Isle of Man (UK)

Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown Dependency and a delightful place to visit. The island presents colorful towns, cool castles and picturesque landscapes where fairies wouldn't seem out of place.

The entire island is clean and nice with many beautiful spots. Peel has the eponymous Peel Castle originally constructed by the Vikings in the 11th century and the pretty Fenella beach filled with large seashells. From Peel you can hike to the mysterious-looking Corrin's tower and enjoy views of the town from above. Tynwald Hill is a distinctive landmark and historical site where the island's parliament meets annually since Viking times.

Another very scenic spot is Point of Ayre Lighthouse located in the Northern tip of the island where the occasional seal will drop by to check things out. From Port Erin you can hike to the fairy tale looking Milner's tower on an incredibly scenic route through the hills around town.

There was lots of wildlife on and around the island including rabbits, seals, pheasants and many other types of birds, while the coconut scent of gorse bushes was present almost everywhere.

The Sound is located in the Southern edge of the island and offers more hiking opportunities, nice views of the smaller uninhabited island of Calf of Man (which can be visited by boat but couldn't be reached during my trip due to bad weather). The Sound Visitor Centre offers more scenic views together with some excellent fish chowder and kipper bap, a smoked herring sandwich which is a local specialty.

The beautifully-preserved Rushen Castle originally dating from the 10th century is located in the historical capital of Castletown. I also enjoyed the little St. Michael's Isle and its Derby Fort.

Other scenic hiking routes are available in a number of glens dotting the island. I visited Glen Helen and Glen Maye which were both very nice. The Milntown Estate has some beautiful gardens and a nice cafe.

The capital city of Douglas is nice as well. Try to get accommodation with views of the Douglas Promenade and of the pretty Tower of Refuge (my recommendation would be Cubbon House where you might get acquainted with the friendly Steven the Seagull). Strand Street offers a number of shops and dining opportunities. While in town don't miss Douglas Lighthouse, located in another scenic spot, and the nearby Marine Drive Archway.

Food was good and fish was delicious. Don't miss the locally-brewed Okell's beer.

Additional info:
- Isle of Man entry on Wikipedia
- Isle of Man profile on Wikivoyage

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Isle of Man

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