Peel Castle
Peel Castle

Garden Tours

Heritage of the Isle of Man

Situated between the coastlines of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, in the middle of the Irish Sea, the self-governing crown dependency of the Isle of Man is blessed with an extensive coastline, stunning natural landscapes and unspoilt beaches. We have brought together the outstanding attractions, including castles, villages, museums and grand houses to create a comprehensive tour of this fascinating little island nation.

Our tour begins in the ancient capital of Castletown, where we visit Castle Rushen, former seat of the Kings and Lords of Mann, and the Old House of Keys, which was once the centre of 19th century political life on the Island, followed by an ancient school and the picturesque village of Creagneash. A trip on the Victorian Manx Electric Tramway takes us to Ramsey in the north of the island, where we visit the Grove Museum of Victorian Life and the house and grounds of Milntown. Next we travel over part of the route used during the famous TT motorcycle races and visit Peel Castle, which was the fort of an 11th century Viking King of Mann; The House of Manannan, which uses state of the art display techniques to take visitors on an exciting journey through the Isle of Man’s colourful history, and Tynwald Hill, which plays host to an annual open air meeting of the Island’s parliament, Tynwald. Finally we visit the iconic Laxey Wheel and take a walk through the Great Laxey Mines.

What's included?

  •  Flights
  •  Accommodation
  •  Services of a professional tour manager
  •  Comfortable coach travel throughout
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary

Today's Price
$1,390

Deposit: $300 Single supplement: $265

Tour highlights:

  • Trip on the Manx Electric Railway
  • The iconic Laxey Wheel
  • Tynwald Hill, historic outdoor parliament
  • The impressive fortress of Rushen Castle
  • Following part of the TT motorcycle route

Tour details

Dates August 5 2020 - August 9 2020
Duration 5 days
Cost
Today's Price
$1,390
Deposit: $300 Single supplement: $265 Balance due by May 13 2020
Activity Level
Tour code BWIOM20B

Book Now or call 1-800-782-0295 if you have any questions

August 5 2020: Itinerary

We depart from London Gatwick Airport on our direct flight to the Isle of Man (other regional airports are available at a supplement). On arrival we will be met by our local coach and transfer to our hotel in Douglas, the island’s principal town. The Ascot Hotel is a warm, friendly and contemporary hotel which enjoys a fantastic location just off Douglas Sea Front and Promenade. All hotel rooms have en-suite facilities with spa bath and shower, together with TV, internet access, hairdryer, iron and ironing board and tea & coffee making facilities. There will be some free time to rest or explore the surrounding area before dinner in the evening.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: The Ascot Hotel, Isle of Man

After breakfast we depart for the southern end of the island and the ancient capital of Castletown, where we visit Castle Rushen, an impressive fortress which was once home to the Kings and Lords of Mann. Originally built for a Norse king in 1265, Castle Rushen was developed by successive rulers between the 13th and 16th centuries. During its time it was used as a fortress, royal residence, a mint and even a prison. The castle’s towering limestone walls offer panoramic views of Castletown and beyond.

We also visit the Old House of Keys here in Castletown, which was once the centre of 19th century political life on the Island. The building is one chapter in the long and often turbulent history of Manx politics which stretches back to the 9th and 10th centuries when the Viking Kings ruled the Isle of Man. The fascinating building has been restored to its former appearance of 1866 – a milestone in Manx history when the old self-elected House of Keys took its first steps along the road to modern democracy by passing the House of Keys Election Bill and becoming a popularly elected body.

Following our visit here we will call in at the nearby Old Grammar School, which dates back to around 1200AD when it was built as the first town church for the settlement that grew up around Castle Rushen. The main wing of the building has the oldest roofed structure on the Island – older than all but the lowest courses of masonry at the castle itself. In 1570 St Mary’s Chapel, as it was then known, was transformed to a school for boys and served exclusively in that capacity after 1702 before it closed in 1930. The school has been dressed as it was in that period, with old-fashioned desks and equipment.

In the afternoon we will travel out to the picturesque village of Cregneash, one of the last strongholds of the traditional customs, crafts, and skills which characterised the Manx crofter’s way of life. Set in beautiful countryside in the south of the Island there are a number of thatched Manx cottages which are open to explore. There are also fields being worked with horse-drawn equipment, villagers thatching the roofs, dying wool, spinning, weaving and wood turning. In the fields surrounding Cregneash there are plough horses, shorthorn cows and Manx Loaghtan sheep.

