Official Travel Partner Of The Isle of Man TT Races
Tel: 0330 088 8434

Beginners Guide to Booking the Isle of Man TT

Duke Travel

17 February 2021

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Navigating the Isle of Man TT Booking Process – Expert Guidance

How to book the Isle of Man TT

Planning a trip can be daunting for first-time Isle of Man TT travellers, with the challenge of aligning travel arrangements and accommodations. Fortunately, the Duke Travel team is here to lend a hand. Our small team has over 30 years of experience in organising trips to the island and is an official Isle of Man TT travel partner. We’ve assisted countless TT enthusiasts and first-timers from around the world in attending the event. We offer various packages and tours to ensure a seamless experience.

This user-friendly guide aims to simplify your TT trip planning. We’ve covered all the essentials from ferry reservations to non-race day activities.

Top Tip

If you’re considering booking everything independently, don’t waste time scouring major travel websites like Expedia or booking.com. Many accommodations are not listed there; they prefer direct bookings.

Isle of Man TT: When to visit?

The TT Races span two weeks, with the midpoint Sunday, formerly known as ‘Mad Sunday,’ falling on the first Sunday in June. The first week is dedicated to TT qualifying, and the second week features six race days. 

Qualifying sessions typically occur in the evening, except for the first Monday, which is scheduled all day and Friday, which has an afternoon session. 

Qualifying is not as busy as race week, and there are deals to be had. Ferries, flights and accommodation are plenty, and the on-track action is not to be missed. As the week progresses, the lap times become quicker and quicker. 

With every bike class on track daily, you will see more on-track action than on a race day. Qualifying is more relaxed with fewer people; it is easy to get to some of the popular places to watch, and getting into bars and places to eat is less troublesome. 

During the day, you can explore the island before picking your perfect spot to watch the on-track action in the evening. 

We believe that qualifying week is the TT’s biggest secret. 

During Race Week, there are ten races over six race days: Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Races occur during the day, with the TT course closing all day.

Race week attracts the most people, so travel and accommodation options, especially peak travel days, sell out quickly. Prices are higher, and the roads are busier. Popular vantage points are full hours before the roads close for racing, and bars and restaurants in the evening reach capacity quickly. 

A question we always get asked is, which is the main race? There is no main race; all the riders and teams participate each race day. Yes, the bikes are different, but each race is similar.

Why is there no racing on Monday and Thursday? These are rest days for the riders, teams and marshalls who make the racing happen. They are contingency days in case of bad weather, forcing cancellations on the scheduled race days. The rest days allow you to visit other areas on the island away from the racing. 

Top Tip

The TT Races’ dates change each year, so please be aware when booking your travel and accommodation, as this often catches people out. 

Travel: How to get to the Isle of Man

Travel to the Isle of Man by Sea
There is one ferry operator to the Island called the Isle of Man Steam Packet, which offers sailings from English ports Liverpool and Heysham, located in Northwest England, or from Belfast and Dublin in Ireland.

Sailings on board the fast craft Manannan or the slower conventional ferry Ben My Chree take 2 to 4 hours. It is the gentle way to get to the Island and the only option when you want to bring a vehicle. All sailings to the island dock in Douglas at the Isle of Man Sea Terminal, from which the Island is easily accessible.

Sailings during the TT and Manx Grand Prix periods are increased to meet demand but will sell out within months of going on sale, especially for vehicles.

  • To and From Liverpool and Heysham – Daily
  • To and from Dublin – Once per week
  • To and from Belfast – Two to three sailings per week

Travel to the Isle of Man by Air
Many options are available if you plan to reach the Island by air. Most major UK and Irish airports are covered, including London Heathrow.

Flight times take just 20 minutes from Belfast or 1 hour from London. It’s nice to be able to jump on a short flight and a swift transfer to take you to your Isle of Man destination.

The island’s airport is located in the south, around 20 minutes from Douglas by taxi or just a few minutes more on public transport.

  • Easyjet.com – Belfast International, Bristol, Liverpool, London Gatwick, Manchester
  • Logainair – Birmingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London City, London Heathrow, Manchester
  • Aer Lingus – Dublin & Belfast City

Travel around the Isle of Man without my own transport
One of the major questions you must ask yourself is if you are planning a trip to the island, do you need a vehicle? This will have a bearing on whether you choose to fly or sail.

Public transport is good on the Isle of Man, and the TT course can be accessed by using public transport. Bus services go around the course apart from the mountain section from Douglas to Ramsey – but you can use the Electric railway from Laxey to access the mountain – when the TT course is not closed for practice sessions or racing.

Top Tip

Increase your options of getting here and travelling by sea as a foot passenger or flying using the island’s excellent public transport system while you are here.

Accommodation: Where to stay

A diverse range of accommodation options caters to various budgets, from four-star resort hotels to camping, Glamping, and Duke’s pop-up hotel right next to the TT Paddocks. We’ve compiled a handy guide to these options to assist in your decision-making.

Camping with Your Own Tent: This budget-friendly choice offers numerous TT campsites with expected facilities, including toilets, showers, and on-site catering.

Pre-built Tents: This option is excellent; imagine just turning up with the tent already up, so no putting the tent up in the pitch black of night! The tent includes everything you need: a bed, pillows, and light with a table and chairs. All that’s missing is a sleeping bag! Tents sleep up to 6 people.

Glamping: The in-between of camping and staying in a hotel; for those unfamiliar with Glamping, this is boutique camping.

You can expect a large canvas tent, nothing like a little pokey two-person tent. You have real beds, carpeted floors, duvets and pillows. Tents sleep 1 to 4 people in single or double beds.

Duke TT Village: Experience hotel-style accommodation at the TT Grandstand. The Village consists of an individual lockable twin-bedded en-suite cabin, with continental breakfast included each morning. The Village is located next to the TT paddocks, which is the hub of the TT.

Hotels: We have them!! We have a good relationship with the hotels, so we get allocations passed onto you, the TT fan! You can try to purchase directly.

This is not the cheapest option; Douglas only has around 2,000 beds, and prices are high as there is so much demand; you can expect to pay anything from £250 per room per night upwards.

Most hotels have a minimum stay of 4 nights, but some ask for eight nights.

TT Homestay: This is similar to a B&B, but you stay with a resident in their home or, in some cases, rent out a house. This is not widely available and typically carries a minimum stay of 8 nights. Self-catering or bed & breakfast options are available.

Top Tip

Book your travel over to the Island first. This is the hardest part to sort as plenty of accommodation is up for grabs.

On Track Action: How to watch it

So you now know how you plan to get to the island and what type of accommodation you will stay in, but how can you watch the racing?

The TT course is 38 miles long, so you can stand or sit in a hedge (when not in a restricted area) and watch for FREE! Although free, remember that there are no facilities such as toilets or places to get something to eat or drink. 

Several grandstands and hospitality options around the course offer toilets, food and drink, parking, Wi-Fi and more. 

At Duke Travel, the majority of our packages will include or have the choice of including a grandstand and VIP hospitality experience. We know from experience that the bucket lister or first-timer appreciates the whole experience with facilities available to ensure a comfortable day at the races. We even have transfers available to specific viewing locations. 

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