Familiarisation trips always include a busy itinerary and are not designed as a holiday specifically but they are great fun and are an opportunity to meet like-minded Organisers from around the UK. These are promotional & fact finding tours which are open to a variety of Group Organisers, representing many group types and hence the reason for the varied itinerary.
5 days /4 nights’ duration – Departing Monday 10th April 2017
Private local transportation on the IOM and excursions as per our itinerary
4 nights half board ensuite accommodation at the 3* Empress Hotel in Douglas - porterage included.
Included excursion package with entrances as per our sample itinerary accompanied by a driver guide.
(For all Manx National Heritage Trust properties (MNH), National Trust and English Heritage members gain free entry on production of a valid membership card, whilst non-members will pay these entrances locally)
PRICE & SUPPLEMENTS
Group Organiser’s Price £399pp Twin / Double share – One Group Organiser per group / booking
Partner’s price £499pp – Only one partner booking sharing a room
Single supplement £39pp (4 nights) – limited availability
Optional Travel Insurance £35pp - No Upper age limit but conditions apply.
The Organiser price is refundable against a future group tour to the IOM (New bookings/quotations only).
The Organiser’s price represents a reduction of approximately £200pp of the normal package price.
Day 1 – Arriving on the Isle of Man we will visit the Manx Museum, which is bursting with artefacts and treasures unique to the Isle of Man where you can visit at leisure. This is the perfect starting point on your journey of discovery of the Island and its Viking and its Celtic past. Lunch can be purchased locally either at the museum or in the town centre before arriving at the hotel, where your evening meal is included.
Day 2 – This morning we travel to the south of the island. Our first visit is to Cregneash Folk Village (MNH). Cregneash is a living illustration of a farming and crofting community during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Cregneash Village was set up as a living museum in 1938, when Harry Kelly's Cottage was restored and opened to the public. Since then the village has seen many of its Manx thatched cottages join the conservation. The Manx National Heritage Trust now owns over 300 acres and over 10 buildings, preserving the area as a site of Manx traditions and way of life. From here you will be taken to see the view across to the Calf of Man. The Sound Visitor Centre in Port St Mary is one of the most picturesque points in the south of the Island. The large café where you can buy lunch has been built into the headland and offers 180 degree panoramic views of the surrounding area. Learn about the ships that sank tragically in the area, and the subsequent wrecks that entertain divers, and the bird observatory which is located on the Calf of Man. Departing here, we head to nearby Port Erin, known as an old smuggling site because of the sheltered harbour. It was also a Victorian sea side dream and today it is a modern town with a beautiful beach. You will have a little free time before taking an included one way journey on the Isle of Man Steam Railway back to Douglas. Step back in time for a journey you will never forget, experiencing the grandeur of travelling on a Victorian railway, perfectly frozen in time. Opened in 1874, this narrow gauge railway still runs with its original locomotives and carriages, through an ever changing landscape. Arriving in Douglas you will be transferred by coach to the hotel where you might choose to take a stroll along the promenade (weather permitting). A group dinner is included this evening.
Day 3 – Today we start with an included visit to Rushen Abbey (MNH), one of the most substantial and important medieval and religious sites in the Isle of Man. Located in Ballsalla, it was originally a home for monks of the Sauvignac Order in 1134. It later came under Cistercian control and was developed as the Island’s seat of religious power, housing the main body of knowledge and literacy for the Island. Moving then on to Castletown which sits on the site of an ancient volcano, was the capital of the island for hundreds of years and the government was run from here before moving to Douglas. Much of what the island is today started in this historical town where lunch can be purchased locally. The medieval Castle Rushen, once the home of kings and later the government, still dominates the centre of town. During your free time here you may choose to visit Castle Rushen (MNH) – one of the best preserved medieval castles in Europe; the Nautical Museum (MNH), home of the world’s oldest yacht; or the Old Grammar School (MNH), a fascinating building dating back to around 1200AD when it was built as the first town church for the settlement that grew up around Castle Rushen. We then re-assemble for a visit to The Old House of Keys (MNH), the former home of the Manx Parliament and centre of 19th Century political life on the Isle of Man. The Secretary of the House welcomes us to join in the debates on law setting in this participatory experience. Discover how democracy developed on the Isle of Man; listen carefully as Mr Speaker demands ‘Order’; shape this Island’s future and introduce motorcycle racing to the Island’s open roads; decide whether women should get the vote; and finally shout ‘aye’ for those in favour and ‘no’ for those against! Dinner is included at the hotel this evening.
Day 4 – We start today with an included journey along the coast on the Manx Electric Railway. This unique railway, built between 1893 -1899 is located on the eastern coast of the Isle of Man connecting the towns of Douglas, Laxey and Ramsey. The line still operates with the majority of its original Victorian and Edwardian rolling stock in daily use along arguably some of the most scenic stretches of railway in the British Isles. Disembarking the train at Laxey you will visit the Great Laxey Wheel (MNH), the largest surviving working wheel of its kind in the world. Designed by the Victorian engineer, Robert Casement, the wheel was built in 1854 to pump water from Glen Mooar part of the ‘Great Laxey Mines’ industrial complex. Re-joining the coach we travel on to the Snaefell Mountain Railway, a unique Victorian enterprise which has been in operation since 1895 and is the only electric mountain railway in the British Isles. On arrival at Snaefell’s summit, at approx 630m above sea level, you may be able to see some, or all, of the Seven Kingdoms - England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, the Isle of Man and the kingdoms of heaven and the sea (subject to weather conditions). Our last visit of the day is to Ramsey, named by the Norse as 'Wild Garlic River' due to settlements nearby where wild garlic grows in abundance. There will be a little free time here before we return to the hotel where you can relax before this evening’s included meal. Lunch is purchasable today.
Day 5 – Having checked out of the hotel, today’s excursions start with an included private ‘behind the scenes’ guided tour of the Gaiety Theatre which is located just a short walk from the hotel. First opened in 1900, the Gaiety Theatre has since undergone extensive restoration to ensure it remains one of the finest entertainment venues in the British Isles. The Gaiety, which is home to the only surviving Corsican Trap in the British Isles, played host to the Hollywood film Me and Orson Welles in 2008. You will learn more about this during your tour as knowledgeable theatre staff regale stories of the magnificent venue and show you the behind the scenes action. Afterwards we head north to Peel for your included free flow visit to the House of Mannanan (MNH). Here the Island’s mythological sea god Manannan welcomes you to his fascinating Kingdom and guides you through the Island’s rich Celtic, Viking, and Maritime past. Lunch can be purchased whilst in Peel which is the only city on the Isle of Man, and is home to the Island's Cathedral. At Peel Castle (MNH) you will take an audio tour of this magnificent castle which occupies the important site of St Patrick’s Isle. A brief visit will also be made to Tynwald Hill located in St Johns, which plays host to an open air meeting of the Island’s Parliament, once a year. It is believed that the open air ceremony, which takes place on July 5th, was established by Norse Viking settlers over a thousand years ago with the hill thought to have been built in the 13th century.
Please note that at older attractions there are multiple stairs and walking is involved throughout this tour.
Simply Groups reserve the right to make minor adjustments to this itinerary due to circumstances beyond our control.
Lunches are not included within this package price and are payable locally.