15 Quirky & Unusual places to visit on the Isle of Man

15 Quirky & unusual places to visit on the Isle of Man. Includes Magnetic Hill, the Old Fairy Bridge, Wild Wallabies, and the Sulby Giant

Must see places and things to do on the Isle of Man

My friend Clare Bettison takes off-island guests on the most amazing tours of the Isle of Man. Every time I speak to her she mentions another obscure and interesting place that I’ve never heard of before. Recently I asked if she would take me to some of them and to share their locations and history here on Lovely Greens.

Today Clare introduces some of these places to you with the fifteen unique and quirky sights that are spread throughout our beautiful island. I’d like to also thank artist Alice Quayle who has created a delightful illustrated map which gives you a great idea as to where to find each one! (Scroll to the bottom of the post for the illustration)

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And now I introduce Clare, who will give us a whirlwind tour of some of her recommended places to visit on the Isle of Man.

For me, the Isle of Man was a holiday destination for many years and I am delighted it is now my home. I have long been fascinated with the unique history of the Island incorporating many different aspects. I have gathered stories, information and pictures and am delighted to share this knowledge to allow others to immerse themselves in the ‘Other Mann’ with its hidden sites and untold stories. It is vital we share the beauty of our Island to promote this fascinating heritage.

1. Magnetic Hill

This hill is likely one that you would drive through without a second thought. Yet, if you stop as you near the bottom of the hill, as the road bends slightly with the plantation ahead on your right, you will notice a stone monument stating Magnetic Hill, Ronague. Place your car in neutral with the handbrake off and be amazed as the car seemingly rolls back up the hill. This only works in clear weather but you’ll be hooked once you’ve experienced the magic. More on Gravity Hills

 

I’ve been hundreds of times and I still love going, feel free to take a plastic ball to dispel the magnetic theory, but do remember it is a public road and cars do pass there – SAFETY FIRST. I’d advise keeping your foot over the brake as the speed picks up pretty sharpish. Please also put your hazard warning lights on as other cars may pass by.
See a video of rolling up Magnetic Hill here.
Location: Between Ronague and the Round Table. See it on Google Maps.

15 Quirky & unusual places to visit on the Isle of Man. Includes Magnetic Hill, the Old Fairy Bridge, Wild Wallabies, and the Sulby Giant

The original Fairy Bridge is hidden among the trees along a public footpath.

2. Old Fairy Bridge

Many are familiar with the Fairy Bridge, but less known is the ‘Real’ Fairy Bridge situated over Middle River near Kewaigue. The newer bridge was designated such by some who felt it would be more suited to the tourists visiting the Island, yet the true magic and mystery surrounds this older bridge. Sadly many people are leaving items at the bridges that are non-biodegradable, so while we would encourage you to go and pay your respects (Lay Mie Moonjie Veggey – Good day little people in Manx Gaelic), perhaps a gift of flowers, shells or just a wish would be best to keep the fairies’ home a natural beauty.

Location: On the outskirts of Douglas near Kewaigue School. See it on Google Maps.
More on the the Old Fairy Bridge and a video showing how to find it.

15 Quirky & unusual places to visit on the Isle of Man. Includes Magnetic Hill, the Old Fairy Bridge, Wild Wallabies, and the Sulby Giant

Wallaby in the Ballaugh Curraghs. Photo credit: Jay Houghton

3. Wallabies living in the Wild

In the 1960s a breeding pair of wallabies escaped their confines at Curragh’s Wildlife Park and while not a native species, they have certainly become a naturalised species. They are now a thriving population and can be seen throughout the north of the Isle of Man. What better than a day spent wallaby spotting, without needing to travel to the other side of the world?

Today more than 120 of these Australian immigrants now live in the area surrounding the park and are often seen on footpaths, in fields, and sometimes on the road. The best time to view them is early in the morning or in the early evening. It’s during these times that they’ll be out grazing in open areas.

