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Stack Mooar, Isle of Man by Jon Wornham, Wikimedia, 2004Photo by Jon Wornham licensed under CC

Visitors flock to the Isle of Man every year for its motorsport events, but what more does the island have to offer? We’ve highlighted five alternative attractions to tempt you.

Stay on a Manx farm

Escape deep into the peaceful countryside and stay on a working farm to discover the real Isle of Man. Expect small fields, miles of hedgerows and less intensive farming practices than the modernised industry.

While you’re there, keep a look out for the Manx Loaghtan Lamb, a primitive breed of sheep with four powerful horns and unique golden brown wool. Once close to extinction, the lamb is now a widely recommended local delicacy. From a range of self-catering or bed and breakfast accommodation you’re sure to find a place that’s just right for you across the varied landscape.

Sharpen your photography skills

Lush valleys, barren hills and rugged coastlines make the Isle of Man a beautiful place to practice photography. Take some snaps as you explore the seascapes and historical sites, or sign up for expert help and guidance to ensure you get the best results.

A variety of short courses are available at beginner and intermediate levels, including a focus on waterfalls, lighthouses, sunrises and sunsets. Whichever class you go for, you’ll need sturdy foot ware and suitable clothing. Plus, if you’re thinking of moving to Digital SLR Photography, there’s the option to test out a variety of equipment.

Gaze upon a star

Astronomy is known as the world’s oldest science and as the philosopher Plato said, it ‘compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another’. The low levels of light pollution make the Isle of Man a wonderful place for stargazing, so why not make sure part of your holiday is out of this world? The local Astronomical Society have an observatory on a remote site at 195 metres above sea level. Here, at 8pm on the first Thursday of every month, experts and beginners alike are welcome to attend society meetings and learn more about the wonders of the night sky.

Spot basking sharks

On a calm day, take a pair of binoculars and sit comfortably on the coast to see whales, dolphins and basking sharks pass by. The island provides a great viewing platform of the Irish Sea and 12 species of whales and dolphins have been recorded in recent years. The best sightings occur in late spring, summer and autumn, when the sea is calmest and most species are present.

Visit the House of Manannan

The House of Manannan explores the Celtic, Viking and Maritime traditions of the Isle of Man, where folklore and superstition are woven deep into the fabric of everyday life. Manannan is the Island’s great mythological sea god and protector who could shroud the place with a cloak of mist to protect it from its enemies.

Visit the house to step inside a Celtic dwelling, see the ancient Manx stone crosses and discover the sights and smells of a Manx Kipper Yard. Open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm (except Christmas day, Boxing Day and New Years Day), Manannan appears in various guises to welcome you to his fascinating Kingdom and guide you through the Island’s rich past.

Further information

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 678 1174