Later we return to our hotel, where dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: The Ascot Hotel, Isle of Man

Following breakfast today we are heading for Ramsey in the north of the island, and will travel there on the Manx Electric Railway, which was built between 1893 and 1899 and is acknowledged as the longest narrow gauge vintage electric railway system in the British Isles. Travelling at a sedate pace in original Victorian and Edwardian rolling stock, the 17 mile railway takes us along some of the most scenic stretches of railway in the British Isles, with the beautiful Manx countryside, glens and picturesque villages on one side and far reaching views out to sea on the other.

Alighting in Ramsey, we will transfer by coach to the Grove Museum of Victorian Life, which was originally developed in the mid-19th century by the Liverpool shipping merchant Duncan Gibb as a summer retreat for himself and his family. Later, the Victorian villa became the family’s permanent residence and family home and a visit to the Grove is like stepping back in time, with a series of period rooms, containing mostly original furnishings and fittings, a costume room, and displays of the possessions of three generations.

In the afternoon we transfer to nearby Milntown, the former family home of the Christian family who lived in the imposing building since the early 16th century. The house and grounds were left in trust by the last owner of the estate, Sir Clive Edwards, with the express wish that they be made available to the public. A guided tour of the house is included and we will see the main hall, dining room, bedrooms and library where there is a collection of books and magazines associated with motor racing as well as paintings, ceramics and silverware.

Later we return to our hotel, where dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: The Ascot Hotel, Isle of Man

After breakfast this morning our tour of the island continues as we travel to the west coast, following part of the route used by motorcyclists during the famous TT races. Our first visit today is Peel Castle, which was originally a place of worship before becoming the fort of Magnus Barefoot – an 11th century Viking King of Mann. The castle’s curtain wall encircles the ruins of many buildings which are a testimony to the site’s religious and secular importance in Manx history, including St Patrick’s Church and the Round Tower which date back to the 10th and 11th centuries. Peel Castle remained a royal residence and centre of government for more than 200 years until power moved south to Castle Rushen.

After some free time in Peel, we will visit The House of Manannan, which uses state of the art display techniques to take visitors on an interactive and exciting journey through the Isle of Man’s colourful history. You can discover life-sized reconstructions of Celtic roundhouses, join the crew of the Odin’s Raven on a Viking longship as it returns from the battle of Contarf, or find out what life was life in a Viking longhouse. You can also explore 19th Century Peel with a walk around the quayside, complete with traditional sights and smells from the Manx kipper yard, and uncover the importance of the sea to the lives of the people on the Isle of Man.

On our way back to the hotel we will stop briefly at Tynwald Hill, which plays host to an open air meeting of the Island’s parliament, Tynwald, once a year. The hill, which measures around 72 feet high, is thought to be made from piles of stones bonded together with soil from all of the Island’s 17 ancient parishes. It is believed that the open air ceremony, which takes place on July 5th, was established by Norse Viking settlers over a thousand years ago with the hill thought to have been built in the 13th century.

Dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: The Ascot Hotel, Isle of Man

After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and travel north of Douglas to our final visit, the iconic Laxey Wheel. Designed by the Victorian engineer Robert Casement, the wheel was built in 1854 to pump water from Glen Mooar which was part of the Great Laxey Mines industrial complex. Standing at over 72 feet high the wheel, which is also known as Lady Isabella, has been one of the Isle of Man’s most popular tourist attractions for well over 150 years. You’ll have the opportunity to watch the wheel turning before attempting to climb to the top where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views across the Glen Mooar Valley. Once back on solid ground you can walk through the valley to find the Great Laxey Mines and learn about the lives of the miners who extracted lead and zinc ores from deep inside the mine.

We will then return to Douglas for some free time for shopping and sightseeing, before we transfer to the airport in time to check in for our afternoon flight back to London Gatwick, where on arrival the group will disperse.

Meals include: Breakfast

August 5 2020: Additional Info

August 5 2020: Accommodation

The Ascot Hotel is a warm, friendly and contemporary Isle of Man hotel which enjoys a fantastic location just 100 yards off Douglas Sea Front and Promenade.

August 5 2020: Enquiries

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