Category Archives: St Michael island

Castle Town ( Isle of Man )

Castletown  is a town in the  South of Isle of Man, , it was the Manx capital until 1869.

Castletown is the nearest town to the airport and you can go there either by train or by bus. If you use steam railway from Douglas, you can get off at Castle town train station. The town is around 20 to 30 minutes drive from Douglas town center. The live-action film version of Thomas The Tank Engine was partially filmed at the Castle town train station .

Steam train

Castletown train station

 I have heard that Vikings pub at the castle town station has a very good food, but I have to try it one day.

Town centre

From castle town train station, town center is only 5 minutes away. The town is compact and all shops can be seen in less than 1 hour.

One thing we regularly do is visiting old fashioned sweet shop called memory lane sweet shop where you can buy all the sweets in the world. It is indeed a dangerous place for diabetics. Just now, my friend from London rushed to the sweet shop to get a handful of sweets and greatly disappointed as the shop was close today.

Memory lane sweet shop

please visit their webpage

There are some Chinese food shop and also a famous noodle bar called ” Time out IOM ” where you can try various noodles.

Town center

on the bridge near Castle Town harbour

Castle Rushen

Castle Rushen at the front

Castle Rushen exist at the heart of Castle Town and the name of the town was given because of Castle Rushen. You need to pay 8 GBP for entrance fee. It is a place you should go especially when the weather is not suitable for outdoor activities.

Castke rushen at the back

According to history, Isle of Man had become separated from Great Britain and Ireland by 6500 BC. The first people who ruled castle rushen are vikings from Norway in 1200 and the castle was built in 1265 for a Norse King. Later, Isle of Man became a possession of the Scottish and then the English crowns. In 1603, during the union of the crowns of England and Scotland through James VI and I, Isle of Man became crown dependency with democratic government.

government of Castle Town

Lords of Castle Rushen

The castle has been used as a fortress, a residence for the Kings and Lords of Mann, the site for production of coins and even a prison (past prisoners include a bishop and two newspaper editors).

Interesting thing is from 1849 to 1864, Castle Rushen was used as a lunatic asylum. Because of growing popularity, a lot of tourists came to visit Isle of Man and most of the time, the guards had to pay attention to tourists by showing them around rather than looking after the patients aka prisoners. It was written that it was impossible to make the tourists stop throwing tobaccos at the prisoners. The facility was so poor with iron bed, improper food supply and a lot of tragedy happened, for example, some prisoners who were kept in the basement died by drowning due to floods etc.

Below pictures showed how prisoners that time was tortured in various ways.

the gruesome demonstration of the ways, prisoners were tortured , by cutting head, walking on the genitals, cutting with spade etc.

During 17th century, some royal families from England visited Isle of Man and the lord of man named James Stanley welcomed the royal family generously. However, later the King from England sent notice to Lord Stanley to surrender the island to England.

Instead of surrendering, Sir James Stanley went out of Isle of Man to defend his kingdom . During his absence , his wife, countless Charlotte tried to protect Isle of Man from invaders courageously. However, her life became at stake because of traitors who did not have faith in the Lord as they were afraid of being sold off by the lord to England. Upon the knowledge of betrayal of her people to Stanley family and execution of her husband , Countless handed the castle to the public.

I am wearing some costumes provided , taken photo with the portrait of Sir James Stanley family

If you do not have any mobility issue, one should climb stairs to look panorama view of Castle Town from the roof top of Castle Rushen. There are also display of statues in various locations and it is interesting to look at how rich people live at that era.

how the powerful and rich people had meals

roof top of Castle Rushen
panorama view of Castle Town
Panorama view from The roof top of Castle Rushen

Scarlet visitor centre

It is located around 15 minutes walk from castle town centre and really worthwhile to visit to see the volcanic rocks formed 250 million years ago.

Flooded quarry

The shed , scarlet visitor centre opens only from May to September from 2 to 5 pm. I have never been inside and keen to go back there at the right time. It is a place where you can learn wildlife of Isle of Man .

Stop `1 is flooded quarry where limestone were dig out to make building, railways and fertilizer.

flooded quarry

Stop 2 is Limeklins where limestones were burnt from bottom to reach temperature up to 600 centigrade for months to get lime powder which was mixed with water to be used as fertilizer.

old limeklins picture
the map of scarlet centre

There is also limestone pavement, a pavement composed of millions of marine creatures.

Limestone pavement

The Storm beach is composed of rugged basalt ( rock ) which was formed from volcanic larva 250 million years ago.


On the rocks of scarlet beach, you can see lichen ( organisms composed of fungus and algae ). These lichen are tolerate to acidity of the area. It is also a great place to watch wild life such as various birds.

a bird is busy

St Michael’s Isle or Fort Island

It is one of the best scenic viewpoints in the Isle of Man.  It lies to the east of Derbyhaven Bay and is approached by the same road which leads to the Golf Links Hotel on Langness.

  Technically, it is no longer an island as it is joined to the mainland by an extremely narrow causeway, just wide enough for single file traffic.  In size, it measures a bare quarter of a mile in length.

Thet and Wayne at St Michael island

Access to Fort Island is by way of Castletown, following the coastal road around Castletown Bay and along the crescent of Derbyhaven Bay.  ( credit to )

Apart from wild life and beautiful scenery, there are two ancient buildings to see. One is roofless old chapel which was named after St Michael dating around 12th century.

St Michael chapel

Second building is the fort constructed by James, 7th Earl of Derby and Lord of Mann.  This dates from 1645 and was built during the civil war in England to defend Derbyhaven, which was then a major port, from the forces of the parliamentarians.

Fort built by Lord of Mann

the building was locked, but you can peek inside

Basalt rock formed from volcanic activities

Lichen growing on the rock
a heron at the beach
St Michael isle

These are the places I like and I have been in Castle Town, I plan to update this blog every time I find a new place and hope you enjoy reading my blog.