A campervan and motorhome traveller’s guide to the Isle of Man

Back to the camperbug blog  February 07, 2020


No better place to sit back and take in the views! Image by the_activetravellers on Instagram



The underrated Isle of Man is a top tourist attraction encompassing diverse landscapes, coastal wonderlands, abundant wildlife and world-renown sporting events like the International Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) Race, held consecutively since 1907. The initial settlers were Celts, and until the early 19th century, Manx was the primary language of the island. The Vikings swiftly followed, and today, specific locations and names (like the title of Tynwald) pay respect to the ancient Viking legacy of the isle. The region is known for its unconventional methods and practices, waving off support from England in favour of doing things the Mann way. We trust the list below will encourage you to relish the stunning beauty with your very own eyes!


The Isle of Man is perfect for campervan and motorhome holidays! Image by visitisleofman on Instagram




Connect directly with Camperbug’s extensive collection of private campervan and motorhome owners across the Isle of Man, and savour the striking beauty as you camp out by the gleaming sea or under the sparkling night sky. Stay in direct contact with the owners, ask them about your niggling doubts or pointers on the local area, and hit the road in no time at all! The local landscape rivals that of the Lake District and offers a treasure of attractions and outdoor activities for wanderers of all ages! Rumble from rugged coastlines and lush valleys, to steep hills, and charming fishing villages.

Bringing your campervan or motorhome to the Isle of Man




Image by net_slayer on Instagram




Savour the beautiful landscape in comfort with your Camperbug campervan or motorhome hire. Campervans and motorhomes are welcome, with a year-round ferry service providing swift access to the isles. Owners of towed caravans require a special permit owing to twisting and generally windy roads. Caravan users need to present a written request via email (caravan@gov.im ) or post two weeks before arriving on the island. The letter needs to state travel dates, where the caravan intends to remain stationed and the reason for your visit. Permits for towed trailers are only issued if the owner is staying at an approved campsite and holds an outbound ferry ticket within 12 weeks of arrival.

The Sites



Douglas




Hello Douglas!



Douglas is the capital city of the Isle of Man and serves as the base of operations for the islands finance sector and government. The most populous town rests on the east coast of the island and offers many activities and sights for visitors. The north of the island is accessible by electric railway and is the quieter side of town. Accessible by steam railway, the south of the island and is closer to bus and sea terminals than the north of the island. The city manages to capture the right ambience of a bustling harbour and a seaside resort. Enjoy a walk on the seafront in a horse tram and take a look at the Tower of Refuge, which was a shelter and harbour for shipwrecked sailors. Dink in the town’s history with a visit to the Manx Museum. Climb Snaefell, the islands lone mountain, and if the weather is clear, you’ll get a birds-eye view of the seven kingdoms: the Isle of Man, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales Heaven and Manannan. The Gaiety Theatre or the Royal Hall usually holds cultural events. There are plenty of accommodation types and fantastic eateries within the capital. Walk along the promenade, and the Quayside to sample a delicious assortment of food. Alternatively, rumble north in your motorhome or campervan hire to Ramsey and select from a choice selection of family-owned bistro’s or drop by Peel in the west for the most excellent seafood on the island!

Douglas head




Douglas Harbour. Image by zzesstastic on Instagram.



Providing some of the best views of the island plus Laxey and Snaefell Mountain, Douglas head overlooks Douglas Bay and is accessible by the Marine Drive. While you’re there drop by the old amphitheatre or take in the spectacular sites of the Grand Union Camera Obscura. The Grand Union Camera Obscura building is constructed chiefly as a tourist attraction and projects of the surrounding areas onto a dark wall utilising mirrors and lights.


Sit back and take in the views! Image by blueberrymufin on Instagram.



Tynwald National Park and Arboretum




Autumn’s hue. Image by lee9corkill on Instagram.



Opened to the public in 1979, the Tynwald National Park is set on 25 acres of land and provides a peaceful ambience in which one may have a picnic or read a book under the soft shade of the trees. Take a look at trees from the islands 17 Manx communities or enjoy the beautiful trees, large pond, a collection of native trees and the children’s playground.



Image by dan_fenlon on Instagram.



