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Castletown, Isle of Man

Lying on the south of the island of Isle Of Man lies the town of Castletown, dominated by its Castle Rushen, a well preserved castle. Castletown is the former capital of the Isle of Man before it was moved to Douglas. The town has narrow streets and small fishing cottages. Fishing boats still continue to go out to fish from the harbour. Commercial traffic to the port ended in the 1970s, although there has been an ongoing expansion of finance and industrial businesses in the area. The first telephones appeared in Castletown in 1901. The town lies on the northwest side of Castletown Bay. The opposite shore of the bay is the west coast of the distinctively-shaped Langness Peninsula and the hamlet of Derbyhaven.

To the north-east is the village of Ballasalla, to the north-west the villages of Ballabeg and Colby and to the west Port St. Mary and Port Erin. The A3 road connects Castletown with Ramsey via Douglas and the A5 road (also known as New Castletown Road as opposed to the Old Castletown Road which takes a more rural route nearer the coast) connects the town with Douglas to the north-east and Port Erin to the west. The A25 road was the historical route to Douglas and is now bypassed by the A5. There are free electric car charging stations available in a car park in the centre of the town. The town has several car parks including one above the harbour close to the old school house, to the rear of the Castle Arms and off Victoria Road as well as dedicated parking for the local bank, supermarkets and the railway station. The southern end of the Millennium Way long-distance footpath is at Castletown.

The town is also served by Castletown Railway Station which forms part of the sole remaining section of the Isle of Man Railway, a 3 ft narrow gauge steam-operated railway from Douglas to Port Erin. The station is on the northeasterly edge of the town next to Poulsom Park and playing fields, and was at one time used to transport beer from the Castletown Brewery as well as cattle and other livestock; remnants of the cattle dock are still visible at the station which is open seasonally between March and November as well as weekends at Christmas. Bus services operate through the town to Douglas, Port St. Mary and Port Erin using route numbers 1, 2, 11 and 12; these run about every twenty minutes on weekdays and Saturdays with a less frequent service at weekends and after 6.00pm,. Some of these services (1c and 11b) do not run through the town but use the bypass road.

Much of the attraction of Castletown is in the quality of its period buildings, many constructed of the local silver-grey limestone. The layout of the town centre still retains its early arrangement, echoing the cluster of houses around the military parade ground, which still has its alternative use as market place. The interested visitor can still identify the original building plots, and the crofts attached to them, which have given their name to a residential area close to the town centre.

Sights in Castletown

  • Castle Rushen is a medieval castle which towers over the Market Square to the south-east and the harbour to the north-east.HMS Rushen Castle (K372), a former Castle-class corvette of the Royal Navy, was named after the castle. It is the focal point of the town and is open to the public seasonally between Easter and October annually.
  • The Old House Of Keys was the location of Tynwald, the Manx parliament, until it moved in 1874 to Douglas. The house was renovated in 2000 and is run as a museum by Manx National Heritage. Tynwald used to meet in Castletown except on Tynwald Day, when it traditionally met (and still meets) on Tynwald Hill in St John’s.
  • The Old Grammar School was originally built as a chapel about 1190 – 1230 and is located in the harbour to the rear of the town square at the side of a large car park. The building stopped being a school in the 1930s and is now a museum exhibit open seasonally in connection with the other Story Of Mann sites in the town.
  • The Nautical Museum (also known as The Peggy Story in recent times) opened in 1951; the main focus of the museum is an 18th century yacht, the Peggy, housed in the boat cellar, where she has been since the 19th century. She had been bricked up and forgotten before being rediscovered by workmen.
  • The Museum Of Witchcraft was in existence in the town for a short period at the Witches Mill which has since been redeveloped as apartments. It was operated by the well-known self-proclaimed witch Gerald Gardner who ran it under the titleFolklore Center of Superstition and Witchcraft becoming a familiar figure in the town.
  • The Railway Station was constructed in 1902 from locally sourced limestone from Scarlett Point and has been extensively refurbished in recent times, notably being overhauled in 1994 to original form. It is open seasonally and many people’s first encounter with the town is their arrival at the station which is a short walk from the centre.
  • The Scarlett Point Visitor Centre is found at the south-western tip of Castletown Bay and forms part of the Millennium Way, along distance footpath, opened in 1979, which begins at Castle Rushen, heading north towards Ramsey. The Raad ny Foillanlong distance coastal footpath opened in 1986 runs along the coast in the town.

Be Inspired

Castles

Castles were first built in England during the Norman Conquest in the 11th century as fortifications. There are many hundreds of castles throughout England some in good repair whilst others have all but completely disappeared other than a few stones to mark the spot.

Castles

Lakes

England has many lakes spread out over the whole of the country but the most famous must be the Lake District which draws around 16 million visitors each year to admire the beauty of the countryside around the lakesides. Lake Windermere is England’s largest lake.

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National Parks

The National Parks of England are quite diverse but all have in common one thing and that is their beauty. From the windswept reaches of Dartmoor and Exmoor to the mountains and lakes of the Lake District or the ancient, peaceful tranquility of the New Forest all are worthy of a visit.

National Parks

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