Location: Close Sartfield & Ballaugh Curragh Nature Reserves. Though it’s free to visit and watch these cheeky immigrants, please consider leaving a donation to the Manx Wildlife Trust who built and manage the reserves. See it on Google Maps.
More on Manx Wallabies: A Walk on the Wild Side and Wallabies on the Isle of Man

15 Quirky & unusual places to visit on the Isle of Man. Includes Magnetic Hill, the Old Fairy Bridge, Wild Wallabies, and the Meayll Hill Stone Circle

Ancient stone circle and burial place overlooking Port Erin

4. Meayll Hill Neolithic Stone Circle

This unique archaeological monument dates to around 3500 BC and consists of 12 burial chambers with 6 entrance passages leading into each pair of chambers. Many small finds have been discovered on excavation here and people have also reported strange sensations when visiting this ancient monument. For more ancient and neolithic sites on the island read this post.

Location: From Port Erin, take the Ballafurt road towards Cregneash and you’ll find ‘Mull Hill’ or Meayll Hill Circle signed on your left about halfway there. From Cregneash, take the single lane road off of Howe Road towards Port Erin. The site will be on your right. The site is at the top of a hill climb so wear sturdy shoes and sensible clothing. See it on Google Maps.

15 Quirky & unusual places to visit on the Isle of Man. Includes Magnetic Hill, the Old Fairy Bridge, Wild Wallabies, and the Niarbyl Fault line

Stand with one foot on the North American plate and one on the European at Niarbyl.

5. Niarbyl Fault

As you head down to the shore at Niarbyl many will miss the diagonal line to the right of the cove as you face out to sea that represents the collision point of two ancient paleocontinents – Avalonia on which present day England is found, and Laurentia which contains present day North America and Scotland. By climbing the rocks, one can stand on the Lapetus Suture fault line, with one foot in North America and one in England, without needing expensive air/sea tickets to leave our lovely Island. More on this fault line.

Location: Niarbyl in Dalby. See it on Google Maps.

15 Quirky & unusual places to visit on the Isle of Man. Includes Magnetic Hill, the Old Fairy Bridge, Wild Wallabies, and the Camera Obscura

From inside the Camera Obscura you can see a 360 degree live depiction of the Douglas waterfront.

6. Camera Obscura

There are still a few camera obscuras around the world, but no others with eleven lenses like the one found on Douglas Head. Built in 1892 for the flourishing Manx tourist industry, the camera’s complex series of mirrors and lenses appealed to the voyeuristic Victorian tourists, giving them a 360 degree panoramic view of Douglas via moving pictures. These are still operational today and when the flag is flying the Camera Obscura is open. More on the Camera Obscura.

Location: Douglas Head in Douglas off Fort Anne Road. See it on Google Maps.

15 Quirky & unusual places to visit on the Isle of Man. Includes Magnetic Hill, the Old Fairy Bridge, Wild Wallabies, and the Lost Village of West Baldwin

This bridge is usually submerged by the waters at the West Baldwin Reservoir. Photo credit: Nicholas Bradley

7. Lost village of West Baldwin

When the West Baldwin reservoir was originally designed, there was the small matter of a village on the suggested site. Once the dam was built and the water filled up, the village was lost forever within the depths. However, when the water level drops, chimney-pots, rooftops, and a bridge can sometimes be seen peeking above the water level as a reminder of the lost village of West Baldwin. More on the construction of the reservoir.

Note: The “Village” of West Baldwin was actually a cluster of three farms rather than a larger community.

Location: West Baldwin (Injebreck) Reservoir. See it on Google Maps

The West Baldwin Reservoir bridge can only be seen when the water levels are very low

The West Baldwin Reservoir bridge. Photo credit: Simon Williams

15 Quirky & unusual places to visit on the Isle of Man. Includes Magnetic Hill, the Old Fairy Bridge, Wild Wallabies, and the Sulby Giant

The hand mounted on top of the gate post at Rose Cottage in Regaby is a true to life cast of Arthur Caley’s hand. The tips of the fingers are set at the exact height he would have stood – just under eight feet tall.