Dark Sky Discovery Sites




The Aurora Borealis on the West Coast of the Isle of Man. Image by jamesbrewphoto on Instagram



Take advantage of the low light pollution to view the dazzling Milky Way, Orion Nebula and the Great Andromeda Galaxy. On the North-Eastern coast, one can even see the northern lights on a clear night. The island offers some lodgings that are pro stargazing plus there are many campervan and motorhome campsites located in proximity to the 26 Dark Sky Discovery sites which makes for a delightful evening around the campfire!



A sky full of stars. Image by jamesbrewphoto on Instagram




The Ayres National Nature Reserve




Room for walking, cycling and horse riding. Image by andrewhaddockphotography on Instagram



Enjoy rare lichen heath at the Ayres National Nature reserve. The gem of a habitat that can only is so rare; it is only available in a handful of locations in the UK. The reserve is home to rare breeding birds and provides keen bird-watchers with a chance to view skylarks, linnets, sandwich tern, lapwing and curlew.



Enjoy a relaxing stroll through the dunes. Image by debzydhoo on Instagram



The Glens




Glen Helen. Image by Tony Hisgett on Flickr



Comprising of 18 mountains and coastal glens which are preserved in a semi-natural state by the Manx government, the Glens are open to the public throughout the year. They offer beautiful views of majestic waterfalls, gleaming rock pools and striking panoramas of the enclosing area. Glen Maye is one to visit if you’re looking for scenic tranquillity as the glen contains a beautiful waterfall and unusual plant life. Dhoon Glen is for the more adventurous as it is the steepest glen while Ballaglass Glen and the glen of Tholt y Will are known for their gripping beauty. Get your campervan hire and savour the glades first-hand!



Looking out at Groudle Glen. Image by Phil Parker on Flickr



Castletown and Castle Rushen




Castle Rushen. Image by on moniquewray Instagram



The old home of the Kings and Lords of Mann, Castle Rushen is located in the islands former capital, Castletown. Castle Rushen served as a royal residence, a prison and a mint. The castle was constructed during the 12th century for a Norse king and significantly damaged by King of Scots, Robert the Bruce. Today the well-preserved castle stands at the centre of town and is now converted to a museum and educational centre. Stroll through the many rooms in the castle, and discover the life and times of its occupants. Take a walk over the drawbridge into the castle gardens for stunning views in all directions! If you’re not too keen on travelling to the Isle of Man yet, take a look at a few other locations, campsites and festivals that that best suit campervan and motorhome travellers.



Views over Castletown. Image by on megan.eliza.r Instagram



Outdoor and adventure on the Isle of Man



The Isle of Man abounds with rolling hills, lush glens, rugged mountains, hidden coves, plus a wealth of local wildlife – perfect for exploring and sightseeing in your campervan or motorhome hire from Camperbug. Beautiful long-distance footpaths, mountainous trails, and a glittering coastline make the Isle of Man a walker’s delight. Take on a challenging hike or enjoy a relaxing stroll through the ancient capital of Mann.


Gorgeous vistas along the ascent to Bradda Head. Image by chipchipchippo on Instagram



Get involved in a host of exciting outdoor activities that cater to both beginners and adventurers with experience. Take in the island’s impressive cliffs on a coasteering excursion, or make your own way through the idyllic, green landscape. Enjoy energetic activities like gorge walking, kayaking, and rock climbing. If you’re keen on something less punishing, enjoy a leisurely walk.



Kayaking is just one of the many outdoor sports you can enjoy on the Isle of Man. Image by adventurousexperiences on Instagram




If you enjoy cycling, there are rolling glens, beautiful country lanes, and heaps of scenic coastal roads to explore. The local terrain is diverse enough to challenge serious cyclists while offering more accessible routes for families. Unfurl a map and discover trails of your very own, or download guides and routes.



Wide open spaces to make the avid cyclist heart soar! Image by iomsteampacketcompany on Instagram




Tiny explorers and peppy teens are sure to find a wealth of exciting locations and activities to enjoy. Make use of the island’s mild climate, and sandy beaches to enjoy an old-fashioned family holiday filled with picnics, and sandcastles. If the kids love wildlife, head to Curragh’s Wildlife Park; greet Angora and Boer goats at Kiddin’ Chaos, or pet ponies and horses at the Home of Rest for Old Horses. Adventure loving families can take part in exciting adventure experiences like laser quest, kayaking, diving, horse riding, and abseiling.



