Douglas is the capital of the Isle of Man. The island's government assembly, the House of Keys, meets there. Douglas is also the main centre of commerce on the island and home to around a quarter of the island's population.
The town's main areas are the sea front which stretches for 2 miles between the Onchan and the Sea Terminal. The Quay area near the Sea Terminal is popular for drinking and shopping. Away from the sea front are shopping districts, financial offices and government buildings while Upper Douglas becomes more residential.
The only operating commercial airport on the Island is the 1 Isle of Man Airport (IOM IATA) in Ronaldsway, located about 15 km south of Douglas. Flights depart to London Luton, Gatwick and City, as well as (amongst other destinations) Dublin, Manchester, Leeds, Bradford and Birmingham. Flights to smaller UK airports often operate during the summer months.
If you are flying into Ronaldway Airport, then you can rent a car to drive into the town.
Isle of Man Steam Packet Co Ferries from Liverpool/Birkenhead and Heysham in England to Douglas operate all year round. Ferries from Belfast and Dublin operate a more restricted schedule to Douglas. Transport to the island during the last week of May and the first week of June may be extremely expensive and often fully booked a year in advance because of the TT Festival.
By steam train
Close to the airport is a halt stop of the Isle of Man Steam Railway which runs from Port Erin, in the south, to Douglas. It offers one of the few opportunities to take a steam train from the airport to your destination. Trains run during the summer months only.
A horsedrawn tram, one of only two left in the world, runs the Douglas promenade's length, from the ferry terminal to the Manx Electric Railway's southern terminal. There is also a bus service in town.
Douglas is easily walkable.
- 1 Manx Museum, Kingswood Grove, Douglas, IM1 3LY, ☏ . Museum dedicated to the history and the natural history of the Isle of Man. There is a section dedicated to Viking finds. Free entry.
- 2 Castle Mona. A seaside mansion designed by George Steuart for John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl. Completed in 1804.
- 3 Jubilee clock. A street clock commemorating the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria's reign (1887).
- 4 Gaiety Theatre, Harris Promenade (Buses 1, 2, 11, 12, 12A, 13, 13A, 13B, 13C and 13D stop at the Gaiety Theatre), ☏ . 1900 theatre and one of the few remaining theatres designed by Frank Matcham. Incredibly detailed interior
- Buy Kippers. Buy kippers from one of the two kipper shops on Strand Street
- Go on the Horse Tram Railway. Travel from the Sea Terminal to the far end of Douglas Bay using the Horse Tram £3 (Aug 08) apx.
- 1 Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy), Grandstand, IM2 6DA. This is one of the world's best-known motorcycle road races. See the start of the TT from the grandstand overlooking Nobles Park.
- 2 Tynwald (Parliament). Mon 2PM or Fri 10AM. Tour the home of Tynwald, which is claimed to be the oldest parliament in the world, dating back to 979. free.
Douglas is the island's shopping capital and most chain stores are located in Strand Street and Duke Street close to the sea front. Smaller independent shops can be found around the Quay area close to Strand Street and the Sea Terminal (where ferries from the UK and Ireland dock). This area is semi-pedestrianised and offers small cafés, pubs and Douglas Train Station (for steam trains to the south of the island).
The Isle of Man prides itself on the quality and variety of its locally produced food and drink – from freshly caught seafood, to succulent meat and specially brewed beers and spirits.
A visit to the island really is the perfect opportunity to see what the local producers, farmers and fishermen do best.
If you’re a fan of seafood try traditional Manx Kippers which are herring fillets that have been smoked over hot oak chips, or Manx Queen Scallops - Queenies as they are more commonly known - which are sustainably sourced from Manx waters.
If you prefer meat you’ll find a large selection to choose from including the rich and tasty Loaghtan Lamb - which comes from an unusual horned sheep which is believed to have been brought to the island by the Vikings.
And for those visitors with a sweet tooth, make sure you don’t miss out on creamy Manx ice cream, handmade confectionary and traditional cakes including the Manx Bonnag. One favourite, of both tourists and residents, is Davison's Ice Cream on Douglas Promenade.
You’ll be able to sample this produce at the regular farmers’ markets, supermarkets and a variety of cafes, pubs and restaurants around the island.
Food in the Isle of Man is more expensive than in the UK. Expect to pay upwards of £30 per head for a meal in a restaurant.
- 1 Tanroagan, 9 Ridgeway St, IM1 1EW, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 11:30–15:00, M-Sa 18:00–21:30. A seafood restaurant: various fish, scallops, lobsters, etc. Good selection of wine.
- 2 14 North Restaurant, 14 N Quay, ☏ .
There are many places to drink in Douglas, from typical British pubs to cocktail and wine bars.
- 1 The Rovers Return, 11 Church St, IM1 2AG, ☏ . noon-midnight. A fire station-themed pub, apparently one of the oldest in Douglas.
There are a large number of bed and breakfasts in Douglas with high quality hotels such as the Sefton and Hilton also available (£90 a night).
It is strongly that you book ahead especially in the TT Season when rooms will be at a premium.
- 1 Edelweiss Guest House, 29 Palace Terrace, Queens Promenade, IM2 4NF (far end of the promenade from the sea terminal, entrance on Switzerland Road), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. From £40 per night.
- 2 Inglewood Guest House, 26 Palace Terrace, Queens Promenade, IM2 4NF (follow the promenade from the sea terminal), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. From £42.50 per night.
- 3 Best Western Palace Hotel & Casino, Central Promenade, IM2 4NA, ☏ . Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 11:00.
- 4 The Sefton, Harris Promenade, IM1 2RW, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
The Isle of Man is largely a very safe place but petty crime does occur. Tourists should exercise standard precautions.
Why not take an old electric tram north to Laxey or Ramsey? Alternatively take a steam train south to Castletown, the island's old capital, and Port Erin. Motorcycle enthusiasts might like to do a lap of the TT Course (36 miles) starting at the Grandstand in Douglas.
|Routes through Douglas|
|Peel ← St John's ←||W E||→ merges with and|
|Ramsey ← Laxey ←||N S||→ merges with and|
|merges with and ←||N S||→ Castletown → Port St Mary|