Situated in the centre of the British Isles, the Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom, and is instead an internally self-governing dependent territory of the Crown.
This ancient island kingdom is a fascinating place to discover, whether during a weekend break or over the course of a lifetime's love affair.
TRAVELLING TO ISLE OF MAN
You can travel by air and sea to the Isle of Man from many locations around the British Isles and once here tour the Island at a your own pace.
As the island is part of the British Isles Common Travel Area, a passport need not be produced when visiting the Isle of Man from any of the British or Republic of Ireland sea ports or airports.
If you are a British Citizen then you do not require any clearance from the Immigration Office to live on the Island, however a work permit may be required to work here.
TOWNS & VILLAGES
Other major settlements are Onchan, Ramsey, Peel, Port Erin, Castletown and Port St Mary. New housing in estates and village outskirts is gradually changing the traditional look of the Island but there is still plenty of 'green' space and quiet, unspoilt countryside.
Just off the southern tip of the Island lies a two square kilometer islet called the Calf of Man, an official Bird Sanctuary which is owned by the Manx Wildlife Trust. The Calf's only year-round resident is a warden but it is open to public visits during the summer.
The Isle of Man is part of the British Isles but not the United Kingdom. It is a Crown Dependency, with its own parliament, Tynwald.
Established by the Vikings, Tynwald is the oldest continuous parliament in Europe, having celebrated its own millennium in 1979. It is divided into two distinct parts: the Legislative Council and the House of Keys. The 24 publicly-elected Members of the House of Keys ('MHKs') are the island's equivalent of MPs, but due to the Isle of Man's unique political system, there are no party politics.
The King is 'Lord of Mann', the island's constitutional head of state, represented by a resident Lieutenant Governor. The island is not a full member of the European Union; instead, it has associate status. This enables island traders to trade with the rest of the community but the island is not eligible for EU grants or liable for financial contributions.
PEOPLE & CULTURE
Islanders are known as 'Manx' but classified (for passport purposes, for instance) as British. The Manx are one of the Celtic peoples (the rest being Scots, Irish, Welsh, Cornish and Breton). Roughly half the population is Manx-born, with the rest mostly coming from the UK, Scotland and Ireland, although an increasingly varied mix of nationalities are coming to the Isle of Man to work in its finance and service industries.
The 2021 Census recorded a resident population of 84,069, 755 more than were recorded in 2016. This reflected the expansion in the Manx economy and underlines the close relationship between economic and demographic growth.
In particular, the population continues to grow significantly as a result of an influx of immigrants from Eastern European countries, namely in the construction and hospitality industries.
Almost one third of residents (26,677) are settled in the capital town of Douglas; the main centre of the island and the seat of the Manx government.
English is the spoken and written language of the Isle of Man. The traditional language of the Island is Manx Gaelic, which is closely related to Scots and Irish Gaelic but distinct from both.
There are no longer any native Manx speakers on the island but the language has been kept alive by a growing number of scholars and enthusiasts. There are now Manx Gaelic nursery and primary schools and children can continue to study Manx at secondary school. Government departments use both Manx and English on all documentation and official signage such as street and town names are also dual-language.
CURRENCY & ECONOMY
The Island has its own Sterling coins and bank notes which can be used everywhere, although they are used in conjunction with British sterling currency - both can be used anywhere on the Island. It should be noted that Manx Sterling currency can't be used outside the Island.
The Isle of Man economy has experienced steady growth since the 1970s due to a combination of low taxation, political and fiscal stability, investment in infrastructure and Government initiatives to stimulate economic activity.
Unemployment is low and quality of life is above average as a result. The island's finance sector is now its largest employer, followed by the manufacturing industry, although traditional sectors such as agriculture still play a significant role.
The island has earned 'AA+' status and has won a reputation as a international finance centre and the Government continues to promote the island as an ideal platform for business.
CLIMATE & WEATHER
The Islands climate is generally temperate, often lacking extremes such as very hot days and thunderstorms in the summer, or snow in the winter due to the effects of the Gulf Stream that runs through the surrounding Irish Sea.
