits right at the heart of Douglas centre, making it a brilliant location to work in. Some of my favorites: A miniature Boutique Hotel: Sea Cliff, a high-end 5* hotel in miniature located just 5mins from the capital, Douglas, offering amazing views over the Irish sea or The Empress Hotel, a wonderful retreat for all the family, and in a beautiful setting, overlooking the open seaside.

You can also snuggle up at one of the Island’s B&B’s, for example at the Rivendell Cottage, a holiday home with two bedrooms and a living room, only around 5 km from TT Grandstand or the Waterfront Apartments, a beautiful fully equipped apartment!

Author: Daphne

This article is part of the GPSmyCity iOS app. You can download it, read this article offline and obtain travel directions (by foot, car or bicycle) to the places mentioned in this article. Click here to download it.

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