“Port Erin, a bay, almost universally pronounced the most lovely spot on the island”

from Jenkinson’s Practical Guide, 1874

Port Erin, once a tiny fishing village, is an enduringly popular spot with holiday-makers who have discovered its sandy beach, spectacular scenery and glorious sunsets over the bay.

 

The town is found at the south of the island nestling below towering cliffs, grassy hills and dramatic headlands, a secluded location that benefited smugglers in bygone days.

Port Erin hosts many Island walking, cycling, motor cycling, vintage car and sailing events during the year, and also runs Beach and Christmas Festivals.

Port Erin has one of the most beautiful beaches in the British Isles. The beach curves around the bay in a horseshoe-shape and faces west, making it a great spot to capture the magnificent sunsets.

 

Flanked by two green headlands; Bradda Head on the north, and by the Castle Rocks and the Mull Peninsula on the south, it is well sheltered. It is open to ‘tonic sea-breezes’ from the west, and on sunny days, the bay acts as a suntrap.

The large expanse of soft golden-white sand means Port Erin Beach is a firm family favourite. Clean and unspoiled, the beach is gently sloping so safe for bathing and paddling.

The beach has many facilities including two swimming rafts, equipped for beach soccer and volleyball, ice creams, cafes, kayak hire, and fishing at the stone breakwater, and a sailing school where it is safe to learn on small sail boats with qualified instructors.

Did you know?

The film Stormbreaker (2006), starring Ewan McGregor, features some good shots of the Island, particularly the action sequence that was filmed on Port Erin beach.

 

The Ever-popular Beach

“Found at the foot of Bradda Head… sheltered nooks to serve as “dressing rooms” for an informal dip. Bathing tents on the beach… cater for the more conventional”

Official Handbook of The Official Board of Advertising for The Isle of Man, 1940

 

Photographs and postcards show what a busy place Port Erin beach was. In Victorian days there were bathing huts for respectable bathing and in the second world war there were donkey rides.

The town is famed for its views including spectacular sunsets over Port Erin Bay and Bradda Head.

 

On a clear day, you can see outlined on the horizon the Mountains of Mourne in Northern Ireland, 50 miles away.

A local saying goes;

“If you can see the Mountains of Mourne it’s going to rain,
if you can’t see them – it is raining”.

Bradda Head

Discover the beautiful Bradda Glen, find out about the history of Bradda Head and why it was famous. Learn about Milner’s Tower, our local landmark.

Bradda Head

Discover the beautiful Bradda Glen, find out about the history of Bradda Head and why it was famous. Learn about Milner’s Tower, our local landmark.

The Falcon's Lawns - A Popular Viewing Spot

Stop by the grass verge beyond the Falcon’s Nest  to admire the view of the bay.

 

As early as 1869 the two mounds of rocks at the beginning of the Promenade have been here (on what used to be the ‘Falcon’s Nest Lawns’), as author Edwin Waugh describes:

“Great piles of fantastic rock, partly overgrown with greenery, stand here and there upon the terrace; and ornamental seats are placed there, for the use of visitors, when the weather is fine.”

Guide to Castletown, Port Erin, and adjacent parts of the Isle of Man, Edwin Waugh c. 1869

 

This spot has always been a popular place for visitors to admire the view, and pose for a photo – and still is today.

The main shopping area in Port Erin begins opposite the Steam Railway Station and runs around the loop of Station Road and Church Road and is thriving, having undergone extensive regeneration in 2017.

 

The village features distinctive and friendly shopping and eateries with over 45 diverse outlets mainly independently owned and includes a shop which has won over ten UK wide awards.

Self catering guests will be pleased to learn there is a large and small branch of Shoprite, the Manx supermarket and a small branch of The Co-operative supermarket and the village has all local conveniences including a bank, post office, and local vets, bus and (steam) rail links.

The distinctive red Ruabon brick Railway Station, the Steam Railway and the Railway Museum are major parts of village life.

An Interesting History

Port Erin has a fascinating history, the village having adapted to change and embraced the age of tourism. Rushen Camp W, located mainly in Port Erin, was unique – the only WW2 Women’s Internment camp in Europe.

 

The origins of the village were modest;

“The village comprises about forty dwellings, a small Wesleyan chapel, and a comfortable inn ; the employment of the inhabitants is fishing and husbandry.”

From Pigot’s Directory, 1837

 

Liverpool safe-maker William Milner, marine biologist William Herdman and artist William Hoggatt all chose Port Erin as their home and have left lasting legacies.

