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Visitor FAQs

Guidance on local currency, weather, passports etc. Everything you need to know before your visit.

Currency
The Island has its own Sterling coins and bank notes which can be used everywhere, although they are used in conjunction with British sterling currency - both can be used anywhere on the Island. It should be noted that Manx Sterling currency can't be used outside the Island.

Shopping
The Island has a wide variety of shopping available to both its residents and visitors. These range from High Street names such as Marks & Spencers and Boots to many smaller local shops providing anything from clothing to speciality local foods.

The main shopping area on the Island is Strand Street, located in the centre of the Island's capital Douglas. The street is home to two modern shopping centres, The Strand and Tower House, which is located a little further up the street on Castle Street.

Climate and weather
The Island is generally temperate, often lacking extremes such as very hot days and thunderstorms in the summer, or snow in the winter. The island is generally pleasantly warm during the summer months and mild during the winter. During the summer months, the Island averages around 200 hours of sunshine per month and around 52mm of rain per month. See a five day forecast here.

Passports
A passport need not be produced when visiting the Isle of Man from any of the British or Republic of Ireland sea ports or airports.

Immigration
If you are a British Citizen then you do not require any clearance from the Immigration Office to live on the Island, however a work permit may be required to work here.

Health
Visitors to the Island are entitled to emergency medical treatment at no charge.

Society and safety
People on the island are on the whole very friendly. The Island itself is a quiet, safe place to be, with very little crime.

Language
English is the spoken and written language of the Isle of Man. The traditional language of the Island is Manx Gaelic.

Night sky
On a clear night, the number of visible stars which can be seen over the Island is astonishing as there is little light pollution out of the major towns.

Island Laws
Similar seatbelt laws to those in the United Kingdom and elsewhere apply and visiting drivers should negotiate our narrow roads and lanes withcare.  It is an offence on the island to use a mobile phone whilst driving.  In some of the larger towns and villages Parking Discs are required (obtainable from Isle of Man Steam Packet vessels, the Sea Terminal, airport, car hire companies, libraries and local Commissioners Offices).

The island has a strong anti-drugs policy and illegal possession of banned substances can lead to a jail sentence if found guilty.

Trailer caravans are not permitted on the Isle of Man, without a permit.  A written request, with full details of your visit, needs to be submitted to the Department of Infrastructure at least two weeks before your visit.  However, self-propelled motor caravans are welcome, as are tenting campers.

Licensing
Liberal Isle of Man legislation has introduced 24-hour opening for pubs, bars and off-licences.  This means that all licensed premises, including nightclubs, restaurants and the Douglas casino now have the option to serve alcohol 24 hours a day.

Driving
The minimum legal age for driving is 16. Motorists drive on the left-hand side and distances and speed limits are measured in miles. Learner drivers must display 'L' plates and newly qualified drivers display 'R' plates for their first year. Both the RAC and AA operate on the Isle of Man. New residents must re-register their vehicles as soon as possible and obtain a Manx driving licence within three months of arrival. There's no speed limit on open roads but built-up areas have restrictions as low as 20mph and the Police use hand-held 'speed guns' and roadside breathalysers to catch law breakers. Drink-driving invites serious penalties and very few people risk it.

Newspapers
Island happenings are reported in three publications published weekly by Isle of Man Newspapers - the Isle of Man Examiner, the Manx Independent and the free Isle of Man Courier. They contain the usual mix of news, sport, advertising, births, marriages and deaths - as well as house sale particulars, company registrations and planning applications.

Television
Terrestrial television reception extends to four channels - BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV (Border or Granada) and Channel 4. The penalty for not owning a TV licence incurs a hefty fine. The Island's national publicly-owned radio station is MANX RADIO which broadcasts a diverse range of music and talk programmes on both FM (89, 97.2 and 103.7) and Medium wave (1368khz) frequencies. During TT fortnight it also caters for race fans by broadcasting on split-frequency as 'Radio TT'.