Discover more than the TT on a weekend trip to Isle of Man

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Isle of Man is best known as host of the TT race, bringing thousands to its shores. But there's more to discover on this pretty island.

The Calf of Man -  isle of man - travel review - travel feature - handbag.com

© Getty - Handbag

The Isle of Man is fast becoming a tourist hot spot, thanks to the TT race and the great nightlife in its capital, Douglas.

But after the buzz of the race is over, you might wonder what else there is to do on the island.

We took a little hop, skip and a jump over to this pretty place to discover what's on offer.

WHERE TO STAY?


hayloft cottage - isle of man - travel review - travel feature - handbag.com

© The Arches

The Arches is an alternative place to stay


Stay at the Hayloft Cottage in Grenaby Estate, near Castletown, which is a short drive from the airport and the coast.

The cottage has a large living space, the comfiest bed, and all the mod cons you need, plus some beautiful green surroundings too.

EAT AND DRINK?


The boatyard  - restaurant -  isle of man - travel review - travel feature - handbag.com

© The Boatyard


Sample Manx delicacies such as Manx lobster, tiny scallops called Manx queenies, the catch of the day, with a freshly made prawn cocktail served in a shell. All washed down with Pinot Grigio, at The Boatyard in Peel.

And visit the Sound Cafe, which although a busy visitors centre, has one of the best views on the island and a yummy lunch to boot.

Head to Douglas to The Courthouse, and order a great steak, yummy queenies (we couldn't get enough of these) and a lengthy tapas selection.

For great cocktails, check out Bath & Bottle which had an overflowing menu and the mojitos were awesome.

Or why not enjoy a lavish picnic spread courtesy of the Patchwork Cafe in Port St. Mary and devour crab claws caught that morning, freshly prepared artichoke and pine nut salad, a variety of great sarnies and a selection of great desserts.

THINGS TO DO


sea kayaking-  isle of man - travel review - travel feature - handbag.com

© Adventurous Experiences


We took sea kayaks out to do a spot of fishing with Adventurous Experiences.

Get up, close and personal with a basking shark and catch some fish with the help of guides, Keirron and Kelvin.

From there, drive to The Sound. With an awesome view over to the neighbouring island, the Calf of Man, take a stroll along the coast.

We drove to Ballaugh in the northern end of the island to walk in the Manx woodland with local wildlife expert Steve Wright who guided us to spot the 100 or so wild wallabies that now roam the island.

Or catch the steam train from Port St Mary to Castletown to admire the island's natural beauty, check out the castle and the cobbled streets of the old town.

THE BEST TIME TO GO


stargazing -  isle of man - travel review - travel feature - handbag.com

© Ron Strathdee


The island is great to visit all year round but we'd recommend avoiding the stormier weather and enjoying more outdoor activities by booking your trip for the summer months.

We had exceptionally sunny t-shirt weather, perfect to see the island in all its glory and there's some amazing star gazing opportunities when the sky's clear at night.

THE LOWDOWN


We recommend hiring a car from Mylchreests at the airport to get around the island easily.

For getting about if you fancy a drink with your dinner, book a cab Laxey Cabs and ask for Pat Reaney. Not only will you get friendly chatter but also a knowledgeable tour guide.

We flew from Gatwick to Ronaldsway airport with Easyjet. Prices start at around £30 one way.

For more info, visit isleofman.com

Thoughts? Tweet us @handbagcom

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