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Old 04-02-2015, 01:28 AM   #1
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An Easter return to the Isle of Man COMPLETED 5/10

An Easter return to the Isle of Man

Dates: Friday 3 – Sunday 5 April
Adventurers: Me, Cheryl (42), DH Mark (49), DFIL Dave (72) and DMIL Barbara (69)
Destinations: the Isle of Man, just off the north west coast of England
Resorts: Adelphi Hotel, Douglas
Meets: None, outside of having Mark’s parents with us.
Celebration: the trip is a 50th anniversary present for them and also for Barbara’s upcoming 70th birthday

This trip starts almost a year ago, in June 2014 to be precise, when we made our first visit to the Isle of Man. Full details can be found in the trip report I wrote about it: Island dreams – a weekend away in the Isle of Man. I won’t repeat the details in that, which include some of the history of the Isle of Man, its geography, how it’s governed etc.

So why are we going back, and so soon? Well, for a few reasons. Firstly, we absolutely adored our visit over there, and really wanted to go back, and see more of the island. Secondly, not long after we got back, Mark’s mum said to us “oh I’ve always wanted to go there”, and was really excited to see our photos. After we’d seen them, we did say to each other that maybe we’d try and book a visit there with them in the future.

Fast forward a couple of months, and EasyJet, the low cost airline, had released its flights for the spring and early summer. Now Barbara had also been interested in going to Northern Ireland, after our visit there back in August 2013. I priced out flights to Douglas in the Isle of Man, and Belfast in Northern Ireland for the Easter weekend. Douglas won out by miles – like it was about £250 for the four of us, while Belfast was more like £400.

Now the only problem was that Dave and Barb were staying in their villa in the south of Spain when these prices were released, which meant we couldn’t just call them and discuss it with them. So I had to text her to see if she was interested. I will be honest here, I was fully expecting a text back to say “thanks, but no thanks”, so I was very surprised when a few hours later, I got a text telling us to go ahead and book it. Ok, not what I expected, but that works for me!

I went for a flight out on the morning of Good Friday, coming back on Easter Sunday night. Over here, Easter is a four day weekend, meaning that we wouldn’t need to take any time off work, which is a plus point. We’d also have the Monday back at home, giving us a bit of the weekend to enjoy. After we went away around the Norfolk Broads last year for Easter, and were away for literally all four days of the weekend, we’d decided not to do that again, as while it’s nice to get away, without some time at home, it doesn’t feel like much of a long weekend break…

After booking the flights, the next thing I needed to book was our accommodation, and I needed something that would be good enough quality for all of us, provided breakfast, but was reasonably priced, given that we’d be paying for two rooms for two nights. What I found that met that criteria was the Adelphi Hotel, so I went ahead and booked it.

The only thing that did worry me is that you can see steps up to the hotel, and Barb does struggle with steps. I emailed the hotel, and I was very impressed when they phoned me the next day to go through it with me. There are ground floor rooms, which hopefully they can have, but there are steps up to the ground floor. I passed the message on to Barb, and she really surprised me by saying that she would be fine with it, so I held the booking.

There were then a couple of other things I needed to book for this trip. The first was a hotel at the airport the night before we were due to fly. I knew that Dave and Barb didn’t usually do this, so this would be a real treat, in particular for her. Now here I need to explain that Dave is ahem, how shall we say this nicely careful with money. That means if he doesn’t have to spend it, he doesn’t, which is fair enough, but it does sometimes mean that Barb doesn’t get to enjoy the nicer things in life, and we think that’s a real shame, as they do have money to enjoy. I went for the Hampton Inn at the north terminal, as we’ve enjoyed our stay there before, and again it was reasonably priced, as I needed to get two rooms.

Alongside that, I also booked valet parking, as that is the only way to go for us whenever we go to the airport. This will be quite the change for Mark’s parents, as usually someone takes them up to the airport, and then picks them up when they get back. See what I mean about not spending the money if they don’t have to? So that’s all booked.

I also finally managed to get the car rental sorted out for the weekend. I say “finally managed”, as it took forever to get something that sort of worked for us. Firstly, I got stupidly high quotes, and a lot of them didn’t include insurances, so I knew we’d get stung for paying for that when we arrived – not the start to the holiday you need. Eventually, after a lot (and I mean a lot ) of shopping around, I went with Avis’ agent on the island. If I went through Avis, the car I was getting would cost me £180 for three days, but if I went through their agent, so still renting with Avis, it cost £110. I know which price I’ll take!