8. Manx Giant (Arthur Caley)

Arthur Caley was certainly a giant of a man, born in 1824, standing tall at 7 foot 11 inches tall and weighing 28 stone. The Island still houses a few legacies of his time here including peculiarly high doorways at the Sulby Glen hotel to accommodate his large frame; there is also a newspaper cutting about the great man framed on the wall. In Regaby is Rose Cottage, at first glance just a normal cottage but on the gatepost is a large green hand – the tips of the fingers representing his height – truly astonishing. Apparently Mr Caley worked here in the garden for sometime. The partnering hand can be found in the Murrays Motorcycle Museum. His boots are still stored in the basement of the Manx Museum along with a second set of his casted hands and a true-to-life sized photo reproduction of him.

As much mystery surrounds his passing as surrounded his life – initially thought to have passed away in Paris in 1852, he in fact continued performing in New York under a different name until 1889. Was the Paris death just an elaborate insurance scam….maybe his secrets were as big as the man himself? More on Arthur Caley.

Locations: Arthur Caley exhibit at the Manx Museum in Douglas. On this Google Map, see the doorways inside the Sulby Glen Hotel & Pub which went through to the cottage he used to live in. Then travel to Regaby to see the cast of his hand on the gate to Rose Cottage. Please remember that this is a private residence. See it on Google Maps

15 Quirky & unusual places to visit on the Isle of Man. Includes Magnetic Hill, the Old Fairy Bridge, Wild Wallabies, and Corrin's Tower

Corrins Tower (aka Corrins Folly) is a monument dedicated to the deceased wife and two children of Thomas Corrin.

9. Corrin’s Folly

This tower sitting atop Peel hill was built in 1806 for Thomas Corrin. Just next to the tower are the graves of Mr Corrin’s wife and children, laid to rest in this, his favourite place. The tower itself is 4 stories high with much of the inside being taken up with a central pillar. Memorial tablets and inscriptions can be seen throughout the tower featuring memories of departed members of the Corrin family. Although the outside of the tower is accessible, the inside can only be accessed with permission of the Manx Heritage Trust. More on Corrin’s Tower.

Location: Corrin’s Folly is in Peel. See it on Google Maps

15 Quirky & unusual places to visit on the Isle of Man. Includes Magnetic Hill, the Old Fairy Bridge, Wild Wallabies, and the Maughold Church Monastery

The well and building foundations at Maughold Church are said to be from the monastery that once stood here.

10. Well and Monastery at Maughold Church

The graveyard at Maughold church makes for a fascinating afternoon’s exploration owing to its many unique graves – the Prussian sailor tragedy, Hall Caine memorial, and the many Viking and Celtic crosses that still stand there. However, on walking around the churchyard, one cannot fail to notice the foundations of a series of buildings with a substantial well also seen. The churchyard was in fact the site of an old monastery in around the 7th Century and these foundations are of Keeills related to this. Stand at the side of these keeills and one cannot doubt why this site was used as the main location for the early Christian church on the Isle of Man. The views are nothing short of Godly.

Location: Maughold Church Yard in Maughold. See it on Google Maps

15 Quirky & unusual places to visit on the Isle of Man. Includes Magnetic Hill, the Old Fairy Bridge, Wild Wallabies, and the Silverdale Carousel

The Victorian-era carousel at Silverdale is powered by the water pump taken from the Foxdale mines.

11. Silverdale Victorian water powered carousel

What could be more magical than hopping onto a traditional water powered carousel from the Victorian era? This is one of the treats that awaits you at the beautiful Silverdale Glen. With a crank handle you can affect the flow of water through the wheel to create the power to turn the carousel. Be careful as you hop on and off as it can speed up suddenly and topple you over! There are various horses/boats, etc. to ride on, why not try them all? More on the Silverdale Carousel.

