A Beginners Guide to booking the Isle of Man TT

Duke Travel

24 January 2019

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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 Saturday 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.


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.


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 640 064, email [email protected] or fill out the enquiry form on the website so we can start building the perfect package for you.


Best times to visit


Isle of Man TT


Qualifying week.

Qualifying week is the opening week of the fortnight and sees daily practice and qualifying sessions starting on Saturday and continuing until Friday (with the exception of Sunday). Sessions start at 6.20pm and finish before 9.00pm.

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.


Classic TT


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) with the hugely popular VMCC Festival of Jurby on the Sunday.


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 main options to get to the Isle of Man: Sea or Air.


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, with additional services from Ireland, departing Dublin and Belfast, during the TT period.


The Steam Packet Co operates two main 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.


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 iomtt travel’s control.


Tip: Book your sailing early, if you want the best dates. Sailings go on sale a year
in advance, and the most popular dates sell out first.


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.


For travellers from outside the UK and Ireland we recommend ensuring your travel plans are routed through London Gatwick, Manchester or Dublin which all have good links to the Isle of Man with large regional airlines.


For travellers from the USA or Canada Dublin is a particularly good option as Aer Lingus operates to the Isle of Man meaning flights can be booked all the way through from departure airports across North America.


Tip: Peak travel dates are the Friday of Qualifying Week coming to the island and, outbound, Saturday and Sunday after the final race.


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


Tip: You don’t need to bring your vehicle. Public transport is excellent on the island and during the TT services are increased due to high demand. “Go Explorer” tickets allow unlimited travel on any public bus, tram or train.




Where to stay


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.


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


Outside of the capital campsites at Braddan, Union Mills, Peel, Laxey, Ramsey and Onchan provide excellent facilities for visitors.


What type of accommodation?


There are many options available from camping with your tent to hotel style glamping or TT Homestay to 4-star hotels.


Hotel rooms are limited and can be pricey compared to other options, during race week rooms start from £250 upwards.


Tip: Hotels do not generally list accommodation on websites such as Booking.com or Expedia. They only take bookings directly or some offer rooms through the official TT Travel Partner.


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 £12 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 iomtt travel in conjunction with travel packages.


We can also add VIP and Platinum experiences to your travel package at the time of booking.


For more details on watching the races see our Spectator’s Guide


If you need more information, please contact iomtt Travel by calling +44 (0) 1624 640 064 or email [email protected]

If you would like more information on any of the above or wish to book contact us via email or telephone


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