Castletown (Manx: Balley Cashtal) is the ancient capital of the Isle of Man. Lying at the south of the island, Castletown is a historic town, full of character, and is one of the Isle of Man’s most popular locations to visit for a variety of reasons, from its pebble beaches to friendly, local community. Named after Castle Rushen, the well preserved medieval castle, which dominates the centre of town, and is certainly a worthwhile place to look around.
Making your way down to the picturesque harbour you will find working fishing boats and quaint fishing cottages with stunning views out across the bay – including, of course, Roy Cottage. The harbour is best known for the annual World Tin Bath Championships Race during the summer months.
The centre of town is a very pretty place to explore seeping with ‘olde worlde’ charm. Only a few minutes walk from Roy Cottage using the harbour mouth swing bridge, the small market place gives way to narrow cobbled streets, home to a number of fascinating independent shops such as the tiny but delightful Memory Lane Sweet Shop.
You can gain a more in depth insight into the town’s nautical and political past by visiting a number of excellent museums in the town; the Old Grammar School, originally a church from AD 1200, the Nautical Museum, in the secret passage-filled home of inventor, politician, banker and probable smuggler George Quayle, and the Old House of Keys.
Picturesque Castletown Beach is a great spot for walking, and popular with locals, tourists and windsurfers. On the opposite shore of Castletown Bay is the west coast of the distinctively-shaped Langness Peninsula, home of the Castletown Golf Links the only 18 hole championship links golf course, home to the Duke of York Championship Trophy amongst other competitions.
To get to and from Douglas, Port Erin, and many villages in between, you can travel in style in the Victorian heritage steam train. Castletown Railway Station is open seasonally and is a short walk from the town centre.
Finally, if you want to try your hand at something different, perhaps a souvenir of your stay, you can visit Craftworks Studio and paint your own pottery. Slightly out of town towards Ronaldsway Airport you will find the Manx Aviation and Military Museum which is an interesting visit and worth making time for.