Location: Silverdale Glen. See it on Google Maps

15 Quirky & unusual places to visit on the Isle of Man. Includes Magnetic Hill, the Old Fairy Bridge, Wild Wallabies, and the grave of a freed Slave

The grave of Samuel Ally, a slave brought back to the Isle of Man but who died a free man at age 18

12. Slave Grave

This grave can be found at the back of Old Braddan church yard and could be easily missed. Yet closer examination reveals the interesting story associated with the grave of Samuel Ally, a former slave who was brought back from the West Indies by Colonel Mark Wilks, one time owner of Kirby Mansion. Ironically Samuel was freed, yet dies shortly after aged just 18 years. The inscription reads:

“SAMUEL ALLY An African and native of St Helena. Died the 28th of May 1822 aged 18 years.  Born a slave and exposed in early life to the corrupt influences of that unhappy state, he became a model of TRUTH and PROBITY for the more fortunate of any country or condition.  This stone is erected by a grateful Master to the memory of a faithful servant who repaid the boon of Liberty with unbounded attachment.”

Location: Old Braddan church yard. See it on Google Maps. Isle of Man Newspapers reports on the grave

15 Quirky & unusual places to visit on the Isle of Man. Includes Magnetic Hill, the Old Fairy Bridge, Wild Wallabies, and the Sleeping Giant

The hill and cliff in Port Erin is said to resemble a sleeping giant with his head half submerged by the sea.

13. Sleeping Giant

When you head down to Port Erin no-one can deny the magnificent views that await. If you head down towards the lifeboat station and the old Marine Biological Centre there is also a view that many don’t notice. This is supposed to be the sleeping place of a Manx giant seemingly half submerged in water. In his eye socket is an old mine rising up from sea level, with a nose and a frown also seen. Let your imagination run wild…

Location: Port Erin. See it on Google Maps

15 Quirky & unusual places to visit on the Isle of Man. Includes Magnetic Hill, the Old Fairy Bridge, Wild Wallabies, and the Well Hung Horses

The horses on the gate of Coan Reayrt are definitely male.

14. Well hung horses

Heading along the A23 Mount Rule Road from Strang to Peel you will pass a property on your right hand side that you would not normally notice. Closer inspection reveals a curious anomaly on the metal gates that is sure to make you chuckle. Both gates depict cart horses and the horses are both ‘well-hung’. A little joke from the owner, or the gatemaker? Either way it always makes me smile when I pass.

Location: See above for description. See location on Google Maps

15 Quirky & unusual places to visit on the Isle of Man. Includes Magnetic Hill, the Old Fairy Bridge, Wild Wallabies, and the Whipping Stone

Was the stone in the wall surrounding St Peters church really a whipping post?

15. Whipping Stone at St Peters

Many children who grew up in Onchan were told stories of the ‘whipping post’ at St Peter’s church and feared that if they misbehaved they may find out its true use. The reality is it was likely the burial site of an old chieftain with this stone being used as a marker. More on this.

Location: Large stone marker built into the wall surrounding St Peters Church in Onchan. It’s clearly visible and accessible from the pavement that runs alongside it. See location on Google Maps

allice-quayle-illustrations-isle-of-man

Isle of Man artist Alice Quayle created this illustrated map showing where each of the locations is on the island. Alice offers prints of this design as well as others (including my favourite, Norse names on the Isle of Man) through her Facebook page. You can also find her on Linked In.

For even more local attraction ideas check out The Unique Weekend Itinerary: Isle of Man and 13 Spooky & Haunted places on the Isle of Man.

15 Quirky & Unsusual places to visit on the Isle of Man

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Tanya

Tanya from Lovely Greens shares DIY ideas for making natural soap, beauty products, and items for the home and garden. Passionate about the 'Grow your own' movement she also shares organic gardening tips and green living ideas. Find her line of handmade bath and beauty products at lovelygreens-shop.com

2 Discussion to this post

  1. Richard says:

    Despite living here, never tried Magnetic Hill. Must do so in between our travels

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