So what about once we actually get there? Well, given that Mark’s mum can’t walk very far, I decided to focus this trip around the trains that run on the Isle of Man, as I’d been keen to do some of those last time, and it hadn’t worked out. The plan is to take the Manx Steam Railway from Castletown, near the airport, to Port Erin on the Good Friday, the day we get there. Then we’ll head for the Sound Visitor Centre right at the south of the island, which we thought was stunningly beautiful on our last visit, and where we lucked out and saw some seals – hopefully we’ll luck out again this time.

Then on Friday night, Mark and I are going out for dinner with my former school librarian, Carole, who we met up with for the first time in over 20 years last time. Originally, she wasn’t going to be on the island, as she was due to fly home and see her mother, but the air fares turned out to be crazy, and given she’s retiring this summer, she opted not to go, which means we get to see her again. I can’t wait! We’re going out with her to French restaurant L’Experience, and I have to say the menu looks amazing. Carole wrote a very complimentary review on TripAdvisor about it a few weeks ago, and that pretty much sold me. By the way, Mark’s parents have opted not to come with us, so we’re not intentionally leaving them out.

Then on the Easter Saturday, the plan is to take the Manx Electric Railway from Douglas, where we’re staying, up to Ramsey. We went to visit Ramsey last time, and we weren’t overly taken with the town, but from what I’ve read, the train journey is supposed to take you through some beautiful countryside, and that works for me! If we have time today, I’d like to visit the Manx Museum in Douglas, as we never saw that last time.

On Easter Sunday, the plan is to drive to Laxey, and then take the Snaefell Mountain Railway, which runs up to the peak of the highest mountain on the Isle of Man. There are supposed to be some magnificent views from there, provided the weather cooperates, so keep your fingers crossed for us on that. We’ve then got a late lunch booked, before we head back home.

So there you have our plans for our long weekend away as we return to the Isle of Man…
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Old 04-02-2015, 04:58 AM   #2
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Have a great time, Cheryl! I'm glad you're going back to this location. It's got just the kind of scenery I enjoy-- coastal and a bit wild, not overly-developed. The airfares really are low for the four of you. What a nice treat for Mark's parents.
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Old 04-02-2015, 06:14 AM   #3
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Sounds like a very nice trip, I like the idea of all the train travel.
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Old 04-02-2015, 08:14 AM   #4
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Great plans Cheryl! Have a great trip!
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Old 04-02-2015, 09:09 AM   #5
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sounds lovely, can't wait to see your photos
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Old 04-02-2015, 09:28 AM   #6
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This sounds like a wonderful trip! I really hope the weather works in your favor, especially for the train rides. That will be some beautiful countryside!
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Old 04-02-2015, 09:56 AM   #7
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Have a great time!!! Happy Easter!!
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Old 04-02-2015, 10:37 AM   #8
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What a nice trip - and some nice treats for Mark's mom. Hoping for clear, blue skies all weekend for you!
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Old 04-02-2015, 11:58 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by lauriep View Post
Have a great time, Cheryl! I'm glad you're going back to this location. It's got just the kind of scenery I enjoy-- coastal and a bit wild, not overly-developed. The airfares really are low for the four of you. What a nice treat for Mark's parents.
I saw Mark's cousin today and apparently Barb had been telling her parents how much she's looking forward to it! And you're right, it is beautiful scenery. I'll be sure to get a few shots for you.
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Old 04-02-2015, 11:58 AM   #10
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This sounds like a wonderful trip! I really hope the weather works in your favor, especially for the train rides. That will be some beautiful countryside!
We're hoping so too!
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Old 04-02-2015, 11:59 AM   #11
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Have a great time!!! Happy Easter!!
And to you!
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Old 04-02-2015, 11:59 AM   #12
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What a nice trip - and some nice treats for Mark's mom. Hoping for clear, blue skies all weekend for you!
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Old 04-02-2015, 06:33 PM   #13
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Old 04-02-2015, 07:53 PM   #14
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Hope you have a lovely time!! Can't wait to hear about the train trips!
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Old 04-02-2015, 08:01 PM   #15
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Sounds like it will be a wonderful trip! So sweet of you all to do this for Mark's parents!
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