The vibrant seaside town of Douglas with its two mile long beach bay is your main gateway into the Isle of Man, home to the Sea Terminal and a host of fun seaside attractions from a Camera Obscura and family fun parks like Noble’s Park to the National Sports Centre, the Manx Museum and hub entertainment venue Villa Marina with the great Royal Hall and cutting edge Broadway Cinema.
Take a tour of the Tynwald Parliment, the oldest parliament in the world or head off on your exploration of the island via the steam and electric railway. Ideal for families and the island’s main business centre, Douglas is a lively island capital brimming with attractions in and around the centre.
Enjoy panoramic views of the bay and harbour – visit the enchanting Victorian Camera Obscuras on Douglas Head located close to the Lighthouse. Dating from 1887, the Camera Obscura is one of only a few in the UK and was originally developed for astronomy although later was used for spying on tourists and bathers!
The Camera Obscura is a great introduction to Douglas and the coastline, offering spectacular views not just of the harbour but also the lighthouse and horizon beyond. The beautiful headland has a choice of dog friendly walks and the lighthouse like the Camera is also Victorian.
The Manx Museum
The free entry Manx Museum in Douglas is essential visiting to discover the island’s ancient history stretching back 10,000 years. Family friendly and packed with interactive exhibits, the Manx Museum explores Viking and Celtic roots, and is the island’s National Art Gallery.
An introductory film begins your journey into Manx history, with galleries focusing on a range of island subjects including the iconic TT Motorcycle race, tourism, the Isle of Man at War, The famous story of Tynwald – the oldest Parliament in the world and exhibits on the Manx landscape, wildlife and natural history. Many of the finds discovered around ancient landmarks on the Isle of Man are on display here at the Manx Museum from Iron Age pottery to prehistoric flints.
Be fascinated by the Viking Gallery and the museum features a great gift shop selling a superb range of Manx souvenirs. Sample a delicious range of refreshments in the Bay Room Cafe! The Island’s National Library and Archive are also held here. The Manx Museum is open all year round – find it right in the centre of Douglas on Kingswood Grove, just a 5 minute walk from the Sea Terminal.
Horse Drawn Trams
Take a fantastic vintage Horse Drawn Tram Ride from Spring across the Summer season into Autumn. Horse drawn trams in Douglas have been here since the earliest Victorian days of the tourist boom. Pick up a regular horse drawn tram service from a wide choice of Tram Stops including from major hotels, Villa Marina, the Sea Terminal, Derby Castle/the Electric Railway and Victoria Pier.
The National Sports Centre
Outstanding leisure and sports facilities feature at the National Sports Centre in Douglas situated on the King George V Park. Facilities include a cutting edge Fitness zone gym and spa suite, indoor bowling, an 8 lane athletics track and field facilities, plus a swimming and leisure pool with flumes and water features. Fun family parks also sit around Douglas including Noble’s Park with a children’s playground, bowling green, tennis, netball, a restaurant and cafe.
Michelle is an experienced travel writer with iknow and has travelled extensively across the UK, Spain, Portugal and the USA. When she’s not busy writing for iknow she enjoys spending time touring museums and art galleries and seeking out the best independent shops in Manchester and Leeds.