A Virgin Trains 'pendolino' between London and Liverpool or Lancaster
 

The Steam Packet Company ferry from Heysham approaches the Isle of Man

A well-kept secret:  SailRail train & ferry fares from any station to Douglas IoM.  How to buy tickets...

 

Any station in Britain to Douglas...

It's a well-kept secret!  You can buy a special SailRail train & ferry ticket between any rail station in Britain and Douglas on the Isle of Man, one-way or return in either direction.  Take a train to Heysham (north of Blackpool) or Liverpool then sail to Douglas with the famous Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.  One ticket covers train & ferry, centre to centre, no airports, no flights.  What's the journey like?  How to buy tickets.

London to Douglas from 128 return

Manchester to Douglas from 75 rtn

Douglas to York from 86 return

Little Kimble to Douglas from 128...

Little where ?  Exactly! Any station in Britain to Douglas. Even Little Kimble.  More info.

small bullet point  Ferry schedules to the Isle of Man   

small bullet point  Ferry schedules from the Isle of Man   

small bullet point  How much does it cost?   

small bullet point  How to buy tickets  

small bullet point  What's the journey like?

small bullet point  Hotels & accommodation 

small bullet point  Tourist offices, Isle of Man bus & TT race info

small bullet point  Manx Electric Railway 

small bullet point  Snaefell Mountain Railway   

small bullet point  Isle of Man Steam Railway

How to check train & ferry schedules...

Click here for a route map showing the UK rail network & ferries to the Isle of Man.

You can check train & ferry times from any rail station in Britain to Douglas Isle of Man at Raileurope.com, enter the name of your local station and your dates of travel.  Minimum check-in for all these ferries is 25 minutes before sailing time.  If you don't see any journeys in the search results, first check ferry times at www.steam-packet.com then check connecting train times separately at Raileurope.com.  Times vary, but here are the usual times:

London, Birmingham, Manchester ► Isle of Man

Isle of Man ► London, Birmingham, Manchester

How much does it cost?

 SailRail train & ferry tickets to or from the Isle of Man...

Douglas, Isle of Man, to or from:

Anytime

One-way

Economy

return

Low Saver

return

London or any rail station in the Greater London area

116.50

128

157

Zone A:  Any station in Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside

77.50

75

98

Zone B:  Any station in Cumbria, Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Cheshire, Clwyd, northern Gwynedd (inc Holyhead, Bangor)

83

86

116

Zone C:  Any station in Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, West Midlands, Warwickshire, Hereford & Worcester, Powys, southern Gwynedd (inc Pwhelli), Tyne & Wear, Northumberland, Durham, Cleveland, Borders, Strathclyde, Dumfries & Galloway, Central, Fife, Lothian

99.50

103

137

Zone D:  Any station in Greater London, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Avon, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Dyfed, Glamorgan, Gwent

116.50

128

157

Zone E:  Any station in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Highland, Grampian, Tayside

150

153

186

About these SailRail fares...

Cheaper with separate ticketsLondon to the Isle of Man for 39!

How to buy tickets...

How to buy tickets by phone

Pets & bicycles...

What's the journey like?

Standard class seats on a Virgin Trains pendolino from London to Liverpool or Lancaster, en route to the Isle of Man   A Virgin Trains 'pendolino' at London Euston

London to Liverpool or Heysham by train...  This is a Avanti West Coast 125 mph Pendolino train boarding at London Euston.  The trains have air-conditioning, WiFi (free in 1st class, charged in 2nd class), and a shop selling newspapers, drinks and snacks.  These trains tilt into the corners at high speed on the curvaceous West Coast main Line...

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's ferry 'Ben My Chree' at Douglas   The main lounge on the ferry 'Ben My Chree' to the Isle of Man

Heysham to Douglas aboard the ferry Ben My Chree...  This is the Ben My Chree arrived at Douglas Sea Terminal.  Unlike the airport, the Sea Terminal is in Douglas city centre at the south end of the promenade, a few minutes walk from all the main hotels, see map.

 

More relaxing than flying...  The ferry Ben My Chree is small but perfectly formed.  It has a self service food lounge (above), cafe-bar, shop, and open decks. WiFi is available for a small fee.  Smoking is permitted on deck.

Premium lounge on the ferry 'Ben My Chree'   The ferry approaches the Isle of Man

Premium Lounge:  A top tip when phoning to make your ferry reservation is to pay for a reserved seat in the Premium Lounge (above).  Leather seats, complimentary tea, coffee, biscuits, and the steward will bring you drinks from the bar or food from the restaurant on request.  The Ben My Chree's Premium Lounge is at the front of the ship directly below the bridge, giving excellent forward views of the Isle of Man approaching...

 

Isle of Man ahead!  With the sun glittering on the waves, the Isle of Man emerges from its blanket of mist.  This mist is known as Manannan's Cloak, Manannan is the mythical being that protects the Isle of Man.  There's a diagram on the top deck identifying the hills you can see.  Douglas is in the gap between the hills, to the right of Douglas the tallest peak with two masts at the summit is Snaefell, 2,036 feet.

