Douglas, Isle of Man, United Kingdom

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The capital of and largest town on the 570-square-kilometer Isle of Man in the heart of the Irish Sea, Douglas lies within easy reach of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Cultured yet quirky, the city sits on a vast crescent bay and is the point from which everything else stems on Man. Beginning in the early 19th century, Douglas became a popular holiday resort, with tourists pouring in from the mainland to enjoy its seaside delights. Today, there are echoes of its heyday with horse-drawn trams clattering along the promenade and what appears to be a huge sand castle on the bay at St. Mary’s Isle, actually an 1832 shelter for sailors nicknamed the Tower of Refuge by famous visitor William Wordsworth.

Douglas may be best known today as the launching pad for the popular Isle of Man TT motorcycle race, which takes place here every June, and as the birthplace of the wildly successful 1970s pop music band the Bee Gees. While they are often more closely associated with Australia, the brothers' childhood home was at 50 St. Catherine's Drive—a site that is marked by a blue plaque from English Heritage in recognition of its historic significance.

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