Our American readers should really visit Man.

Reading my barrage of posts from 2018 made me want to jump on the next ferry to Douglas.


Bit pointless at the moment, and I suspect that staring at a couple of closed pubs for the sake of GBG completeness might not qualify as an “essential activity“.

I’m sure once we get back to normal we’ll find Man in the same decade century we left it.

Peel vehicles

As you should know if you read this stuff, the Isle is one of the world’s treasures, a beautiful frame on a beautiful picture.


But, as always, it’s the people who make it.

Here we see the locals of Port St Erin in their centuries old dress about to berate the Landlord of the Bay Hotel about the absence of Bass, as they do annually.

Manx national costume

You can drive round the island yourself in an afternoon, but better to let Pubmeister chauffeur you (£12.93 an hour) and admire the views as the corners fly by.

Douglas bay

The architecture isn’t the strongest point, but there is Victorian grandeur such as this gem in Ramsey.

A peach

Among the Isle’s unique features are the 3 legged villagers of Onchan, but contrary to myth the islanders DO have tails.

Not that much different from Wisbech, tbh
Yeah, yeah

It is still compulsory for shops to use corny puns on all advertising boards, something which delighted Maltmeister in Ramsey.

Geddit!, Geddit!

And the pubs. Some of the best boozers anywhere. The Black Country would be a good comparator.

There’s proper handpumps,


bench seating,

Ginger Hall

exciting charity boxes,

Sooty is universal

live music,

and astonishing banter. My notes in the British say things like “You spotted a good moth on Love Island !” and “I love your tattoo“.

“”and after all, you’re my wonderwall’
Old Market Inn. A copperplated classic
Pub life, Friday night, Douglas

Oh, and pubs with turnstiles.

Maltmeister by Pubmeister in the Quids Inn

Obviously it helps if you like ordinary (in the best sense) Bitter, but they do have craft.


Quality handwash, too.


Some of the cheapest cask you’ll find anywhere, thanks no doubt to CAMRAs efforts.

No Spoons here

A gem of a place, and you’ll eat well everwhere, whether Queenies in Peel, or salt and pepper chicken at the Hot Wok.

Just don’t ask them if they’re part of Lancashire.


    1. The island as a whole is spectacular, particularly good to drive round over the hills and down to the coves.

      Douglas itself is a minor financial centre, nice bay and a few old hotels but functional, saved by wonderful pubs in my view. Hastings without the Old Town climb.

      But Peel and Castletown and the Calf are just wonderful, regardless of pubs. Very West Wales.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I don’t think any of the external shots actually are of Douglas.

      The IoM is often described, maybe a touch unfairly, as “80,000 alcoholics clinging to a rock”, the number varying as the population has increased over the years.

      In 2009 I cut short a holiday there due to poor weather – it really isn’t somewhere you want to be stuck when it’s constantly raining.

      Martin is right that the general “feel” is similar in many respects to West Wales – stunning scenery and coastline, small, characterful but not particularly architecturally distinguished towns. Douglas is reminiscent in many ways of Aberystwyth or Llandudno.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. As I read your posts (and I’ve never been to the Isle of Man) I’m often taken by your fantastic fusion of fact, fiction and fibs blended with half truths and quarter lies that paint an amusing and appealing picture of the place you were visiting.

    Over the weekend I happened upon A Postcard from Shanghai on BBC4 and was struck by how similar your style was to that of the late, great Clive James. Is there any chance that he copied it from you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The 3 f (fff) brewery is based near Citra.

      The very great Clive died in Cambridge last year, but my brain has been wired this way for many years.

      If you think I’m bad, they made an entire film about Thomas the Tank Engine on the Isle of Man (Sodor) and I know for a fact that Thomas is a fictional character. Or was it Alex Baldwin?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the phrase “ordinary (in the best sense) Bitter.” I think that’s my favorite type of beer.

    That photo of the 9 donation boxes makes me think that the tradition of donation boxes at the pub is considerably more entrenched over there than it is over here. You might see 2 or at most 3 near the cashier at a restaurant, but I can’t imagine seeing any more than that. Which is a missed opportunity, really, from a certain point of view. I mean, after a few pints folks are almost certainly in a more generous state of mind. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Indeed. And they were all local and specific, the sort of charity where a few quid would make a big difference. If your pint is £2.70 those 30p coins add up!

      Okells, more than the smaller Bushys, would be thought of as quite plain in the UK, never mind the States. I’ve never had a less than good pint on Man though 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  3. If the world ever recovers anything like its normal shape….you should market your blog to various tourist boards…..because gosh darn it I didnt think anyone would make me want to visit the Isle of Man as much as you have! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do copy the stuff to tourist boards and similar but I think they’re looking for more, er, factual content 😕

      Same principle applies to BRAPA. He’s the blogger who makes you really want to visit even the dullest pub, but it’s a bit too personal for some folk.

      Pubmeister. You can trust him.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoyed this post Martin, even though I have mixed feelings about the I.O.M. With so much more of the world to see (one day?), it’s probably not a place I’m desperate to return to, but as others have said you have really sold the Island to potential visitors with your write-up.

    I am tempted to write my own post, based on my one and only visit to Man, back in April 2010. The occasion was the CAMRA AGM, which coincided with the closure of European airspace, due to that Icelandic volcano blowing its stack.

    What seemed like a huge drama at the time, (no flights for a week), pales into insignificance compared to what’s going on at the moment, but, hey-ho!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. T’other Paul,
      Now there’s a coincidence.
      Me and Mrs TSM and Miss TSM were also there that weekend as I think was Martin.
      The ferries were ridiculously busy because of those whose flights were grounded.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I made the right call on that one Paul, as I pre-booked a return crossing on the fast Seacat ferry from Liverpool.

        Plenty of others weren’t as fortunate, but the Isle of Man Steampacket Company did quite nicely from the situation.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. T’other Paul,
        We had pre-booked, outward from Heysham on the Thursday, which wasn’t too bad, and return on Sunday afternoon on the fast one to Liverpool, which was packed.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. You did the right thing, Martin. CAMRA business can be tedious at the best of times, but there was a silver lining as my local branch picked up the award for the best local pub guide. Gateway to Kent Guide.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, and I forgot to mention I had some Bass in the Queen’s Hotel towards the north end of the prom in Douglas. It’s far better for pubs than the Isle of Wight, that’s for sure 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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