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 Isle of Man is one of the best places in the British Isles to star gaze, boasting 26 Dark Sky Discovery Sites including the Sound, its southernmost tip. Wrap up warm and look to the skies.
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).
Discover the island's role in housing internees during the First World War as part of a free exhibition, This Terrible Ordeal, marking the 100th anniversary of the start of the conflict.
Until January 2015 (The Manx Museum, Kingswood Grove, Douglas, IM1 3LY, manxnationalheritage.im).
The influence of Celtic motifs on late 19th-century and early 20th-century designers is explored through Celtic Style, a free exhibition marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Archibald Knox. Best known for his homeware designs for the London department store Liberty, the Manx man was a leading exponent of the Celtic Revival movement (5 April 2014 - 7 February 2015, House of Manannan, Peel, IM5 1TA, manxnationalheritage.im).
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).
Craft lovers will find it impossible to leave the "haberdashery heaven" that is Sweet Ginger Emporium empty handed. Stock up with beautiful bold fabrics, new patterns and quirky kits for your next project (68A Parliament Street, Ramsey, IM8 1AJ, sweetgingeremporium.com).