Average Summer Stats
- Temperature: mid 20°C (70°F)
- Rain: 60mm oper month (snow sometimes February/early March)
- Sunny days, or at least those in which the sky is completely clear from dawn to dusk, are quite rare.
Average Winter Stats
- Temperature: around 9°C (48°F)
- Rain: 85mm oper month
- The sky is often cloudy, and rainfall is frequent. Sometimes, intense Atlantic depressions can cause wind storms.
HEALTH & SAFETY
People on the island are on the whole very friendly. The Island itself is a quiet, safe place to be, with very little crime. Visitors to the Island are entitled to emergency medical treatment at no charge.
- Emergency: 999
- Police General Enquiries: 631212
- Ambulance Service: 642266
- Fire & Rescue Service: 647300 or 647303
- Coastguard: 686612
The Island has a wide variety of shopping available to both its residents and visitors. These range from High Street names such as Marks & Spencers and Boots to many smaller local shops providing anything from clothing to speciality local foods.
The main shopping area on the Island is Strand Street, located in the centre of the Island's capital Douglas. The street is home to two modern shopping centres, The Strand and Tower House, which is located a little further up the street on Castle Street.
Similar seatbelt laws to those in the United Kingdom and elsewhere apply and visiting drivers should negotiate our narrow roads and lanes withcare. It is an offence on the island to use a mobile phone whilst driving. In some of the larger towns and villages Parking Discs are required (obtainable from Isle of Man Steam Packet vessels, the Sea Terminal, airport, car hire companies, libraries and local Commissioners Offices).
The island has a strong anti-drugs policy and illegal possession of banned substances can lead to a jail sentence if found guilty.
Trailer caravans are not permitted on the Isle of Man, without a permit. A written request, with full details of your visit, needs to be submitted to the Department of Infrastructure at least two weeks before your visit. However, self-propelled motor caravans are welcome, as are tenting campers.
Liberal Isle of Man legislation has introduced 24-hour opening for pubs, bars and off-licences. This means that all licensed premises, including nightclubs, restaurants and the Douglas casino now have the option to serve alcohol 24 hours a day.
Whilst driving on the Island, you should observe our rules of the road. These are there for your own safety as well as others, and need to be observed even more strictly during the many motorsport events held on the Island.
Important Driving Tips
- The minimum legal age for driving is 16.
- Motorists drive on the left-hand side and distances and speed limits are measured in miles.
- Learner drivers must display 'L' plates and newly qualified drivers display 'R' plates for their first year.
- Both the RAC and AA operate on the Isle of Man.
- New residents must re-register their vehicles as soon as possible and obtain a Manx driving licence within three months of arrival.
- There's no speed limit on open roads but built-up areas have restrictions as low as 20mph and the Police use hand-held 'speed guns' and roadside breathalysers to catch law breakers.
- Drink-driving invites serious penalties and very few people risk it.
Island happenings are reported in three publications published weekly by Isle of Man Newspapers - the Isle of Man Examiner, the Manx Independent and the free Isle of Man Courier. They contain the usual mix of news, sport, advertising, births, marriages and deaths - as well as house sale particulars, company registrations and planning applications.
Terrestrial television reception extends to four channels - BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV (Border or Granada) and Channel 4. The penalty for not owning a TV licence incurs a hefty fine. The Island's national publicly-owned radio station is MANX RADIO which broadcasts a diverse range of music and talk programmes on both FM (89, 97.2 and 103.7) and Medium wave (1368khz) frequencies. During TT fortnight it also caters for race fans by broadcasting on split-frequency as 'Radio TT'.
Phone & Internet
The Isle of Man has a world-class telecommunications infrastructure, and services which cater for the full range of voice and data communications requirements. Manx Telecom is the Island's principal network operator, with advanced fixed and mobile networks across the Island. Both Manx Telecom and Sure (Isle of Man) provide services under telecommunications licenses granted by the Isle of Man Communications Commission and approved by Tynwald, while a number of ISPs and IT companies provide corporate network and related services.