Anna Tyzack sets sail for incredible scenery and exhilarating lifestyle in the Irish Sea…
Moving on to… the Isle of Man
With its wild glens, sandy coves and relatively cheap property prices, it’s no wonder that record numbers of families are moving to the Isle of Man. The island, which is 30 miles long, 15 miles wide and one of the least populated places in the world, offers the fresh air and empty spaces we longed for during the pandemic, as well as tax advantages such as the absence of inheritance tax or stamp duty.
“It’s an extremely relaxing place with no shortage of stunning scenery,” says Savills’ Mark Holden. “The average journey to work on the island is just 20 minutes and you can be in London by plane in just over an hour.”
Classified as part of the British Isles (the Queen is Lord of Mann), the Isle of Man has its own unique identity, with its own rule of law, currency (although sterling is accepted) and taxation . Historically it was a fashionable holiday destination for the North West of England – it was seen as a chic alternative to Blackpool – but now its Georgian and Victorian villas are home to a vibrant, cosmopolitan community of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs who want to enjoy healthy work. – life balance. “It’s a unique bubble here where you have everything you need, kids can feel safe, and parents have more time to do the things they love,” says Mary Linehan, Founder of Experts in relocation, B-Local.
Once outside urban areas such as Douglas, the capital, and the quaint villages of Peel on the west coast, Laxey on the south coast and the resort town of Port Erin to the west, the scenery resembles a landscape painting romantic 18th century, with ruined castles and forts on open moors or steep cliffs. There are walks and cycle routes along disused railway tracks and through enchanting valleys, and the more intrepid can scale Snaefell, the Isle of Man’s only mountain, from whose summit England can be seen , Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Yet those who leave London or other major cities do not find the island oppressively sleepy and rural. There are countless activities and sports on offer, from golf – Castletown Golf Links is listed in the Rolex World Ranking of the Best Golf Courses – to sailing, paddleboarding, tennis and paragliding.
Meanwhile, there is a busy annual calendar of sporting fixtures, which includes the Manx Grand Prix, Tourist Trophy motorcycle races (known as the Isle of Man TT), tennis championships, a kayaking festival of sea, a marathon and the End 2 End. MTB challenge.
Culturally, there’s plenty going on too, with the Gaiety Theater and Douglas Opera House putting on standard West End productions as well as a lineup of concerts and performances at the Villa Marina, a waterfront concert venue. mer which opened in 1931. There is also now food and drink, arts and music festivals throughout the year, and a growing restaurant and cafe scene. In Douglas, Shane Magee of estate agency Chrystals recommends 14 North Quay, which has a European menu, and Italian restaurants Enzo’s and Portofino. “There’s some form of event happening every night of the week, but you can also be low-key if you prefer,” Shane explains.
For families, the schools on the island are another attraction. Buchan School in Castletown is a preparatory day and boarding school for pupils aged 3 to 11, while its secondary school, King William’s College, is so respected that it attracts boarding schools from Britain continental. There are also 33 primary schools, six secondary schools and one college, with links to UK universities.
While the cost of living is around 8% higher on the island than on the UK mainland and the average house price has risen by £25,000 since last year, prices are still lower than those from Cheshire. A decent beachfront apartment costs from £250,000, while a country house with five or more bedrooms and a few acres will cost from £1.5million, according to Shane. At the high end of the market, mansions sell for up to £30million, although they tend to change hands quietly without being marketed.
Manx architecture is varied, with buyers choosing between Victorian seaside residences, Georgian country houses, stone farmhouses and opulent new builds. While it only takes 45 minutes to get from one end of the island to the other, those looking for maximum convenience tend to buy south of Douglas, close to the airport, terminal shipping and schools.
“People on the mainland are happy to drive for an hour, but here ten minutes suddenly becomes a big drive,” Shane explains. “If you don’t need to be anywhere else, the north is beautiful and often sunnier as the island has a distinct microclimate.”
While B-Local’s Mary is helping a growing number of Londoners relocate to the island and integrate into the community, she currently has clients from South Africa, India and Romania as well.
“They all have their own motivations for choosing the Isle of Man – the clean air, the mild climate, the safety – but once they arrive they all agree that the lifestyle on offer is second to none,” he explains. she. “With everything they need close by, they find they have more time to do the things they love.”
This, and the fact that the island is too low-key to attract many tourists even in the height of summer, is why Shane expects the influx of new residents to continue. “They like the fact that it’s not Monaco, it’s not glitzy,” he says. “There is enormous wealth but it is not obvious.”
The Isle of Man is ideal for…
Take the Manx Electric Railway to Snaefell, or even hike the rugged trail to the summit. manxelectricrailway.co.uk
Only fresh, seasonal ingredients make up the abbey menu next to the medieval Rushen Abbey in Ballasalla. the abbey.im
A romantic date
Castletown Kizuna’s open kitchen serves fine Japanese cuisine based on traditional kappo cuisine. 01624 870000
The island is flooded with coastal and interior valleys; on a circular trail through Ballaglass Glen, hear the sound of a waterfall and breathe in the wild garlic. visitisleofman.com
Visit Noa Bakehouse in Douglas for artisan coffee and a mountain of homemade pastries. facebook.com/noabakehouse
Laxey is home to the last working woolen mill on the island, where you can watch the weavers at work. laxeywoollenmills.com