Sitting in the middle of the Irish Sea, this self-governing island is famous for it’s quaint villages, rugged coastline, and hilly inland. That diversity of landscape is what drives tourists to the island year after year, and it’s why camping in the Isle of Man has been a popular vacation for decades.
We cover camping in the Isle of Man in this article, and share with you some of our favourite IOM campsites and what there is to do near each. On top of that we look at wild camping in the Isle of Man, as well as things to do.
But first, here’s a few fun facts about the island!
- The people of the Isle of Man have their own language, called Manx.
- The highest point is Snaefell which stands at 2037 feet!
- A tail-less domestic cat, called the Manx Cat, is believed to be native to the island.
- The Isle of Man parliament has been around since 979 AD and claims to be the longest continuous parliament in the world!
- Every year the Isle of Man hosts the TT, a famous motorbike race that is on one of the world’s best – but also most dangerous – courses.
Camping in the Isle of Man
Camping on this pretty island is never going to disappoint, as the Isle of Man is home to fantastic walks, a spectacular coastline, a rich history, and some great family friendly attractions.
There are some very nice campsites to choose from that are located close to some of those historic sites, ancient landmarks and the TT course – we give some of our favourites below.
A good quality walking in the Isle of Man book – like this one – may also help you plan what area you want to visit and walk in, and therefore what campsites might be of interest to you.
However if you’re looking for IOM campsite recommendations, we have you covered below!
Camping in the Isle of Man: Some of the best Isle of Man campsites
Sometimes camping is all about getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. That’s why Ballamoar Campsite has made our list of best IOM campsites. Set among a backdrop of rolling Manx hills, this place is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who want to immerse themselves in nature, but have well-kept facilities at hand.
This friendly campsite is dog friendly, clean, and has superb access to hiking, walking, and mountain bike trails. There’s a beach close by too, so if you’re looking for a nature-focused holiday then this place won’t disappoint.
It’s a fabulous site to toast marshmallows on a fire grate as you enjoy a starry night after a day exploring.
Silly Moos Campsite
There’s a reason for the quirky name – Silly Moos Campsite is set on a dairy farm! This friendly campsite is a perfect place for families as there’s an entertainment barn, animals to keep children entertained, and a big screen to watch movies!
This campsite – just outside of Ramsey – is also right beside the TT course, so you can watch the race from a field beside the site. There’s also free coffee and tea, so you’ll have your own fuel to power you through the day.
All in all, we thought the facilities were very clean, the service friendly, and the campsite a great base for the TT and exploring the island.
Cronk Aashen Farm Campsite
This campsite is also beside the TT course, but what we really loved about it was the exceptional views across the island’s rolling hills. The sunset here as it hits the sea and west coast is very special – and could be the most spectacular campsite view on the island. Perfect for a sunset dog walk at the end of the day.
The facilities are clean, there’s a very useful communal kitchen, and the family that runs the site are always on hand to answer questions and help with anything you need.
There’s plenty of dog walks nearby, and there’s a bus stop near the campsite so it’s perfect for exploring the island via public transport.
This lovely little campsite is situated on the east coast and very close to the Laxey Wheel, the biggest working waterwheel in the world! The facilities are clean, the shower block is fantastic – as is the communal kitchen – and the staff very friendly.
It’s also within walking distance of a beach, restaurants and a few village shops. The area has some lovely walking trails too, so it’s the perfect campsite if you’re looking to get out into nature, but also see some of the tourist hotspots.
Wild camping in the Isle of Man
Like many areas of the UK, wild camping in the Isle of Man isn’t officially allowed. Although campers are allowed to pitch their tent if they have the permission of a landowner. There are also two areas on the island where ‘informal’ camping is allowed (for motorhomes too), however a paid permit is required – you can see the details for that here.
However as the Isle of Man is a popular area with amazing natural beauty, some outdoor enthusiasts do wild camp here. It’s sometimes tolerated by locals too if you respect the land, camp far from buildings, and stick to the principles of leave no trace.
If you are planning to wild camp in the Isle of Man – and can’t be swayed to stay in a campsite instead – we’ve compiled the following guidelines to help keep you out of trouble and camp in a considerate manner:
- You should camp in the same place for one night only, and pitch your tent discretely and in a remote place which will not be easily seen. Therefore don’t camp in or near settlements, someone’s farm or on cultivated land. If you think you’re on private land, always seek out the landowner and ask permission. They may request a small fee.
- Campers should set up their tent at dusk, and take it down at dawn. A tent that is discreet, blends in with the landscape, and pitches quickly is best. Therefore a lightweight walking tent like this one would be a great investment for someone planning to wild camp in the Isle of Man.
- If you are walking a trail you should camp away from the path as a matter of courtesy.
- When wild camping in the Isle of Man, you should never make a campfire. For cooking, use a storm cooker. Our recommendation would be the Swedish brand Trangia, as their storm cookers are safe and virtually indestructible. Portable solar ovens, like this one by GoSun, are also a good fuel-less option.
- Take any rubbish with you, and leave your camping spot exactly the way you found it.
Some of the best places to visit when camping in the Isle of Man
The Isle of Man Steam Railway
There’s always something magical about riding a steam train, even more so when the landscape is as idyllic as the Isle of Man.
Opened in 1873, and still using original carriages, the train ride takes you from the capital of Douglas down the south coast. The views are fantastic, but the highlight is the dining cart and the selection of fine wine! Sip away while enjoying the surroundings. Bliss.
To balance out the wine, it’s time to tackle the Isle of Man’s only mountain!
Snaefell stands at 630m, and you can start the walk at Laxey. It should take around three hours to walk up and down, but its well worth the effort for the panoramic views from the top – on a clear day you can see Scotland and Ireland!
If you want an even shorter walk, but the opportunity to say you ‘climbed’ Snaefell, then take the Snaefell Mountain Railway to ‘Bungalow’ and then walk the last part. It should take around 20-30 minutes.
Cashtal yn Ard
The Isle of Man has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years, and a trip to the 4000 year old Cashtal yn Ard is a very tangible example of that.
The burial chamber is one of the biggest in the UK, however the purpose of the assortment of strange pointy stone slabs that sit around the site are still a mystery to researchers. Have a visit and see if you can work it out yourself!
This theatre in Douglas was built in 1899 and the best way to describe it, is that you feel like you’re stepping back into the 19th century when you walk inside.
The ornate decor is quite spectacular, but don’t just visit the theatre – experience it! The opera, plays, live music sessions and musicals are all features of the theatre to this day. We certainly recommend catching a show while on holiday.
The best months to visit and weather in the Isle of Man
Most visitors choose to come to the Isle of Man in summer, when daytime temperatures range around 15-19 Celsius. There may still be some rainy days during summer, but it remains a good season for coastal walks and camping.
Autumn and spring are cooler – around 8-15 Celsius during the day – but they are both great times to avoid the peak tourist season, tackle some of the Isle of Man’s best walking trails, and enjoy the island’s landmarks without a crowd. It’s best to assume there will be some rainy days though.
It rarely snows on the Isle of Man during winter, but daytimes temperatures typically range around 3-8 degrees Celsius. The crisp fresh air on walks during this season is enjoyable, although you can expect rain every other day.