Area guide: Five reasons to live in the east of the Isle of ManThe 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 area such a special place to live.
Douglas, the Manx capital, was granted city status as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. It’s the political, administrative and business centre and home to a third of the Island’s population. Neighbouring Onchan is the largest village, benefitting from its proximity to Douglas but boasting many amenities in its own right.
Five advantages of living in Douglas and the east:
1. You can’t beat it for convenience
If you live and work in Douglas it’s possible you’ll be able to leave the car at home and walk instead. Just think what you could achieve with the commuting time you’ve just saved.
Main roads head out of the capital to the south, west and north. It’s only a short drive to the iconic Mountain Road - part of the TT Course - which links to the villages in the north and Ramsey.
If you’re planning on travelling regularly by bus, then Lord Street Bus Station provides the best options for all-Island travel.
The Sea Terminal, at the northern end of Douglas promenade, is one of the main gateways to the Island, the departure and arrival point for regular passenger and car ferries to Heysham, Liverpool, Belfast and Dublin.
2. There’s lots to do with children
Two of the best places to take children are Onchan Park and Noble’s Park, in Douglas, and Onchan Park.
Noble’s Park has separate playgrounds for different ages, a splash zone and BMX track and skatepark.
Onchan Park has a large playground as well as boats and crazy golf.
Businesses providing kids’ entertainment include the Manx Fun Barn for soft play, bowling, roller skating and laser blast and the Dance and Fun Factory for soft play and trampolining.
For something a bit different, the Home of Rest for Old Horses allows visitors to feed the horses - including retired tram horses - ponies and donkeys.
Facilities at the National Sports Centre, in Douglas, include a 25-metre pool, leisure pool, and sports halls where you can play sports such as badminton, table tennis and short tennis.
3. It’s home to the biggest entertainment venues
The stunning Frank Matcham-designed Gaiety Theatre, with a capacity of more than 800, hosts everything from high quality amateur productions and the Christmas pantomime to top visiting comedians.
The Villa Marina has an intimate concert hall which hosts some of the biggest names in music and comedy. It’s also home to the Broadway Cinema, one of two cinemas in Douglas alongside the Palace Cinema.
Nightlife includes pubs and bars with views over the seafront and harbour as well as four floors of entertainment at 1886.
New businesses are also popping up, offering a different night-time experience, such as axe throwing at Mad Jack’s.
4. It’s proud of its rich heritage
Douglas was built on a 19th and early 20th century tourism boom.
It’s retained much of its Victorian heritage but has equally moved with the times.
The horse trams still clip clop along the sweeping promenade as they have done for over a century - but the seafront has a modern new look thanks to the completion of a multi-million pound revamp.
A trip on the horse tram takes you to the starting point for another unique survivor from the Victorian age, the Manx Electric Railway which grinds its way to Laxey and on to Ramsey.
On the other side of town is the impressive red brick terminus of the Steam Railway.
The journey south to Port Erin is an unforgettable experience and a firm favourite for adults and children alike.
Those interested in finding out more about the Island’s history should not miss a visit to the excellent Manx Museum.
The Island’s most famous attraction is of course the Laxey Wheel, which has been subject to a major refurbishment programme.
5. Glens, countryside and beauty spots are within easy reach
Head up Douglas Head to the beauty spot of Marine Drive, a popular place for a picnic and walk. Keep an eye on the coastline as it’s also a good location to see dolphins.
Douglas Beach is two miles of white sand. Just behind the shore is the promenade walkway that runs the length of the beach, popular with walkers, runners and cyclists.
Summerhill Glen at the northern end of Douglas promenade is fun to explore in the daytime with its streams and woodland paths. In the evening it takes on a new dimension with dramatic lighting displays.
Conrhenny Community Woodland, just outside Onchan, is a good place for both walkers and cyclists. The site is constantly evolving - thousands of trees have been planted by schoolchildren over the last decade.
The path through Groudle Glen, also on the outskirts of Onchan, follows a bubbling stream down to the sea. One of its features is a small water wheel. It’s also home to a miniature steam railway and tearoom operated by enthusiasts.
Looking for more inspiration? Take a look at our area guides for the north, south and west of the Island.