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Vintage Railways of the Isle of Man

(Tour code: MXB17)Enjoy historic railways of the Isle of Man

Reminiscent of a bygone age, the Isle of Man is famous for its stunning coastline, superb sandy beaches, spectacular scenery and gentle pace of life. This charming island also boasts some of the most impressive heritage railways found anywhere in the British Isles, not to mention the historic horse-drawn trams.

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Tour Highlights
  • Douglas
  • Horse-drawn tram ride
  • Laxey
  • Snaefell Mountain Railway
  • Manx Electric Railway
  • Peel
  • Isle of Man Steam Railway
  • Castletown
What’s Included (Full details)
  • Heritage Rail Excursions
  • 4* Hotel Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
    Evening Meals
  • Selected Porterage
    Optional Bag Concierge

Itinerary & Map

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Departure Times

Our tours to the Isle of Man depart (by ferry) at around 2:15pm. We return to Heysham on the UK mainland at approximately midday on the final day of your holiday.

We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Douglas
Day 1

Heysham to the Isle of Man by ferry

We meet in Heysham, Lancashire, ahead of our early afternoon ferry journey to the Isle of Man. Heysham is easily accessible from other parts of the UK and the train from Lancaster arrives straight into Heysham ferry terminal. Our Irish Sea crossing on the ferry takes three and- a-half hours. Arriving into Douglas sea terminal, porters collect our luggage as we walk the short distance along the waterfront to the Claremont Hotel, our base for the next five nights. The hotel occupies a superb location on Douglas' sea-front promenade, overlooking the impressive two-mile sweep of Douglas Bay

Includes:
  • Dinner
  • Ferry crossing
Snaefell Mountain Railway
Day 2

Laxey and Snaefell Mountain Railway

Laxey and Snaefell Mountain Railway Our excursion today takes us to the summit of the island's only mountain: Snaefell. We begin with a journey north along Douglas promenade, travelling by historic horse-drawn tram*. The trams, known locally as 'toast racks', have been running since 1876 and remain a testimony to Victorian engineering, as popular today as they were when first introduced. We then board an electric train to take us to the fishing village of Laxey.

Here we board the Snaefell Mountain Railway - the only electric mountain railway in the British Isles, dating from 1895. The journey takes us all the way to the summit of Snaefell at 2,036 feet. On a clear day you can see England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. A café at the summit offers the opportunity for you to purchase lunch while enjoying the stunning views. We then return to Laxey, where you have time to explore. Separated into two parts, the main village and Old Laxey, which surrounds the picturesque tidal harbour, the town is home to the Laxey Wheel, the world's largest working waterwheel.

The 'Lady Isabella' was built in 1854 to pump water from Laxey's lead and zinc mines. It is possible to climb the steep spiral staircase to view the working wheel from the platform above. The wheel is one of the iconic images of the Isle of Man and to see it from above and in action is a fascinating experience. Later we make our way back to Douglas by electric train.

 

*Please note that the horse-drawn trams may not operate on the April, early May and late September/ October departures.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Excursions
The Manx Electric Railway
Day 3

The Manx Electric Railway and Peel

Today we take the coach to Peel - an old-fashioned fishing port whose quaint, narrow streets lead to its deep harbour. On the way you call at Tynwald Hill, in the village of St John's, where you see the Church of St John and the Tynwald Exhibition. The Tynwald claims to be over 1,000 years old with the earliest records dating back to 1422. The museum charts the history of this fascinating political entity and proves a delight to discover.

We then arrive in Peel. The thriving fishing industry and many smokehouses have made Peel famous for kippers. During our time here, you may wish to visit Peel Castle, located on St Patrick's Isle, which dates back to the 11th century, or the House of Manannan, a museum that explores the island's Celtic, Viking and Maritime heritage. Entrance to both is included on the Heritage Explorer Pass. We then carry on and enjoy a journey on the full length of the Manx Electric Railway from Ramsey to Douglas. The railway is recognised as the longest narrowgauge vintage railway in the British Isles, taking you on a 17-mile journey through glorious countryside, across gorse-topped hills and along the stunning coastline of the east coast on its way to Douglas. We make this journey travelling in the oldest working tramcars in the world.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Excursions
The Isle of Man Steam Railway
Days 4-5

The Isle of Man Steam Railway

This morning we walk to Douglas railway station to board the Isle of Man Steam Railway, the island's oldest Victorian rail system. The mesmerising steam-hauled journey in restored heritage carriages takes us through verdant countryside and along the stunning southeast coastline as we travel past small towns and oldfashioned fishing ports. We pull into the station in Port Erin, an imposing town set within a beautiful bay on the south-west point of the island. After time to explore, we are collected by coach for a tour of the headland overlooking the Calf of Man.

This terrific corner of the island is home to an array of delightful wildlife including seals and a wide variety of nesting birds. After touring the headland, we travel to Castletown, the island's ancient capital. Castle Rushen, a magnificently preserved medieval fortress, dominates the town and merits a visit during our time here, as do the Nautical Museum and the Old House of Keys. Entrance to all three sites is included on the Heritage Explorer Pass.

Day 5 is free to enjoy the island at leisure. An included Explorer Pass allows you to travel on the local trains and buses, so you have the opportunity to explore parts of the island you have not yet seen, as the island is brimming with heritage and fantastic scenery you are never without something interesting to see and do. You also will be able to make use of your Heritage Explorer Pass today. Other popular options include a tour of the Gaiety Theatre, the Isle of Man's opera house and the steam train sheds, which first opened as far back as 1900.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Excursions
Douglas
Day 6

The Journey Home

After our breakfast, we make our way back to Douglas Sea Terminal. We bid Douglas a fond farewell and leave on the morning ferry, giving us a chance to glimpse our last views of this beautiful island as the boat sails homewards. We arrive back into Heysham just after midday, where our superb tour concludes. You are then free to leave Heysham at your leisure.

Includes:
  • Breakfast

Included Passes

We include two passes in this holiday: an Explorer Pass and a Heritage Explorer Pass.

Explorer Pass
Available for use on your free day, the Explorer Pass allows you complimentary travel on trains and buses across the Isle of Man.

Heritage Explorer Pass
Available for use on your free day and during our excursions, the Heritage Explorer Pass gives you free entrance to Manx National Heritage sites. These include the Laxey Wheel, Peel Castle, the House of Manannan, Castle Rushen, the Old House of Keys and the Nautical Museum, among others.

Please note

Please be aware that the order of the excursions may be different than appears here, subject to confirmation of the Isle of Man's rail schedules for 2016.

Please note: The Claremont Hotel is a Victorian built property unable to accommodate wheelchairs due to its age and how it is constructed. This tour is therefore unsuitable for anyone who uses a wheelchair.

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