Find your ideal cycling holiday
Isle of Man
11th July 2020 - 17th July 2020 (7 days)
Despite being just 33 miles long and 13 miles wide, the Isle of Man contains an enormous variety of scenery. Its 100 miles of unspoilt coastline includes dramatic cliffs, rocky headlands, sandy beaches and picturesque harbours. Inland, the flat areas of the north give way further south to tranquil glens, remote moorland, steep-sided valleys and rolling hills dominated by the 2,036ft summit of Snaefell, the island's only mountain. Based in a comfortable family run hotel in Douglas, this holiday will explore all areas of the island on led rides of 40 to 53 miles per day. This will be the fifth consecutive year that this highly popular holiday has run. Return ferry Liverpool/Douglas.
- Holiday Type Guided
- Tour Manager Michael Stainer
- Grade Challenging
- Booking Status Places Available
- Accommodation Hotel
- Board Basis Some Meals
- Travel Arrangements Ferry
- Road / Off Road Road
- Holiday Style Centre-based
- Vehicle Support Carry Own Luggage
- Holiday Ref 03457
Saturday 11th July
Depart from Liverpool at 1115 on the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company 'Manannan' fast ferry, arriving in Douglas at 1400. Cycle to the hotel in Douglas (0.5 miles). The afternoon will be free in Douglas before we have a group dinner in a nearby restaurant. Stay 6 nights. Meals: D
Sunday 12th July
Northeast Loop Ride: We cycle northwards along the coast to Laxey with its old harbour and the historic Laxey Wheel. Continuing north we reach the coastal town of Ramsey before completing a circuit of the flat farming area in the north, with the option of visiting the Point of Ayre, the most northerly point of the island. We then climb through the dramatic Sulby Glen to reach the lower slopes of Snaefell before a long descent brings us back to Douglas. 53 miles (3,200ft total ascent). Meals: B
Monday 13th July
Southwest Loop Ride: We begin the day by cycling along Marine Drive, a car-free road that twists and turns above coastal cliffs and rocky headlands. We then continue through Castletown and Port St Mary and climb to Cregneash with its stunning views of The Calf of Man at the far south of the island. We then take a narrow, twisting road that descends to the seaside resort of Port Erin with its wide sandy beach before returning to Douglas on quiet roads giving open views of the central hills and Snaefell. 40 miles (2,250ft total ascent). Meals: B
Tuesday 14th July
Free day. You will have plenty of options today including a trip on the Victorian Steam Railway from Douglas to Port St Mary and Port Erin or on the Manx Electric Railway to Laxey and Ramsey or to the cafe at the summit of Snaefell. You may prefer to wander along the promenade and around the shops and cafes in Douglas or take a ride on a horse-drawn tram along the seafront. If you prefer to cycle, detailed route instructions for cycling the famous TT motorcycle circuit will be provided. 41 miles (2,650ft total ascent). Meals: B
Wednesday 15th July
Northwest Loop Ride: Our initial cycle route out of Douglas is a long, steady climb up onto a moorland road that offers stunning views of the surrounding heather-clad hills. We then descend steeply into Druidale, a remote, almost traffic-free valley in the heart of the central hills before emerging into the flat lanes of the island's northwest. Our return is via Kirk Michael and the very steep climb up to Injebreck Hill before a long descent through the Baldwin Valley back to Douglas. 43 miles (3,300ft total ascent). Meals: B
Thursday 16th July
West Loop Ride. Our cycling route today takes us to the village of St John's and Tynwald Hill, site of the original 8th century Viking parliament. We then continue up into the hills before descending to the west coast and into Peel with its magnificent 11th century castle overlooking the harbour. We then continue on an undulating road along the west coast before a steady climb back up onto the open moorland before descending through Foxdale and back into Douglas. 41 miles (2,550ft total ascent). Meals: B
Friday 17th July
Choice of departure times from Douglas using the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company "Manannan” fast ferry: Either the 0730 departure, arriving in Liverpool at 1015 or the 1500 departure, arriving in Liverpool at 1745. Meals: B
Meals: B = Breakfast D = Dinner
Accommodation & Meals
The tour will be based in a comfortable 3-star family run hotel on the promenade in Douglas. All rooms are en-suite, and the price is based on two people sharing twin-bedded or double-bedded rooms – couples booking together should indicate their preference on the Booking Form. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of £150. Meals are on a breakfast only basis, but a 3-course dinner on the first night is included in the price of the holiday. Participants with special dietary requirements should indicate this on the Booking Form.
As this is a centre-based holiday, no vehicle support is provided. You will need to be able to carry all of your luggage on your bicycle whilst boarding the ferry in Liverpool and when cycling the 0.5 miles between the ferry and hotel in Douglas.
