Cheap flights to Isle of Man
Sleepy Victorian villages, stunning rugged coastline and even the odd steam train or two; the Isle of Man is a slice of Britain from days gone by. Famous for its offshore bank accounts as for anything else, the Isle of Man is a surprisingly unspoilt gem of an island in the middle of the Irish Sea. At 365 square kilometres, this place is a microcosm of all things British. Well set foot on this island and you’ll come across swathes of leafy valleys, rolling green hills, heather covered moorland, and a healthy amount of woodland for starters. And that’s not mentioning the coastline, which is a mix of rugged beauty and picturesque sandy coves.
With its 17 national glens and never-ending network of footpaths let’s just say this is the place to be if you like the great outdoors. Make sure you pack those walking boots, oh, and your 5 iron – did we mention there are nine golf courses here too?
Pay a visit to Kirk Maughold parish church to see 44 of the island's collection of ancient stone crosses, dating from the sixth to 13th centuries. They include Norse examples showing scenes from the story of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer (Church Road,
Maughold, IM7 1AS, maughold.org.im).
Take the kids to Cregneash Village open-air museum on 25-27 October, where they can carve a turnip lantern as part of celebrations marking the Manx festival of Hop-Tu-Naa, considered to be the Celtic New Year. Make a herb good-luck charm and pick up some traditional cookery tips, too (Cregneash, manxnationalheritage.im).
The ancient fortress of Peel Castle provides an atmospheric backdrop for an outdoor production of William Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice" by TNT Theatre Britain. Pack a rug and a picnic (7-8 August, Peel Castle, St Patrick's Isle, Peel, IM5 1TB).
Expect speed, noise, thrills and spills when watching the island's most famous event, the annual TT Races. The unique motorcycle extravaganza takes place on the beautiful, and often hair-raising, 37-mile course on 30 May - 12 June. iomtt.com
Add some laughs to your stay thanks to an evening with stand-up comedian Omid Djalili, who brings his new touring show Iranalamadingdong to the island on 19 March (Villa Marina, Harris Promenade, Douglas, IM1 2HJ, cfvg.gov.im).
See the island in a unique way, or simply spy on fellow tourists, with a visit to Douglas's Great Union Camera Obscura. This Victorian curiosity uses lenses and mirrors to project views of the surrounding area onto a partitioned table to give 11 moving colour pictures of the 360º view (Douglas Head, Douglas, IM1 5BW).
Take a break from sightseeing to stock up on the Apple Orphanage's fruity juices, cider and wine made with locally grown crops. The elderflower keshal (Manx Gaelic for "fizz"), a sparkling wine, is based on an old family recipe. The shop is open 1-7pm Wednesday to Saturday from May to November (Apple Orphange, The Lynague, German, IM5 2AQ, appleorphanage.com).
Don't expect to buy fizzy water at the quirkily named Port Erin Gaslight & Aerated Water Company: this fun shop in Castletown is a treasure trove of unusual cards and gifts. The perfect place to pick up stocking fillers ahead of Christmas (2 Malew Street, Castletown, IM9 1AB, manxknobs.com/gaslight-shop).