A Week on the Isle of Man

A week’s holiday with my wife staying in a self-catering fisherman’s cottage a stone’s throw away from the sea in Port Erin on the Isle of Man.

We had a fantastic time, the weather held and the sea was inviting. Our island friend took us on an action-packed visit tour of the island. There were beautiful beaches, sea shells for my wife, tram rides and boat trips for myself. And of course seaside cafes full of delicious homemade savouries and cakes.

I would like to share this brilliant experience with you.


We took the 7 pm ferry from Liverpool arriving in Douglas just after 10 pm, the crossing was calm and we were in Douglas before we knew it.

A short 30-minute drive later found us in Port Erin although the weather was overcast and misty we could make out the lights from the harbour below.


We woke up to the sun beaming through our window and the sound of waves breaking on the beach.

The first full day of any holiday should be to relax and switch off from all those work pressures. We spent the morning on the beach enjoying a coffee and a slice of cake at the Cosy Nook Cafe situated beside the multi-coloured beach huts which can be hired for the day.

Bay View Cottage is situated on Shore Road with a great garden overlooking the beach.

Port Erin Beach
View from Bay View Cottage’s garden

A strong breeze was blowing in from the Irish Sea and although the sun was shining brightly you had to be brave or have a wetsuit to swim.


The sun continues to shine and we set off to explore the northwest coastline.

We started with some history and visited the Maughold Celtic Crosses at Maughold Church and then took a short walk to Maughold Head and the lighthouse.

Dopping down into Ramsey we explored the town and then had a substantial lunch at Gophers Coffee Shop.

After lunch we took a drive up to the Point of Ayre, parking beside the lighthouses. It was a bit cloudy and windy but we enjoyed the walk along the pebble shoreline and heathland. The highlight of the visit was the time sitting watching a couple of seals playing amongst the waves.

Point of Ayre Lighthouses
Point of Ayre Lighthouses

For the drive back we took the Mountain Road of the TT course and enjoyed some spectacular views of Snaefell.

A quick swim on Port Erin beach before an evening meal.

Port Erin, Isle of Man
Port Erin Beach


Another fine day and as the clouds cleared, we decided to stay local, taking a walk up to the top of Bradda Head and having a look at Milner’s Tower. There are many routes to the top with various paths to explore, we chose the easier Coronation Footpath. On the way back down we stopped off for a well-earned coffee and cake at the Bradda Cafe which has a lovely patio where you can sit and enjoy the stunning views over the bay.

Bradda Head and Milners Tower
Milners Tower on Bradda Head

The afternoon was spent sunbathing in the garden and swimming in the sea.


West coast Wednesday. We started off in Peel, parking at Fenella Beach car park underneath Peel Castle, a great location for collecting shells. After exploring the 11th-century Peel Castle we wandered across the breakwater into the town. Peel Bay Beach is a sandy town beach adjacent to the shops and narrow streets. If you are interested in the Manx wildlife, it is well worth a visit to the Manx Wildlife Information shop.

Having stopped for a late lunch at The Creek Inn where we sampled some local Manx beers, we continued our journey down the coast.

Niarbyl Bay Beach
Niarbyl Bay taken from the clifftop path

The next stop was Niarbyl Bay a spectacular unspoilt stretch of coast. The tide was out so we spent some time exploring the many rock pools and inlets. Before heading back to the car we walked along the cliff-top coast path although not quite reaching White Beach. We couldn’t then leave without a snack stop with tea and cake at the Niarbyl cafe.


The high point of our week was the Calf of Man boat trip. We woke up to one of the windiest days in Port Erin and the sea looked very choppy, to be honest, I thought we would have to cancel. However, the good news was that we had booked not from Port Erin but Port St Mary which was much calmer. The boat trip took in the Calf of Man Marine Nature Reserve and lasted just over 2 hours where our guide was very knowledgeable about the sea life and geographical references.

Drinking Dragon rocks on Calf of Man
Rocks at the Calf of Man known as the Drinking Dragon (can you spot the dragon?)

After the experience of the calmer seas on the east coast, we decided to go for an afternoon swim at Chapel Bay in Port St Mary, a short 15-minute drive from Port Erin.

Chapel Bay Beach, Isle of Man
Chapel Bay Beach in Port St Mary


Our last full day on the Isle of Man and the sky looks clear with few clouds, perfect conditions for a trip to Snaefell. As we are not ramblers we decided to take the mountain railway from Laxey which meant we could first explore Old Laxey harbour and Laxey beach. Before heading to the station we stopped off at The Shed Cafe on Laxey Beach for lunch.

Laxey Beach, Isle of Man
Laxey Beach view from the harbour wall

The Snaefell Mountain Railway is a delightful trip. On board was a commentary giving details of the mining history. After a steady climb for 30-minutes, we arrived at the summit and were greeted by gusty winds, we quickly realised we should have dressed more appropriately for a walk on top of a 2000 ft mountain.

Snaefell Summit
Snaefell Summit

On the way back to Port Erin we decided to take the east coast route back. On reaching Douglas we branched out and headed along Marine Drive, the old coast railway and roadway. Sadly due to erosion and rock falls the road is now closed to vehicles but is now a very pleasant walk and cycle path with spectacular views over the bay and Little Ness Marine Nature Reserve.

Marine Drive, Isle of Man
View along the coast from Marine Drive

On our final night, we enjoyed a hearty meal at The Bay Hotel situated on the Port Erin seafront, washed down with a pint or two of the Manx Bushy’s.


A quick swim in Port Erin Bay before packing up and heading to Douglas for our 3pm ferry and back home by 10pm.

Douglas ferry
Our ferry arrives at Douglas

A big thank-you

A big thank you to the people of Isle of Man who were friendly wherever we went and made us feel very welcome on their tranquil beautiful island, and to Bay View Cottage in Port Erin for an excellent holiday cottage in a perfect location.

Bay View Cottage, Port Erin
Bay View Cottage

Interested in the Isle of Man? Why not use our Isle of Man maps to help you discover what this island has to offer.