Passports, Visa & Health
Passports are not required to enter the Isle of Man when travelling from the UK. Non-UK travellers will generally have to clear customs and passport control on arrival in the UK before travelling on to the Isle of Man. UK residents visiting the Isle of Man will receive free NHS treatment should they become ill. It is strongly recommended that all participants ensure they have appropriate insurance in place which will cover repatriation to the UK by air ambulance if it should prove necessary.
Obtaining travel insurance is optional for UK residents as your Cycling UK membership provides third party cover. However, this does not cover any other risks such as cancellation charges, personal injury or lost property. We therefore strongly recommend that suitable insurance is taken out to safeguard against such risks. Members who do not reside in the UK are not covered for third party and are advised to obtain suitable cover before leaving their normal residence. If you already have an annual policy, you may need to confirm that it will cover a UK holiday or make provision for it to do so.
The price of £495 is based on a minimum of 12 people taking part in the holiday. If there are insufficient bookings by 2nd May 2020 we will contact you and return all monies paid.
- Return ferry for you and your bicycle between Liverpool and Douglas
- 6 nights hotel, sharing room
- 6 breakfasts, 1 dinner
- CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours costs
Price Does Not Include
- Travel to and from Liverpool
- Meals in transit
- Drinks with the dinner
- Lunches or refreshments at morning and afternoon stops
- Entry fees at any attractions visited
- Any other personal expenses
- Travel Insurance
- Single occupancy supplement (£150, subject to availability)
A deposit of £50 per person must be made on confirmation of your booking with the final balance of £445 per person to be paid ten weeks prior to departure, by 2nd May 2020.
Should you be forced to cancel your booking for any reason you must notify us in writing. Cancellation charges are as follows:
Written notice received:
Before 2nd May 2020
2nd May 2020 through to departure
The Area Covered By The Holiday
Despite being just 33 miles long and 13 miles wide, the Isle of Man manages to contain a rich variety of scenery and terrain. There are almost 100 miles of unspoilt coastline with long sandy beaches around the north that contrast with the dramatic cliffs, rocky headlands and sheltered bays around the rest of the island. The coastline is dotted with isolated coves and several harbour towns and villages that have a very Cornish look and feel.
The far north of the island is predominantly flat, whereas the island's central region contains a range of high, rolling hills, 12 of which exceed 1,500ft in height. Dominating the landscape is the 2,036ft summit of Snaefell, the island’s only mountain. Several valleys and glens cut through the hills, many reminiscent of those found in Wales or North Yorkshire. The hills are surrounded by heather-clad moorland and forest plantations. Two large reservoirs, Sulby and West Baldwin, nestle amongst the hills to supply drinking water for the island's population of 86,000 residents. The south of the island consists of lower hills and rolling countryside and contains the picturesque seaside resorts of Port St Mary and Port Erin, the ancient Manx capital of Castletown and the rocky island of The Calf of Man at the island's southwestern tip.
As well as a wide variety of scenery, the Isle of Man also has a unique and varied heritage. It has the oldest continuous Parliament in the world, Tynwald, which dates back over 1,000 years. One of Europe's best preserved medieval castles, Castle Rushen, can be visited in Castletown, as well as the magnificent 11th century Peel Castle overlooking Peel harbour. The world’s largest working waterwheel can be found in Laxey. The Douglas to Port Erin steam railway still uses its original Victorian carriages and locomotives, whilst the Manx Electric Railway is the longest narrow gauge electric railway in the British Isles, and it, too, still runs using its original Victorian and Edwardian rolling stock.
Rides & Rest Days
Rides will be offered on four days with an optional ride around the TT circuit on the rest day. The rides have been planned to enable the vast majority of the island to be explored and to highlight the incredible variety of scenery and terrain on offer. The rides vary in length from 40 to 53 miles, although some of the rides have optional extensions that take you to particular points of interest. A led ride will be offered each day, but you are welcome to cycle independently at your own pace. On each ride there will be plenty of time to take photographs and for refreshment stops.
Detailed route sheets, maps and elevation profiles will be provided, which will indicate the location of cafés on the route. GPS tracks for each ride will also be made available for those that would like them.
We shall be riding on a mixture of roads from A-roads through to very minor country lanes. Although a large percentage of the roads on the island are classified as ‘A-roads’, the majority of these have very low levels of traffic, and many are no more than country lanes. We shall avoid the busiest roads wherever possible, but higher levels of traffic can be expected in and around Douglas, especially just after a ferry has arrived. Some of the very minor roads have a few potholes and some rough sections, but the vast majority of roads on the island have an incredibly smooth surface thanks to the low volume of traffic, the lack of hard frosts and the popularity of motorcycling.
