Area guide: Five reasons to live in the west of the Isle of ManEach corner of the Isle of Man has so much to offer it can make deciding where to relocate to a difficult decision. Locate has produced four area guides to highlight what makes each of them such a special place to live.
There is nowhere more Manx than Peel. But while it retains its traditional charm, the Sunset City is far from being stuck in the past - and has the vibrant vibe of a town that is going places and is becoming increasingly popular as a place to live.
Five advantages of living in the wonderful west:
1. It’s a great place for families
The white sandy beach at Peel with the castle as its backdrop is a hugely popular and picturesque spot for families on a sunny day. There’s easy parking on the promenade and a choice of cafes and ice cream spots too.
Children are well catered for at the Western Swimming Pool on the edge of the town with a dedicated toddler pool. There’s a good on-site cafe for afterwards, and outside, there are two new well-equipped play areas.
A popular picnic spot for families and a great place for little legs to run off a bit of energy is the Arboretum at St John’s. Set in 25 acres, the grounds include a large pond where you can feed the ducks and a play area.
2. There’s a packed calendar of events
Peel hosts a number of events throughout the year which the community really get behind.
The annual New Year’s dip from Peel Beach sees hundreds of people start the year with a splash and raise money for charity.
Oie Voaldyn (Manx May Fire Festival) is marked on the beach throughout the day and into the evening, culminating in a fireshow and fireworks.
The World Championship Viking Longboat Races held each summer is a real spectacle, with men’s, women’s and mixed teams all racing across the bay in replica boats.
The streets of Peel come alive for the Carnival, which celebrated its 70th anniversary this year. There’s lots of entertainment throughout the day and a parade.
3. It’s home to some of the Island’s key cultural landmarks
Peel Castle, built by the Vikings in the 11th century, is a striking feature on the town’s skyline. You can explore inside the Manx National Heritage site or walk round the outside of the walls. It also looks spectacular from above, a reward for the climb up Peel Hill.
Cathedral Isle of Man, in the town’s centre, is the Island’s only cathedral. A major project is currently under way in the grounds to create a series of interactive gardens on the theme of the birth and growth of Christianity in the Island.
The House of Manannan tells the story of the Island’s Celtic, Viking and maritime past. It also displays temporary exhibitions.
A short distance away at St John’s, Tynwald Hill, with its distinctive grass tiers, is the traditional meeting place of the Manx parliament and dates back more than 1,000 years. An open-air sitting takes place each year on Tynwald Day, usually July 5.
4. Soak in the sights of the Sunset City and beyond
The seaside town is full of charm with its narrow winding streets leading down to the seafront. From there, the castle, which dominates the view, is an impressive sight at any time but none more so than at sunset.
Heading south out of Peel is one of the most magnificent parts of the Raad ny Foillan (The Way of the Gull) coastal footpath. The views on the six-mile stretch to Niarbyl really are spectacular.
A less strenuous option is the Heritage Trail along the route of the old railway line to Douglas. The path is suitable for both walkers and cyclists.
Peel is also one of the best places in the Island to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
5. It has a vibrant arts scene
Peel is certainly on the up and fast earning a reputation for a lively arts and entertainment scene.
This is thanks in large part to the creativity of local entrepreneurs behind businesses such as The Black Dog Oven pizza eatery on East Quay, which hosts regular live music sessions.
Live music is also on offer at Peel Centenary Centre, which has hosted some big name acts over the years and also supports local musicians.
Artreach Studios manages Isle Contemporary, which features a gallery and runs visual art and craft workshops for both children and adults.
Looking for more inspiration? Take a look at our area guides for the north, south and east of the Island.