A Beginners Guide to booking the Isle of Man TT

TOP TIPS ON BOOKING A TRIP FROM OUR TRAVEL EXPERTS

Booking a trip to the Isle of Man TT or Classic TT

The increase in popularity of the TT in recent years has meant demand for travel and accommodation has jumped up. With up to 30,000 visitors arriving for the TT we recommend booking as early as possible. Call today on +44 (0) 1624 640 044, email [email protected] or fill out the enquiry form on the website so we can start building the perfect package for you.

The Isle of Man TT

Established in 1907, the Isle of Man TT (originally Tourist Trophy – a test for “touring” motorcycles) runs on the unique 37.73 mile Mountain Course. The course consists of public roads specially closed for the event. The TT is always held in the last week of May and the first week of June. Qualifying starts on the last Sunday of May with the first race day (usually) on the first Saturday of June. Race days are scheduled for the following Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Qualifying week:

Qualifying week is the opening week of the fortnight and sees daily practice and qualifying sessions starting on Sunday and continuing until Friday. With action, every day and the chance to see all the stars on track in the course of one session Qualifying Week is becoming increasingly popular with fans, particularly towards the end of the week. However, it is currently still quieter than Race Week and there is generally better availability for travel and accommodation.

Race Week:

Race Week starts with the Superbike and Sidecar races on the Saturday following Qualifying Week. There are race days on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Friday is a bank holiday in the Isle of Man and features the Blue Riband Senior TT Race. Race Week is much busier than Qualifying Week and demand for accommodation and travel is correspondingly higher. With more visitors on the island, bars, restaurants and attractions are also busier and the ‘buzz’ of TT is everywhere.

The Classic TT

The Classic TT is run on the same course as the TT but features older bikes spanning the ‘50s to the 1990s. It is held on the last weekend in August (UK Bank Holiday). It tends to be a little quieter than the TT but is rapidly increasing in popularity.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The Classic TT consists of a practice week (mixed with qualifying for the Manx Grand Prix which runs consecutively) and race weekend – over the final weekend in August to coincide with the UK bank holiday. The races take place on Saturday and Monday (a bank holiday in the Isle of Man, England, Wales and N. Ireland). The final qualifying session, on Friday, is preceded by the Paddock Carnival, held at the TT grandstand. Manx Grand Prix races which feature amateurs, are then held on the other two races days, Wednesday and Friday.

Travel: How to get to the Isle of Man

There are two options to get to the Isle of Man: Sea or Air.

BY AIR

A range of airlines fly to the Isle of Man from the UK and Ireland. Demand for flights is very high during peak periods so costs can escalate quickly, however with low cost airlines operating to the Island there are bargains to be had so book early to take advantage.

For travellers from outside the UK and Ireland we recommend ensuring your travel plans are routed through London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Manchester or Dublin all having good links to the Isle of Man with large regional airlines. For travellers from the USA or Canada, Dublin is a particularly good option with Aer Lingus operating to the Isle of Man travellers can check in at their preferred airport all the way through to the Isle of Man. On returning from the Isle of Man travellers will also clear customs at Dublin Airport saving you valuable time when landing in the USA or Canada.

Airlines release some flights a year in advance, while others such as easyJet go on sale between 7 to 10 months prior.

BY SEA

The Isle of Man is served by a single ferry company. The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company sails from Liverpool and Heysham in England and Dublin and Belfast in Ireland. Additional services are provided during the TT and Classic TT periods. The Steam Packet Company operates two vessels, both of which are equipped to handle lorries, cars, campervans and motorcycles. Demand for places on sailings, particularly with vehicles, is very high so we would always recommend being as flexible as possible with dates and times.

Remember: early morning departures are the least popular and save the cost of one night’s accommodation.

It is important to understand how the ferry booking process works: tickets go on sale a year in advance. This means you can book your travel for the following TT during Qualifying Week, a year in advance.

You can obtain a ferry booking by paying a deposit (at the time of writing), with the full balance then being due in February of the following year. At the time of booking you are not advised of the total cost, final balances are advised in November/December of that year. Any ferry bookings that are not paid in full will then go back into the system around the first week of March to be resold. Please note this system is operated by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and is outwith Duke Travel’s control.

Travel: Accommodation

Douglas is the capital of the Isle of Man and is the home of the TT Grandstand. Most hotels are located in Douglas but rooms tend to book up quickly.

A popular alternative to hotel accommodation is the  IOMTT Village exclusive to Duke Travel and is situated on Victoria Road just minutes from the start/finish line. The IOMTT Village is made up of individual twin bedded cabins with en-suite shower facilities. You will also enjoy a continental breakfast served each morning in the onsite marquee which will also be showing all the latest racing action from the day.

There are campsites (bring-your-own & glamping) in Douglas which are convenient for visitors arriving without transport of their own.

WHAT TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION?

There are many options available from camping with your tent to glamping to the IOMTT Village to hotels

Hotel rooms are limited and can be pricey compared to other options, during race week rooms start from £250 upwards. Hotels do not generally list accommodation on websites such as Booking.com or Expedia. They only take bookings directly, with some offering rooms via the official TT Travel Partner.

A popular alternative to hotel accommodation is the IOMTT Village exclusive to Duke Travel and is situated on Victoria Road just minutes from the start/finish line. The IOMTT Village is made up of individual twin bedded cabins with en-suite shower facilities. You will also enjoy a continental breakfast served each morning in the onsite marquee which will also be showing all the latest racing action from the day.

Glamping is available in 5-meter bell tents equipped with real beds, mattresses, duvet and pillows are available in many island locations. Pre-erected tents are a bikers dream, simply turn up and find a tent waiting for your arrival.

Camping with your tent is the cheapest option; you can pitch a tent from just £15 per person per night. All our listed campsite have full conveniences and facilities.

Where to watch Qualifying and Races

Tickets for all official grandstands can be booked through Duke Travel in conjunction with travel packages. We can also add VIP experiences to your travel package at the time of booking. For more details on watching the races see our Spectator’s Guide