There's something for everyone here! Image by adeleuyancrochet on Instagram




Enjoy the diverse landscape and an abundance of flora and fauna on your visit to the Isle of Man. Marvel at coastal birds nesting in salt marshes, on cliffs, and in coastal grasslands. Rumble to the south in your camper or motorhome to observe playful seals swimming in the water or basking on rocks. Keep an eye on the Manx waters for dolphins, basking sharks, and whales. Enjoy a guided wildlife tour around the island’s wildlife hotspots or hop on a boat to view wildlife on the expansive coastline.


Observe flourishing flora and fauna. Image by marine_mammalsiom on Instagram




Food and drink




Scrumptious treats await you! Image by isleofmanmeats on Instagram




You’ve just set foot on a glorious foodie destination, and it’s time to sample the local larder. Enjoy high-quality, traditional dishes created with homegrown ingredients, home-reared, succulent meats, and fresh seafood. Savour smoked kippers for breakfast, stock up on the islands freshest produce at a farmers market or relish the pure and flavoursome local tipple, brewed only with natural ingredients like water, yeast, malt and hops. Take a guided farm tour across the beautiful landscape of the Manx countryside or enjoy a delicious meal watching the sunset at a stunning seaside location.

Where to stay



A wealth of beautifully located campsites dot the Isle of Man, making it the ultimate location to soak in the stunning Manx landscape as you unwind and delight in the great outdoors. Set up camp by the beach, enjoy a picnic in the woods or camp out under the shimmering night sky. Wake up with the birds, whip up a hearty breakfast over the fireplace and venture out to explore the great outdoors right outside your camper, motorhome or tent. Many campsites are right beside scenic walks and lush footpaths awarding adventurers with stunning panoramas of the coastline and verdant glens! Try to avoid visiting during the months of late May and early June plus late August and early September, unless you are individually visiting for the Festival of Motorcycling or the TT. Numerous temporary campsites spring up to meet demand, so no fear - there’s still plenty of room for you!

Here are our picks!



Ballamoar Campsite




Image by ambleside_gloria Instagram




Address: Ballamoar Farm, Ballamoar Lane, Ballaugh, IM7 5EE
Welcomes: Tents, campervans, motorhomes, dogs

Ballamoar Campsite is run by two friendly owners who’ll do everything possible to make your stay as comfortable as possible. The site is quite flat, with generously sized pitches, clean showers, and toilet plus, readily available warm water. The cabin provides campers with cooking utensils like freezers, microwaves, and grills. There is also a constant supply of hot water, tea, coffee and milk. Take an easy walk to the beautiful beach nearby or head out to explore the enclosing attractions.

Glenlough Campsite




Image by nevernevervan Instagram




Address: Glenlough Campsite, Ballahutchin Hill, Union Mills, Isle of Man, IM4 4AT
Welcomes: Tents, campervans, motorhomes, dogs (dogs not allowed during TT fortnight)


This family-run campsite offers 250 pitches on a spacious, flat green to pitch, and only a short distance from the official TT start and Douglas. On-site facilities include shower blocks, electric hook-ups, a washing machine, and a TV room with free Wi-Fi. The campsite does not charge for accommodating dogs. There is a wooded glen adjoining the campsite that leads to Manx Heritage Trail. Take a ten-minute walk to the village of Union Mills for the convenience store, or visit the Hawthorn in Greeba to sample homemade local fare, with a lovely mug of beer.


Crossags Campsite




Image by Tracey Montgomery on Facebook



Address: Crossags Lane, Ramsey, off Lezayre Road, Isle Of Man, Isle Of Man, IM8 2TB
Welcomes: Tents, campervans, motorhomes, dog friendly


The Crossags Campsite rests in the rolling Ramsey Hills, extending over six lovely acres of countryside. The camping field holds over 74 pitches, each equipped with access to showers, and water points. The grounds sit in walking distance to public footpaths and the Ramsey Parliament Square.


Explore the striking landscape, embrace local folklore, and embark on an extraordinary Manx adventure!








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