THE roar of the bikes and the screams of the crowds were long gone – all that remained was blissful silence.
Just a week after the Isle of Man’s world-famous TT motorcycle series, the only reminders of the festival of speed were traces of tyre marks on country roads and the odd crew dismantling stands.
We were in for a much more relaxed weekend — and that started with the quick easyJet flight out of Gatwick.
Just as the plane, with my wife, three kids and me aboard, reached cruising altitude, it was time to descend.
Landing early evening on the hottest day of a record-breaking heatwave, we could have been fooled into thinking we were on one of the Canary Islands — not in the middle of the Irish Sea between England and Ireland.
We were greeted by palm trees and sun bouncing off the sea as we picked up our hire car to head to Ballahowin Courtyard, our home for the weekend.
These recently refurbished stone farm cottages and apartments face into a pretty courtyard, and at just seven miles from the main town of Douglas and four from the airport, are perfectly situated for discovering the island’s attractions.
Up early the next day, we grabbed breakfast in our cottage and then drove to Douglas train station to catch the Isle of Man Steam Railway to Castletown.
The ideal antidote to the thundering speed and torque of the bikes that are synonymous with the island, this is a taste of Victorian engineering perfectly frozen in time.
The kids thought it was brilliant, especially my six-year-old son.
We sat back, relaxed and enjoyed an hour-long journey through the beautiful, ever-changing Manx countryside.
Arriving in Castletown, the ancient capital, we set off to explore Castle Rushen, one of the best- preserved medieval castles in the world.
Guides will entertain with tales of how the castle defended itself against attackers while inviting you to lie on the old prison beds and placing you in the stocks.
Back in Douglas, we grabbed lunch in The Barbary Coast Grill in the harbour.
Plates are big and the meals are hearty.
The kids’ menu comes with make-your-own ice cream and toppings — and it’s funny how despite being too full for veggies, they somehow find room for dessert.
From there, and on the advice of our friendly waitress, we headed to Peel beach for the 2018 Viking Longboat Races.
The sands were buzzing with a carnival atmosphere as competitors fought it out in a 400m sprint around the harbour to celebrate the island’s deep Viking history.
There is definitely more beer, barbecuing and singing going on under the shadow of Peel Castle than you find at the Olympics — and it all makes for a great family afternoon out.
Next up was the short ride to the Curraghs Wildlife Park. After a whizz around to look at the animals, the kids enjoyed a play on the mini diggers and adventure playground, before, happy and exhausted, we left for some local fish and chips.
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The next morning we headed to The Sound, on the island’s southern tip. One of the most scenic places in the British Isles, it brims with wildlife and natural wonders.
We walked the coastal path to see seals sunbathing on the rocks in an area that is also visited by dolphins and basking sharks.
It was a perfect reminder that the Isle of Man is quaint, quirky and quiet — no bad thing considering the speed we live our family lives at today.
GO: ISLE OF MAN
GETTING THERE: Fly from Gatwick with easyJet with fares from £50. See easyJet.com.
STAYING THERE: Ballahowin Courtyard cottages range from one to three bedrooms. A three-night short break in a two-bed cottage starts from £395 and a week’s stay from £425. See ballahowin.com.
MORE INFO: See visitisleofman.com.