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's fast ferry 'Manannan' at Liverpool   The Premium lounge on the fast ferry 'Manannan'

Or Liverpool to Douglas on the fast ferry Manannan, seen here at Liverpool landing stage, next to the famous Liver Building, 15-20 minutes walk from Lime Street station or there are taxis waiting on the quayside.  See map.

 

The Premium Lounge on the Manannan is at one side of the smaller upper deck.  Complimentary tea, coffee, biscuits, and at-seat food & drinks service.  The Manannan is all non-smoking, even on outside deck areas.

 

Douglas Sea Terminal.  You can buy SailRail tickets from the Steam Packet Company travel shop.  The tourist information office is here.

 

Douglas' Victorian promenade, looking south from the Manx Electric Railway station towards the Sea Terminal. 

Map of Douglas showing Sea Terminal.


Tourist information & hotels...

Isle of Man TT motorcycle race...

Bus, train & tramway information for the Isle of Man...

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The Manx Electric Railway

Douglas ► Laxey ► Ramsey

Between March and November, the Manx Electric Railway links Douglas with Laxey & Ramsey.  Ramsey is the Isle of Man's second biggest town, Laxey is the stop for the famous Laxey wheel and the mountain railway up Snaefell.  The ride on the MER to Ramsey should not be missed, it's a wonderfully scenic ride on a unique tramway, twisting and turning, up and over the hills and along the coast.  The Manx Electric Railway runs every 30-60 minutes from mid-morning to late afternoon, taking 30 minutes to Laxey and 1 hour 15 minutes to Ramsey.  Timetables and fares are at www.iombusandrail.info Map showing tram terminus in Douglas.

Manx Electric Railway tram No.21 at Douglas terminus.   The Manx Electric Railway runs along the coast

A Manx Electric Railway tram at Douglas (Derby Castle) terminus, at the north end of Douglas' 2-mile-long promenade.  There's a small ticket office, and a pub next to the terminus if you need refreshment.

 

Each tram has one enclosed car and one open-sided car.  The narrow-gauge two-track electric railway twists and turns, climbing steeply out of Douglas alongside the road, the sea visible over the cliffs. 

Laxey station on the Manx Electric Railway   The famous Laxey Wheel

At Laxey station, you can change for the Snaefell Mountain Railway.  The connecting tram to Snaefell summit is seen here on the left.  The station has a welcome tearoom.

 

The famous Laxey Wheel is the world's largest working waterwheel, and a Manx icon.  It's a 10-15 minute walk up the valley from Laxey station.

Lush green scenery between Laxey and Ramsey   Manx Electric Railway tram No.6 at Ramsey

On its way to Ramsey the railway passes through some of the Isle of Man's most beautiful scenery.  The line was opened to Laxey in 1893, and to Ramsey in 1899.

 

This is tram 6 at Ramsey.  All the trams are original, the oldest dating from 1893, the newest dating from 1906.  The trams run round their trailer car at each terminus.

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The Snaefell Mountain Railway

Laxey ► Snaefell Summit

A simple change of tram at Laxey station gets you onto the Snaefell Mountain Railway.  An offshoot of the Manx Electric Railway opened in 1899, it links Laxey with the summit of the Isle of Man's one and only true mountain, the 2,036-feet-high Snaefell.  It runs April to October, mid-morning to early afternoon, usually every half an hour.  On leaving Laxey station, it climbs up the opposite side of the valley to the famous Laxey Wheel, giving great views of the wheel, then curving round the top of the mountain to arrive at the tram terminus and restaurant/tearoom at the summit.  You can see the whole island from up there.  Highly recommended!  Timetables and fares are at www.iombusandrail.info.

Snaefell Mountain Railway tram No.6 at Snaefell summit   The view from Snaefell summit, looking towards Laxey

At Snaefell summit, 2,036 feet above sea level.  Time for a cup of tea...

 

The view from the summit, looking towards Laxey.  The Laxey Wheel is just visible to the naked eye.

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The Isle of Man Steam Railway

Douglas ► Port Erin

The delightful Isle of Man Steam Railway links Douglas with Castletown and Port Erin to the south, from March to November with roughly hourly departures mid-morning into the afternoon.  Timetables and fares are at www.iombusandrail.info Map showing steam railway station in Douglas.

Inside Douglas Steam Railway station.   The Isle of Man Steam Railway, 09:50 to Pt Erin, at Douglas station

The Steam Railway station is at the south end of town, just inland from the Sea Terminal.  Old maps displayed in the booking hall-cum-tea-room show how the steam rail network once reached Peel & even Ramsey.

 

The Isle of Man Steam Railway is a wonderful way to travel between Douglas and Castletown and the sleepy seaside town of Port Erin.  You'll see coastline and green scenery from the train.

Steam train at Port Erin   Port Erin, Isle of Man

A steam train at Port Erin station.

 

Port Erin.  The beach is 2 minutes from the station.

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Hotels & accommodation

Hotels in Douglas...

In Douglas, most of the hotels are arranged along the promenade, a few minutes walk from the sea terminal.  The most famous and luxurious hotel in town is the Sefton, the Empress is also a good choice.

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all in one place here.  You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.


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