Steam Packet Company
Being an Island, there are only two ways on or off - boat or plane!!
Unfortunately for us, the transport available to and from the Island is also pretty expensive. The cheapest way to get here is as a foot passenger on the boat and this will cost you from £30rtn - providing you book on-line more than 24 hours in advance and depending on the avaiability of seats. If the boat is likely to be full the price can be up-to £70rtn for a foot passenger!!!
You can sail from Heysham or Liverpool in England and Dublin in Ireland. There is sometimes also a boat from somewhere in Scotland - not sure when or where though? You would have to check the web-site for more details on this.
The Ben-My-Chree sails from Heysham. This is the largest of the ferries which is also used to transport some freight and takes 3 1/2 hours to get to the Island. You can get a train into Heysham port - don't get there too early though because there really is nothing to do at Heysham Port!
The Sea-cat sails from Liverpool. This is a small fast craft that can reach the Island in 2 1/2 hours. The sea terminal in Liverpool can be found next to the Liver Building.
I'm not sure which boat serves the Dublin route as it is not one I have ever used but this information can be found on the website.
The Irish sea is known to be quite rough at times. The sea-cat can not sail in high winds so if you were planning to come over during the winter months I would recommend booking the sailing from Heysham to avoind cancellations.
- Study Abroad
- Family Travel
The Manx Steam Railway goes from Douglas to Port Erin and operates between March and November. There are many interesting stops along the way, though most are by request, so make sure you let the conductor know when you board.
The stops are as follows: Douglas (start/end), Port Soderick (stop), Santon (request), Ballasalla (stop), Ronaldsway (request), Castletown (stop), Ballabeg (request), Colby (stop), Level (request), Port St Mary (stop), Port Erin (start/end). Note that the request stops are mostly unmanned stations. I have also been in the interesting position of flagging a train down as you would a bus or taxi. At small stops stand near but not too close to the edge of the platform to make sure the driver sees you.
There are options for seating; an open carriage and first and second class carriages which are divided into sections seating about six each. There is no prior arrangements for seating, it is first come, first served.
Timetables vary depending on day and season and are available from ticket office at the main stations, including Douglas' Victorian station.
I would add be mindful of putting your head out the windows as the smoke from the train can be blown in your face, take it from someone who has experienced it.
- Family Travel
The Manx Electric Railway (M.E.R) goes from Douglas to Ramsey, via Laxey and other towns on the East coast. It is about a 45 minute ride from Douglas to Laxey and then another 45 minutes from Laxey to Ramsey. There is also an option to change for the Snaefell Mountain Railway at Laxey.
There are many interesting stops along the way, though most are by request, so make sure you let the conductor know when they check tickets.
The stops are as follows: Douglas (start/end), Onchan (request), Groudle (stop), Baldrine (request), Ballabeg (request), Fairy cottage (request), South cape (request), Laxey (stop), Minorca (request), Dhoon (request), Glen Mona (request), Ballaglass (request), Cornaa (request), Ballajore (request), Ballure (request), Ramsey (start/end). Note that the request stops are mostly unmanned stations.
There are often two options for seating, covered or open trams. The inside seats are good if it is cold or wet or you want something a bit more comfortable, but if you really want to take in the scenery then sit on the open sided tram, rest assured if the weather turns there are shutters that come down to keep you dry.
Timetables vary depending on day and season and are available from ticket office at the main stations, including Douglas.
- Family Travel
Car Hire on the Island
Using a car is a great way to get around and see the Isle of Man, especially for the harder to reach locations and means you don't have to wait around for buses. The companies which provide car hire services for the Isle of Man are: CarHire3000, Hertz, Holiday Autos and Avis. You may be able to sort hire out online before you go, if not then Douglas or the Airport at Ronaldsway will be the best places to go.
- Road Trip