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Douglas Local Information: 10 top things to know... more

  • 1. History

    The town’s name comes from its position on the banks where two rivers meet, the river Doo and river Glass. The town was an important trading post in the 18th century. In the 19th century, tourism became a big industry and led to rapid expansion. When the tourism industry declined in the 1950s, the offshore finance industry boomed.

  • 2. Now

    Douglas is the capital of the Isle of Man and is the largest town on the island. It is the main centre for culture, arts, entertainment, eating, drinking and shopping. Thousands of tourists are still attracted to the town every year, for its beautiful countryside and beaches. Douglas Head is a magnet for those wanting to get a good view of the area and out to sea.

  • 3. Events

    The Isle of Man TT Races take place on the island in May and June. Motorcycle fans flock to the island for two weeks to enjoy the racing. The TT Grandstand in Douglas, offers views of the start and finish line and much of the event’s activity takes place in the town. The Isle of Man Walking Festival takes place over six days in May and includes a selection of guided walks to...Read more cater for all abilities. Social events also take place in the evenings during the festival week. The Mananan International Festival of Music and the Arts takes place in nearby Port Erin, in June, and includes music, lectures, poetry readings, floral demonstrations and comedy. The Royal Manx Agricultural Show takes place in Patrick in August and includes animal displays, music, competitions and more. Read less

  • 4. Attractions

    The Douglas Horse Tram service is the oldest horse drawn tramway in the world. The 20-minute service takes passengers along Douglas promenade between Victoria Pier and the tram station by Strathallan Crescent. The Camera Obscura, at Douglas Head, has 12 mirrors giving a 360-degree view over Douglas Bay, Snaefell and out to sea. The original building was constructed on the site...Read more in 1887 but had to be replaced several years later after a fire. The Manx Museum, on the edge of the town centre, has multi-media displays telling the history of the Isle of Man. Traditional Manx recipes are served in the museum’s Bay Room Restaurant. The National Sports Centre includes a competition swimming pool, a leisure pool with flumes, a toddlers’ pool with beach, sports hall, gym, running track and much more. Read less

  • 5. Things To Do

    Three Douglas Heritage Trail booklets are available from the Douglas Development Partnership office on Victoria Street. Walk 1 covers the historic harbour area; walk 2 covers the town centre and walk 3 is along the Promenade. Douglas Beach is also a popular spot for walkers. Nobles Park, in the town, includes a BMX track, bowling green, bandstand, sports pitches, café, play a...Read morereas and more. Tynwald National Park and Arboretum, in St John’s, covers 25 acres and contains a wide range of ornamental and native tree species. There are picnic areas, a shelter and a pond for duck feeding. The Manx Electric Railway takes visitors from Douglas 17 miles up the east coast of the island, stopping at various sights along the way. Summerhill Glen is one of many wooded Manx glens with waterfalls and still pools, which run down to the sea. It is illuminated in October and November by Douglas Borough Council. Read less

  • 6. Business

    The pedestrianised town centre has many high street stores and specialist traders. The town is managed by the Douglas Development Partnership, a joint project between Douglas Borough Council and the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce. Indoor shopping centre The Strand, is home to many popular brands as well as the Art Market, a facility set up by four companies to sell a selectio...Read moren of specialist products. Read less

  • 7. Transport

    Isle of Man Airport is in Ballasalla and has flights to UK airports and some European destinations. Buses run regularly from the airport to Douglas. The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is the ferry operator offering services to and from the Isle of Man. Ferries arrive in Douglas from Heysham, Liverpool, Dublin and Belfast.

  • 8. Entertainment

    The Villa Marina is a venue offering performing arts, conferences and functions. It is also home to the Broadway Cinema. The Gaiety Theatre, situated in a restored Victorian opera house, has a packed programme of live theatre and performing arts. Tours of the building are also available.

  • 9. Famous Landmarks

    The Tower of Refuge was built in 1832 on a rock in Douglas Bay known as St Mary’s Isle or Conister Rock. The tower was built after many ships crashed onto the rock.

  • 10. Interesting Fact

    The Isle of Man is home to an unusual breed of cat, known as the Manx Cat, which has no tail. No one knows exactly how the breed came about, but there are many stories and legends attempting to explain this tailless feature.


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