The Island is a unique self-governing kingdom - a Crown dependency which belongs to neither the UK nor the European Union. It has its own parliament (called Tynwald), laws, traditions, culture, cuisine and postage stamps. But as a holiday island it is best known for its very agreeable and relaxed pace of life, along with a wealth of attractions and places to stay. And while other differences include the Manx language and currency (though English is the spoken tongue and English and UK currencies are accepted everywhere), there are also reassuring familiarities - such as driving on the left and road signs in English. The thriving east coast town and port of Douglas is the capital of the Isle of Man. The hub of much Islandactivity, it offers a great variety of accommodation, holiday attractions and other visitor facilities such as first-class shopping, banks, building societies, and car hire. Douglas is 16 miles from the northern coastal town of Ramsey, 12 miles from Castletown on the south coast, and 11 miles from the west coast port of Peel. Other popular holiday towns and resorts are Port Erin, Ramsey, Peel, Castletown, Port St Mary and Laxey. There are also many lovely villages nestling in beautiful countryside and offering idyllic rural accommodation. There are familiar High Street names, local speciality stores, the Woollen Mills at Laxey, heritage shops, excellent new facilities in Douglas and many other traditional shops across the Island. The superb Tynwald Mill Craft Centre at St John's is one of several outlets selling Manx rural craft products made right here on the Isle of Man. On the Isle of Man there's never a dull moment. Fabulous scenery, enchanting glens, miles of uncrowded beaches, medieval castles, Victorian railways and trams, beautiful parks and gardens, international motorsport, countless opportunities for first-class angling, golf and watersports and other activities, fascinating museums and heritage centres, delicious Manx wining and dining.