A few days on the Isle of Man


Hello, we’re just back from a few days spent on the Isle of Man for half-term.

James’ parents moved to the island about seven years ago, so we’ve been to visit them on several occasions. This was our second time flying there, which makes the journey much more straightforward. Flybe are now running low-cost flights from Stansted (just under an hour away from us) to the island. It’s only about an hour in the air, which is about right for me as I’m not the biggest fan of flying! It’s so much easier than getting a boat there, which involves a four hour drive, plus another hellish three or four hours on a boat with everyone being sick. Easy choice! I really hope these flights continue to run.


As we’ve visited quite a few times before, we decided to keep this trip fairly simple, and spent most of the time pottering around the local beaches collecting shells, driftwood and other treasures.

The weather wasn’t  amazing – a bit grey and cold, but luckily it didn’t rain. I always forget how cold it can get (about 10 degrees tops during this visit, with the wind-chill factor making it feel even colder at times). But we were there to see family so the weather just has to be what it is. The boys are also immune to the cold and don’t seem to care.

We arrived on Sunday afternoon and after dinner we had a good run around the beach which is literally outside our front door. It’s a sea-weedy, rocky beach with lots of shells and driftwood to be found. We always love collecting as much as we can fit in our pockets!


On our first full day there, the boys’ Granny had arranged a horse riding lesson for them in the north of the island. After the success of the horse-riding in Wales, they had another fantastic experience. Tommy and Socks were lovely ponies who took the boys round so gently.

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After that we headed to a nearby beach at Ballaugh. This is a good sandy beach, which is great for sandcastles and digging trenches as it has a stream running down to the sea. The boys and their daddy love nothing more than spending hours in the freezing cold digging trenches in the sand. I am less fussed and generally get a bit chilly. I need to be better prepared with hats, gloves, thermals and a thermos flask next time!

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Next day, we walked into Castletown and the boys enjoyed visiting the sweet shop. I also had a good rummage in the charity shop. There were a few good bits – particularly a pastel blue set of Pyrex mixing bowls, sadly too big to bring home on the plane.

In the afternoon we headed off for a walk at nearby Langness, where there is a lighthouse and the old Herring tower. It was a nice walk with lots of little beaches to drop down onto.

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One little beach had the most ridiculous amount of weathered glass on it, in all different colours. I love these soft, pastel coloured gems and filled my pockets with them.


On our last morning I gathered yet more shells and driftwood while the boys dug more trenches. We flew back that evening. It was a relaxing visit, and I really appreciated a break from cooking!

Now I just have to decide what on earth to do with the huge haul of shells, wood and glass I brought back with me! I have vague ideas of a shell mobile?

Have you visited the Isle of Man?


  1. My mum ties her shells to string and hangs them around her house and garden, like a one-strand mobile. They look lovely, especially if you live somewhere coastal. My middle child is an avid sea-glass collector, like his uncle. His collections end up in pretty glass jam jars on his shelves in his room. Or in our fish tank!

    • May 29, 2015 / 7:50 pm

      Ooh, yes, that’s a lovely idea! We don’t have a fish tank, but that would be perfect too. Seaside souvenirs have a tendency to not look quite right when you get them home! x

  2. May 29, 2015 / 11:41 am

    My best friend lives in the Isle of Man. I love it there. There are some lovely little beaches and seafront walks, the views from Mountain Road are incredible and I’d love to ride the tram one day. I personally prefer the 2.5 hour boat journey as I hate flying, but if you fly from Liverpool, it’s only 20 minutes in the air.

    • May 29, 2015 / 7:39 pm

      Thanks Emma! We rode the tram up Snaefell one year – it was fun but a little scary at times! We’ve had a few really bad experiences on the boats, so I’m reluctant to risk it again…. I sympathise about the flying though 🙂

  3. May 29, 2015 / 9:25 pm

    Love the idea of the one-strand mobiles! I might try that myself. By the way, you left a bag of shells behind. Would you like me to post them, or have you got enough? Still seems terribly quiet without you – I’m pretty sad XXXXX

    • May 29, 2015 / 9:30 pm

      I think we have enough shells for now!! x

  4. October 13, 2015 / 10:34 pm

    I’ve never been to the Isle of Man but your photos make it look very appealing if cold! I love your little glass gems, I remember collecting jars of them as a child at the beach, but I never see them at out local beaches. Flying definitely sounded like the relaxed option and a lovely mini break for you all. Thank you for sharing with me on Country Kids.

    • marmaladepie
      October 14, 2015 / 10:34 am

      Thanks Fiona – it’s definitely a great place, although it can’t really compete with places like Cornwall!!

  5. October 15, 2018 / 9:07 am

    Just stumbled on your blog by accident and really glad did as I actually live on the Isle of Man. Yes the weather can be dodgy at times and bit changeable but hey that’s part of who we are over here,lol! Born and bred here so the island is truly my homeland. Love all the scenery and the wonderful contrasts of colours thrown up through the different season which as a crafter is very inspirational, both on a creative level and a more spiritual level too. I once talked to a woman at a craft show that said she had been to the island and been everywhere and seen everything in an hour! Well as someone who has lived here all her life, I know that that is just impossible as even after 56 years here I am still discovering little roads, paths and sights that I have never found before. Would advise any visitor to not just do the touristy thing of visiting the well known places and do the well know things like go on a horse tram, visit Laxey wheel, steam train railway, electric tram etc. but to just take an ordinary bus, get off anywhere and wander round for themselves. Us locals are a pretty friendly bunch and if you get lost there is usually at least one of us nearby or a signpost that will help you get back on track again! love from a CraftyManxiex

    • marmaladepie
      October 17, 2018 / 8:56 am

      Thanks Keren, glad you enjoyed this post! Getting a bus round the island is something I’ve always meant to do when we visit. I’ve done this on other holidays and it’s such a great way to get around and see things. One of my favourite Manx things is definitely the ice cream – best ever!

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