Local charity Rushen Heritage Trust helps to preserve and disseminate the area’s history through exhibitions, shows, talks, and books.

The Breakwater

The Victorians of the time dreamed big. It was anticipated that the new breakwater would create a grand harbour that would not only protect the bay from south-westerly gales, but also attract steamers, leading the way for development into a significant holiday resort.

 

Following years of discussion, a breakwater was built in 1864 at a cost of £80,000. Large quantities of gunpowder were used to blast stone from local cliffs, 200 men were employed to quarry the stone for the foundations, and the island’s first steam engine was used to lay the stone.

In 1868, it was damaged by a storm which scattered concrete blocks weighing up to seventeen tons. It was again damaged in 1882 and was finally destroyed in 1884. Its remains can be seen clearly at low tide and are marked by the green shark’s fin buoy in the centre of the bay and continues to mark safe passage into the harbour.

Marine Conservation Area

The ill-fated and short lived 19th century breakwater was not the end of the story.

Port Erin became neither the major harbour nor the thriving holiday resort its promoters intended. Instead, it is a charming and relaxing destination for Isle of Man holidaymakers. A later, smaller breakwater was constructed c.1910 known as Raglan or Raclan Pier.

Port Erin Bay has been a marine conservation area closed to commercial fishing since 1989, and is recognised world-wide for the success of this measure. During early summer, basking sharks can sometimes be seen, with Minke whales, Risso’s dolphins and porpoises off Bradda Head.

From Raglan pier today, a variety of boat trips are available for anglers or nature-lovers wishing to observe seals and birds in the wild. View our Boat trips page.

