Camping in the Isle of Man

The Isle of Man’s lush valleys, mountainous landscapes and intriguing coastline draw thousands of tourists each year, in addition to those who visit to enjoy the famous TT race. The island’s stunning scenery is best experienced by throwing yourself into it, and camping is a great way of doing so.

There are a range of campsites to be found on the island, many located in beautiful settings close to walks and footpaths. Some are also in the vicinity of the Isle of Man’s 26 official dark sky sites, providing opportunities to gather around a campfire of an evening and enjoy a bit of stargazing.

If the registered campsites aren’t quite for you, there are also two areas on the island where informal camping is allowed, although only one of these allows tent and both require paid permits. Details can be found on the Isle of Man’s Government website. The following are some of the best places I found to camp on the island.

Ballamoar and Silly Moos

If your idea of a great campsite is one that immerses you amongst nature, then the campsites of Ballamoar and Silly Moos might be ideal. Both are located in the north of the island, with Ballamoar towards the west and Silly Moos on the east.

Ballamoar Campsite is one of the most popular on the Isle of Man and gets consistently very good reviews on Tripadvisor. When I visited, it was clear to see why. The campsite can be found just outside the small village of Ballaugh and is in easy walking distance of the main road and a little shop. Its setting within the rolling Manx hills of Ballaugh Glen make it perfect for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, with country walks and the Curraghs Wildlife Park nearby. It has great facilities too, and is very welcoming to both people and dogs.

On the other side of the island, Silly Moos Campsite is set on a dairy farm, hence its unique name. This campsite is especially good for children, as there is an entertainment barn and a whole host of animals to see. The campsite is just outside the town of Ramsey and is right on the TT course, meaning you can watch the race from the field beside the campsite. The facilities are good and there are complimentary teas and coffees, which I certainly made good use of.

Cronk Ashen Farm and Laxey

Slightly further south, there are two more great campsites, one at either side of the island. On the western coast is the campsite at Cronk Ashen Farm – another which is located beside the TT course.

I think the views here are possibly the most spectacular ones of any campsite on the island, with vantage points looking out across the verdant fields towards the sea. Alongside the views, there are plenty of walking opportunities nearby and there is a main road with a bus stop in easy walking distance, making it easy to get around. The toilets and showers have been recently refurbished and the facilities are to a good standard in general.

Just a fifteen minute drive from the island’s capital, Douglas, another excellent option for a camping trip can be found within the small village of Laxey. This campsite is close to a range of attractions, including a lovely little beach and the famous Great Laxey Wheel – the largest working waterwheel in the world. A number of amenities are within easy walking distance of the site, and it provides all the essential facilities, which are kept to a high standard.

The Great Laxey Wheel

The Great Laxey Wheel

Wild Camping

Just as on the British mainland, wild camping is technically not permitted on the Isle of man, unless you have express permission from the landowner. Despite this, some people do choose to wild camp  and the locals will sometimes be welcoming to campers, providing of course that the land is respected and campers stick to the principles of leave no trace. If you do decide to wild camp you should never make a campfire, never leave rubbish and always try to stay well away from buildings or private land where possible.

In general, it is advisable to camp at one of the island’s many registered campsites instead, or the informal campsite at Sulby Claddagh. This campsite is open from May until September and offers basic facilities such as toilets. It is located on the Sulby River in the north of the island and provides ample opportunities to explore the Manx countryside.

Learn more about the Isle of Man in the following article: Everything you need to know about the Isle of Man