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?
Board the Santa Express steam train at Douglas this Christmas for a festive trip to Santa's grotto, where children will receive a present. The family can also indulge in hot drinks, mulled wine, mince pies and turkey or pork and stuffing rolls in the dining car.
(13,19,20 December; 10am-3pm; www.iombusandrail.info).
The Isle of Man TT Races - the world's most famous motorcycle road race - roars back into action between 28 May and 10 June, promising high-speed thrills. There are plenty of vantage points for spectators: the course is made up of more than 37 miles of public roads.
Step back in time at Cashtal yn Ard, a Neolithic chambered tomb. The burial site, which means 'Castle of the Height' in Manx, enjoys views over Maughold and across the Irish Sea to Cumbria.
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