With the exception of the far north of the island, there are very few flat roads on the Isle of Man and, as a consequence, all of the rides are hilly. Several of the rides cross the central hills where the roads rise to an altitude of 1,400ft above sea level. The ‘A-roads’ tend to have gradients that do not exceed 10%, but several of the minor roads have short sections of up to 17% going uphill and downhill. This tour has been graded as "challenging" and you will need to have experience of riding 40 to 53 miles in hilly terrain to enjoy it.
There is one rest day where you can either relax in Douglas or make use of the Manx Steam and Electric Railways to explore other parts of the island, including a trip to the summit of Snaefell. A route sheet is also provided if you fancy cycling the famous 38 mile TT motorcycle mountain circuit. (Peter Kennaugh holds the record of 1hr 23min 48sec set in 2015, beating Chris Boardman’s 1993 record by 4 seconds).
Please note that the suggested order of rides and the rest day is subject to weather conditions.
Accommodation & Meals
We shall be staying in a family-run hotel located in Douglas. All rooms have en-suite facilities and the price is based on two people sharing twin or double-bedded rooms. A limited number of single rooms are available, subject to the payment of a single supplement.
The hotel has a bar, lounge and dining room as well as free WiFi. All rooms have a TV and tea & coffee making facilities. A large, secure garage for the storage of bicycles is available for our use. The hotel is located on the seafront just 0.5 miles from the ferry terminal and close to the main shopping centre. Several bars, restaurants and cafés are located nearby.
Meals are on a bed and breakfast basis except for the first night where a 3-course dinner is also included in the price of the holiday. The remaining dinners will be taken in one of the nearby bars and restaurants. These can be booked for the whole group or individuals are free to make their own arrangements.
All of the organised rides include a café stop for lunch with most also offering café stops for mid-morning and afternoon breaks. The locations of cafés will be marked on the route sheets and route maps for each ride. All of the towns and most of the larger villages that we pass through have some form of shop where participants can buy food and drink.
We shall be using the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's fast catamaran “Manannan” between Liverpool and Douglas. Liverpool has excellent rail links to the rest of the UK but please be aware that the ferry service is often subject to delays in bad weather, and this should be taken into account when booking return transport. Liverpool has numerous B&Bs, guesthouses, hotels and a YHA youth hostel for those participants wishing to travel to Liverpool the day before the start of the tour.
Alternative Travel Options
For those that wish to travel to Douglas using an alternative ferry or who wish to fly to the island, a 'without ferry' version of the tour is available. A discount of £50 will be applied to the tour price. Please indicate on the Booking Form under Special Requests if you would like to take up this option.
The maximum number of participants will be 17 excluding the Tour Manager.
Weather & Clothing
The Isle of Man has a temperate climate with an average temperature in July of 18°C. The island has a reputation for its rapidly changing weather especially in the central hill region where a clear sky can quickly change to low cloud, fog and rain. Be prepared, therefore, for warm and sunny as well as wet and windy days. It can feel very cold in wind and rain, especially on the high roads in the central hills and on the long descents, so please ensure that you bring some gloves and an effective set of waterproofs. Bring a variety of layers that can be combined to cope with variations in temperature, as well as sunscreen and sunglasses for when the sun is shining. The wearing of a cycle helmet is not compulsory on the Isle of Man, so this is a matter of personal choice.
Cycles & Equipment
Touring, hybrid and road bikes as well as lightweight mountain bikes would all be suitable for this tour. The rides are hilly with some long and steady, as well as short and sharp, ascents and descents. You should ensure, therefore, that you have low enough gears for the hills. If in doubt, please discuss with the Tour Manager. Mudguards would be appreciated to avoid spraying others in the group if the weather turns wet. It is important to bring a front and rear light to improve your visibility in case of poor weather conditions in the central hills. It is also advisable to fit a calibrated cycle computer in order to follow the route sheets.
Your bike should be able to carry a bar bag, rear rack pack, saddle bag or rear pannier for your waterproofs, additional clothes, snacks, valuables, camera, etc for each day ride.
Please make sure that your bike is in good working order, particularly the wheels, tyres and brakes. Each participant is expected to bring some spare inner tubes and tools to deal with punctures and minor roadside repairs. There are two bike shops in Douglas and two more elsewhere on the island should urgent repairs or spares be needed during the tour.
Maps & Guides
Detailed maps, route sheets, elevation profiles and GPS files will be provided for each ride. If you would like to bring your own map then the Ordnance Survey Landranger Map 95 covers the whole of the Isle of Man.
The Isle of Man has its own currency with the same denominations as the UK. UK currency is legal tender in the Isle of Man, but Manx currency is not accepted in the UK, although notes can be exchanged at UK banks.
The Isle of Man has its own mobile telephone network which is not part of the UK's. If you intend bringing your mobile phone, please check network coverage, call and roaming charges with your mobile phone provider.