Port Erin Tourist Information
Port Erin Visitor Information Point is situated in Port Erin Commissioners Office on Bridson Street, Visitors to the Information Point will find a wealth of information about the Isle of Man including leaflets and maps with a member of staff being on hand to answer any questions which you may have. You can also visit the excellent VisitPortErin website and Facebook page.
Port Erin Self Guided Walking Trails
Grading: Leisurely/Moderate Described in 1837 as a village and sea port of forty dwellings, a small Wesleyan chapel and a comfortable inn, Port Erin has grown and evolved over the years into a picturesque and thriving town located on a beautiful bay full of life, history and things to do. All three trails begin at Port Erin Steam Railway Station and follow the routes down to the bay where it then diverges down to the promenade and harbour, as well as a slightly more strenuous route towards Bradda Head. These three walks vary in distance, terrain and difficulty so the map on the reverse provides an idea as to the extent of each walk.
Port Erin map
Your free 'pocket-sized' guide to shops and services in Port Erin.
Port Erin Lifeboat Station
Art Deco RNLI station, dating from 1924 and one of five on the island, the station has been operating for over 120 years. The shop is run by volunteers who take great pride in keeping them open whenever possible, if you are planning a special trip to visit this shop it may be best to call ahead to check the opening times. The coastguard and Harbour Master are based in small buildings by it.
Breagle Glen
This tiny glen is nestled in the heart of the village and is a combination of Nature Reserve and Pleasure Park. Part of Breagle Glen forms an activity area with tennis courts, crown green bowling, crazy golf and putting, as well as a cafe. Next to it there is a Manx Wildlife Trust reserve with a small wooded area, a stream, bridges and a circular walk and is a thriving wildlife spot.
Athol Park Glen
Athol Park Glen in Port Erin, runs parallel to the steam railway line close to Port Erin station.  It is a small neatly kept little glen with a stream running down the middle of a paved walkway. Slate slabs are used to bridge the stream.  This is a popular area for the children of Port Erin because the glen leads to a children's playground. "A deep and narrow, sheltered valley, running inland from the sea-shore,.. transformed into a public park with flower beds, and ornamental lily pond, and sheltered seats, to afford a warm and sunny retreat when the west winds blow." The Official Board of Advertising for The Isle of Man Handbook [1940]
Mantons Gifts & Cards
Mantons Cards, the multi award winning Port Erin store is the Isle of Man’s largest supplier of quality greeting cards and gifts. They stock a comprehensive range of greeting cards, for every occasion and an exclusive range of Manx Cards. They stock a massive range of quality gifts including Scarves and Candles, Jewellery, and exclusive Children’s Clothing. They also stock arts & crafts, wooden toys and plush soft toys and have a huge games section with Jigsaws.
Erin Arts Centre
Erin Arts Centre is one of Britain's leading Arts Centres, known for its groundbreaking music and opera programmes including the Mananan Festival and Mananan Opera Festival. EAC runs over 200 events each year open to the public providing a varied programme of instrumental recitals, small orchestral ensembles, choral concerts, opera and film. It runs the Tertis Competition for young viola players, the Barbirolli Competition for oboists, both the leading competitions in the world for these instruments. The Tertis attracts many more international entrants than the other world leading viola competitions in Moscow and Munich. Opened in 1971, Erin Arts Centre can be found in what was formally the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Victoria Square.
Erin Bike Hut
Erin Bike Hut is a friendly, independent cycle hire shop in Port Erin offering Mountain bikes and Road cycles for sale and to hire, kids bike, clothing and accessories. The shop is located on Church Road, just behind Franklins car show room and within sight of Port Erin railway station and Port Erin bus station.
Bridge Bookshop
Established in 1972, the Bridge Bookshop is a family friendly independent bookshop offering books, including Kid’s Corner, book tokens, Music, Art equipment and materials, scrap booking and screen painting, DVDs, cards, Maps and visitor information guides.
Shona Boat Trips
Shona Boat Trips offer Calf of Man sailings and landings, wildlife, heritage and tourist charters from Port Erin. Operating from May to September from the Raglan Pier in Port Erin, they offer a number of excursions including sailings to Fleshwick Bay and sailings around Port Erin bay. See sights such as the Bradda Mines, the Drinking Dragon, The Chasms, Chicken Rock Lighthouse, The Stevenson Lighthouses, The Sound and much more. See wildlife including basking sharks, dolphins, seals, porpoises and many different species of bird.
Powerwheels
Expert and friendly guided driving tours for cycling, food and drink, TT circuit and more! Explore the hidden delights and beauty of the Isle of Man in real comfort with Powerwheels. Whether it’s coastal beauty spots or a lap of the world famous TT course, you’ll get to see all the historical and scenic must do sites with an experienced and friendly guide. 7 and 16 seater luxury buses are available for excursions, tailor-made tours, airport transfers, evening functions and socials.
7th Wave
Whether you want to discover sailing, learn power boating, understand navigation or just enjoy a paddle around the bay, we are here to get you on the water and help you discover something amazing on your doorstep. Our shop also specialises in water sports equipment including wetsuits, buoyancy aids, swimwear, beach toys, sunglasses, masks, snorkels and loads more. 7th Wave is an RYA Recognised Training Centre, offers dinghy sailing, power boating and shore based courses, for adults and kids, families and corporate groups.
Port Erin Paddleboards
Stand Up Paddleboarding (or SUP) is an emerging global sport with a Hawai’ian heritage. Port Erin Paddleboards is the island’s leading Paddleboarding Centre and proud to be the first in Europe to offer the amazing Twilight-Go Paddleboarding Experience. They provide 1-2-1 Private Lessons, 1-2-2 Private Lessons, Family, Group and Corporate Sessions to suit all needs, ages and abilities. As one of the world’s fastest growing water sports, Stand Up Paddleboarding offers a safe, easy and exhilarating experience to get you out on the water. It’s easier to learn than most water-sports and many people are surprised by how quick it is to stand up, get going and have fun. Anyone can do it!
Go-Mann Adventures
Take some time out to explore with Go-Mann Adventures: Guided walks, tours & other adventures all over the Isle of Man. Choose from a range of walks along the Manx coast or through the hills; or design and book your own adventure… map reading, navigation, hiking challenges, trek training, hill & outdoor skills. Or book a guided tour, with Go-Mann Adventures being your guide to special places on the Isle of Man. Small group sizes guaranteed. All levels catered for! It’s the experience that makes the adventure.
Port Erin Pets
Pet shop and Dog Groomers on Station Road, just up the road from Falcon's Nest Hotel. Everything under one roof for the pet in your life including Pet Food, treats, toys and bedding.
Bear and Bisque It
Build your own Bear Workshop, Craft Shop & Studio and Pottery Painting Studio. Located on Church road, Port Erin. Join us in our craft & pottery studio or if something cuddly is more your thing, why not come and stuff your own teddy bear. We also have a super range of craft kits available as well as some gorgeous gifts.
Trend Gift Shop
We are a family run business based in Port Erin in the south of the lovely island of the Isle of Man. We operate out of two shops in Port Erin offering a range of gifts and souvenirs for the discerning customer. We offer Manx gifts and souvenirs, TT memorabilia, Celtic jewellery toys, gadgets, house and home, candles and novelty gifts.