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About Douglas

Set in the Irish Sea between the UK and Ireland, the Isle of Man is most famous for its annual TT motorcycle road race.  But for, most of the year, the island is a tranquil place with a diverse culture inherited from its Viking and Celtic roots.

Douglas became the capital of this picturesque self-governing kingdom in 1863 and you may want to visit the outstanding Manx Museum, which you will find in the town's centre. Or why not spend your time soaking up the island's rich history with walks around the settlements and castles that whisper secrets of their past. The scenery is simply stunning. You can walk the glens and mountains of which the island is justly proud or, for the best views of the island's natural beauty, ride the steam trains. You can even take a horse drawn tram that runs along the 2 mile stretch of seafront promenade. 

 

Shore excursions in Douglas

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Heritage Trail and Scenery

Activity low

Duration: 3 hours

Be captivated by the variety of scenery and absorb the heritage as you travel around this interesting island.

The Isle of Man has a rich variety of scenery and natural beauty which is a result of its own unique combination of geology and climate. See the delightful mixture of handsome villages, plunging cliffs, sandy beaches, rugged glens and wild moors which preserve the rich vein of the island’s Celtic and Viking heritage.

Travelling into the countryside you will come to Fairy Bridge. It is said that if you cross the bridge without so much as a `Laa Mie` (good day) to the Little People, you cannot be sure of a safe and pleasant visit.

Your heritage trail continues to Cregneash with a visit to the Folk Museum. Cregneash is isolated from the rest of the island and was one of the last strongholds of the traditional skills and customs which characterised the crofter’s way of life. Here at Cregneash, the evidence of a rugged and self-sufficient lifestyle is brought to life in the original preserved buildings.

Heading inland, you will see the charming river glens and wild heather-covered moors. A blaze of colourful wild flowers also decorates the many roadside hedges. Travel along the road called the Plains of Heaven, which aptly summarises the superb scenic qualities of this central district. Your circular tour returns towards Douglas, passing along country roads and through delightful villages with individual styled houses and neat gardens full of summer colour.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach. There is approximately 45 minutes of walking at Cregneash over some uneven terrain and grassy pathways

Historic Castletown

Activity high

Duration: 4½ hours

Immerse yourself in history as you travel by steam train to Castletown to visit its medieval castle and the Old House of Keys.

Travel back in time on the Isle of Man Steam Railway that passes through some of the most beautiful countryside in the British Isles. Opened in 1874, this narrow gauge railway still runs with its original locomotives, complete with billows of smoke and shrill whistle, through an ever changing landscape. The market square in Castletown, which sits on the site of an ancient volcano, has remained virtually unchanged since the 1800’s. The town was the capital of the island for hundreds of years until population and commercial pressures forced the move to the new capital of Douglas. Visit the Old House of Keys, the seat of the Manx government from 1709 until 1869. This restored building was once the assembly and debating chamber for part of the Manx Parliament. Gain an insight into the island’s unique political heritage by participating in a historical re-enactment, enhanced by audio-visual effects, demonstrating how the members voted on key issues. The Castletown of today has a quiet but distinctive charm. Its narrow streets and small fishing cottages prove its ancient past at every corner. Visit the medieval Castle Rushen, once the home of kings and later government, which dominates the centre of town and is visible for miles around. As well as being an impressive historical attraction, it is also a working castle, its courthouse and precincts still in traditional use.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach, steam train and on foot. There are steps to negotiate and uneven ground at Castle Rushen and the House of Keys.

Landscape, History and the Great Laxey Wheel

Activity medium

Duration: 3¼ hours

Gain an insight into the island’s landscapes and history, and visit ‘Lady Isabella’, a significant character on the Isle of Man.

Visit the lively Promenade fronting the Bay at Douglas, a traditional family seaside resort, and the Isle of Man capital since 1869, before travelling to the picturesque village of Laxey, one of the prettiest locations on the island. This is the home of `Lady Isabella`, also known as the Great Laxey Wheel, the largest working water wheel in the world. The wheel is an enormous tribute to Victorian engineering, built in 1854 and has a diameter of 72 feet and a circumference of 227 feet. It was used to pump 250 gallons of water a minute from the Laxey mines some 200 yards away and 1500 feet below ground. Your visit here is a perfect opportunity to photograph the giant wheel and the beautiful Laxey Valley that spreads out across to Snaefell Mountain. In the 10th century, the Vikings established the `Manx` parliament, known as Tynwald. This system of self-government has remained in place for over 1,000 years - the oldest continuous parliament in the world. Tynwald Hill is the focal point of this `Manx` independence, and legend has it that the hill contains earth from all 17 of the island’s parishes. A short stop is made here for you to walk around the small hill, and to take photographs. Enjoy the contrasting scenery of open countryside and small rural communities, as you travel back across the island towards Douglas.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach. There is up to 30 minutes of walking on this tour, with slight inclines over grassy pathways at Laxey Wheel.

Victorian Railways and Snaefell

Activity low

Duration: 3 hours

Enjoy the scenery from the carriage of 2 vintage railway trains plus a stop at the summit for stunning mountain top views.

Dating from the Victorian era, the railways are immaculately restored and run today much as they did 100 years ago. The island saw a great deal of pioneering work in this field which led to tramways in towns and cities throughout the world.

Travel around the Promenade fronting Douglas Bay to the station of the Manx Electric Railway, the longest of Britain’s vintage narrow gauge lines. The railway celebrated its centenary in 1993 and still depends on original Victorian and Edwardian technology. Relax in the open and closed tramcars as they whistle and grind their way through leafy glens and hollows, before emerging triumphantly on top of precipitous cliffs, offering spectacular views across the coastline.

Passing over the impressive Glen Roy viaduct, you will arrive at the sylvan Laxey Station, arguably the most picturesque on the island. Here, you will transfer to the Snaefell Mountain Railway, the only electric mountain railway in the British Isles. The 4½ miles of double track climb out of Laxey to the 2,036 foot summit of Snaefell, the highest point on the Isle of Man. Views of the coast and the Giant Laxey Wheel are breathtaking as the slow and gradual ascent takes you up the side of Laxey Glen.

On arrival at the summit, enjoy the beautiful scenery from the viewpoint, before taking the train back down part of the mountain to join your waiting transfer to Douglas.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and train. There are steep steps to embark the electric tram and uneven ground at Snaefell summit.

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